What we ate and what you should eat when in Paris

We only had two must-do’s for our trip to Paris: (1) Spend a day in Disneyland and (2) Eat. I’m not the type of traveller that puts so much importance on eating local food. I’d much rather stop by a local grocery and make my own meals in order to save on money and time. However, Paris is a different story. French cuisine is known worldwide for being one of the best (if not the best) so I had to make an exception plus it was Matt’s only request.

For my research, I found Condé Nast Traveler extremely helpful because of their Best restaurants lists (50 best and 24 best in Paris). The website is a great resource for everything travel related and since Paris is a major city, there was more than enough information readily available.

Croissants/Bread from neighborhood Boulangeries

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On our way to the metro stations, Matt and I would always pass boulangeries with windows filled with all kinds of bread and pastries. This is a great option for people on budget and are just looking for a quick bite before starting the day. A croissant can cost you as little as 1€ and are made fresh every morning.

Chez Paul

13 rue de Charonne 75011 Paris – Tel. +33 (0) 1 47 00 34 57

Our first authentic French meal was in Chez Paul, one of the oldest and most typical French restaurants in Paris. Our reservation was for 10pm because we weren’t sure if we wanted to stay for Disneyland fireworks but they were able to accommodate us earlier at about 8pm. There weren’t so much people when we arrived but that quickly changed within the first hour of being seated. Several parties of people (ranging from couples to parties of 10!) were there that night and we felt really lucky that we got there just before the Friday evening rush.

I ordered the Rabbit leg, stuffed with goat cheese and fresh mint, braised endive while Matt had the Pepper steak flambé cognac, butter-based, gratin dauphinois. Both were so rich and packed with flavor, it was unbelievable! Our waiter, Francois, suggested a red wine to us (which of course, I did not catch the name of) and it was the smoothest, most delightful red wine I’ve had in my entire life. And that’s alot coming from me, who doesn’t take alcohol well at all.

Chez Paul was definitely a fantastic start to our food journey in Paris. Make sure to request for a reservation especially if you’re planning to dine during the weekend.

Breizh Cafe

109 rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris

The only crêpe I had in Paris was of course, a Michelin star winning crepe. Breizh cafe uses local ingredients exclusively and sourced from the best Breton producers. Our reservation was made for 11am, right around the time the restaurant had just opened. Again, the place filled up quickly but the food came out quick. We shared a Campagnarde Buckwheat galette (Sunny side up egg, cheese, fresh cream, smoked duck, Jerusalem artichoke, spinach) and a Carrément Caramel crêpe (Caramel sauce, whipped cream and homemade caramel ice cream).

It was our first time eating a galette but after the one we had, it definitely won’t be our last. Even the couple sitting next to us looked at our order and said “Oh man, we should have gotten that one instead!”

I can’t even begin to describe how the caramel on the crêpe we had was the best caramel that I’ve tasted in my whole life. In experience, I tend not to eat anything that has caramel as the main feature because I find that I get sick of the taste quite easily. This was an exception though and I would honestly fly back to Paris just to eat here again.

Wou Cha

7 rue Ernest Cresson, 75014 Paris

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That evening, we actually had a reservation at the restaurant Astier; however, I decided last minute that I didn’t want us to spend 45€ on a meal per person. We also found ourselves at the 14th arrondissement, unable to enter the Catacombs because of the massive lines. We decided to take a chance and checked Yelp for dinner options. Wou Cha came up with good reviews and was nearby; only about 10 minutes walking plus I felt like I needed a break from European food. But before we headed there for dinner, we stopped by a nearby Paul and grabbed a couple of eclairs.

Wou Cha is run by an authentic Taiwanese family and our server was very helpful when we were deciding what to order. She spoke French and English fluently so there was no language barrier at all. I had duck soup and green tea while Matt ordered stir fry noodles. Eating here transported me back to when I was eating in Taipei. The food was warm and flavorful, just the way it should be.

Angelina

226 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

I don’t even know where to begin. The whole experience from walking along the rue de Rivoli in the pouring rain up to finally being seated in the posh tea room amidst tourists and locals alike was more than I could have dreamed of for our last day. Our meal in Angelina’s was definitely the most expensive we’ve had on this trip but we left not just with the feeling of being full but also with such an appreciation for what Paris has to offer.

I first stumbled upon Angelina on a Facebook thread in one of the travel groups I’m a part of. A fellow member was spending her birthday in Paris and wanted to know where she could get the best chocolate cake in town.  Many people suggested Angelina for the best hot chocolate and damn, they couldn’t have been more right. From the first sip, you could tell that this was no ordinary hot chocolate. It was the richest, creamiest, heartwarming drink I have ever experienced. No other hot chocolate comes close, not even Mary Grace’s mint hot chocolate from back home which was my favorite up until stepping into Angelina.

For the main dishes, Matt ordered the Angelina breakfast which came with a drink, freshly pressed fruit juice, a myriad of mini pastries, a bread roll with butter and assorted jams, eggs prepared “your way” and a fruit salad. Since I’m not a fan of breakfast food, I went straight for the kill and got the Truffle ravioli with Parmesan cream and rocket salad. And I cannot stress this enough, GET THE TRUFFLE RAVIOLI. It was so delicious I had to stop and force feed Matt (who had never tried truffle in his life) so that I could share my overwhelming joy with another person.

Of course, we couldn’t leave without trying the signature dessert, Le Mont-Blanc, a meringue with light whipped cream and chestnut cream vermicelli. Tt was so rich that we couldn’t eat more than half of the tiny cake. I think we would have appreciated it more if we didn’t have heavy courses prior. We finally left after two hours of eating, stuffed and ready for a long nap.

You can check out the menu here.

Pierre Hermé

133 avenue des Champs Elysées, 75008 Paris

When Matt and I decided that we were going to Paris, I knew that the one thing I couldn’t miss out on was eating authentic French macarons in France. I searched the internet and combed through travel forums, looking for the best macarons in town. There was alot of argument over whether Pierre Hermé and Ladurée was the best. I read that Pierre Hermé is the more expensive of the two and is not as commercialized as Ladurée (which you can also get in Manila!) but I decided to let fate decide.

We were checking out the Arc de Triomphe the day we finally had macarons. It was mid-afternoon and the sun was high. I was ready to have a snack so I whipped out Google maps and checked if there was a nearby macaron store around. This particular Pierre Hermé was located inside the Publicis drugstore, only a stone’s throw away from the Champs Elysées. We got a box of 7 for 19.50€ and the macarons available were from the Spring Signature collection. Besides the macarons, the Publicis drugstore also has regular food and drink items, French drugstore items, Khiel’s and other brands on display. It’s definitely worth checking out.

All in all, Matt and I were more than satisfied with what we ate in Paris though ’til this very day, he still would say to me that he regrets not going to the restaurant Astier. Despite it probably being the most expensive meal we’d have eaten, it was a full course meal and now we’re stuck constantly wondering what could have been. We agreed that we would definitely go back for the crêpes from Breizh cafe and the hot chocolate from Angelina, hands down.

My suggestion for eating in Paris is to check out what food options you have in the arrondissement you’re staying in and decide on your budget. Eating in Europe in general is not cheap (how much more in Paris!) and though there are more affordable options, you can’t deny that these places are priced the way they are for a reason. It is still very possible to have bad meals in Paris so avoid the establishments that are nearest to all the tourist spots because these places know that they’ll always get customers that’ll just pay up. Do your research and explore other areas of Paris. There are tons of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

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