A reasonably-priced, very simple and very good neighborhood bistrot in the trendy 11th arrondissement, The Acrobat Cow (the name refers to the famous old Winter Circus building nearby) is packed nightly with local residents. A recent dinner started with a generous portion of salade grecque—a nicely spiced mixture of tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese and cucumber—and a delicious pâté de pomme de terres, a pastry-crust tourte of herbed potatoes in a tangy goat-cheese sauce. Next came tuna steak with pistou sauce (a French version of pesto) and gnocchi; and an excellent paleron de bœuf (chuck steak) served with sauce gribiche (a mayonnaise made with cooked egg yolks, pickles, capers and herbs) and a side salad of arugula in a sesame-studded vinaigrette. A slice of homemade apricot tart was an excellent dessert, and the wine list included an elegant Côtes du Roussillon Clos des Fées and a fine Morgon. Service is brisk and tables are small, but if you’re looking for a good feed and Parisian atmosphere way off the tourist path, this is the place.
77 rue Amelot, 11th, 01.47.00.49.42, Métro: Saint Sébastien Froissart. €30 per person without wine
Originally published in the October 2007 issue of France Today