Eating with the locals: Le Tournebievre, Astier and cafe Loustic, Paris

Booking a restaurant, bar or cafe where you eat with the locals has become a quest for me. A bistro or brasserie brimming with neighbourhood Madames and Monsieurs is like hitting the jackpot to my lot. You feel more immersed within their culture and somehow reassured that the famous French palette will guide you.

So, here I shall share a few of my successes when eating with the locals has been delightful: Le Tournebievre (along the River Seine by Notre Dame), Astier (north end of The Marais area) and Loustic (also in the 3rd Arrondissement).

Le Tournebievre is full of dark slate and glass with wall hangings alluding to the history of this part of the river Seine. Cosy and friendly we felt very welcome and happy there.

Le Tournebievre bistro restaurant in Paris

There are only 3 choices of each course. I like that, as it shows a real confidence in their food. Our expectations are high. As we scan the lunch menu my daughter spies the cocktail list.

Le Tournebievre bistro restaurant in Paris

The staff are brilliant here and although they don’t usually serve cocktails at this time the main chef leaves his kitchen and makes Charlotte a Daiquiri.

Le Tournebievre bistro restaurant in Paris

It turns out to be one of the best cocktails we have tasted in a long time. Well done that man!

Drinking cocktails at Le Tournebievre bistro restaurant in Paris

My tartine with pesto was scrummy. All crunchy, cheesy, moist and moreish.

Le Tournebievre bistro restaurant in Paris

The tartare was fishy, fresh and satisfying.

Le Tournebievre bistro restaurant in Paris

And the snails were, well, very nice (I’m told). I’m yet to go there…

Le Tournebievre bistro restaurant in Paris

By now the restaurant was filling up with smartly dressed locals. There were several celebrations going on. The atmosphere was lovely. Ta da! Our Cassolette Oceane…

Le Tournebievre bistro restaurant in Paris

Le Tournebievre bistro restaurant in Paris

We eat this slowly and quietly (for us) as we savoured every bite.

Le Tournebievre bistro restaurant in Paris

For dessert I opted for this beauty. They called it a Cafe liegeois, a classic in France. It’s all creamy, with sweetened coffee and ice-cream. It’s divine.

Le Tournebievre bistro restaurant in Paris

My daughter went for this tempting little chocolate cake, with its caramel butter sauce.

Le Tournebievre bistro restaurant in Paris

Daaamn good.

Le Tournebievre bistro restaurant in Paris

The men were super smart and opted for the Cafe Gourmond and got themselves a selection of not-so-little classics.

Weekend in Paris 2015 145

Fortunately we do a tremendous amount of walking during our city breaks. So, inevitably we need another pit-stop/re-fuel/excuse for more French coffee. Cue Cafe Loustic.

Funky Loustic cafe, 3rd arrondissement, Paris

It’s super funky and full of beautiful students and cool young persons meeting up.

Funky Loustic cafe, 3rd arrondissement, Paris

Friendly staff politely put up with our pigeon French and serve us exactly what we wanted (turns out they spoke English very well).

Funky Loustic cafe, 3rd arrondissement, Paris

The coffee was delicious and hit the spot.

Funky Loustic cafe, 3rd arrondissement, Paris

The owner, and dude, Chana adds even more soul to the place by offering everyone a little chocolate egg (for Easter).

Funky Loustic cafe, 3rd arrondissement, Paris

Loving life and feeling refreshed we hit the streets once again.

Tired after a long but brilliant day seeing the sights, staggering into the brasserie Astier felt like a warm hug as soon as we stepped in. The staff were friendly, helpful and humorous too.

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

It’s spring, so of course we all opted for the new seasons asparagus (well I liked the idea of a runny egg, but seasonality sounds better).

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

Feeling better already, we’ve settled in. Enjoying seeing the waiter fetch wine from an impossibly tiny cellar.

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

My scallop dish was incredibly pretty and as fresh as can be.

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

James went for the lamb with all its oniony yumminess beneath and mashed potato naughtiness on the side.

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

The table is rather full, no room for that jus.

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

The restaurant by now was full, buzzing and full of families. We were offered a cheese course. The boys went for it and us girls were happy to let our dinner get down ready for a dessert.

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

A beautiful tray of cheeses were set on our table.

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

Being English we politely waited to be served, happily discussing the merits of this and that type of cheese.

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

Still waiting…

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

Finally, the waiter come over and asks, ‘What are you afraid of? Please, help yourself’.

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

We did, we dug in. We lost composure. We ‘cheesed-up’. Apologies to these two who are much more French chic than we are.

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

Because their parents are still un-hinged.

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

Thankfully, the cheese was removed and desserts arrived.

I take chocolate mousse very seriously and this was in my top 3 of my life time. My current favs were served at the Hotel Eden in Rome and a tucked away restaurant in Florence. This one had honeycomb pieces within in and a chocolate sauce too!! It may have pipped the others at the post.

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

This pineapple rum baba number was lovely too.

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

But this classic was lush and loved by all.

Astier restaurant - french dining, Paris

I hope your foodie soul has enjoyed this and if it’s not too full up check out our local market fun at Rue Cler and Rue de Buci they are definitely worth a visit.

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