Despite reading this site for over four years and listening to me ramble on about new food movements and young, rising chefs in Paris, my mother had no requests or preferences when it came to dining out during her visit. The ball is was in my court (or rather, the feat - most restaurants were shuttering for the holiday season); I was tasked with giving her the local perspective and she'll be the first to tell you her experience was richer for it.
Sadly, not all travelers search beyond guidebook stalwarts or their friend's glowing review of a prosaic corner café they tried on their sole visit to the city. For every magazine or newspaper article that extols the virtues of inventive new spots or even the top tables for classic French fare, visitors will continue to end up at places that peddle an erstwhile image of Parisianness like Les Deux Magots, Brasserie Lipp, Angelina, Chartier and others but ultimately prioritize style over substance.
But if what you're seeking is an experience at one of the many places shaping, improving and evolving the Paris food and drink scene that weigh quality and ambience equally -some quintessentially French in design, others whose inspirations come from further afield- you'll have to distance yourself from the battered, landmark-lined boulevards and head east. Food-conscious locals have wisely set their sights on the diverse 10th arrondissement where an influx of plucky young talent has set down roots and launched a dynamic new food culture. Exciting food and drink options are legion, here, and worthy of your attention.
Since this is an area where I spend a lot of my time - it's the friendly neighbor of the 11th arrondissement where I live - I was ecstatic to get the chance to cover some of the district's most notable spots in this month's issue of Bon Appétit Magazine. Narrowing the selection to seven was a great challenge but those that made the final cut should serve as a fine introduction. Plus there's a spotlight on a few mono-product pastry shops (not limited to the 10th arrondissement) and an interactive map that will hopefully come in handy for you on your next visit!
And in a fun coincidence, one of my former Franco File Friday interviewees, Carin Olsson of Paris in Four Months, took all but one of the photos for the feature. You can see a preview of the story online HERE but pick up a print copy if you can! Or, download the beautiful, wonderfully interactive digital app for tablets (individual issues available).
Tried any of the places I included? I'd love to know what you thought!