Ober Mamma, Oberkampf (11e)

This restaurant and cocktail bar is the second to launch under the Big Mamma group umbrella. It’s the place to head to if you fancy a break from rich French fare in favour of an authentic wood-fired pizza or pasta. “Here most Italian restaurants are trying to please French tongues,” says co-founder Tigrane Seydoux. “They will add cream to the carbonara because French people like cream. We will teach the French how to eat Italian.” If you’re in the mood for something a little lighter, take a seat at the zinc-topped cocktail bar and order some small plates.

107 Boulevard Richard Lenoir, 75011
+33 (0)1 5830 6278

David Toutain, Invalides (7e)

Toutain began his career at l’Arpège and went on to the hotplates at haute cuisine temples l’Ambroisie and l’Agapé Substance, before launching this venue in 2013. The modish dining room is a fitting setting for Toutain’s modern cuisine. Diners can choose from a three-part set menu at lunch or a carte blanche tasting menu. Plate after plate introduces surprising flavour and texture combinations, perhaps best illustrated via a snapshot of some of Toutain’s desserts: celery confit, cauliflower mousse with coconut, and pralined Jerusalem artichoke.

29 Rue Surcouf, 75007
+33 (0)1 4550 1110

Le Baratin, Belleville (20e)

Baratin means “smooth talker” in French but this cool and collected bistro is backed up by substantial fare. A favourite of notable chefs including Inaki Aizpitarte and Alain Ducasse, Le Baratin is the exception in a neighbourhood that is otherwise characterised by Asian restaurants. 

Chef Raquel Carena scribbles her menu on a chalkboard, while her husband, Philippe Pinoteau, oversees the bistro’s wine offering. He’s gruff but he knows his way around the top-notch list, which places an emphasis on independent natural wines. Expect hearty options for dinner, such as rabbit ragout and guinea hen.

3 Rue Jouye-Rouve, 75020 
+33 (0)1 4349 3970

Fromagerie Barthélemy, Saint-Germain-des-Prés (7e)

No fridges, branding or use-by dates can be found in Fromagerie Barthélemy, only wall-to-wall cheese. Owner Nicole Barthélemy has been in the business for more than 40 years and believes it’s better to have a small shop overflowing than a big store near bare. 

Famed for her Fontainebleau, the madame of cheese has supplied fromage to the Élysée Palace and the prime minister’s residence since the 1970s. More than 200 varieties, mostly made from raw milk, are stored and released only when ready. Rumour has it that Barthélemy sells one tonne of Mont d’Or every few months, requiring a full-time staffer dedicated solely to caring for this soft cheese.

51 Rue de Grenelle, 75007
+33 (0)1 4222 8224

Frenchie Bar à Vins, Bonne Nouvelle (2e)

Chef Grégory Marchand’s wine bar, on a small side street minutes from Sentier Métro station, opened just two years after the 2009 launch of his neighbouring restaurant Frenchie. Both establishments (as well as the takeaway lunch spot Frenchie to Go) were named after the moniker given to Marchand by UK chef Jamie Oliver. Reservations for the restaurant – which offers a five-course wine-pairing menu – are hard to come by but this more relaxed wine bar is open on a first-come, first-served basis. The room’s brick walls, half-timbered ceiling and bottle-lined shelves make for a cosy spot to meet friends over a carafe of bordeaux. To accompany your tipple there’s cheese from London’s Neal’s Yard Dairy and a very decent lobster roll.

5-6 Rue du Nil, 75002
+33 (0)1 4039 9619

Images: Virginie Garnier

Go back: Paris


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  • Meet the Writers