Bonjour from gorgeous, perfect Paris! Paris seems almost fake in how exquisite it is, from the stately hôtel particuliers to verdant boulevards to the impossibly beautiful parisiennes inhabiting them.
I was a little worried about coming to Paris because of the “yellow jacket” protests which have been increasingly violent. However, since I’ve been spending most of my time near my office in Montmartre and in the 9th arrondissement, I have been able to pretty easily avoid any discord. Just like New York or Buenos Aires or any other big city, it makes sense to be vigilant and not take any unnecessary risks, so I’ve been avoiding Champs d’Elysee, the center of most of the action. But I would still highly recommend coming to Paris, as long as you’re sensible.
One of the best parts of Paris is, of course, the food. I usually try to eat vegan but have been more vegetarian than fully vegan lately, so that I can join my coworkers in the full spectrum of Parisian eats. Here are some of my recommended spots, so far:
This is my favorite restaurant in Paris! I stumbled into it totally by accident, because I thought the lifesized peacock decor in the window looked cool (lol). Thus far I’ve enjoyed their 21 euro menu du paon vegetarian tasting menu twice, and I think I just may go once more on this trip! It is a Hakkasan-style restaurant, where they bring out a bunch of small courses that you are advised to share. The servings are pretty tiny, so I’d recommend to come only if you aren’t starving or to simply order more! Both times I’ve visited, I’ve also opted for an additional dessert course (of course), and particularly liked the chocolate and praline dumplings and pistachio mochi.
My team brought me here on my first day for lunch, but alas, it was too crowded to seat 4 people. I went again though on Friday, and had better luck seating just myself. This Montmartre spot near Sacré-Cœur is super popular for lunch due to its all-vegetarian fare and reasonable 13.90 euro menu, which includes a small salad, drink, dessert, and one of three daily entree specials. The day I went, I had a carrot soup with half of a cucumber wrap, and a petit brownie. This is another spot I’m looking forward to returning to before I leave Paris, provided I can get a seat!
Hôtel Amour Restaurant
[Photo c/o Hôtel Amour]
I went here for brunch today on the recommendation of a Parisian friend. While it did not disappoint in terms of overall ~vibes~, I was disappointed that there was sausage and a brick of blue cheese in my veggie salad (I think they gave me the wrong one, as I Googled all of the ingredients for the salad I ordered beforehand). The service was also reallyyyy slow. I didn’t get a menu for about 15 minutes or water at all, and my incorrect salad took maybe another 30 minutes to come, even though it was just a salad. That said, the restaurant is situated in a stunning bi-level garden, with chic fashionistas and adorable families populating every corner that’s not already occupied by flowers. I think it would probably be a better place for drinks, rather than food (especially if you aren’t a meat eater), but it’s a cool scene worth checking out.
[This is a pizza lol ^^]
Some of my coworkers took me here for lunch this week, and I opted to try it again on my own too the other night. It’s an elegant (and accordingly pricey) pizza spot in Montmartre, but gourmands will definitely find it worth a trip. The first time I went, I split a regular margarita pizza and a vegetable salad with my coworker, and this was the better option for me as it was indulgent but not too heavy. The second time I went I was ~influenced~ by my more adventurous coworkers’ prior experimental meals and tried the 4 cheese pizza. It’s made by layering 4 different types of fancy, aged French cheeses (including one which resembles a whipped cream) and then topped with blackberries. Essentially it looks like a dessert, but is cheesy not sweet. I try to be vegan-ish (but have definitely relapsed on this trip!), so it was a little too much dairy for me. They also make a specialty pizza which resembles a big Indian poori and has the ingredients inside, as well as one that isn’t cooked and has the tomato sauce and specialty cheese layered cold on top. I’d be curious to try those in the future. Also worth noting is that the service is excellent, and multiple servers speak English.
Another place with great, genuinely friendly service in English is vegan gelato spot, Impronta, located on dreamy Rue des Martyrs, just a little below the carousel. I stopped in last night after my trip to Fontainbleau, and found it to be the perfect little treat. Serving sizes are a little small for this gluttonous American, but it also kept my two mini-scoop dessert around 200 calories. I had a blend of the pea protein pistachio (ehhh) and the amazing almond. There’s about 15 other flavors left to check out, so I’m sure I’ll stop by again before I leave.
Juicy & Tasty
[Juicy & Tasty menu c/o Mappy]
Also in the 9th is Juicy & Tasty, an all-vegan spot with lots of smoothies and juice options, plus their fast-casual signature entrees. Basically, you order either a salad or wrap from their recipes such as “the gyro” with vegan tzaziki or “Asian-style” with spicy sauce and eggplant “caviar” and then add in a mix of 4 “veggie balls” of your choice such as quinoa, falafel, or fake cheese. All in, it comes to 7-10 euro or so and includes a drink like carrot juice or mango tea. The owners were there and super friendly… you can tell they’re passionate about what they do in a good way. They didn’t hesitate to tell me to try other vegetarian restaurants in the area, and were genuinely happy to meet someone who tries to be vegan, albeit imperfectly at times. The food was also top quality, especially for the price and I look forward to returning!
HANK Burger & HANK Pizza
[Second floor of HANK Pizza]
These two sister (brother?) restaurants are awkwardly worded yet sweet acronyms meaning “have a nice karma”, as they’re 100% vegan. Both are also bi-level restaurants which prompt one to hope their karma is stellar, as they test their balance while carrying a large tray with a drink, entree, and dessert up spindly spiral stairs to the eating loft.
As with Juicy & Tasty and Soul Kitchen, the food is more or less prix-fixe. I believe you can order some things a la carte, but most people choose the set menu where, for 14 euro, you get two slices of vegan pizza or a vegan burger with various accouterments, and then can pick 2 out of 3 options for a side salad, drink, and/or dessert. Both times I had a vegan Magnum bar and sparkling water.
[Idk why I put a dramatic filter on this pizza in hindsight, but I hope you appreciate the ~quantity]
The HANK Burger in Le Marais is unsurprisingly fairly noisy and youthful. It was somewhat crowded, but not unpleasantly so, like many Paris restaurants. That said, I preferred the comparatively quiet and older crowd at HANK Pizza. HANK Pizza also has a slightly more elevated decor theme (more abstract art-y than college dorm-y) and I think it would be a nice spot to work remotely.
On that note, I have to start making my next dinner plans… but I look forward to updating soon with some more food recs, as well as cultural activities which I’ve done in and around Île-de-France!