Take me to Paris and ask me where I want to eat and the list I’ll give you is practically endless. But I can tell you where it always starts, and that place is Frenchie Bar à Vins.
Located across the street from its notoriously-difficult-to-get-a-reservation-in sister restaurant Frenchie, this warm, brick-walled wine bar is a laid-back alternative featuring small plates perfect for sharing. They don’t take reservations and they’re very popular, so if you want to be seated immediately, show up before they open at 6:30. Even better, if you’re one of the first in line, you can ask for a seat beside the prep area where you can watch each creation come together on the plate.
Paris by Mouth calls it a “victim of its own popularity” – loud, busy, and sometimes chaotic – and they’re not wrong. But even as someone who usually hates loud chaos, I feel completely at home here, perched on my stool beside the kitchen watching every plate assembled like art.
The menu has changed between my visits and I expect it will again by the time I get back, but I’ve never had a mediocre dish and the wine is always fantastic, as well. If you see sweetbread nuggets or scotch eggs on the menu, order them without hesitation. The pappardelle is another standout.
On my most recent visit, they’d replaced the tables and chairs beside the prep area, so if you’re short you may not be able to see the prep anymore. I’m hoping they end up switching back to the taller tables again soon.
Address: 6 Rue du Nil, Paris
Phone: +33 1 40 39 96 19 (don’t forget: they don’t take reservations.)
Hours: Daily 18:30 to 21. The line typically starts to form around 18.
Price range: Plates range from 6 to 40 euros.
This restaurant is dog-friendly.
Updated July 2019.
What (else) to do in Paris
For me, Paris is a place for food and wandering. Wear comfortable shoes and explore charming neighborhoods like Montmartre and Le Marais.
Stop for tea and tea-infused ice creams at Mariage Freres.
Have an elegant lunch or dinner at Restaurant Philippe Excoffier near the Eiffel Tower.
Try breakfast at Colorova.
Browse the Montmartre fresh market in search of fresh gingerbread.
And do absolutely anything Danielle Perrin suggests. She’s one of two people in the world whose food recommendations have always left me breathless.