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Restaurants in République and Oberkampf

L'Ilot

Critics' choice

At l’Ilot, you don’t have to pay Parisian prices for the best catch of the day. The venue is tiny but beautiful, with big slate menus, earthenware pots and white parquet, a bay window, a few photos on the walls and a terrace for nice days – it all has a solid, comfortable charm.Perch yourself on a stool and order your white wine, then browse the menu: €5 for a serving of taramasalata or tuna or salmon rillettes, €4.50 to €9.50 for pink or grey Madagascan prawns, €6.50 for whelks and €8 for a half crab (€14 for the whole). There are also beautiful oysters: Marennes from Oléron, the latest catch from Utah Beach or plates of Belons (from €18 to €30 a dozen), while the fish is smoked or marinated (herring, eel, salmon, sardines – from €7 to €10.50). It’s all enough to make you linger long over your lunch, and the value of the set menu is unbeatable, at €12.50 for a starter, main and glass of wine. A delight.

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Temple

La Prune folle

This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. Proprietors Sol and Victor welcome their customers with broad smiles at La Prune Folle [the crazy plum]. Opened in April 2012, this café-bar elegantly encapsulates the trend for vintage twee with a few Formica tables, random second hand Chinese lamps, family photos and period wallpaper. And while the design definitely counts in its favour (take a look downstairs), the relaxed ambiance and the tasting menu are the icing on this cupcake. “We wanted to create a place where you feel really at home,” says Sol, a former sports instructor and talented pastry chef in whose retro teahouse the waiters are always friendly and the cakes have pride of place on the bar. Fancy tapas at 11am or brunch at teatime? No problem. La Prune Folle isn’t uptight about things like that.The menu’s sweet notes sing out the strongest, with things like spiced carrot cake and an unctuous cheesecake. But cocktail hour is not forgotten – with whole regiments of tapas to accompany it. Try the “Vin gourmand”, various wine samples with three mini tapas for €8. There’s a bit too much ABBA on the sound system for all but the most nostalgic audience, but most won’t be able to resist the set lunch menu, which includes a pudding for just €1 extra. This place definitely brings the good life to Oberkampf.

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11th arrondissement

Les Comptoirs de Carthage

Critics' choice

This unpretentious family-run restaurant located near the Carreau du Temple offers fusion cooking mixing French, English and Tunisian styles. Sitting at one of the few tables in the small, brightly-coloured room feels a bit like being in a hippie aunt's collection of rugs, braided wood lamps, blown glass, copper artefacts and jewels, but it all comes together in an agreeable jumble. The service is laid-back and affable, so you almost feel like you're in someone’s home.Well-seasoned and creative dishes are cooked with organic ingredients, and the menu changes regularly according to what is available at market and l'humeur du chef, and are wonderuflly cheap. There are several plates at €12, like tender citrus-marinated turkey with basmati rice and vegetables or stuffed peppers with sundried tomato sauce, or the house special of eight-vegetable couscous with dumplings for €14.Think of reserving in advance as it’s always busy (you can take away if necessary). In summer, the pretty tree-shaded terrace opens up, doubling the venue's capacity.

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Temple

Soya Cantine Bio

Critics' choice

A vegetarian restaurant with an excellent and well-deserved reputation, Soya Cantine Bio offers a fantastic salad bar (tabbouleh, humus, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, beetroot) and hot dishes including things like vegetarian lasagna, Lebanese-style chickpeas, warm spring rolls, seaweed dumplings, potatoes with vanilla and cakes in small ramekins. Some of the flavour combinations may seem a bit strange, but it all works on the plate.The zen ambiance of this very light and airy restaurant is reflected in the warm welcome of the professional staff, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-4pm just €24 gets you the brunch buffet and a fruit juice. Reservations are recommended if you can't arrive early, as it always gets full by 1pm.

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Oberkampf

Astier

Critics' choice

You just have to look at the regulars’ crimson faces to know you’re onto a good thing at Astier. Red-and-white chequered tablecloths and rustic wooden panelling make up the retro setting for chef Christophe Kestler vintage revivals like smoked herrings with warm potato salad, grilled Charolais beef in anchovy butter, and scrumptious vanilla cream (think crème brûlée without the brûlée). The excellent value prix-fixe menu includes an all-you-can-eat cheese course – some morsels of which are so ripe they plop onto your plate in a dollop of ‘fromagian’ glory. Wash it all down with a 2007 Côte de Py Morgon red wine and you’ll be rolling to bed.

