This small but supremely exclusive hangout for the international jet set used to be an upmarket brothel, and has the decor to prove it. It only holds 150, most of whom are regulars you'll need to befriend in order to get past the door. But if you manage to get in, you'll be rubbing shoulders with celebrities and super-glossy people.
Café Thoumieux is a laid-back destination for cocktails, tapas and big-screen sport. Banquettes snake around the room, and spiky Aztec-pattern lamps light up the faces of the pretty young locals who have made this place their own. The flavoured vodkas are delicious, with unusual flavours including vanilla, caramel and banana; just watch out for the treacherous, extra-high bar stools (the banquettes are definitely the safest option to avoid accidents) and the monstrous, pebble-dashed sink in the toilets - it's real.
Christian Constant has found the perfect recipe for pleasing Parisians at his new bistro: a flexible menu of salads, soups, verrines (light dishes served in jars) and cocottes (served in cast-iron pots), all at bargain prices - for this neighbourhood. Service is swift and the food satisfying, though the vraie salade César Ritz, which contains hard-boiled egg, shouldn't be confused with US-style Caesar salad. Soups such as an iced pea velouté are spot-on, and cocottes range from sea bream with ratatouille to potatoes stuffed with pig's trotter.
A little corner of kosher Brooklyn lost in the Marais, Schwartz’s is all hot dogs, pastrami, pecan pie and onion rings. The area’s locals swap family news with the waiters, and mix easily with hipsters among the old film posters, red leather banquettes and checked tablecloths.A must-try is the pastrami sandwich, a mountain of dried beef wedged between two hunks of bread, served with fries and a little pot of coleslaw for €16.50 (or €19 for the version with veal). Or you could go for one of the numerous burgers (€12-€24), from classic cheeseburger to avocado, or even the Rossini (steak, foie gras, rocket and port sauce) – impressive, if not quite as decadent as its price would suggest. Also a good bet are the milkshakes (€7.50), often with real chunks of Oreos or other biscuits, though you’ll want to save room for dessert: the strawberry cheesecake is one of the best in Paris – and at €7 a slice, it should be.Overall, Schwartz’s wins out with its friendly service and boisterous atmosphere, but feels slightly overpriced. That doesn’t seem to put anyone off, however, as two more branches have opened recently: on Avenue Niel in the 17th, and Avenue d’Elyau in the 16th.
This long-running Basque address is an ongoing hit thanks to chef Stéphane Jégo. Excellent bread from baker Jean-Luc Poujauran is a perfect nibble when slathered with a tangy, herby fromage blanc - as are starters of sautéed baby squid on a bed of ratatouille. Tender veal shank comes de-boned with a lovely side of baby onions and broad beans with tiny cubes of ham, and house-salted cod is soaked, sautéed and doused with an elegant vinaigrette. There's a great wine list, and some lovely Brana eau de vie should you decide to linger.
A stone’s throw from the Champs-Elysées, this late-night restaurant refuels night owls with good pieces of beef, lavish tartares and other bovine specialities from the family farm in the Massif Central. If the bill is a little tough to take, the quality of the meat, the generosity of the dishes and your raging late-night hunger will certainly make up for it.