Paris: Bistrot Paul Bert

Bertrand Auboyneau’s classic bistrot is still on the “must eat” list even after 21 years, and is world-renowned for its rustic French comfort food like eggs & black truffle shavings, peppery filet mignon in Cognac butter cream sauce, house made frites, cheese platters, soufflés & bottles of natural wine.

What makes it so special? The fact that it isn’t trying to be anything other than what it is – a casual neighborhood place where Bertrand (aka M. Bistrot Paul Bert) is always in the dining room, circulating among the tables to greet regulars, locals, international chef industry friends and visitors alike.

A lot of people think of it like Montreal’s Joe Beef (including Montreal’s Joe Beef crew who have a close relationship with them).

It looks like the Paris bistrot of your imagination, the fruits and vegetables are grown on their farm, the seafood is sourced from his wife’s family in Brittany (France’s premier shellfish area) and the wines are personally walked in the door by the winegrowers.

Its loud, buzzy, tight on space and the servers are racing to keep up. Locals who love it have been regulars for years. Visitors have been making it a part of their eating plans each time they visit, as a tradition.

Tourists who go and complain about the lack of service (hello? there is no service in a bistrot), that too many people are speaking English (someone PLEASE tell me what language other people are speaking next to you has to do with your meal?) and that the tables are too close together (this is a bistrot, not a restaurant)… they don’t get it and never will. I feel for them.

Insider Tip:

Please, TRIPLE CHECK THE ADDRESS you are reserving and arriving to. Diners are going to the other Paul Bert businesses on the street or an unaffiliated Bistrot Paul Bert north of Paris out by the flea markets.

What to Order:

Rare for Paris, it is extraordinary that they grow a lot of the food themselves. Chalkboard menus (each with different options & price) that circulate between tables feature products sourced directly from their farms in Normandy and Brittany.

The menu changes seasonally. I am always thrilled when I see the smoked herring, warm potato & caviar cream / Tempura grouper cheeks & tartare sauce / Seared in the shell scallops w/mushroom & butter / Eggs topped with black truffle / Whole sole meunière / Peppercorn beef filet sautéed in a butter-Cognac-cream combo / Paris-Brest hazelnut cream filled choux pastry / Grand Marnier® Soufflé

Getting In:

Reservations are only taken by phone. Try calling an hour before/after peak meal hours when they are not in service and have time to answer.

What to know before you reserve:

  • If you are looking for a quiet ambiance or intimate romantic date night, you are better off at a restaurant which is built for that. By design & nature, a bistrot is tight on space, packed to the gills, a bit noisy, fun, and has a lively ambiance with servers rushing to tables trying to keep up.
  • Service is BRISK – order and get on with having a great time with each other. When you need something, use your best polite technique to grab a server’s attention to ask for it.
  • Like most of France, Bistrot Paul Bert prizes its meat cooked “perfectly” – rare or medium rare. Please don’t pick a fight with an entire culture that doesn’t understand burning its best quality meat. If you just have to eat red meat well-done, it is probably best to order something else from the wonderful menu. As the owner politely explained to Andrew Zimmern on TV, “We’ve already killed the animal once, why would we do it twice?”

Bistrot Paul Bert

Bistrot Paul Bert