Ever since it opened in May, the carefully studied and tastefully decorated Ralph’s, a pocket of American gastronomy in the new Ralph Lauren mega-boutique in Saint Germain des Prés, has been taken by storm. Why? For one thing, it serves a well-heeled crowd of stylish Parisians exactly what they believe to be “American” food from a menu—planned by well-known New York City chef Danny Meyer—that recalls 1960s country-club dining room fare: New England clam chowder and Maryland-style crab cakes; a respectable club sandwich; a round-up of burgers, the best of which is the Ralph’s burger made with pasture-grazed, hormone-free Angus beef from the designer’s Colorado ranch; and fried chicken or grilled salmon with spring vegetables. If the kitchen is able, the prices are extremely high, but that hasn’t prevented the courtyard garden terrace from being packed to the rafters every night, at least while it’s still the new new thing.

173 blvd Saint Germain, 6th, 01.44.77.76.00. €70 per person without wine

For a very different experience in a charming outdoor setting, try the old reliable Bistrot de Breteuil, which overlooks the lovely, lightly trafficked Place de Breteuil in the 7th arrondissement and offers a very good-value fixed price menu with numerous choices that includes an aperitif, starter, main course, dessert, coffee and a half bottle of wine per person. Consulting chef Jean-Jacques Jouteux proposes appealing summery dishes like artichoke heart with coddled egg and smoked salmon, beef filet with Choron sauce and fries, and Le Magnifique, a frozen Grand Marnier soufflé, for dessert. And it’s open seven days a week.

3 pl de Breteuil, 7th, 01.45.67.07.27. €38 per person with a half bottle of wine

Originally published in the July/August 2010 issue of France Today

Alexander Lobrano’s book Hungry for Paris is published by Random House. Find Hungry for Paris and more in our bookstore.


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