From your Parisian

Sharing my newest discoveries as I float through the streets of Paris. Restaurants, bars, events, all reviewed for you with love, from your Parisian.


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Paris Secrets: My top 5 garden-like restaurants and cafés to escape the city vibe

I love living in a city like Paris but there are times when I crave the feeling of lounging in my backyard, under a tree, with a drink and a good book. Summertime back home in Canada often involves attending barbecues or bringing dinner out into the garden to enjoy with family and friends. Yes, there are many beautiful parks where you can have a picnic of your own, but there are few restaurants or cafés where you can order something nice to eat and enjoy it, surrounded by trees and plants, without leaving the city.Jardin Renoir_Paris Most cafés/restaurants in Paris do have their terrasses but they are often on the sidewalk of sometimes busy streets with cars or masses of people passing by. Don’t get me wrong, people watching in Paris is super fun, except when you feel the need for a little vegetation and an escape from the noise and frenzy of the city. For those moments, I would like to share with you a list of some relatively unknown places where you can buy food or drinks and enjoy them in a garden-like environment without leaving the comfort of the péripherique…as let’s face it: most Parisians don’t enjoy venturing out into the suburbs if they don’t have to!!

So, here they are:

A la Folie: BBQ and party under the treesA la folie_ParisHidden at the North end of the Parc de la Villette, this bar and club is the place to be this summer and fall! It has a huge terrace surrounded by trees and complete with large picnic tables, perfect for meeting up with friends after work for a drink. If that wasn’t already good enough, they also have some delicious food choices, including an outdoor barbecue that cooks up tasty dishes of pork, sea bream, veggies, and a large selection of beef, available in three sizes: “un peu” (a little),” beaucoup” (a lot), and “à la folie” (after the name of this establishment, which roughly translates to madly…or in this case a crazy amount (1kg) of meat). If you’re in the mood for something a little lighter, they also have delicious salads, sandwiches, and baked treats. Oh! And did I mention that there’s a dance floor inside that really heats up in the evening? Basically, this is THE place to spend a night (or until 2am, when it closes) eating, drinking and/or dancing under the trees.

Where :

Parc de La Villette
26 avenue Corentin Cariou
75019 Paris

Café Renoir: A charming place to read a bookJardin renoir_Paris_2I only discovered this lovely spot at the top of Montmartre recently but it was definitely love at first sight. Perhaps it was the fact that Auguste Renoir (one of my favorite artists) painted two of his masterpieces while on the premises, or that Sacre-Coeur (my favorite building in Paris) is located right behind it, or maybe it is simply because the garden has several areas to relax and hide from the hectic outside world. You also have a wonderful view of the sloping Clos Montmartre vineyard, that borders the garden, which is rather unique. Although you do have to pay a 2-4 Euro fee to enter the garden, I believe that it is well worth it. Their café offers a variety of drinks as well as cakes, pastries and light lunches, perfect for a chill afternoon of drawing, writing or reading (trust me, you will feel inspired). If you’re an art lover, then a tour of the museum will also interest you, as Montmartre’s history is retold through various exhibits and you can even visit Renoir’s atelier and travel back in time.

Where:

Musée de Montmartre et Jardins Renoir
12 Rue Cortot
75018 Paris
+33 (0) 1 49 25 89 39

Les Mondes Bohèmes: Eating in your backyardles mondes bohemes_ParisI have been here several times (and have even celebrated my Birthday here), so I can safely say that this is one of my favorite restaurants to visit in the summer. It is all about the outdoor covered terrace that is shaded by the canopy of two large trees and tangled vines and bordered by bamboo plants. You really feel as if you are in a friend’s garden, with the hanging flower pots and the colorful watering cans and sparkling lights only adding to the overall magic that is this spot. The food itself is also very good. They serve classic bistro dishes like burgers, steaks, salads and roasted camembert cheese (yessss please) at reasonable prices! They also have a long drink menu to please everyone, so don’t be surprised if you end up spending the entire evening here. A true hidden gem in the East of Paris!

