Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Ultimate Paris Bistro Finder

Americans in Paris (myself included) seem to always be on the hunt for great bistros, featuring honest (often traditional) food at modest prices served in unpretentious surroundings.

A friend introduced me to Le Petit Lebey des Bistrots Parisiens, which describes and rates hundreds of Paris bistros. Instead of stars, Lebey awards cocottes (casseroles): one for "good bistro cuisine," two for "very good bistro cuisine" and three for "one of the best bistros in Paris." Lebey's descriptions are extremely useful; they actually specify what the meal rated consisted of (including wine), the date and the exact price paid. I find the ratings to be quite reliable, and a 3-cocotte bistrot is almost always worth going to. The guide includes "modern" bistros as well as "traditional" ones.

Despite the reliability of le Petit Lebey, I always cross-check with another guide to get another view. I generally consult Pudlo, which I find quite comprehensive and reliable, with useful up-to-date descriptions. I also use Pudlo for non-bistro restaurant selection.

Here are some bistros that I've been to in the last 18 months or so that may be found in le Petit Lebey. Unless otherwise stated, all received a 3-cocotte rating. Time prohibits detailed descriptions, but the asterisks signify the ones I particularly liked.

Astier, 11ème
Bistrot Paul Bert, 11ème
Le Temps au Temps, 11ème
*L'Accolade, 17ème
*Les Fougères, 17ème (only 2 cocottes)
*Le Troquet, 15ème
Benoit, 4ème
Mon Vieil Ami, 4ème (Ile St-Louis) (modern)
La Table Lauriston, 16ème
*Chapeau Melon, 19ème (only 2 cocottes) (modern)

If you get to any of these, or discover other bistros that you really like, please post a comment or email me at

Bobby Jay

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

J'adore Bistrot Paul Bert!