Before a recent visit to Paris, my wife wanted to know if there was anything I really wanted to do while we were there — what, if anything, was on the top of my wish list.
I told her I wanted to have a great French meal. Happily, she did some research, and we ended up at Bistrot Paul Bert.
The restaurant, located on Rue Paul-Bert, in the 11th arrondissement, looks like a quaint bistro straight from a Hollywood movie set, but it’s definitely the real deal. Big windows face the street, and tables are crammed together in different areas of the bustling rooms. The menu is written on a chalkboard (there is an English version and a French one) that your waiter brings to your table. The floor is made up of multicolored broken mosaic tiles, and the walls are filled with shelving, pictures and all kinds of kitchen items.
While the eatery is a little tight on space, it makes up for it with extremely friendly, down-to-earth service.
Owner Bertrand Auboyneau has created a menu full of delicious and inventive Parisian cuisine, which is why it has become a favorite with food critics, celebrities, locals and visitors alike. (Legendary chef Alice Waters said this was one of her favorite Parisian restaurants, while American chef and television host Anthony Bourdain has filmed here, as well.)
Bistrot Paul Bert’s menu is heavy on meat, although my wife had the pollock (a type of fish), which was delicious. I went with the roasted pork chops with potatoes and chestnuts, which were thick, juicy and flavorful. (I’m not embarrassed to say I still think about this dish from time to time.)
The restaurant also offers a very popular 41 euro prix fixe meal that is sure to satisfy.
Remember to tell clients to save room for dessert. All the desserts at Bistrot Paul Bert are made in house. The souffle gets high marks, but the bistro is famous for the Paris-Brest, a dessert that’s shaped like a wheel and is made of choux pastry and praline-flavored cream. It’s large, rich and filling — perfect for sharing.
The next time a client asks for a restaurant recommendation in Paris, you can look like a real insider by sending them to Bistrot Paul Bert. There’s a good chance they will be remembering their meal long after their trip is over.