On the other hand this means that rents go down, and that in turn means that many young chefs turn to the 15th to open their first restaurants after leaving their training grounds behind. As Brooklyn is to New York and Oakland to the San Francisco Bay Area, this is an area to find up and coming chefs and restaurants. It is also home to a high concentration of new wave bistros that serve reasonable well thought out food. Overall, you eat well and reasonably.
Many of these chefs have gone back to their roots creating ingredient forward menus. And what roots they are! Food that pays homage to where the regions and dining habits of the chefs, from the hunters of Burgundy to the pervasive influence of Basque and South-West country cooking.
So here are some of our dining experiences, listed alphabetically.
Au Dernier Metro 70 Blvd. Grenelle 01 45 75 01 23
A rocking bar with a reasonable happy hour open until 2 am with traditional dishes in the style of basque country cooking. Very reasonably priced with a decent magret de canard and more mundane snacks to go with your beer and wine. Good for an informal meal and just blocks from the flat down Blvd. Grenelle. Go, find a seat on the terrace and watch Paris go by. A place to relax and have a good time. Can be very crowded.
Afaria. 15 Rue Desnouette, Paris. 01 48 42 95 90
Afaria remains one the most trendy of the bistros in the 15e and a reservation has become mandatory. Can’t miss: the duck breast served on, yes, a roof tile over grape vines. Definite Basque influence in the food but modern enough to excite. Visited again in 2012 and it knocked me out with its creativity in presentation. I am going to take the time to review this later, but take a gander at this duck (it did feed 6 of us). If you want that Boudin Noir (not me) the rendition is over the top.
L’ami Marcelle. 33 Georges Pitard. 01 48 56 62 06.
Located almost at the west extreme of the 15th, walking into this tiny room is like stepping into a time capsule. Run by a very efficient waiter/host/owner? and his somewhat lost but willing assistant, you step directly back to the 1960’s. I can’t say the food is gourmet, but is sure is fun. We laughed hard all night. Not worth the trip.
Le Beurre Noisette. 68 Rue Vasco Gama. 01 48 56 82 49
Daughter Olivia and I had a wonderful meal there that centered around the largest veal roast I ever enjoyed in a restaurant served in its copper baking dish and an incredible chestnut soup. A delicate cooking style in a small hushed elegant room. Very charming and approachable. Portions are generous. Worth the long walk.
Cassenoix. 56 Rue de la Federation 01 45 66 09 01.
This bistro was designed to have a road house country feel but the food is complex and satisfying. We went with a party of 10 so we were a little limited by the menu choices but it didn’t matter. Lots and lots of food for a 32 euro prix fixe, three courses (soup, appetizer, main) and dessert. The chef comes from the famous bistro Regelade and brings a flare to his presentation and ingredient choices, this is a meal that feels like it should cost a lot more. A very neighborhood restaurant where we had a lot of FUN.
Café Commerce. 51 Rue de Commerce. 01 45 75 03 27.
Cafe Commerce is a throwback, a classic brasserie with a very serviceable raw bar. Some dishes feel a bit old, but the room is exceptional. Don’t come looking for gourmet and stick to the classics and you won’t be let down too far although on my last visit the restaurant seemed a bit tired even if it was almost August. Wonderful collection of art deco posters on the wall and an easy walk. Open past 10 and great for Sunday arrivals as so many restuarants are closed. Moderate prices.
La Coupole. 102 Blvd. Montparnasse. (OK, it is just over the border in the 14th).
A famous brasserie well beyond its prime. I do not know why so many people love it. True, it is a gorgeous room. But you must deal with a rude host, spacey waiters and very average classic brasserie food. Service was so bad they brought us free champagne after we complained to the manager. Don’t bother, you can do better.
Le Cristal De Sel. 13 Rue Mademoiselle. 01 42 50 35 29.
We had an uneven meal, with lots of brilliance but some very bonehead mistakes and a very weak front of the house that took away from the great efforts of a good chef.
La Gitane. 53 Bis Avenue de la Motte Piquet. 01 47 34 62 92
A steady performer just a block away from the Yellow Flat. Although it describes itself as serving ‘cuisine bouregeoise, the chef has the style of a Michelin star. A traditional comfortable stylish room, a charming couple for your host and some classic french food. Is it cold outside? Then just go.
Jadis. 208 Rue De La Croix Nivert. 01 45 57 73 20
Had a wonderful lunch here last year. Of all of the bistros we ate at this one was the one that could be called ‘gastronomique’. Plates were prepared with style and delicacy (look at deconstructed rollmops above) and I remember my eat with a spoon daube (beef) c0oked in dark beer to this day. As we finished our meal the chef came out and greeted the room is a red leather motorcycle outfit and then sped away on his scooter. With all of the press this restaurant has received, reservations are mandatory.
Le Pere Claude 51 Ave De La Motte-Piquet. 01 47 34 03 05.
Two blocks from the apartment. Truly Parisian. Check out the photos on the wall you will see the crème de la crème of Paris politics. Great open kitchen, prices moderate to expensive. Service can be indifferent to the point of
rudeness. Very hit and miss and in our view past it’s prime. If you are there stick to the steak. Even my roast chicken felt tired.
L’Os A Moelle. 3 Avnue Vasco De Gama. 01 45 57 27 27
There is a reason that this somewhat out-of-the-way room bistro and its cousin wine bar across the street are packed every night. The menu here is 36 euro, the difference here is that the tasting features five courses starting with an amuse; a soup, appetizer, main, cheese course and dessert. For all of this food and two Sanceres, one the well-known white sauvignon and one red, a very well-balanced pinot noir the bills came to udner 50 euro per person. Be careful on hot nights, there is no AC.
Les Caves A L’os A La Moelle. 181 Rue Lourmel, 01 45 57 28 28.
This very charming wine bar is the informal twin of L’os A La Moelle. Very informal self-service buffet menu and lots of regional wines by the glass. A good meal for very little money, you can get out for under 20 euro.
Limited menu, communal eating from large terrines and pots. Great fun but if the dishes aren’t what you are looking for there are no choices.
La Villa Corse. 164 Boulevard De Grenelle. 01 53 86 70 81
What lies behind the red curtain? La Villa Corse is located just a block up from the La Mote Piquet metro station and very close to the Yellow Flat La Villa Corse focuses on the cuisine of Corsica. Inside is a packed room of booths, dimmed red lighting and books. Almost a gentlemen’s parlor of days past. I expected to see animal head jutting out of the walls. Expect to spend well over 50 euros a person, although if I was on a short vacation this would not be a choice.
With bistros like this you can see why many chefs have abandoned the 3 and 4 star world and gone back to their neighborhoods to enjoy their lives. And you can walk to most of them from the Yellow Flat.