If I had to pick just one bistrot to go to on a trip to Paris, Le Bistrot Paul Bert would be it. It is the kind of restaurant you dream about when you picture Paris – chalkboard menus, white tablecloths, smartly dressed waiters, wooden furniture, old-style light fittings, a very well stocked zinc bar, menu items featuring foie gras and truffles and that iconic Parisian prix fixe menu. It really is the perfect restaurant, ticking all the boxes of excellent food, excellent wine, excellent service and an excellent atmosphere. It’s hard to fathom that it’s only been around since 2000, as you really do feel as though you’re stepping into a classic Parisian bistrot.
Without booking a table, I arrived at lunch time to see if they had space for a table pour un, and I was in luck. I was seated at a wonderful table looking out on to Rue Paul Bert next to a gentlemen also eating by himself. We both shared a friendly glance and smile, but got back to our lunch time tasks – me scrawling post cards back to Sydney, and him typing away on his laptop.
For entree, I was enticed by the sound of the Velouté de Lentilles au Foie Gras, as I adore lentils and have never tried Foie Gras before, but have always been curious. Needless to say, this was probably the best decision I had made on my Paris trip… Upon my first mouthful, I could do nothing but smile and slowly savour one of the best dishes I have ever eaten in my life. It was creamy, but not heavy, and still had a bit of texture from the lentils. I scraped every last drop from the sides of my bowl, not wanting to waste a bit of this glorious dish.
For main course, I not being much of a meat eater at all, chose the fish with beurre blanc and spinach. I really enjoyed the spinach and sauce, but I must say I didn’t enjoy the fish very much at all – not sure if it was because of the type of fish, the quality of the fish or the way it was cooked, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Le Bistrot Paul Bert is very famous for it’s meats, so perhaps that it the protein to order! The gentlemen’s Tartare de Boeuf avec Frites Maison next to me looked divine, so I do wish I had ordered that instead. Being from Sydney, I am used to eating super fresh and delicious fish & seafood, so perhaps the fish in Paris is just of not as great a quality. I was on such a high from my entree though, so I was not disheartened at all.
For dessert I could not go past the cheese, as cheese is one of my absolute favourite foods in the world. I adored the variety of cheeses of offer and almost finished the whole plate with my generous basket of sourdough baguette. I couldn’t help but share a laugh with the other customers at a gorgeous young girl out for lunch with her parents at the table in the centre of the restaurant, who was jumping out of her chair in excitement as the waiter brought her extravagant Paris Brest dessert to the table. All of us with our cheese plates suddenly looked disheartened, but the Paris Brest was not part of the incredibly well-valued 18 euro lunch deal, so we could not be disappointed in any way. But, on my next visit, there is no doubt that I will be ordering the Brest!
This incredible meal, delicious red wine, lovely service and bustling, friendly atmosphere made for one of the most memorable dining experiences I have ever had. I certainly could not recommend it enough, especially the reasonable lunch set menu, just be sure to enter on an empty stomach as the food is hearty and generous, and you will definitely want dessert.
Located in such an excellent foodie area, be sure to also head to the Ailgre markets down the street and then over to Blé Sucré to pick up a loaf of Raboliot bread, made with hazelnut flour, hazelnuts & raisins. Enjoy! I know you most definitely will X