In the "Simply Sara Eats " series, I recount the my favorite food and drink discoveries.
Ask me where I've been taking visitors these days, and here’s what you get. Five places I’ve known about for a while or just discovered that make the list of where to go for breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon snack. Bon appétit!
Verjus is easily one of my favorite restaurants in Paris. It is multi-faceted: a downstairs wine bar at night, an upstairs restaurant with a pre-fixe menu for dinner, and most recently to the list, a sandwich bar in the afternoon.
There is much to say about each facet of Verjus, so for the moment I’m sticking to the sandwich bar (know for now that they are all good!). Tuesday-Friday the wine bar section of Verjus is open from 12:30pm-2pm serving sandwiches and salad, dessert optional.
On a nice day, order your meal to-go and eat it in nearby Jardin du Palais Royal. Or choose to dine in and consider pairing the meal with a glass of wine.
There isn’t much seating, so I like to get there right at 12:30pm to get a seat and a glass of wine. Everything I’ve had here has been wonderful, but these days I’m all about the duck meatball sandwich. Trust me, it is amazing. The delicious salad with burrata is a perfect option for vegetarians or the roasted beet salad for gluten-free eaters, making Verjus a good option for nearly anyone. And its location that's a stone’s throw from the Louvre proves that good food is available even in heavily touristic neighborhoods if you know where to look.
7 rue Montpensier, 75001 Paris, France
Sandwich bar open Tuesday-Friday from 12:30pm-2:00pm
2. Le Loir dans La Théière
This bonne adresse in my neighborhood has become one of my favorite lunch spots. If you have visited me in the past year or so, chances are you have sat across a table from me here. And if you don’t remember, these three words will help revive your memory: lemon meringue pie.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. Don’t skip right to dessert when lunch is so delicious. My go-to here are the tartes salées. The menu changes daily, but every day about 4 selections are offered. Some examples include onion and goat’s cheese or zucchini, mint, and feta. Not only are they delicious but it comes with the added bonus that vegetarians or less adventurous eaters will have plenty of options to choose amongst.
Among the other menu items are club sandwiches, pasta, omelettes, and the plat du jour. You won’t find a menu on the table - look around at the walls for the closest blackboard to you. (The menu is in French but a waiter should be able to help out if you’re stuck.)
The item that Le Loir dans La Théière is popularly known for is its lemon meringue pie (tarte citron). Give me a dessert menu and I’ll go with chocolate or caramel goodness first. If I’m going for something fruity, raspberry, strawberry, and coconut vie for my attention. The last thing I’m going to pick of my own volition is lemon anything.
Until I met this tarte citron, that is. The first time I tried it, I told my lemon-loving hubby that this pie was a game-changer to my lemon-hating ways. Finally I had the chance to introduce him to this pie. And since then, many others have split one with me.
Note if you are going only for the pie, you have to wait until 3:30pm to be seated just for dessert. On the weekend, there is often a line to get a table. On weekdays I aim to arrive at noon and have no problem being seated before the lunch rush. Just know not to go too late - there has been a sad time that they ran out of lemon merigue pie while we were finishing a late afternoon lunch with visitors. In that situation again I may have to ask to put a slice on reserve!
Le Loir dans La Théière
3 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, France
Open daily; Monday-Friday 10:00am-7:30pm / Saturday & Sunday 9:00am-7:30pm
There has been a buzz among the expat community for months now of a great spot near the canal with good coffee, wonderful (but crowded) weekend brunch, and all-around good food. I had breakfast with a friend and had some of the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had. So I had to take Dawn here for breakfast when she came to visit.
Breakfast is served until noon (all day on the weekends), eggs all day long, and lunch starts at 12pm. The filtered coffee is good enough to drink black, something I rarely do. I still need to make it here for lunch, but for the moment I can’t get enough of the two egg special with a choice of two sides (I’ve been enjoying the mushrooms with thyme and hashbrowns).
Bonus- after a meal, take a walk by the nearby Canal St. Martin!
19 rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010 Paris, France
Open Thursday-Monday (closed Tuesday and Wednesday), weekdays from 9:00am-6:00pm (kitchen closes at 3pm), weekends from 10:00am-6:00pm (kitchen closes at 4pm)
4. La Vache dans les Vignes
“Two glasses of red wine, please.”
“Now? But it is sunny. That is not a good choice. I have a very fresh and expressive white wine for you...Do you want to select the cheese or do you want me to make a plate?”
“What kinds do you have?”
“So I’ll bring a plate over to you in a minute. You like sheep’s cheese?”
Enter into Carissa and my authentic French experience at this wine and cheese shop.
I read about this spot in an article on cheese bars in Paris and immediately saved it on my to-do list, waiting for the perfect opportunity. Luckily I didn’t have to wait long. When I found myself unexpectedly with quality girls’ time with Carissa in Paris, I knew this was the place to go. Carissa may love cheese more than anyone I know and I couldn’t let her leave Paris before getting her fill.
This place is a shop that sells cheese and wine. It has one long wooden table facing out at the canal for those who want to partake on the premises, and the notation on their business cards says there is seating for 14 inside (though that seems to be a quite a stretch). We arrived right at 4pm when they opened, so perhaps as the night progresses room is magically made.
I love how the French often have definitive opinions, and when it comes to someone’s industry I find it’s best to trust them. The wine was great, the cheese delicious, and as we left we were instructed that it was approaching the right hour for red wine. So off we went to have dinner at home with Michael and open a red at the proper moment.
46 quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris, France
Hours: Monday & Tuesday 4:00pm-10:00pm / Wednesday-Friday 10:30am-2:00pm, 4:00pm-10:00pm / Saturday 10:30am-2:00pm, 3:00pm-10:00pm
14 seats in the cave à manger
Perched on the top floor of Printemps, an expensive department store in Paris, is actually an affordable rooftop self-service cafe. Yes, above floors packed full of Prada and Chanel you can eat at a price gentle to the commoner’s wallet with a lovely view of Paris spread out before you.
The other popular department store on the same street, Galeries Lafayette, also has a rooftop you can visit though not with a full cafe (there is a little food stand). Food options aside, I prefer the view from Printemps more because it is higher up than Galaries Lafayette (and I always love pictures with that golden Printemps roof).
When Bryan was visiting, we ended up in the touristy section of Opera looking for lunch at a fair price. It was warm and sunny which inspired us to enjoy a moment among the living (read about more of our cemetery and ossuary sightseeing adventures for reference). Déli-cieux was the perfect choice to accomplish eating lunch and seeing another aspect of Paris, from above.
Though I can’t say the quiche lorraine we had was the best ever (go to the above Le Loir dans La Théière for a tarte salée), it was an affordable 12 euros with a gorgeous view. The terrace seemed to be full of Parisians who worked in the area on lunch break
You can also head here for a drink, a coffee, or just pop up to take some pictures from the terrace (like I did one evening around Christmastime).
Printemps Haussmann, 64 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris, France
Open Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday) from 9:35am-8:00pm, until 8:45pm on Thursdays
Do you have any favorite Paris spots for lunch or a small bite?