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 other articles: historic vegetarian friendly bistros and brasseries and classy-chic vegetarian friendly restaurants and best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Paris.
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.
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.
This café on popular rue Oberkampf might always be buzzing, however, if you sit inside instead of on the packed terrace, you can have a nice table à deux with fewer people. It offers a classic Parisian café feel with some intimacy and a hip edge. The reasonably priced menu has a number of vegetarian dishes including a great veggie burger.
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.
La Fourmi Ailée & L’Eté en Pente Douce
Looking for more vegetarian friendly Paris restaurants? I have many more options in these other articles:
- Historic and Traditional Paris Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants
- Classy-chic Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants
- Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants in Montmartre
- International Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants in Paris
- Best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Paris
Have any other favorites? Feel free to add them to the comments below!