Paris: Richard Lenoir and surrounds

Posted on January 26, 2014


I’ve been back in Paris of a few months, staying just to the east of the Marais off Boulevard Richard Lenoir in the 11th arrondissement which has become my new favourite area to hangout (and not just because I am lazy).

For ‘typical French’ (i.e. the first stop for visitors coming to stay) Les Galopins has become a favourite. It’s cheap as chips, has generous portions and the food is good. Be prepared for meat, meat and a little more meat. A foie gras will serve 3-4, as will the Cote de Boeuf for main (meant for 2). But also consider saving room for their taster of desserts in their ‘Cafe Tres Gourmande’.  Chez Janou is another classic French in the area, located in the Marais although I must confess that I never actually got around to going.

For a night out Bones cannot be beaten. I absolutely love their imaginative menu and fun, noisy atmosphere. They have two seatings, the first of which you ned to book, sometimes a week or two in advance. For the send serving ensure you get there in person to put your name down around 8.30pm. Bones sprung out of the fabulous Au Passage – casual, crowded and noisy with steamed up windows in the winter – which is one of my favourite places to eat with a bunch of fiends. Small, tasty plates to share and an excellent wine list.

Another favourite food wise, but with a more intimate feel is the small, cosy Rino. Go there soon. I’ve heard he may be selling it soon (if he hasn’t already).

IMG_5282L’Auberge Flora was a surprise hit when a friend and I went for a casual catch up. We took the tapas menu and the food didn’t stop coming. If I’d have known I have prepared better and not rate for oh, a day or so before hand! Tapas have a north african twist to them so expect some chick peas or harissa to make a surprise appearance in amongst the foie gras.

I have an ongoing disagreement around the best Chinese in Paris. I think it’s Deux Fois Plus Pimante which has delicious Szechuan dishes that blow my head off. It happens to be next door to my place so has the added convenience of being my favourite take out place. Hers is L’Orient D’Or, which gets bonus points for looking more like what i would expect of a Chinese restaurant and we very much enjoy having a lazy susan on the table.  At they both appear in my food bible – – we’re calling it a draw for now.

Whilst I normally don’t like to write negative comments I feel I have to share that I was totally underwhelmed by Beaucoup where I found staff to be pretentious and food soggy.

For brunch I’ve been opting for Nanashi and Cafe Pinson  (the latter of which takes reservations for brunch). Both are more healthy bio options where I feel I get some grains and begins packed in – sometimes useful after a few cocktails on a Saturday night. Although sometimes something more substantial is needed and a burger at Blend does just the trick.

And if you need advice on cocktails, my top few in the neighbourhood are: 

  • Mary Celeste which also makes inventive and delicious snacks (try the veal which has a surprise citrus element)
  • Little Red Door makes a fabulous cocktail it must be said
  • Candalaria is a speak easy within a Mexican. Stop off for a taco first, some of the most authentic I’ve had in Paris
  • Le Wood is a good pre dinner option

And for food shopping there is only one place: Richard Lenoir market that starts north of Bastille every Thursday and Sunday morning. If you appreciate your food this is a mecca, and a weekly experience that I’m going to miss back in the UK.