Natasha Edwards, The Daily Telegraph, February 06, 2014
A new study suggests that hamburgers are encroaching more and more on traditional French cuisine . In the expectation that British visitors will probably still prefer to eat the old-fashioned way when in France, our expert Natasha Edwards has selected her favourite places for traditional cuisine in Paris.
Since this classic, upmarket St-Germain bistro was taken over by Alain Ducasse in 2013, he has done what he is so good at. He has kept it exactly the same - the sequence of little rooms, the age-old French dishes that have become surprisingly hard to find - but made it much better. Try starters like tender green bean salad or snails, then garlicky frogs' legs, buttery sole meunière or Allard's classic duck with olives served for two, and a rum savarin with whipped cream to finish. Service blends friendliness and professionalism, and Ducasse protegée Laëtitia Rouabah continues the Allard tradition of female chefs (begun by Marthe Allard back in 1932). A place where nostalgia tastes delicious.
The place to find age-old French dishes that have become surprisingly hard to find.
41, rue Saint-André-des-Arts, 75006
0033 1 43 26 48 23
Set-price lunch menu €34; dinner around €60
Daily, midday-2pm, 7pm-10.30pm
La Poule au Pot
In these days of ever-changing restaurant fads, a few places never change. La Poule au Pot, one of the all-night restaurants that lingers in Les Halles from its days as the wholesale food market, feels much as it must have done when it opened in 1935. The star turn is still poule au pot, the poached chicken with stuffing that was the favourite dish of King Henri IV. The late hours ensure a scattering of actors and showbiz personalities (witnessed in little brass plaques), in a convivial atmosphere, though staff are very friendly and welcoming to all.
The star turn is still poule au pot, the poached chicken with stuffing that was the favourite dish of King Henri IV.
9 rue Vauvilliers, 75001
0033 1 42 36 32 96
Set-price dinner menu €35
The pine wainscotting and red and white tablecloths, the serve-yourself vat of herring fillets, the veal kidneys and the generously laden cheese tray speak of another era. But Astier also knows how to live with the times, with succulent, seasonal dishes from a young chef trained at Le Meurice. Owner Frédéric Hubag maintains the tradition of a superb wine list, service is affable and the mood leisurely and welcoming for a clientele that ranges from young arty types to multi-generational families and elderly couples. There's always a nice welcome for children here; they'll even do a kids' version of the rum baba – without the rum.
There's always a nice welcome for children here; they'll even do a kids' version of the rum baba – without the rum.
44 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011
0033 1 43 57 16 35
Set-price menus from €23.50 for lunch, €35 for dinner
Daily, 12.15pm-2.15pm, 7pm-10.30pm (11pm on Sat)
Reopened after a lengthy restoration of the 17th-century building, this is one of my favourite bistros. I like it for its reliable cuisine, relaxed chatty atmosphere and eclectic Left Bank clientele. Sylvain Danière was part of La Régalade clan in the days of Yves Camdeborde, and he keeps up the credo of revisited regional cuisine, produced from a tiny kitchen spied through a wooden dresser at the rear. Fresh fish delivered daily from Brittany and seasonal game in autumn are particularly good, and there are also plenty of fans for the delicious chocolately desserts.
Fresh fish delivered daily from Brittany and seasonal game in autumn are particularly good.
92 rue Broca, 75013
0033 1 83 76 25 63
Set-price menus from €26 for lunch, €34 for dinner
Tue-Sat, midday-2.30pm, 7pm-10.30pm
Bistrot du Peintre
This listed, art nouveau café-bistro has a gorgeous 1902 décor of sinuous woodwork and tiled, allegorical figures of spring and summer. It is much loved by a laidback Bastille crowd for its satisfying, inexpensive cuisine. The choice goes from utterly trad snails or oeuf meurette (egg poached in red wine), steak tartare and some southwestern French touches – my daughter's a fan of the confit de canard – to inventive salads and creative tomato Tatin with red pepper sorbet, so there's sure to be something to suit different tastes. All-day service is very useful when you’re on holiday. Try to be seated on the more atmospheric ground floor rather than upstairs.
All-day service is very useful when you’re on holiday.
116 avenue Ledru-Rollin, 75011
0033 1 47 00 34 39
Lunch and dinner around €23
Daily, 7am-2am (food served midday-midnight)
These recommendations, and hundreds more, can be found in the free Telegraph Travel Guides app . The app features expert guides to destinations including Paris, Rome, New York and Amsterdam, with Edinburgh, Barcelona and Venice among those to be added in the coming weeks.
About Natasha Edwards
Natasha Edwards moved to Paris 20 years ago and has been exploring the city's restaurants, galleries and hidden courtyards ever since. A former editor of Time Out Paris, she is the author of several guide books, and writes regularly for the Telegraph and numerous magazines about art, design, food, travel and all areas in between. She is currently compiling a guide to Modernist architecture in France.