The Oldest and Newest Restaurant in Paris

(Photo by Richard Nahem)

The oldest restaurant in Paris is now the hippest new restaurant in the city.

Hearkening back to the 17th century, Le Bouteille d’Or was opened as a tavern under the reign of King Louis XIV. The Latin Quarter has always held an attraction for writers, and France’s greatest writers including Voltaire and Moliere, frequented Le Bouteille d’Or.

Fast-forward to 2018, and the successful team of John and Vlad behind the chic, trendy Gabylou restaurant in the 17th arrondissement has brought their winning formula of great food and cool ambience to the Left Bank.

In summer the wraparound terrace with classic café chairs of white and red, white canvas umbrellas, and a killer view of Notre Dame is where the action is.

We dined alfresco on a warm, summer night last week. A deep bowl filled with gazpacho, flavorfully chilled us out and our other starter, codfish fritters, served with a tangy tartar-like sauce, were light and crispy and not the least bit greasy. Tender, farm raised guinea fowl cooked in brown broth had crisp root vegetables of carrots, turnips, and parsnips. Never too full for dessert, we feasted on a decadent éclair filled with the richest chocolate ganache, topped with freshly whipped Chantilly cream, along with cherry clafoutis scented with rosemary.

A menu note says all the ingredients are fresh and dishes are hand prepared, with no frozen or microwaved food used. One can absolutely taste the authenticity and freshness in every dish, and the gorgeous presentation in rustic, ceramic dishes further extends the appeal of the food.

The Cobbler on the second level is the happening cocktail bar attracting the neighborhood Bobo’s (Bohemian Bourgeois). Mixologist Ivana mixes it up every three months by revamping the cocktail menu with witty new creations.

American style weekend brunch has hijacked many a menu in Paris, and Le Bouteille d’Or ups the ante. The 28€ prix fixe includes a sumptuous buffet of fresh juices and homemade mint lemonade, mini-French pastries, Italian charcuterie and French cheeses. You can also go the a la carte route with standards such as Eggs Benedict, breakfast sandwich with organic eggs and avocado and Feta toast.

A few neighborhoods away from the Latin Quarter, also on the Left Bank, another old institution has been transformed.

A former railroad hangar is now a sprawling, 50,000 square Italian food court and market. La Felicita, which means happiness in Italian, is now the largest restaurant space in Europe, with five kitchens and three bars serving 500 types of alcoholic beverages, as well as a beer garden serving a large selection of draft and craft beers.

A wide open, airy space has a glass roof with café and lounge seating throughout, alongside old railroad cars with cheerful, spray painted murals. The ingredients of the 100 percent homemade food are sourced from top Italian food producers. Food stalls include grilled meats, pasta, coffee and pastries, wood oven pizza, and a burger pop up.

An alluring outside terrace with seating for 500 people has weekend pop music concerts all year round.

Le Bouteille d’Or
9 Quai de Montebello, 75005
Open every day
Tel. +33(0)1 84 83 00 75

La Felicita
55 Boulevard Vincent Auriol, 75014

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