An infallible, great-value brasserie in the 15th.
Starting life as a textile store, this three-storey building then became one of the city’s ‘bouillons’ in 1921 – serving cheap, fixed-priced menus to the many workers of the Javel-Grenelle’s flourishing car industry, including the Citroën factory. The 2003 update stayed true to its modest roots, retaining all the oldy-worldy charm: light floods in through the glass ceiling and lush plants adorn every level (it was doing indoor greenery way before the Instagram era). Decor is a more beautiful version of Chartier’s – soft chandelier lighting, distressed mirrors, faded French ads and bright mosaic flooring. It feels like being on an elegant 19th century ship, thrumming with the hum of voices and the clinking of glasses.
Many Parisian brasseries fail to match a convivial atmosphere with reasonably-priced, well-executed but Café du Commerce excels at both. Expect all the beloved classics: French onion soup, snails, grilled pig’s ear, soupe de poisson with rouille, pot au feu…you will be truly spoilt for choice. Our advice? You can’t go wrong with any of the steak cuts, ranging from €17.50 to €67 (to share) and cooked to perfection. Their crispy, fine-cut frites are some of the best going in Paris. If you’re feeling fancy, order a seafood platter – fun to watch being made at the raw bar by the entranceway and even more fun to watch heads turn as they are brought out on ice.
Dressed in waistcoats and bowties, service staff are seriously professional and defy the Parisian ‘rude waiter’ stereotype – attentive but never overbearing. And they’re always happy to make recommendations, which is especially handy for the tempting dessert selection. We love the baba au rhum and chocolate mousse (€8.50) but they do a great selection of sweet treats with old-school booze like cherry eau de vie and Normandy cider.
One of their own old ads proclaims: “Enfin, un resto qui n’est pas à la mode” (at last, a restaurant that’s not in fashion). And that’s precisely what makes Café du Commerce so wondrous – classic fare (that won’t break the bank) in a timeless location. It stays open until midnight too, making it perfect for long lingering dinners. We're head over heels.
|Venue name:||Le Café du Commerce|
51 rue du commerce
|Opening hours:||Daily midday-3pm, 7pm-midnight|
|Transport:||Metro: Avenue Émile Zola|
|Price:||Two-course lunch set menu €17.50, two-couse kids menu with a drink €9.50, starters €8.50, mains €17.50-25.80, desserts €8.50-9, wine by the glass from €2.50, bottles from €16|