5 Vegetarian Friendly Paris Restaurants: Casual & Cool

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Paris might be the gastronomic capital of the world, but, until recently, it was extremely rare to spot even one vegetarian option on menus filled with steak frites, confit de canard and foie gras. As a staunch vegetarian since before arriving in France more than a decade ago, one of my worst dining nightmares was having to pick out a restaurant to go on a date or out with a client where we’d both have an enjoyable meal (steamed vegetables get old really fast). I’d spend hours scouring menus online or carefully noting bonnes adresses in my head for future reference. Paris is becoming greener, however, it still has progress to make. So in the meantime, here is a new series of veggie friendly restaurants, this first post with great casual venues with French or contemporary fare. You can also peruse my list of historic veggie friendly bistros here and classy-chic restaurants at this link.

Bistrot Ernest

Not many restaurants have the perfect balance for carnivores and herbivores; the delicious market-based cuisine of Bistrot Ernest does just that. Thibault Lhirondelle had be co-managing the excellent cheese shop Le 38 Saint Louis before expanding his culinary pursuits with his own restaurant in September 2015. Or rather returning to his roots, as Thibault reacquire the bistrot owned by his father, Ernest, from 1998-2005.

A vegetarian himself, Thibault strives to use a maximum of both French and organic ingredients. Not surprisingly, he has an exquisite cheese selection, provided by the fromagerie, in addition to the freshest egg omelettes, creative salads, a vegetarian assiette du jour and several meat dishes served with luscious seasonal legumes. Everything goes down well with his hand-picked wine list comprised of independent producers. Thibault’s friendly smile and welcome are the cherry on the cheesecake; he’s already creating a community of regulars among the left bank gallerists.

Address: 21 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris
Tel: 01 56 24 47 47 website
Hours: Tues- Fri 10am-10pm, Sat lunch

La Buvette Gastrothèque

There was a lot of hype and some controversy when American chef Jody Williams opened her Parisian branch of La Buvette Gastrothèque in 2013. A Parisian-inspired New York cafe opening in… Paris? Oui, it works and very well. La Buvette was an earlier member of the hipsterization of the South Pigalle area. Buvette, from boire, a French nickname for a place to get a drink, is exactly what this is, well, in addition to a tasty bite to eat.

The low lighting, small marble tables make for a romantic setting, the front corner of the bar is the perfect place to perch, possibly for a first date… will the glass of natural wine lead to ordering a couple small plates? Then maybe more? There are always several vegetarian items from ratatouille and chevre tartines to roasted beetroot with crème fraiche and sharing is oh so sexy. Read more on La Buvette in this detailed and interesting article by David Lebovitz. A note of caution, they don’t take reservations, so come early.

Address: 28 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris
Tel01 44 63 41 71 website
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30am-12am, Sat-Sun 10am-12am

1ndix

I recently stumbled upon this new restaurant quite by accident looking for a casual, not too pricey option for dinner in my neighborhood. It was the several veggie options on the menu that initially wooed me, then I delved a little deeper to find the intriguing story behind the restaurant (and its charming restaurateurs).With a few years of hospitality studies and experience in the restaurant business under their belts, twins Benjamin and Michaël made their childhood dream come true with their own cozy and youthful restaurant, 1ndixone-ten for their date of birth October 1st.

Their seasonally changing menu has a number of vegetarian options such as quinoa with crunchy vegetables, grilled vegetables with burrata, creative salads and creamy roasted camembert. Your paleo friends can indulge on the likes of crunchy chicken with sweet and sour sauce or salmon confit drizzled in a citrusy oil. The contemporary and fun decor makes for a good start to a night out in the hip SoPi area.

Address: 47 Avenue Trudaine, 75009 Paris
Hours: Tues-Sat 11am-3pm, 6:30-11pm, Sun 11am-5pm

Brasserie Barbès 

Not merely a brasserie, the Barbès is world unto its own. As it should be. Imagine having the liberty to virtually build a restaurant from scratch within the city limits of Paris. That’s what Jean Vedreine and Pierre Moussié, les hommes behind the hip bars Chez Jeanette, Le Mansart, and Sans-Soucis, were able to do by acquiring the former site of the burnt down discount shop Vano. Two years of renovations converted the once dodgy corner into an empire of new wave Parisian cool.

Over four floors, there are several atmospheres from the ground floor verdant café, the first floor restaurant and “interior-exterior” terrace, the dance bar and finally the rooftop terrace. When I first had a chance to have a lunch date at the Barbès, I was impressed to find a weekly vegetarian special on the menu, however, opted for a spectacular salad of mache, cheese stuffed peppers, caper berries, olives and cream, there are also copious sandwiches on the lunch menu, including one veggie option. It’s best to reserve so you don’t have to wait. Come for lunch for a business or first/second date or for dinner if you might want to carry on your date late. If you haven’t been yet, this post by Rooksana Hossenally for HiP Paris provides a good background and overview.

Address: 2 Boulevard Barbès, 75018 Paris
Hours: daily 8:30am-2am


La Fourmi Ailée & L’Eté en Pente Douce

I hesitated before finally deciding on the last restaurant for this category, and in this case, had to go with an oldie but goodie. I’ve been going to one of these two restaurants for years, they’ve been the setting of more than one date, one from my book in fact. Two magical restaurants, two unique decors, bordering two “touristy” neighborhoods, one menu to please all tastes. Run by the same owner for the last 20 years, La Fourmi Ailée (the Flying Ant), is situated on a quiet street a stone’s throw away from Notre Dame in the Latin Quarter, occupying a former bookstore turned tea salon by afternoon and lively restaurant where locals and tourists mix by night engulfed by walls of books and a blue sky overhead.

Whereas L’Eté en Pente Douce (named after the 1987 French film and early novel: Summer on a Gentle Slope), evokes its name to a T. Sitting on a small square at the foot of a Montmartre staircase, its colorful outdoor seating has the air of a summer guinguette along the Seine. On its newsprint menu you’ll find several vegetarian dishes including stuffed peppers (my personal favorite), pasta, vegan lasagna, salad, quiche, plus a good array of carnivorous dishes from lamb shank to beef carpaccio. Tasty cuisine, nothing gastronomique, but by the end you’ll be seduced by the ambience… and hopefully your dining companion.

Address:La Fourmi Ailée, Address: 8 Rue du Fouarre, 75005 Tel: 01 43 29 40 99 
L’Eté en Pente Douce, Address: 23 Rue Muller, 75018  Tel: 01 42 64 02 67
website, Hours: both locations daily 12pm-12am

Looking for more vegetarian friendly Paris restaurants? I have ten more in these two other articles:

Historic and Traditional Paris Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants

Classy-chic Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants.

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