Bistrot Paul Bert
Not all Parisian “bistrots” are equal. Most look the part but in fact are serving frozen reheated food out of season. Not so at the Bistrot Paul Bert – from fantastic truffle eggs mayo to hand cut steak frites, this is my #1 favorite bistrot in Paris.
The international press agree – it has been featured in every notable food & wine media outlet, including both Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern’s TV Shows.
Far from any tourist monuments in the 11th behind Bastille, BPB’s Owner Bertrand Auboyneau is a local hero for keeping an outstanding neighborhood place alive – documented in his “Bistrot” book co-authored with French food critic François Simon.
From the zinc bar, mustard pots, oversized linen napkins, chalkboard menus, vintage bistrot plates and the sound of happy regulars – everything about it is authentic.
That means the traditional menu follows the seasons with comfort foods the French have grown up with such as head cheese and kidneys, next to classic sole meunière and steak tartare.
Great food calls for exceptional wine and Bertrand’s list does not disappoint. It is one of the best in the city, showcasing natural wines sourced directly from the men & women making their nectar with love.
The best way to end a meal here is with the incredible cheese board (they’ll leave you with it to help yourself before taking it to the next table) and the Paris-Brest puff pastry filled with hazelnut cream is out of this world.
What makes the BPB so perfect? The simple fact, that it isn’t. It opens its arms to you in the way a French friend would invite you to their home to eat around the table. Perfection is not the point – generosity and friendship with good food & wine, is.
Restaurant Type: Classic Bistrot
Price Point: 18€/36€ menus
Bonus Points: Being true to what it is
What to Expect for Service & Ordering:
A bistrot is not a quiet restaurant, but once you’ve ordered you can relax and linger. In fact, there are only 3-4 people rushing around to take care of 80+ customers at once. Choose quickly from the chalkboard menu because the next table is waiting for it. Need something during your meal? Don’t be shy. Get the passing servers’ attention and they’ll hustle it to you in between doing the same for everyone else.
Don’t be put off that your neighbors & the staff are speaking English:
Incredibly, I watched a family get up and leave this beloved bistrot because the owner, staff and their neighbors were speaking English. The “you are in a tourist place because everyone is speaking English” is completely outdated. The owner, neighborhood, locals eating there, food, wine and “service” are most definitely “French.” They’ve learned English to be helpful and speed things up.
Don’t go to the wrong Bistrot Paul Bert:
The owner has had one too many angry calls from folks out at the flea markets at the Bistrot Paul Bert wondering why he isn’t open. It isn’t his fault. Please verify the address.