In Paris, bistros represent more than mere dining spots; they’re institutions. While typically smaller than restaurants, bistros provide casual dining in an intimate setting. Their menus proudly showcase traditional French cuisine, echoing France’s rich culinary past. Originating from 19th-century Paris’s demand for quick, affordable meals, bistros have evolved into iconic establishments. The rustic interiors, close-set tables, and chalkboard menus make dining in a Parisian bistro a nostalgic trip to France’s heart. Explore our guide to familiarize yourself with the dishes awaiting you in these charming Parisian restaurants.
Snails are bathed in an aromatic concoction of bubbling hot garlic, parsley, and butter. Typically served in their shells, a special fork and tongs aid in extracting the tender meat.
Terrine de Campagne:
A staple in French charcuterie, this rustic dish has rural roots, with “campagne” meaning countryside. It reflects the traditions of French farming communities. Ingredients can vary but often include pork, liver, onions, spices, and sometimes other game meats or brandy. All are combined and baked in a terrine mold. Once cooled, it’s sliced and served cold, often accompanied by cornichons, mustard, and crusty bread.
This dish is essentially a French take on the deviled egg. Chefs dress hard-boiled eggs in velvety, rich mayonnaise, often garnishing with a sprinkle of paprika or chives for an added touch of flair.
Chefs carefully prepare and slow-cook the liver from ducks or geese. Once ready, they slice it, typically placing it on toast, and pair it with a sweet counterpart, such as fig jam, to offset its richness.
Coq au Vin:
Chefs simmer chicken in red wine, infusing it with mushrooms, onions, and bacon. When served hot, the wine’s deep red hue on the chicken signals a hearty and flavorful meal ahead.
Starting with onions, chefs caramelize them until they achieve a deep golden hue. They stir these caramelized onions into a robust beef or pork broth. Once they’ve layered on a slice of crusty bread and a generous portion of cheese, they place the soup under a broiler. As a result, it emerges with a golden and bubbly surface. Notably, a standout version of this dish can be savored at Au Pied de Cochon.
Chefs salt-cure duck legs and then slow-cook them in their own rendered fat. Afterward, they roast the legs until the skin becomes crispy, offering a perfect mix of tenderness and crunch.
Originating from early 1900s Parisian cafés, chefs have made this sandwich a classic. They sandwich ham and cheese between slices of bread and grill them flawlessly. Once served hot, and if adorned with a fried egg, it transforms into a Croque Madame.
Harking back to medieval times, this rustic dish involves chefs simmering various cuts of beef, marrow bones, and root vegetables together. They serve the rich blend in a deep bowl for a hearty experience.
Chefs season the steak to perfection and sear it according to the diner’s preference. Golden, crispy fries accompany the steak. Be sure to request the type of sauce you want and how you’d like your steak cooked.
Chefs begin with prime beef, chopping it finely. They then embellish it with a blend of seasonings, condiments, and often additions like chopped pickles, capers, and horseradish. Molded into a distinct patty, it’s typically crowned with a shimmering raw egg yolk, creating a dish that’s as visually striking as it is flavorful.
The name “chopped steak” emphasizes its essence. Rather than resembling a typical burger patty, chefs craft steak haché from high-quality beef cuts, mincing them finely. Its distinction lies in its light seasoning, which showcases the beef’s quality and flavor. Sometimes, chefs might enhance it with subtle seasonings or additions like finely chopped shallots. Chefs cook it to order, ranging from rare to well-done, mirroring the precision of steak preparation.
Artisans craft this sausage with a mixture of meats, often pork, and seasonings. Grilled or pan-fried to perfection, its crispy exterior gives way to a juicy, flavorful interior and served with mashed potatoes.