I’ve mentioned before that I am a sucker for well known Parisian brasseries.
Give me just the suggestion of dining in Paris during La Belle Époque and I’m there – no matter how touristy the restaurant.
I’m even willing to overlook the sometimes less than great food and occasionally, the not so fabulous service just for a chance to soak in the ambience that an old fashioned brasserie delivers.
And the one thing you do get is ambience. In fact, you get it by the bucket load. Dark wood, zinc bars, sparkling mirrors and warm light – what’s not to like?
And you can be sure that the waiters will definitely look the part.
So, if you are like me and love the vibe of Paris’ beautiful era here are three brasseries you should definitely check out.
- Bofinger. Beautifully located between Place de la Bastille and Place des Vosges, Bofinger is the prettiest of the big name brasseries. The dome in the downstairs section of the restaurant is stunning and the rest of the downstairs decor is very much in keeping, with banquette seating and gorgeous light. My tip is to enjoy a glass of champagne downstairs under the dome if you can – the upstairs section doesn’t have quite the same feel. The menu is dominated by Alsatian cuisine, but there are a good selection of brasserie classics including oysters – you will definitely find something yummy to eat at Bofinger. Personally, I’ve never gone wrong with Bofinger’s steak frites.
- Brasserie Flo. You’ll find this particular brasserie a little off the beaten track – it’s out in the 10th arrondissement, not too far from Gare de l’Est. A sister restaurant of Bofinger, it is my pick of the big name brasseries for the quality of both the food and the service. Again, you will find something that appeals to every taste at Brasserie Flo, along with some of the friendliest service I’ve ever received in Paris. And of course, the decor is simply charming.
- Le Grand Colbert. Hiding just in behind the Palais-Royal, Le Grand Colbert is the most centrally located of the Parisian brasseries, and arguably the most famous. This is due to the restaurant’s starring role in the 2003 film Something’s Gotta Give (one of my favourite movies ever thanks to the set design – Paris meets Hamptons – swoon). Eat the chicken (as per the movie’s recommendation) and take in all the shiny brass and sparkling mirrors from your comfy banquette. I’d suggest avoiding Le Grand Colbert on a Saturday night, when the place seemed overrun with tourists – head in on a week night, when you are much more likely to be dining with locals.
I’d recommend making an online reservation if you are planning to visit any of these brasseries – it ensures you won’t be disappointed (I’ve seen would be diners turned away at both lunch and dinner at all three restaurants) and it certainly makes things run more smoothly at the door.
Do you have a favourite Parisian brasserie? I’d love for you to share your favourite in the comments below. I’ll be particularly excited if you can recommend somewhere I have tried yet!
Until next time – au revoir.