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11th arrondissement

Al Taglio

Critics' choice

One of the first outfits in Paris to sell pizza by weight, now a popular practice, Al Taglio is an understated canteen with chic overtones; big wooden high tables are scattered throughout the venue, lit by metallic lamps. Its popularity extends beyond the neighbourhood, so be prepared to queue, and enjoy the show while you do – the constant bustle and to-ing and fro-ing of hurried waiters delivering pizzas at lighting speed. When your turn comes to choose, it's a struggle to choose between things like pizza topped pancetta and Brebis cheese, or spicy salami and artichoke, or the delicious house speciality with truffle cream and potatoes. Once that’s done, you then choose the size of your portion (from €14.20 to €36.40 per kilo).And the pizzas really deliver: the light, crunchy dough strewn with fresh, flavourful produce. For the perfect accompanying tipple, choose a glass of Bardolino (€4.80), and if you have room, the Nutella-mascarpone pizza for dessert will ensure total satisfaction.

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Oberkampf

L'Echappée

Critics' choice

L’Echappée is primarily a lovely spa, whose stark modern façade stands out amid the dishevelled grandeur of the Rue de la Folie Méricourt. But regulars know you can also come here for brunch on weekends from noon to 3pm in the bright upstairs rooms. Make sure you arrive early to grab the armchairs at one of the big coffee tables – they’re criminally comfy. Once you’re settled in, for €25 per person you can have a buffet of your choice consisting of orange juice, coffee or tea and a variety of small dishes which change regularly, including strained muesli, fruit salad, chocolate cake, cheesecake, carrot cake… All followed by a plate of ‘friendly vegetables’, scrambled eggs and potatoes, vegetarian lasagne or leek pie. The food is delicious and the variety is second to none. Also make sure that you leave room one of their famous desserts: go for pancakes or French toast. After a morning at the spa, a L’Echappée brunch is probably the best way to continue the day on a high.

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Canal Saint Martin

Aux Deux Amis

Critics' choice

This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. Be warned: don’t rock up at Aux Deux Amis on a Friday night expecting to sit down. If, like most people, you haven’t reserved, you’ll be staking out a few square centimetres at the bar. Here you can chat with your neighbours while good-naturedly knocking into each other, wines and beers in hand. Then, it’s time to eat. The melting ‘Tortilla de Janine’, the princely acorn-fed ham with grilled almonds, the brilliant house mozzarella… according to the whims of the chef, there will also be things like fresh sardines, black pudding purée, cabbage salad, crunchy beetroot with Bismarck vodka, herring, and sterling classics like burrata and manchego cheese. The setting for all this? Tiled walls and floors, 70s neon lighting, a hip clientele and plenty of wine, which is all 100% natural and served by David Vincent-Loyola, formerly of Chateaubriand, who has transformed this old neighbourhood dive into an unmissable stop on the Rue Oberkampf. At midday, his acolyte Mathieu Perez joins the kitchen, offering an impeccable, affordable set menu. If things start to lose their fizz, the lovely terrace is a great place to let the party spill over and outside.

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Oberkampf

American Bistrot

Critics' choice

Burgers have been big business in Paris for some time, but American Bistro was one of the forerunners. This famous diner is like something straight out of Beverly Hills: cheery atmosphere, warm welcome, walls covered in old rock records from the 50s and 60s, a big Smeg fridge, red vinyl couches and a rockabilly soundtrack. Start with a Perfect Duff Beer or a cocktail (€5 or €8), while sizing up the enormous menu: salads, bagels, milkshakes, desserts and, naturally, burgers. We started with caramelised chicken wings with Roquefort sauce (€7.50) and well-made quesadillas. For the burgers, there’s everything from the JD burger (the meat flavoured with Jack Daniels, the house favourite), the Marcel burger with béarnaise sauce, or the Burger of the Month (€14 to €16.50). Everything is as it should be; great bread, good cheddar, Aubrac steak done well (as opposed to well done). The chips were slightly soggy, but partly made up for by an enormous Elvis Banana milkshake. In sum, American Bistro is one of the essential venues for burger fans in Paris, with great choice and quality products with a French spin.

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Oberkampf

Chez Justine

This is the place to get fed and watered before heading to Nouveau Casino or to L’International for a gig, and to see the film crews gathered in the corner who have made this their official canteen. The food isn’t half bad either, the quality of the ingredients and cooking lifting the kitchen above the level of the bar’s neighbourhood dive feel. The décor and music are well-chosen, with a poster of Jacques Tati looking down on a grand piano and post-modern lighting making the slender bar shine. The cooking is traditional French with New York accents, like the legendary spaghetti with meatballs or the house burgers (with a different ‘special’ every day of the week), often influenced by the flavours of the Auvergne but also more refined dishes like starters of oysters or foie gras, or Rossini-style beef. The wine list speaks of a well-stocked cellar and the cocktails are accomplished. The Sunday brunch is also a must-do, highly recommended. Also keep an eye on the programming, as there are occasional quality gigs.

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Oberkampf
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