France – Wine and Dine in Montmartre

The atmospheric neighbourhood of Montmartre is a place you should not miss if you visit Paris. While the charm of Place du Tertre is somewhat manufactured these days, and La Boheme is no longer the place where artists flock; you can still just about get a glimpse of what the original feel of the place used to be, along with some magnificent views of Paris.

Providing you venture past the main few tourist area, you can also come across real gems amongst restaurants. Why settle for bland, mediocre and overpriced, when you can have a real gourmet experience surrounded by locals just a few streets away?

Without further ado, here are the four restaurants worth visting if you find yourself hungry in Montmarte:

4. Au Pied du Sacre Coeur (85 Rue Lamarck)

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Located just below one of the numerous sets of stairs Montmartre is riddled with, Au Pied du Sacre Coeur lets you eat to your heart’s content, and perhaps more. The portions are rich, hearty and huge.

While this one is probably the most touristy option of the selection in this post, you will still come across locals in here, and the prices are fair. The only thing that lets Au Pied du Sacre Coeur down is the service; when it’s busy you could have a good long wait, even for the drinks portion of your order. The small touches that make your evening a bit more memorable simply seem to be missing and the place just doesn’t feel as accommodating as the other options on the list.

However, the experience is still an enjoyable one overall if you put yourself in a slower-paced mindset. If you’re a lover of meat and cheese, give this one a go (and try the home made goat cheese starter!

3. Au Rêve (89 Rue Caulaincourt)

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The only reason why Au Reve only gets the imaginary bronze medal is due to this being more of a lunch place rather than a dinner venue. But boy, does it do lunches well – and the locals know it, you’d have to look very hard to find any tourists here.

For mere €12, you can get a small feast of a starter, a main and a coffee (or main, dessert and a coffee if you have more of a sweet tooth) with the lunch menu of the day. Everything I’ve had here was delightful, but I’d particularly recommend the salmon tartare.

If you want good unpretentious food with ingredients sourced from the local butcher and bakery, this is a great and economical option.

2. Au Virage Lepic (61 Rue Lepic)

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Much like all best Parisian restaurants, Au Virage Lepic is tiny, so booking or coming early is highly recommend it. An establishment like no other, the walls of this restaurant are covered with pictures of icons from the 60s and 70s and are accompanied with music from the same era.

The food however, is shockingly traditional and just divine; and a very good value for money. The duck really stood out to me, it just melts in your mouth. The service is quick and efficient, although almost a bit too neutral in comparison with the outlandish look of the place. Although this might be caused by us having visited on a Monday, I imagine that this restaurant could be a riot later in the week.

1. Café de la Butte (71 rue Caulaincourt)

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This is an absolute winner, there is not a single minute detail I would change about my dining experience at Café de la Butte. The place is charming and accommodating, the service is excellent and the food is full of rich flavours.

The waiter is very attentive, and makes everyone welcome by picking up on subtle hints. He is also bilingual in French and English and will speak to you in whichever of the languages you choose; I chose to attempt to practice my French and he was not deterred by my broken French at all and remained encouraging instead of impatiently switching to English.

Another great detail that adds character to the place is that instead of proper menus, the food selection is written on individual boards which are brought to your table, which makes your experience feel very personable.

The food cannot be faulted either, the steak tartare will transport you into gastronomic heaven; and don’t even get me started on the beautiful crème brûlée! The portions are generous, but once again, the restaurant itself is on the smaller side, and fills up with locals quickly; if you are planning to eat around 7:30 or later, booking would be advisable.

Bon Appétit!

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