Where:
31 rue des Vignoles
75020 Paris
+33 (0)1 43 48 69 38

Hôtel particulier Montmartre: Fancy brunch or cocktails in a secret gardenHotel particulier_ParisThis luxurious hotel and its garden are like something from a fairytale! Located in Montmartre and only accessible via a private passageway (you have to ring a doorbell to even have access to the passageway) this garden is the definition of secluded. I admit that this is the priciest option on my list (with brunch being 38 euros/person), but for a special occasion this place is sure to impress. Plus, as staying at the hotel isn’t an option for me (until of course I win the lottery…*it will so happen one day*), being able to visit the gardens for a coffee or tea is one way to enjoy this special place in Montmatre without going broke. You can even drop by for a cocktail in the evening between 6pm and 2am, as they have a very sexy cocktail bar that opens up into the gardens. And Pssss: don’t miss a very lovely Eiffel Tower viewing spot from just outside the hotel gates!

Where:

Pavillon D, 23 Avenue Junot
75018 Paris
+33 (0)1 53 41 81 40

Musée de la vie romantique: Tea or coffee with someone specialmusee de la vie romantique_jardin_parisMost of you have probably already visited this salon de thé as it is always mentioned in the “top romantic places in Paris” lists, but if you haven’t yet… well, what are you waiting for? While the garden itself is very small, if you are lucky enough to grab a table, you can enjoy a coffee with a tartine or piece of cake surrounded by rose bushes, shrubs and trees. It has a very Romeo and Juliette feeling to it…but without the epic tragedy at the end! While you’re there, you might as well check out the small but elegant museum, as it displays some pretty furniture, jewelery, and works of art from the Romantic period.

Where: 

Hotel Scheffer-Renan
16, rue Chaptal
75009 Paris

With this list you can definitely find some shade on a hot day in Paris. I think I’m going to head out to one of these places now! 😉 If you know of any other restaurants/cafés in Paris that are hidden in gardens or surrounded by trees, I would love to hear from you! 🙂

 

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Paris Restaurant Review: Canard & Champagne

The days are slowly getting shorter and colder here in Paris. On the positive side, this gives me the excuse to seek out restaurants serving warm and filling comfort food all over the city (it’s official: bikini body, bye bye)!Canard & Champagne is one of those restaurants, as it mixes deliciously prepared duck with champagne (a pretty awesome combo in my opinion) and is located in a beautiful covered passage (Passage des Panoramas) away from the cold. The exterior of the restaurant is truly gorgeous: its wooden facade carved with intricate designs gives you the impression that and you are in the presence of something from another era and very unique.canardchampagne_paris_exteriorThe decor inside is a mix of classy meets modern meets fun, as one of the walls is covered entirely with a huge black and white still from the movie Le Grand Restaurant, starring Louis de Funès (the much loved French actor). This wall matches perfectly with the geometric patterned tiled floor as well as the cute waiters, dressed in their white shirts and black bow ties, that glide effortlessly from one side of the room to the other as soon as you look in their direction (yes, they are very attentive). canardchampagne_paris_interiorAfter looking at the menu, our group of four all decided to take the 2 course meal with a glass of champagne for 32 Euros. If you want two glasses of bubbly the menu rises to 42 Euros, a little pricey, but as we all know its an expensive beverage (26 Euros without any drinks)! Next you have to select one of the two entrees: duck foie gras or duck terrine. Although I am not a fan of foie gras (*gasp*, I know! I’m a freak of nature here in France), I was pleasantly surprised by its rich and delicate taste and actually enjoyed this French delicacy, spread on top of a piece of crisp toast with a touch of apple chutney. canardchampagne_paris_menuThis light starter was followed by a perfectly cooked magret duck, pink in the middle and incredibly juicy. My knife cut into the tender duck breast like butter! Three sides are offered to accompany your duck: fries, seasonal vegetables or the seasonal purée…and here’s the best part: they are endless! So I started with a sweet potato purée, followed by a bowl of fries and finished off with a side of carrots, cauliflower and zucchini (to be healthy, of course). As the sides are served in rather small bowls, and therefore equally small portions, we had fun calling the waiters over to fetch us another helping throughout dinner! In case you’re wondering, one of my friends tried the confit duck and said that it was equally tasty.canardchampagne_paris_magret-duckUnfortunately, after overdosing on all of the side dishes, we didn’t have any room for dessert but the choices looked pretty tempting (such as profiteroles drizzled in chocolate or a dreamy lemon tart). I suppose I should talk about the champagne we had, which was also very good, and made for the restaurant by JM Séléque. I don’t know much about champagne but it was fruity and refreshing, with just enough bubbles to make me happy! I should also quickly mention the bathrooms (no…I’m not weird) that I found to be rather quirky; their walls were chalkboards covered in chalk-written messages and drawings of ducks. A little more tasteful then the usual words you read scribbled on public bathroom stalls! I left a little drawing of my own, washed my hands, then went back upstairs to join my friends who were paying the bill.canardchampagne_paris_passage-de-panoramasWhat more can I say? This place was a hit! Maybe not the best choice for vegetarians, but if you have friends visiting from out of town then this elegant but relaxed restaurant in Passage des Panoramas (thought to be the oldest covered passage in Paris) is sure to please. They also serve a yummy looking brunch on weekends, and Parisians: they deliver! 😉

