On our last trip to Paris, we awoke from our jet-lag disco nap virtually starving on a Saturday evening. Our Parisian friends called and suggested that we meet them on the outskirts of Montmartre at a restaurant called "Le Chéri-Bibi." We hopped on the Metro while they trekked out to meet us on their trusty Vélib’ rented bicycles.
We started with some scrumptious strawberry mojito's and champagne, the perfect way to break the ice when meeting with friends that you have not seen in years, and while it may have taken our servers eons to get our food orders in, once we were served our family-style delicacies, there was only one word that came to mind... "Yummmmmy." Le Chéri-Bibi dishes out classic French food (with Bohemian and Pan-Asian twists) in a cool and groovy '50s retro atmosphere. The delicious small appetizers, steak frites and other traditional French faire are fabulous, and available at relatively inexpensive prices.
Apparently taking it's name from a series of detective novels by Gaston Leroux, Cheri Bibi is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 6:00 PM - 11:30PM, and is located just minutes away from the Sacré-Cœur and the Moulin Rouge in the heart of Montmarte. We spent a couple of hours here just chatting with friends and grazing at the wonderful spread of food and drink. We loved it and think you will too!
Le Chéri-Bibi - 15, rue André Del Sarte, 75018 Paris, 011 (33) 1 42 54 88 96
Au Comptoir Nippon
While traveling in a foreign country, it is somewhat easy to forget that what we consider "international cuisine" back home is indeed just that, international. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that in world class cities like Paris, one can find fantastic eateries that provide new twists on international fare like Japanese and Indian. One such place is Au Comptoir Nippon, a sushi and teppanyaki restaurant in Montparnasse that we visited in May of 2010.
Of course, teppanyaki has been made famous by chain restaurant like Benihana and Kobe. Parties of two or more may be paired up with others surrounding a large flat metal grill where chefs prepare meals based off of your individual food choices. At Au Comptoir Nippon, you may still find a chef or two tossing a shrimp into a hat for kicks, but the the Japanese cooking tradition here is given an extra boost by an innovative, varied menu that is also surprisingly elegant. Still, if you are a vegetarian, this place probably is not your best bet as the meats and veggies are cooked side by side on the "grill" and then diced up and dolled out to the various patrons at your table.
We were impressed by the eclectic menu choices and relaxed atmosphere that gave us a genuine break from "all things Parisian," not that there's anything wrong with that! Au Comptoir Nippon serves lunch Tuesday through Sunday from 11:45 AM to 2:30 PM. (Prices start at €14.50). Imaginative, high-quality sushi and the restaurant's special "fusion" twist on teppanyaki are served, at slightly higher pricing, for dinner nightly from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM.
Au Comptoir Nippon - 3, avenue du Maine, 75015 Paris, 011 (33) 1 45 48 28 98
Don't leave Paris without having the traditional brasserie experience at least once. Chances are, you will have no choice, and will end up frequenting one at least once a day - every day - during your trip. (Don't worry, this is typically a good thing.)
In May of 2010, we checked out the fresh salads, fantastic cappuccino's and unbelievable Tarte-Tatin at Chez Prosper, a busy bistro near the Metro station of Nation. (And yes, the traditional rattan chairs are in full attendance!) First-timers to Paris should indulge in a traditional croque monsier (ham and emmental) or croque madame (ham and emmental with fried egg) sandwich, though seasoned travelers might endeavor to delve a bit deeper into Chez Prosper's hefty menu.
Of course, if you are working off a late-night hangover, you could always skip the pomp and circumstance and head right for the baguette and jam or canister of yummy pomme frites... which is precisely what we did!
Chez Prosper - 7, avenue Trône, 75011 Paris, 011 (33) 1 43 73 08 51