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Restaurants in Bastille

Waly Fay

Critics' choice

The venue is elegantly simple, the lighting is moody and the hi-fi is set on 'world music'. Welcome to Waly Fay, where those in the know come to dine on dishes from across West Africa and the Antilles. Regulars navigate the menu of accra, boudin, mafé, thiep, yassa and n'dole cuisines with ease, while newbies are guided along by the helpful staff.Falling squarely in the latter category, we played it safe by first ordering the trademark dish of West Africa, aloco: fried plantain served with fish dumplings and a citrus-tomato sauce. The plantain was as succulent as it was copious, serving as the perfect accompaniment to the main courses: grilled sea bream seasoned with tomato and persil and served with rice (sublime), and chicken served with pecan nuts, coleslaw and sweet potato chips. Unable to make room for dessert, we instead ordered some wine (the only course that doesn't have its roots in Africa) and ended up with a decent bottle of chardonnay – a lovely grace note to a throughly enjoyable meal (€65 for two).

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Charonne

L'Ecailler du Bistrot

With its beautiful old model sailing boats, lobsters, shells and bottles of sand everywhere, l’Ecailler du Bistrot feels a little like a fishing boat during the calm after the storm.Decide between, for example, incredible platters of fruits de mer, oyster selections or the lobster set menu – 12 oysters and a half lobster with fries and pudding. Aside from shellfish, there are also things like scallop carpaccio, turbot and sole meunière – but most people will plump for a gargauntuan plate of crustaceans, washed down with an excellent bottle of Cheverny blanc (€20). The glorious ritual of cracking, hulling, shelling and excavating takes you through winkles, whelks, clams, grey shrimp, cockles, belon oysters, hard and soft-shell crabs and pink shrimps, all beautifully presented and fresh. It’s generous and reasonably priced for Parisians used to paying silly money for shellfish (€76 for two), and everything that comes with it works as well – bread, butter and mayonnaise from attentive but not overweening service.After the battle, wash your hands in lemon and hot water and head for the excellent desserts – roasted figs, baked apples with salted caramel. You'll leave happily humming Molly Malone. This restaurant serves one of Time Out's 50 best dishes in Paris. Click here to see the full list.

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Charonne

La Pulpéria

Critics' choice

The Meat at La Pulpéria comes with a capital M, served in a noisy, welcoming little dining room and whipped up in white-tiled kitchen by talented Argentinean chef Fernando Di Tomaso and his South American team. The menu changes daily, but on our visit it all began with crunchy calf’s sweetbreads accompanied by a few girolles mushrooms and a cep sauce, and a pretty cod ceviche surrounded with fine slices of sweet potato, avocado purée and a splash of lemon juice. Each flavour sung out, while perfectly complementing the others on the plate.Then the mains (vegetarians look away now). A bloody, magnificent churrasco cut of beef, just recently arrived from its native pampas, served with rissole potatoes and garlicky, spicy chimichurri sauce. There was also the pluma ibérique, a piece of pork wrapped in a very fine layer of well-flavoured fat and pan-fried then grilled, producing a delicious dish, so tender in the middle that it almost seemed not to be pork. Both dishes were generous, precise and seriously good.The prices might seem a bit high at first (starters from €10 to €12, mains €25 to €30, desserts around €10), but for the quality of the products and the cooking, it’s really very reasonable. The portions are huge, too; we were left mournfully contemplating the splendid cheese board, incapable of fitting in anything resembling a dessert, not even the promising dulce de leche. This restaurant serves one of Time Out's 50 best dishes in Paris. Click here to see the full list.

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Charonne

Caffé dei Cioppi

Critics' choice

Lightening struck when this minuscule Italian trattoria, run by Fabrizio and Federica Mancioppi, opened three years ago. And it still wows today thanks to outstanding dishes like sausage and red wine risotto, garlicky shellfish linguine, Italian charcuterie, tangy Sicilian lasagnes, creamy burrata and sbrisolona – almond biscuits dipped in mascarpone cream (don’t tell the chef, but they taste good when dunked in red wine too!). Get there early if you want a table; or be prepared to queue. The restaurant (which spills into the narrow passage in the summer months) has space for just 20 people.

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Eastern Paris

Bones

Critics' choice

This is one of Time Out's top 50 things to do in Paris this summer. Click here to see the full list. Youthful self-taught Aussie chef James Henry flexes his muscles, tattoos and chutzpah at this new venture where the ingredients are the stars of the show. Book several weeks in advance for the no-choice four-course tasting menu at €47 a head, served in the 25-seater dining room, or try the bar for craft beers, freshly-shucked oysters and homemade charcuterie.