Restaurant Details:

57 Passage des Panoramas

75002, Paris

+33 (0)9 81 83 95 69

http://frenchparadox.paris/fr/

Rating:

4 hot ducks out of 5!

 

 


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Fast food, Fast Review: SAaM

Although I have a cold that won’t go away, I am currently in good spirits as my friend S from Canada is visiting me in Paris this week! Both of us share a love for good food, so when we randomly stumbled upon SAaM, a little Korean eatery near Canal Saint-Martin, we were more than thankful for our discovery!saam_Paris_our lunchWe were actually on our way to a craft fair in the area when S suddenly stopped and said, “Hey, Korean food!”, as we passed the small wooden exterior of SAaM. It wasn’t yet open so we couldn’t really see inside but we studied the menu, which consisted of Gua baos (or steamed Taiwanese buns) filled with Korean ingredients, and decided that this was where we were going to come back for lunch!saam_paris_interiorWe returned at around 1 pm and the place was packed, but we were seated in about 15 minutes, and by that time already knew what we were going to order. Inside, the place was super cute with a real mix and match decor that included an unfinished blank wall with a strip of pretty ceramic tiles in the middle, a pastel colored geometric design on the other wall, lots of dangling paper, bamboo and glass lamps as well as funky mirrors and plants. Adorable!saam_paris_kitchenWe ordered the lunch special of two buns and salad for 12 Euros (14,50 in the evenings and weekends) and I added a cup of jasmine green tea, to soothe my cough. From our seats we could admire the efficiency and energy of the Korean chefs in the open kitchen, silently preparing the buns with care in a sort of assembly line. The excitement for our meal only escalated as plates of food exited from the bustling kitchen.Saam_paris_carteOnce the colorful dishes had arrived and we had taken the necessary amount of food pics (I was not the only one at the table with my camera out!), we grabbed our chopsticks and dug in! I had chosen the pork belly and Dak (fried chicken) buns, while S had the Dak and the Boulkogi (marinated Black Angus beef) buns. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the accompaniments were more than just a salad; they consisted of pickled carrots and daikon, an arugula salad with a soya sauce-type dressing, two deep fried gyozas (not sure if there’s a Korean name for them, but I didn’t ask) and some seasoned, crispy potatoes. Saam_paris_gyozaThen we took a bite of our Dak buns: the little steamed buns were packed with a  nice piece of ginger breaded deep fried chicken, kochujang sauce, wild sesame, peanuts, apple slaw and pickled white radishes. The combination of flavors was amazingly good! My pork belly bun was next and it did not disappoint either as the tender and fatty pork came with sisho sauce, salted plum, spicy cucumbers, pickled red onions and was garnished with cilantro. They were finger-licking good (literally!! get the napkins ready and beware of the sauce that drips at the end)! saam_paris_bao chicken and porkI tried a bite of the fragrantly spiced beef from the Boulkogi bun and can confirm that the Korean marinade used was out of this world! Both of us found our lunch to be filling enough, but if you’re someone with a huge appetite you can always add another bun to your meal, or one of their accompaniments (such as the kimchi balls for 7 Euros, that looked super good) or desserts (like yuzu cheesecake, 5 Euros). saam_paris_bao chicken and beefSo, I think I have fully conveyed the fact that I loved my lunch at SAaM! They have very friendly service and the most tasty bao bun sandwiches. S and I have already decided to go back this week to try the fish and tofu buns before she leaves! That’s one huge stamp of approval from two Canadians!

