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A LOCAL'S ESSENTIAL GUIDE
We are spoilt living in this area because we have some of the best restaurants in Paris. We have so many because my little area (quartier) is still very French and that means the cafés, bistrots and restaurants know that the clientele will stand for no nonsense, they demand excellent quality produce and good service at the right price. They are not too fussed about having a lot of choice on the menu, 3 starters, 3 mains and several deserts will suffice and they don’t tend to stray from the old favourites.
The French dine out regularly so our restaurants are full of locals. Having a vibrant local community means even in Montmartre, a tourist mecca, the standards are excellent, unlike some other tourist areas such as parts of the Marais and certainly in the Latin Quarter, where it can be difficult to hear a French voice sometimes.
Perhaps I should start with my favourite place to eat beef bourgignon. Bourgogne Sud is literally a couple of minutes walk down rue de Clichy and this is where I can eat gi-normous burgundy snails in garlic (with a glass of chablis or, even better, quincy) then the most delicious beef bourgignon, large chunks of melt in the mouth beef served in its own copper pan accompanied with a heavenly potato purée. I think only once did I stray from this choice since I started eating there.
The set menus are quite complicated to read and the English translation of the menu is incomprehensible in parts but guests, and I, rave over the food.
If, however, you are tired when you arrive at 52 Clichy, Italian food at Spaccanapoli on our block on the corner is a perfect choice with kids (everything can be ordered to takeaway – the pizza created in front of you, fresh from the oven is great). This is a real Italian foodie corner as 10 paces away is Bar Italia Brasserie (in Top 20 of ALL Paris restaurants) and opposite is a mozzarella bar, Gusto Massimo Paris
Barely out of our red door, on the first corner, if you can force yourselves past the view of the cakes, take out or eat in lunch at our amazing bakery, Maison Landemaine. Whilst the staff are very sweet to all foreigners, the queues can be terrible if the French want to buy their sandwiches for lunch.
I’m not a connoisseur of Vietnamese food but guests from LA swore it was the best they had every eaten and since then everybody has agreed so do try Pho 20 if you love the soup dishes and everything can be taken away too. It’s on our side of the road on the way to the Place.
The Grand Dame of the Place is the Brasserie Wepler, this sumptuous art deco brasserie specializes in oysters and other seafood in winter but has a varied menu for those that are not tempted by a huge seafood platter.
10 steps off Place de Clichy is Le Cyrano with its walls covered in original mosaics and smoky stained glass over 100 years old, this is a cool bar for the younger crowd serving tapas in the evenings to the crowd spilling onto the pavement and at lunchtime excellent, large open sandwiches and salads. Excellent value.
Evenings only, from 6pm, if all you need is a light meal and a great glass of wine, try the Bistrot des Cinéastes which you will find inside the private cinema about 20m north of the Place. Go inside, past the ticket queue up the stairs to the super-relaxed bar.
If the idea of a steaming pot of mussels tempts you then Léon (a chain, but a great one) serves the best! You can have as many ‘frites’ as you wish, just ask them to keep them coming – I love the mussels in Dijon mustard option as it has overtaken my love for curry sauce.
I will always encourage guests to eat in Montmartre. I love wandering through the area, there’s lots for the tourists to do but it’s still a relaxed environment where local French people live so it has kept its charm. It’s still full of great cafés and restaurants if you avoid the main squares.
Getting there is easy, out of our red door, up the hill and take the 2nd right, walking in a straight line and in under 5 minutes you will find yourselves in front of the Moulin Rouge. From there wander up the hill on rue Lepic, which will take you directly to the artist’s square and Sacré Coeur. Work up an appetite or walk off your meal before returning home.
My 2 favourite restaurants are next door to each other half way up the hill at 61 rue Lepic!
Jeanne B is a modern French restaurant, it has a varied set 2 and 3 course menu and I try hard not to order their soup of the day and vegetable tart but almost always fail. The staff and young and enthusiastic and speak very good English.
Au Virage Lepic is a different animal, the best French onion soup in Paris and their steaks and duck are excellent. Their walls are covered in black and white photos of film stars and with the red and white check tablecloths you will get a typical French experience except for the 1980’s music playing (I can sing along to everything)! Closed Tuesdays.
I learnt about Seb’On when researching the best places for guests to spend New Year’s Eve, they were the new and up and coming ‘in’ place, rightly so. Tiny, only 10 tables. Amazing food and listed in Top 10 best restaurants in Paris on Trip Advisor. Open for dinner Wednesday-Saturday and Sunday lunch. Not at all expensive for the experience.
Completely refurbished in 2016,I have always enjoyed the indoor courtyard of Le Moulin de la Galette in summer. Of course it’s well known as only 1 of only 2 windmills left on the hill and the site of the Renoir painting of the same name. When you are walking up the hill to it you can’t see there is a windmill on top until you are practically in front of it! There are set lunch and dinner menus to keep the prices down.
Al (& Pizza) Caratello offers typical warm Italian service and fab food. You must book if you are not going to be there at opening time at 7pm. It is actually 2 restaurants opposite each other, one of which has a pizza oven. Excellent fresh grilled vegetables and you often get a free drink or extra food.
Obviously there are loads and loads of other café and restaurant choices, both locally and elsewhere in Paris. Just ask me as I would love to show you my list of best restaurants in Paris so you can track them down and feel like a local.
Now, however, you must be need some exercise so read some of my thoughts about Exploring Paris or download my handy guide to Living Like a Local.