Allard © Facebook, Ducasse Paris

This intimate bistro with two dining rooms decorated with flowered wallpaper in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés has been a benchmark for excellent bistro cooking ever since the doors opened here in 1932. Now owned by chef Alain Ducasse, it’s just been kitted out with anti-Covid safety measures to allow it to continue to serve customers in an intimate setting as long as the French government deems it safe for restaurants to remain open during the pandemic.

I hadn’t eaten here for some time, because like so many traditional Parisian bistros, its prices have reached a level of special-occasion indulgence, with an average meal costing around €100 a head before drinks and wine.

What I discovered during my lunch here in June, my first meal out since lockdown, is that young chef Pauline Berghonnier is continuing the tradition of a woman in the kitchen at this renowned address with considerable talent, as she produces some truly superb old-school bistro cooking.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Restaurant chez Allard (@allard_restaurant) on

We sampled much of the menu, beginning with a selection of succulent starters that included duck foie gras, escargots, tomato salad with fresh goat curd, and a magnificent pâté en croûte by Parisian charcutier Arnaud Nicolas, a meilleur ouvrier de France.

Next, tiny piping-hot frogs’ legs in garlicky butter with finely chopped parsley came to the table, and these meaty little drumsticks, each of which offered just a small nugget of tender meat, were irresistible. Main courses included two house classics, Challans duck roasted golden with a garnish of green olives and one of the best roast chickens to be found anywhere in Paris, served with garnishes of tiny roasted potatoes and haricots verts.

Profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce and a savarin (sponge cake) with rum and whipped cream concluded this feast, a meal I had been deeply craving without knowing just how much I had been yearning for this kind of honest, simple French food. After the trauma and the tragedy of going without restaurants for three months, this was the cooking I wanted, food that was earthy, eternal, excellent and generously served without any extraneous bells and whistles. Coming to the table as I did with a ravenous hunger, it was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten in Paris.

Address:

41 rue Saint-André des Arts, Paris 75006.
Tel. +33 01 43 26 48 23
Average à la carte €100
www.restaurant-allard.fr/en

From France Today magazine

Want to be inspired by more French foodie experiences and enjoy classic French food, wine and recipes? Head to our sister website, Taste of France, here.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Restaurant chez Allard (@allard_restaurant) on

SHARE
Previous article‘Edward Hopper in Paris’ at The Phillips Collection
Next articleOn Écoute: Thomas Dutronc
Alexander Lobrano
Alexander Lobrano grew up in Connecticut, and lived in Boston, New York and London before moving to Paris, his home today, in 1986. He was European Correspondent for Gourmet magazine from 1999 until its closing, and has written about food and travel for Saveur, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Travel & Leisure, Departures, Conde Nast Traveler, and many other publications in the United States and the United Kingdom. He is the author of HUNGRY FOR PARIS, 2nd Edition (Random House, 4/2014), HUNGRY FOR FRANCE (Rizzoli, 4/2014), and MY PLACE AT THE TABLE, newly published in June 2021.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Your article brings back such fond memories of several wonderful times at Allard.. One cold winter day we ordered the canard with green olives. A feast to be hold! Nothing could be better than that.

  2. I went YEARS AND YEARS ago (1982), when Allard was then led by what the Parisians called the best woman chef in the city, Marthe Allard. It was more of a true bistro then – so wonderful and simple. I’m sure it is still great – but I think I may want to keep the memory of that full plate of delicately sauced fish will remain unchanged!

  3. It was in the late 1960s-early 1970s that my first husband and I discovered Chez Allard and what a discovery it was! The dishes are everything current reviews say they remain. But for me the crowning masterpiece was the brochet au beurre blanc. For years, whenever I was in Paris I went there. I soon became a columnist for a Cambridge “underground” paper and devoted a column to Chez Allard and to that singular beurre blanc. My first husband and I went to superb restaurants including Les Freres Troisgros, Paul Bocuse, and La Baumaniere in Provence in Les Baux. But we always returned to Allard.

LEAVE A REPLY