Paris: Where the locals dine

Paris Insider
Monday, October 13, 2008
Mouth-watering menus (Photo: Lonely Planet Images)
Mouth-watering menus

L'office — bistro-cool

(3 Rue Richer, 75009, phone + 33 1 47 70 67 31)
One of my favourites: mouth-watering, bistro-cool and great value for money. The chef trained under Jamie Oliver at his Fifteen restaurant in London, and it shows. The food is inventive, delicious and beautifully presented. Try the pork, red cabbage and truffle starter or Miso-seared Salmon for a main. The decor is paired-back Scandinavian with a few '70s touches. A three-course menu costs 26 euro.

Chateau Briand — coolsters' hangout

(129 av. Parmentier 75011, phone + 33 1 43 57 45 95)
Swishy-haired coolsters and pouting beauties love Chateau Briand, which is permanently packed with the black-clad set who are only upstaged by the extraordinary looking food. The award-winning Basque chef serves up art on a plate: seared salmon with a block of mashed vegetables or milk soup scattered with rose petals for afters. The room is vintage French with wooden floors and old mirrors perfect for checking out the alluring clientele.

Chez Maurice — budget home cooking

(Rue des Vinaigriers, 75010, +33 1 46 07 07 91)
This cheap and popular bistro in the trendy Canal Saint Martin area serves traditional country food. It's crammed, and tables are covered in red-and-white checked table cloths. With three-course menus starting at 13 euro, you will struggle to find home-style cooking for such good value elsewhere.

Le Felteau — hearty French fare

(15 Rue Pecquay, 75004)
The chef and owner of Le Felteau are a bit barmy, and don't be surprised if they join you for a chat, but the hearty French food is totally worth it. Mains are substantial and come with big dishes of creamy Dauphinoise potatoes and vegetables to share. Expect to leave very full. From 25 euro per head.

Salon du Pantheon — silver-screen lunch

(13 rue Victor-Cousin, 75005, phone +33 156248880)
You could walk past the retro facade of the Pantheon cinema in the Latin Quarter and never know that a restaurant lies above the screens and popcorn. Comfy couches give it a laid-back lounge feel and there is even wi-fi. Fittingly, it is designed by one of France's very own silver-screen goddesses, Catherine Deneuve. It only serves lunch and is a favourite with locals looking for something healthy. Try the creamy pea and coriander soup.

Chez Nenesse — simple charm

(17 rue de Saintonge, 75003, phone +33 142784649)
This feels like stepping back in time with its tiled floor and quaint-lace curtains. It's unpretentious, old-fashioned, and family-run and in the fashionable 3rd arrondissement. The food is traditional French bistro, beautifully cooked with homemade desserts such as buttery fruit tarts. Don't turn up at the weekend though; the owners shut shop and head to their country home.

Le Relais Gascon — massive salads

(6 Rue des Abbesses, 75018, + phone 33 142585822)
Hungry salad-lovers should head here; the spreads are huge and come sprinkled with crispy saut—ed potatoes. Try the Chevre Chaud or warm, goat's cheese salad. The food is typical of south-western France with plenty of foie gras and confit de canard. The decor is nothing special but this is a great-value option in the heart of the pricey Montmartre area.

Dans le Noir — dining in the dark

(51 Rue Quincampoix, 75004, phone + 33 142779804)
Food should be savoured and not seen — that is the concept behind this restaurant where diners eat and drink in the dark. The staff guide you through a three-course meal and wine. I'm no fan of the dark, but it is not as spooky as it sounds (although, the food is admittedly not as exciting as the experience). You can ask for English-speaking staff.

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