Restaurant Details:

61 Rue de Lancry

75010, Paris

+33 (0)9 83 50 84 94

My rating:

5 kimchi balls out of 5!


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Paris Cocktail Bars: Sunset

I’ve said it many times, but I’ll say it again: I love my neighborhood! So when I hear about a new restaurant or bar opening nearby I have got to check it out. Sunset opened last November, but it wasn’t until last week that I finally got a chance to visit this trendy cocktail bar with a friend.sunset_paris_foodFrom the outside, the first thing you see is a long and inviting heated terrace. It was a cold night and by the time that we had arrived it was already invaded by trendy looking clients. We went immediately inside, where we were greeted with a smile from a barman standing behind the glowing bar, followed by one of the very pretty waitresses. When we said we wanted to have a drink and eat something,  she escorted us to the back room. While the front area around the bar is lively and modern, the back room has more of a lounge vibe with comfy armchairs, candlelight, a red carpet and walls painted blue with an unusual pattern (that looks like they went crazy with a chisel and gauged out tons of small holes) that contrast with a yellow geometric pattern on the ceiling. A little busy and not really my style but it definitely grabs your attention.sunset_paris_interiorWe started with a cocktail and I naturally tried the “Red Sunset” (8 Euros), which I found to be quite nice but a little too fruity. The waitress was very friendly and when she heard my non-French accent (I can’t seem to lose it…considering a voice coach!), she immediately started speaking to us in English.sunset_Paris_cocktailsunset_paris_menuWe took a glance at the menu and each dish (6-10 Euros) sounded better than the next. We finally chose the following: roasted pumpkin (with smoked ricotta cheese, sunflower seeds and Parmesan shavings…beyond delicious!), hanger steak (cooked in whisky and served with pureed carrots, béarnaise sauce, herring eggs and sautéed potato cubes…divine!), and a spiced chicken burger (kind of a pulled pork-like texture to the chicken, which was combined with homemade guacamole and a mini side salad…pretty tasty!). The photos I took are not the best due to the dim lighting, but I think they’re enough to get you drooling a little, no?sunset_paris_squash and ricottasunset_paris_beefsunset_paris_chicken burgerOverall, we found that the food was amazing and satisfying, even if the plates were a little small. Then again, at these kind of cocktail/tapas bars you don’t expect huge portions. Intrigued by the dessert menu (and still a little hungry), we ordered a dessert: cheesecake with citrus fruits from the Amalfi coast and a side of limoncello and yuzu flavored shaved ice (6 Euros). A light, creamy and tangy treat.sunset_paris_cheesecakeNext time I go I will try to sit in the front of the bar, as it seemed to have more of a fun and relaxed vibe. I have to admit that the back room felt a little stuffy and posh. Or perhaps it was just the crowd that night, which I found to be a little too pretentious and “bobo”. Overall though, Sunset is a classy addition to the neighborhood and a great place to take a date or business client you want to impress. I’ll definitely be back for the food!sunset_paris_exteriorContact Details:
100 rue Ordener
75018, Paris
+33(0)1 71 28 99 33

Rating: 

3.5 red sunsets out of 5


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Fast Food, Fast Review: Ouh là là – Cantine St. Martin

