Looking for a great restaurant in Paris? France Today’s À la Carte writer knows the scene inside and out. 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 it closed in 2009, and has written about food and travel for Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, Departures, Conde Nast Traveler, Afar and many other publications in the U.S. and the U.K. He is the author of Hungry for Paris: The Ultimate Guide to the City’s 102 Best Restaurants (Random House), which came out in an updated edition in 2010. His second book, Hungry for France, will be published by Rizzoli in April 2014. Lobrano is a Contributing Editor at Saveur magazine and a regular contributor to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Guardian. He has won several James Beard awards, and in 2011, he was awarded the IACP’s Bert Greene award for culinary writing.
What’s your perfect day in Paris?
On Saturday: morning at market in Avenue du President Wilson, oysters for lunch at Huitrerie Regis, a museum show, a good steak from Hugo Desnoyer with a great bottle of wine in front of the fireplace.
Your favourite restaurant in Paris?
I love old bistros like Josephine Chez Dumont and Chez Georges; young chefs like David Toutain (Restaurant David Toutain) and Betrand Grebaut at Septime; oysters and sole meuniere at the Dome, Dessirier or L’Ecaile du Bistro; the occasional splurge at L’Astrance.
The most sublime meal you’ve ever had in France?
I’ve written a new book about them–Hungry for France–which Rizzoli will publish in April 2014.
Best travel memory in France?/Favourite French region to travel?
I love Belle-Île, the Grand Hotel in Biarritz, a night at the Ritz in Paris. There’s no corner of the country that doesn’t charm.
Top museum in France?
Favourite French film?
Mon Oncle d’Amérique by Alain Rennais.
Souvenir for friends back home?
Cheese or sea salt.
Boutiques where you shop during the semi-annual soldes?
The only shopping I really love is for food and wine.
A destination in France that you’re dying to visit?
Can’t wait to go back to the Cotentin, the Auverne and Corsica. I also love Lyon and Marseille.
Tip for first-time visitors to France?
Dress the part and be polite. The French attach a lot of importance to appearances and the small courtesies of life, like thanking the bus driver when you get off the bus or greeting the assistant in a shop.