The star crêperie of the area, and the one with the longest queues, is the prettily decorated Josselin, where the speciality is the Couple - two layers of galette with the filling in the middle. The savoury galette is followed by the dessert Crêpe de Froment, which comes in three varieties: classic (honey and lemon or wonderful caramel beurre salé); flambéed with calvados; or a fantasy creation oozing with chocolate, banana, ice cream and whipped cream. Wash it all down with bowls of cider, of which the brut is far better than the sweet. You'll be surprised how full you feel at the end and the bill should come to no more than €20 a head, a buckwheat bargain by Paris standards.
Behind a cracked white frontage, Breton crêperie and pub Ti Jos is all about simplicity. The Spartan décor features a few wooden chairs and tables – opened in 1932, the restaurant is the oldest crêperie in Montparnasse – but minimalist doesn’t mean charmless. In the evenings, when it’s crammed with hungry families and merry groups of friends, smelling slightly of cooking butter, the atmosphere is as jolly as an Irish bar.The menu opens with buckwheat galettes: with ribot fermented milk (€5.50), Roquefort and two fried eggs (€8.20) or complète with added ham. The choice of savoury and sweet is overwhelming: we tried a version with home made sausage, egg and cheese, only lightly seasoned but as plump as you could wish. Then a creamy sweet crêpe with salted caramel butter, and a flambée with apples and calvados (€8), all delicious and generous.
La Coupole in Montparnasse is the grandest of grand Parisian brasseries. An Art Deco triumph on an extraordinary scale, its famously vast dining room was once regularly graced by the top tiers of the artistic Rive Gauche set like Picasso, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. People still come here from all over the world, to marvel at its splendour - all 1000 square metres and 33 pillars of it - and to people watch, a timeless La Coupole pastime. The terrace tables in particular are perfect for watching life go by over a coffee and a crêpe Suzette. If you want an absolutely classic Parisian grand brasserie experience without spending too much, try La Couple.
Nothing about La Cerisaie's unprepossessing red façade hints at the talent that lurks inside. With a simple starter of white asparagus served with preserved lemon and drizzled with bright green parsley oil, chef Cyril Lalanne proves his ability to select and prepare the finest produce. On the daily changing blackboard menu you might find bourride de maquereau, a thrifty take on the garlicky southern French fish stew, or cochon noir de Bigorre, an ancient breed of pig that puts ordinary pork to shame. Baba à l'armagnac, a variation on the usual rum cake, comes with stunningly good chantilly.
Nothing can replace the wood-fired cooking of a Creole grandmother. A cari prepared in a huge pot, with a base of ginger, garlic, onions, tomatoes, chilli and turmeric, allows the flavours to blend and mingle into something new – the special alchemy of the cooking of the island of Réunion. You won’t find the real thing in Paris (or let us know if you do), but the ‘péi’ (‘home cooking’) at Bernica is perhaps the closest you’ll get in these latitudes.The signature dish of Réunion, the cari (distant cousin of the Indian curry) works with almost all fish, meat, seafood and vegetables of the Indian Ocean. On the plate, it comes with rice, grains (peas, red beans, lentils), brèdes (green leaves from cauliflowers, etc.) and a rougail spiced paste, often scented with kaffir lime, which can also vary to encompass tomato, mango, aubergine and more.The menu at Bernica offers a good range of local specialities: cari with chicken, zourite (octopus), bringel (aubergines), prawns, sausage rougail (a great classic), cod rougail, baba-figue (with banana flower and smoked bacon) and cabri massalé (a variation of the cari with masala spices). Add to this samosas and balls of cod to start, a sweet potato cake, and an excellent coconut tart for dessert, all watered down with punch and rum, and all the boxes are ticked.Cosy and familial, the restaurants has slightly dated décor, and tucked away in a little alleyway it offers neither sunshine nor particularly warm service. The bill isn’t exactly ch
At the Crêperie du Pont-Aven, with its attractive red interior dating back to 1920, the Gwazenn crêpe comes with scallops, mushrooms and cream; and the Pont-Aven is filled with salmon, leeks and cream; there are even several eel variations if you're feeling adventurous.
Cobéa is a slick new restaurant by friends Jerome Cobou and Philippe Bellissent, who won a Michelin star when he cooked at the L'Hôtel. It opened in Montparnasse in the Paris’s 14th district to excellent reviews. Cobéa epitomises contemporary French fine dining - a kind of casual chic that celebrates gastronomy without the snobbery. Set in a renovated 1920s house with big windows overlooking a green space, it feels peaceful and cosy, while the muted décor and little touches like silverware and Bernardaud porcelain are very much luxury. Cobéa’s menus are a treasure chest of reworked classics featuring a new and popular ‘chef’s surprise’ every day. Each dish is accompanied by a recommendation by Jerome from hundreds of well-priced fine wines made up of classics and new discoveries.