Let’s face it. France is famous for its cuisine. There are thousands of restaurants to choose from in Paris alone, and people travel from far and wide to experience the best of them. Or at least, they used to. As part of the ongoing COVID-19 safety measures, all restaurants are currently closed for dining. Some have stayed open for takeaway, but it’s not the same. Eating out in Paris is about so much more than the food. It’s about the experience. It’s about taking the time to properly enjoy a meal with your friends. To socialize and spend time in the company of others. And sometimes, it’s about the atmosphere of the restaurant itself, something that can’t be replicated with a takeaway container. It’s an experience I dearly miss, especially when it comes to my favourite restaurants. Below are my top 5 restaurants I can’t wait to re-open.
Le Bouillon Chartier
This legendary Parisian restaurant is a feast for all of your senses. The Belle Époque dining room was built in the design of a train station concourse, and for years, this restaurant was the favoured watering hole of the city’s blue collar workers. To this day, Le Bouillon Chartier serves up simple but delicious meals for an average of 10 Euros a plate. The waiters are all elegantly dressed, and they write down your order directly on the table. They then move through the dining room in a whirlwind that resembles a highly choreographed ballet. It’s amazing to watch in action. This restaurant is all about the dining experience, and I can’t wait to experience it once more.
I once described this foodie destination as the craziest artisan/hipster food market/bar you never knew you needed. With over half a dozen stations to choose from, you can have your pick of both food and drink at La Felicita. The seating areas are open and sprawling, the decor is suitably eclectic, and you never know if your meal will feature live entertainment. This place is usually packed, so hopefully it will be able to re-open safely in the coming months.
A friend of mine introduced me to this place last fall, and I can’t wait to go back. Not only does it have the best ramen I’ve ever had outside of Japan, but it also makes you feels like you’re actually in the country. Between the decor and the Tokyo city soundscape playing in the background, I honestly forgot I was in France during my meal. Seriously. It was actually a bit disorientating stepping back outside into Paris. Definitely one of the restaurants I can’t wait to re-open.
I don’t know what temperature it is where you are, but right now it’s cold in Paris. And when it’s cold, I crave hot chocolate. And when I crave hot chocolate, I go to La Jacobine. As far as I’m concerned, they have the best hot chocolate in the city bar none. If it’s still winter when the restaurants re-open, I’m making a beeline for this place.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a pub-goer at heart. I am never more happy than when I’m sitting around a table at a pub, cider in hand, laughing with friends. And Barracuda is the pub where you can usually find me. They have cider on tab, great food in the kitchen, and the staff are amazing. Of all the things I miss during these COVID days, I miss my Barracuda nights the most. As soon as it’s safe, I can’t wait to be back, cider in hand, laughing once more.
All we can do is wait…
I can only guess when restaurants will be re-opening in Paris. With rumours swirling of a possible third lockdown, it may be a while yet. But when they do, I know the five places I’ll be heading to first. Dining in France truly is an experience, and I can’t wait until it’s safe to have those experiences once again.
Laura Moore is a professional storyteller who loves history and the many stories that make Paris one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Join one of her signature tours to learn the story of a city.