After the corporate, restaurant-chain ruin wrought on many of Paris’s great brasseries, I have a real soft spot for Brasserie Flottes, a warm and wonderful family-owned restaurant near the Place de la Concorde that’s open from 11:30 am to half-past-midnight, nonstop, seven days a week. Like so many Aveyronnais before him, founder Gilbert Flottes hopped a train to Paris in 1960 hoping to make his fortune. The ambitious and hardworking Flottes was eventually able “to offer a dining room” to his young bride Huguette; although she was working in Paris as a secretary when they married, she was from his native Aveyron village.
Together they ran the landmark bistrot Ma Bourgogne in the Place des Vosges for many years. Then they moved to one of my favorite, long gone and still lamented cafes, Le Café du Roy in the rue Royale, and finally opened their own place in the rue Cambon. What makes Brasserie Flottes so different from today’s other Paris brasseries is the exceptional quality of the produce used in the kitchen, and the really good cooking. Along with outstanding versions of such brasserie classics as onion soup and steak tartare, Brasserie Flottes has won local awards for the best oeuf mayonnaise and best sandwich jambon beurre in Paris. My top choice, though, is the roasted Auvergnat sausage served with aligot (potatoes whipped with cheese curds and garlic). Their tarte Tatin is pretty terrific, too. Upstairs, Flottes O.trement is a more formal gourmet restaurant.
2 rue Cambon, 1st, 01.42.60.80.89. €35 per person without wine.
Originally published in the April 2012 issue of France Today