Since setting up shop along the Nathalie Sarraute esplanade (just opposite the Halle Pajol), Les Petites Gouttes has made quite a stir in its corner of the 18th. An area that has long suffered a somewhat dodgy rep is now drawing in the punters with its range of snazzy nightlife options, of which this bar-cum-restaurant is the latest arrival. It offers a sophisticated take on culinary favourites, a smattering of outdoor seats and even a year-wide programme of musical events. The restaurant's menu is decidedly eclectic, with a street food feel. You can choose between hamburgers (€14–€15), fajitas with marinated and grilled beef, Tahitian-style sea bream tartare or the chef's pâté platter (€14). At the top of the list is the Chô dish of the day (€12 at lunchtime, €14 for dinner), a huge plate of – in our case – kofta, two different tapenades and raw courgette served with a white, sweet sauce, which we washed down with a beer custom-brewed by the brasserie Orgemont and apparently chosen 'with care' by the café, despite our being unable to find out even the slightest detail about the brewer. This was one of only two sour points about the venue, the other being the long waiting time. Minor hitches for a spot that we warmly recommend.
Despite its heavy door with a tiny window that gives the impression it’s a secret club, Le Bouclard is actually a very welcoming restaurant, open to all (including the odd celebrity guest, including Vincent Cassel and Dominique Farrugia, who have been spotted here). A few minutes' walk from the Place de Clichy, Michel Bonnemort set it up 20 years ago, offering something between grandma’s home cooking and gastronomy. The cosy 1920s décor is welcoming, and you can choose to sit near the very beautiful decorated bar or on a the small raised area which overlooks the room. We started with a gratin of crayfish tails, and seared foie gras with truffle rubbed new potatoes – both subtle and delicious to the point, almost to the point where we wanted to order them all over again. A good start for a set menu for only €37. For mains, grilled veal marinated with thyme came piping hot, fragrant and well-seasoned, if slightly dwarfed by a mountain of potatoes and lamb’s lettuce. It’s not necessarily the best choice here, especially when you could have divine pike-stuffed cabbage with crayfish. At dessert, an astounding sugarless, eggless and butter-free chocolate mousse, or a selection of small desserts: Grand Marnier crème brûlée, baba au rhum and chocolate mousse. There's a great wine list, and service is attentive yet never overbearing, making Le Bouclard is ideal for a romantic evening out or relaxed dinner with friends. Given that the fifty seats in the restaurant get filled up quickly
From the man behind successful restaurants Drouant and Mon Viel Ami, Antoine Westermann’s ‘bistrotisserie’ (a pimped rotisserie, if you like) feels like a chic mountain chalet retreat. His gourmet poultry dishes are served in an elegant white-walled space lined with sleek banquettes, in the heights of Montmartre’s Rue Lepic. We started with a gooey boiled egg, whose crunchy soldiers came with delicious truffle-infused butter, and ‘la planchette de béatilles’ – nibble-sized pieces of chicken heart, gizzards, and sticky chicken wings. Then the main event, the birds: a perfectly roasted portion of Challans chicken with succulent gravy and crunchy frites, and a juicy helping of guinea fowl with crispy golden skin, served on a bed of caramelized sauerkraut with velvety mashed potato, the sweet cabbage bringing out the bird’s subtle gamey flavour. To finish up, a gargantuan chocolate millefeuille and an iced Grand Marnier mousse with a sharp orange salad. At €95 for a whole chicken for two to four people, this is a traditional rotisserie in name only; but the payoff is there in those fabulous dishes, and in the list of quality poultry producers name-checked on the menu. If you’re coming with friends, book the communal table d’hôte in the back room, where the white cabin walls are covered in wine bottles, including an excellent Faugères at €29. You can also sit at the open rotisserie bar and watch the turning birds go golden brown. This restaurant serves one of Time Out's 50 best d
Italian fever has seized the north side of Montmartre’s Butte: there’s Trattoria Pulcinella on rue Eugène Sue, La Pulcinella and Locanda Pulcinella pizzeria on rue Damrémont; and as if that weren’t enough, another Italian, L’Angelo, has recently opened too. That’s a lot of choice; but don’t be daunted. The locals have already discerned the best. They keep coming back to Trattoria Pulcinella – for its generous plates of antipasti (€15), fine-based pizzas laden with fresh toppings (€12-€16), hearty pasta dishes (€14) and seriously delicious tiramisu (€6). Reserve a table before 8pm, or order a glass of sparkling lambrusco to pass the time while you queue.