I’m a big fan of fusion cooking, if it’s done right, so when I heard about Ouh là là-Cantine St. Martin and their French style tacos I was immediately intrigued. I mean I love tacos and I love French food…and I love saying Ouh là là, so it was really a no brainer for me! Located near Strasbourg Saint-Denis métro station in a quiet pedestrian street, this eatery is easy to spot thanks to its bright blue awning and cheery yellow chairs that really add some warmth to an otherwise cold autumn day.ouhlala_paris_exteriorInside, the welcome was equally sunny with one of the owners quickly finding us a seat and telling us our dining options with a smile. The decor is simple with a stone wall facing a geometric printed wall behind the food counter. It is completed by wooden tables and modern light fixtures that dangle playfully at different lengths around the room. The tacos served here are not at all Mexican, instead the flour tortillas are filled with a choice of homemade cold or hot concoctions, using quality ingredients, that change every week. Their special of 3 tacos for 10 Euros is great for a light dinner, or you have the option of adding a fourth taco for 2,50 Euros. They also offer a side of salad or roasted potatoes (2,50 Euros), if you’re really hungry.ouhlala_paris_menuWe took a while to decide because to be honest, all of the options sounded delicious. We watched as the other owner sliced a large Aveyron (a region in France) sausage from behind the counter and plunged her spoon into a pot of creamy polenta while preparing the tacos with care. I could tell that she took pride in the food she served.ouhlala_paris_chefAfter a long debate, the 3 tacos I opted for were: 1) pastrami, arugula, pickles and honey mustard sauce; 2) fresh goat cheese marinated in thyme and lemon with some mixed greens; and  3) Aveyron sausage with caramelized shallots. All of them were super tasty and very unique with their flavor combinations. I also had a side of roasted potatoes, seasoned with rosemary, which were really good too. They equally had a nice selection of French wines and other interesting drinks, which is always a good thing. I’ve taken a look at their Facebook page, where they post their weekly menu, and I am pretty impressed with what they have come up with to put in their tacos so far; with some eclectic examples including steak tartare, smoked duck breast with Fourme d’Ambert cheese and seabream ceviche. Oh! And did I mention that they have dessert tacos filled with such yumminess as banana and Nutella? ouhlala_paris_tacos2ouhlala_paris_potatoesWhile the restaurant is pretty and stylish, I found the chairs to be a little uncomfortable and I think that next time I would go for a take-out. The seating area is rather small and fills up quickly. You can also order some of their tacos through deliveroo.fr, if you’re not in the mood to go get them yourself (while we were eating, two delivery guys dropped by and picked up orders from the counter). So, what I learned that night was that you can really put anything in a tortilla, because why not! I think I am even going to be inspired to make some of my own at home…maybe with some Canadian ingredients! Of course I am a huge fan of authentic Mexican cooking, but these multicultural creations at Ouh là là-Cantine St. Martin are a great example of what good can come from thinking outside of the box and blending various cuisines from around the world. ouhlala_paris_interiorRestaurant Details:

94 Rue René Boulanger

75010 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 38 27 42

http://www.ouhlalaparis.fr/

Rating:

4 uniquely filled tortillas out of 5

 


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Fast food, Fast Review: Miznon

I’ve wanted to write a review of Miznon for a while now but it wasn’t until this weekend, with Paris being all cold and rainy, that I started craving one of their pitas and felt the urge to look through my photos, drool a bit and eventually type out this blog post.Miznon_Paris_boeuf bougignon pitaMiznon is located in the Marais, right off Rue des Rosiers, where you will find the very popular falafel shops. Miznon can be considered as a fusion between street food and fine dining as the dishes they stuff into their pitas are beyond delicious, and I am more than happy to pay a little more for a taste like no other in Paris. This is actually the second location of Miznon (the first being in Tel-Aviv), which was brought over to France by the amazing chef Eyal Shani.Miznon_Paris_interiorThe restaurant itself is unassuming and rustic with metal and wooden tables and unfinished stone walls. The decor is equally simple, consisting of fresh veggies that are used as necessary, with piles of zucchinis along one counter and cauliflower, tomatoes and artichokes placed on the windowsills. The chefs are behind the counter and prepare everything in front of your eyes, making it a real interactive experience. They are very friendly and bustle about quickly as they fill pitas with a beautiful medley of meat, veggies, sauces, herbs and spices.Miznon_Paris_veggiesMiznon_Paris_interior 2The menu is scribbled in colorful chalk, in a rather chaotic manner, on the blackboard behind the counter and features some French classics with a Mediterranean touch. I was with two friends from out of town and we chose the lamb kebab and the boeuf bourgignon pitas (11, 50 Euros each). The lamb kebab balls were complemented by onions, parsley and veggies; a light and fragrant delight. The flavorful boeuf bourgignon, complete with chunks of tender beef and carrots was loaded into the soft but sturdy pita and was rich and meaty.Miznon_Paris_pitasMy favorite, however, is the stuffed cabbage pita (of course I always have to like the most expensive menu item at 12 Euros): cabbage leaves filled with ground lamb and spices, cooked with vine-ripened tomatoes and then piled into their pita with other herbs and a creamy white sauce (I’m guessing a homemade mayonnaise). SO incredibly delicious! They have a variety of other pitas available ranging from 6-12 Euros each, which include several vegetarian choices (like ratatouille). Don’t forget to also try one of their roasted cauliflower heads (6,50 Euros), that are grilled with olive oil and coarse grain salt. Ours came out looking a little burnt but still tasted really good. Everything here is simple, fresh and natural and just tastes out of this world!Miznon_Paris_stuffed cabbage pitaMiznon_Paris_CauliflowerSo if you want to try some mouthwatering pitas in a crowded and extremely lively eatery then I highly recommend checking out Miznon. Keep in mind that they are open Sunday and Monday (but closed Saturday and Friday night) and that there is extra seating at the back of the restaurant if it becomes too crowded in the front (where all of the action takes place). Alternatively, you can take a pita to go and sit in one of the nearby parks or squares, like Place des Vosges. Just be warned: these pitas are addictive!  miznon_paris_exterior