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Charonne

La Crêperie bretonne fleurie de l'épouse du marin

Critics' choice

The spectacularly-named ‘flower-filled Breton crêperie run by a sailor's wife’ feels like the haunt of old sea-dogs, all wood, old posters, antique objects and postcards from all over the world, giving the place an immediate charm – a little piece of the ancient Brittany region of Armorica in the 11th.The menu offers a wide, if not exhaustive, choice of crêpes and galettes – the origin of the ingredients is carefully marked, as if to reassure those traumatised by the indigestible crêpes sold along the Rue Oberkampf. Prices range between €2.70 for a buckwheat pancake with butter to €10.40 for a version with goat’s cheese, bacon and eggs. The Bretons know what they’re doing with crêpes – this last was crispy and melting at the same time, full of soft goat’s cheese perfectly matched with salty butter. The picture is completed with a good bottle of cider at €7 and a fantastic classic sweet crêpe, the ‘Gwenn ha Du’ with home made chocolate sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream (€6.50). No doubt, this friendly corner of Brittany is a real find.

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Charonne

Unico

Architect Marcelo Joulia and photographer Enrique Zanoni were wise enough to retain the vintage 1970s decor of this former butcher's shop when they opened their temple to Argentinian beef. Orange tiles and matching light fixtures provide the backdrop for the fashionable, black-dressed crowd that comes here for thick slabs of meat grilled over charcoal and served with a selection of sauces. If you find yourself hesitating, opt for the lomo (fillet) with chimichurri, a mild salsa - and don't forget to wash it down with Argentinian wine, a rarity in Paris.

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Eastern Paris

Amici Miei

Amici Miei, (‘my friends’), is an authentic Sardinian trattoria, the sort that feeds you up with all the flavours of Italy. Carpaccio and salads compete for starters (€8 to €19), followed by generous pasta or risotto dishes (€12 to €21) and thin crust pizzas (€9 to €17). At dessert, special mention goes to the strawberry and basil panacotta. Marry it all together with a good wine from the transalpine selection, delivered by relaxed and efficient waiters. All this adds up to a place that’s never empty – with a bit of luck you’ll even see celebrities Romain Duris or Anna Mouglalis wrestle with their spaghetti. As a result, you need to arrive early – or the only slice of Italy you’ll be taking home will be inside a pizza box. This restaurant serves one of Time Out's 50 best dishes in Paris. Click here to see the full list.

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11th arrondissement

Gentle Gourmet

If vegetarian restaurants are on the rise in Paris, vegan can still be a challenge to track down. It’s a tough sell, especially in France: the savoir-faire and imagination required to produce good cooking without any animal products, including milk and eggs.This American enterprise does well. The sober black and white room, strung with origami shapes, happily looks more like a business lunch venue than a hippy hang-out. And on the menu, as well as the inevitable veggie burger, there are plenty of French-inspired dishes plus flavours from around the world, like Cajun tofu.We were intrigued by things like a soup with pumpkin, peppers and mushrooms, and a Moroccan salad with chickpeas, roasted carrots, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries, which were both very well executed. In contrast, the tofu burger, with an over-smoked taste and slightly limp texture, was a bit of a let-down, as was the substitute cheese tart. Happily, a delicious bourginon stew with root vegetables saved the day. Portions are generous enough that you might not need dessert, though they offer vegan versions of all the classics – tarte tatin, crème brûlée, millefeuilles. Give the place time to even out the menu and push the kitchen a bit further, and it could be somewhere really good.

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Eastern Paris

Miss Lunch

Critics' choice

Until the launch of her public cooking station, Miss Lunch was a clandestine cordon bleu cook at her supper club Lunch in the Loft. She still serves her inspired creations privately, but now also cooks in the Première Pression Provence boutique in the heart of the Aligre neighbourhood.From Belgium and Canada, her Egyptian-South African family made frequent trips to the Italian island Pantelleria, all important creative cooking influences on Miss Lunch. Creativity that has stood her in good stead here, where cooking smells are forbidden by the lease – so it was goodbye oven and stove, hello microwave.Donning her apron, Miss Lunch took on the challenge, working with the constraints and surprising her guests with inventive and skilful menus. From her open kitchen, she prepared for us a tomato soup spiced up with Cayenne pepper, an oeuf cocotte with broccoli purée, alouette sans tête (beef stuffed with pork) and a cheese plate (brie and Neufchâtel, lamb’s lettuce and endive, excellent chutney and fig confit).Then the desserts: an authentic apple charlotte and a plum and chocolate cake, all washed down with good wines at reasonable prices (€24 or €26 a bottle, €4 or €5 a glass). The food is great value too (€15 for a set menu of starter and main or main and dessert) – since she came out into the open, Miss Lunch’s cooking hasn’t lost any of its charm. Proof that the best secrets are the ones you let slip.

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Gare de Lyon
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