I’ve never considered myself a picky eater, but I have never been that adventurous either. When I first started traveling, I was committed to branching out of my comfort zone and trying some exotic dishes. That wasn’t to say I was ready to jump into eating brains or eyes or anything, but I wanted to consume the local food. And I wanted to eat everything the way the locals ate it, without making any modifications.
My first trip to Paris six years ago, I was too busy eating cheap street crepes to get any real taste of French cuisine. Having the luxury of traveling to Paris again with a little better budget, allowed me to try some truly life changing meals. Things I never thought I would eat. Things I still can’t believe I ate.
I had taken a few small steps forward in my adventurous eating endeavors on my trip to Southeast Asia last year, which made me even more ready for Paris. With a gentle nudge from my boyfriend, I decided brains and livers and anything else was officially on the menu. And although I can’t say that I could eat all these things everyday of my life, I wouldn’t leave Paris without eating at one, if not at all of these incredible restaurants.
Location: 114 rue Amelot, 75011 Paris, France
This was hands down the most adventurous eating I have ever done. Located right next door to the Cirque d’hiver Bouglione in the third arrondissement, this tiny gem is enhanced tastefully in clown decor. The food however, is no joke. Standout dishes like Veal Brain and Duck Foie Gras make this a must visit restaurant in Paris.
If you’re a little squeamish about eating Veal Brain, I feel you’re pain. When I was first told about it, my mouth turned down, my forehead wrinkled and my face froze in disgust. I wasn’t sure I would actually be capable of following through with eating somethings brain. Especially since it absolutely looks like you’re about to eat a brain. There’s nothing dressed up about it.
You’ll be happy to know though, that it tastes nothing like you think it would. In fact, it was absolutely delicious. If you’re a little apprehensive, don’t be. Just close your eyes before you eat it and prepare to have your life changed. Once you’ve had your first bite, you’ll be tempted to forget about the rest of the menu, but don’t. There are so many amazing and unique dishes to try at this place.
Enjoy the rich, crispy flavor of the Duck and Foie Gras pie and try even more unconventional choices like the baked Pigeon, served with potatoes that actually melt in your mouth. And whatever you do, don’t forget to save room for dessert. The Crème Brûlée with house made Lemon Thyme ice cream is hands down the best dessert I have ever eaten, anywhere.
I highly recommend having a reservation for this place as it is very tiny and was full the entire time we were there.
A La Pomponnette
Location: 42 rue Lepic, 75018 Paris, France
One of the greatest things about wasting an afternoon at a random cafe on the streets of Paris is you never know who may sit down next to you. On my last day in Paris, I was sitting at a cafe in Montmartre when the gentlemen sitting next to me started engaging our table in small talk. He was a local man, originally from England, who now lived just around the corner from the little cafe.
Before we left he suggested a restaurant nearby for dinner. I learned a long time ago while traveling that you should almost never turn down a local recommendation. So we paid the bill and walked over to try Lucas Fox’s favorite restaurant in the neighborhood.
This is where I made the decision to finally try escargot for the first time. Putting it off for so long, I was convinced there was no way I could like it. Snails should be gross right? There’s nothing that makes sense about a slimy creature lurking in a shell that should taste good. So I was surprised and slightly put off by the fact that I actually loved them. So do not leave this place without having some of their snails in burgundy sauce.
I was so sad that we ordered just a small quantity, because the restaurant sold out of them before we could order more. Lesson learned and I’m here to tell you to order more than you think you’ll want to eat.
Escargot officially behind me, I sampled a small portion of the rest of the menu. Bone Marrow, Veal Sweetbread, and Head and tongue of Veal (just to name a few menu items).
The end of the meal was completely decided for us when our waiter told us about the freshly made chef’s special dessert. Something whipped up on the spur of the moment that’s not even on the menu? Yes, please. So we finished the evening with an Orange Cream Pie that was to die for.
Later I found out, after my boyfriend did some googling that Lucas Fox was actually the drummer from the 70s British rock band Motorhead. We didn’t know it at the time, but what a chance encounter that lead to such an amazing meal!
Tip: We didn’t have a reservation but walked in before the sun set and got a table easily.
Le Coq Rico
Location: 98 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris, France
I never travel anywhere without asking friends for advice before hand. One of my favorite things about traveling is sharing tips and advice for other travelers. So I always reach out on social media to consult with friends of mine who have traveled to places I’m going, and I’m almost never disappointed by the recommendations I’m given.
That’s how I found myself climbing flights of stairs in Montmartre to get to the best chicken dinner I have ever had. As much as this trip to Paris revolved around some interesting dishes, this particular restaurant was simple in it’s menu and presentation. That’s not to say it wasn’t high in flavor and fantastic in it’s execution.
Le Coq Rico serves some of the highest quality chicken you can find, complete with incredible side dishes. The only way to dine at this place, is to come with three or four people and enjoy it family style. Do not miss the Chicken Terrine or the seared Chicken Liver salad. Then order a whole bird and a bunch of sides and go to town.
You’ll leave completely stuffed and happy you had to climb so many steps to get there. Nothing better than working up an appetite, right? Do not forget to save room for one of their incredible desserts. Call ahead of time for a reservation and be prepared to spend a few hours here as cooking the whole bird takes time.