La Balançoire’s devilishly delicious details are a large part of its charm. Big wooden tables hold magnetised knives and forks in pretty patterns, a swing (the ‘balançoire’) sways gently in the doorway, jars of sweets and pickles are dotted about and mixed in with bits and pieces from second-hand markets, all creating an atmosphere of offbeat charm. But it’s really the big chalkboard menu that deserves full attention, and the wine list. The manager, Antonin, will recommend vintages to match your dishes, and his staff are as knowledgeable and attentive as he is. The food changes according to the season or the mood of the chef, all imaginative versions of traditional French recipes: cream of lentil soup, casserole-baked eggs with mushrooms, caramelised duck cottage pie, French toast with Nutella, caramel poached pear, or a selection of miniature desserts for the indecisive. Before you leave you may well be offered one of Antonin's secret potions: caramel-, jellybean- or bubble-gum-flavoured drinks. All very easy on the palate; much like La Balançoire itself.
This friendly modern bistro is a welcome addition to a neighbourhood where good-value restaurants are scarce. Big mirrors, red banquettes and a glass ceiling at the back give it character, while the very professional food and service reflect the owners' haute cuisine training. Expect dishes such as a salad of whelks with white beans, crisp-skinned duck and chanterelle mushrooms, and a petit pot de crème vanille with little chocolate cakes.
A little canteen snuggled up against the Montmartre steps, Soul Kitchen is a delightful café-restaurant overseen by three charming, inspired lady chefs – just the sort of place you’d want as your local. You’d come and drink a creamy coffee and read the news of a morning in the company of the local retirees, and come at midday to eat lunch in great company, choosing from excellent ever-changing menu of homemade recipes made with organic local produce. In the afternoon, you’d hang out with your laptop and a pastry, or just sip a good glass of red before heading on elsewhere. There’s a birdcage from which dozens of paper butterflies are escaping, an old typewriter, a big bay window, trays groaning with food, pretty coloured furniture and a huge chalkboard menu. When we visited at lunchtime, we started with a comforting winter squash soup full of happily wallowing croutons, scattered with fried onions and accompanied by a sandwich of potted goose. There was also a fabulous ‘Granny’s pichade’, a thick pissaladière French pizza with tomatoes and pesto. Then two bowls of a beautiful, colourful pasta salad, followed by tarte tatin and fromage blanc with plum jam. All in gorgeous surroundings for €11.50 – it would be tough not to fall in love with Soul Kitchen.
A well-kept little gem of a secret: Le Petit Bleu doesn't look like much, but it is absolutely delightful. A Moroccan canteen tucked away in a Montmartre back street, they serve perfect couscous, tagines and grills in enormous portions – it would be difficult to find better in the city. Above all, the value for money is incredible, with couscous dishes at around €10. It’s open until 1am, but the space is tiny, so be prepared to queue or to get your couscous to go (one will easily feed two hungry men). This restaurant serves one of Time Out's 50 best dishes in Paris. Click here to see the full list.
This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. This little Montmartre restaurant-bar is a well-concealed gem at the head of Rue Trois Frères. With not more than a dozen tables, a relaxed and friendly team and quality background music and a bar always ready to burst, La Famille also offers top-notch fusion cuisine, with innovative flavours and presentation at reasonable prices. Try the marinated salmon rolled in sunflower and poppy seeds with a piperade ice cream on the side, followed by an exceptional sweet and sour boeuf bourguignon with After Eights, and a lemon tart in three savoury segments. The wine list is good quality, but the bottles are pretty pricey.As you wait (which can take a while), try out a molecular cocktail as run through the shaker of Houcine, the barmaid. Your drink, built on a base of Caipirinha or Caipiroska and infused with strawberry and Espelette pepper, basil and mango or pear and tarragon, arrives at the table iced and smoking, garnished with wacky decorations like a boiled sweet eyeball or a syringe of peach liqueur. At the weekend, the tiny room is packed (reservation is essential) and noisy, so come in the week if you want to be able to hear yourself think. For those on a budget, a 10 Euro menu is available on the first Sunday of the month.
Likely unknown to anyone not living near the Porte de Clignancourt, La Renaissance is a delightful Belle Epoque bistro well worth a detour. Featured in films ‘Le Mouton Enragé’ and Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’, the 1930s décor has been miraculously conserved. A copper bar makes a lovely curve in the right hand corner, there are period neon lights in the windows, screens between the tables, a mosaic floor, pretty wooden panelling and huge mirrors spotted with age. In the main room, there are worn banquettes and wooden tables, and a menu of high quality, affordable classic dishes (tartare, salads, lamb) served in enormous portions. Throw in a terrace, house cocktails and friendly staff, and you’ve got a real winner.