Restaurant Details:

22 Rue des Ecouffes

75004 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 74 83 58

Rating:

5 gourmet pitas out of 5


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Restaurant Review: L’Atelier Saint-Georges

It sometimes seems like a new trendy burger joint opens in Paris every few weeks, and while they all try to put their spin on this popular fast-food favorite, there are few that have managed to turn their burgers into a fine dining experience quite like L’Atelier Saint-Georges.Atelier SG Paris_yam friesFirst off, this place is located in the very hot SoPi neighborhood of Paris; right by Métro Saint-Georges, hence their name. Secondly, when you walk through the door of what was once a neighborhood bakery, you feel like you are walking into a refined bistro. I still remember the scene from Sex and the City (yes, I was a big fan of the series!) when Carrie wore the most gorgeous Oscar de la Renta dress and ended her evening at McDonald’s, incredibly overdressed for the occasion. Well if she had come to L’Atelier Saint-Georges for a burger, she would have blended right in! Glass mirrors cover the walls and beautiful decorative moldings add a touch of French class to the modern room that is filled with polished pale wooden tables and unique light fixtures.Atelier SG Paris_interior 1The burgers themselves are all named after renowned chefs and are gourmet creations that you won’t find anywhere else. The tender French steak is stated to be “haché au couteau à la main”, which means that it is prepared by finely chopping it with a knife, not passed through a meat grinder like most burgers. Some of the creations include The Monsieur which features a hand-cut beef burger topped with Tomme cheese (one of my fave French cheeses), bacon, caramelized onions and romaine lettuce. At the other end of the spectrum is the fancy Monsieur Paul which comes with a slice of seared foie gras on top of the chopped beef patty! They also have 2 chicken burgers and one veggie burger, as well as a choice of salads, so that everyone is happy. Of course, like any other fine French restaurant, L’Atelier Saint-Georges has a list of beer, wine (red, white and rosé) and even Champagne to accompany their classy burgers. They also do take-out, FYI.Atelier SG Paris_menuWe sat down and I chose the Monsieur Gaston (which made me immediately think of Beauty and the Beast!) with sweet potato fries, while my friend tried the burger of the moment named Monsieur Alain with regular French fries. The burgers came out with a huge heap of fries on the side (that were very good in their own right) and that were perfectly presented and super tasty. I bit into the soft brioche-like bun and was met with the creamy taste of Camembert cheese, the crunch of sautéed Granny Smith apples, arugula leaves and pine nuts, and finally the juicy and perfectly cooked chopped beef. My friend really adored her burger too, that was topped with asparagus tips, Parmesan cream, arugula and black olives. The cute little signature stamp on their buns was a nice final touch, proving once again their attention to detail.Atelier SG Paris_burger du momentAtelier SG Paris_cute bunAtelier SG Paris_gastonThe only criticism I can make is that they are rather small burgers (unless you get an “XL” size) and at a price of 12-17 Euros each (12 Euros for a regular, 16 Euros for an “XL”), they are a little pricey…and that doesn’t even include the fries (3-6 Euros)! Then again, you are not here to eat junk food, you are here to enjoy a luxury burger that truly honors French cuisine and that uses high-quality French ingredients. Definitely not for everyone, but a MUST a for all burger lovers! Atelier SG Paris_exteriorRestaurant Details:

6 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris

+33 (0)1 77 16 18 96

Rating:

4 posh burgers out of 5!