While Paris is full of amazing (and not-so) French restaurants, there comes a time in every expat’s life here when nothing but a good ol American meal will do the trick. In the last few years, American food has infiltrated Paris perhaps more than the locals would like- but I’m certainly not complaining. It’s a welcome sight to see food trucks popping up around the city, delis serving messy sandwiches, and burgers being eaten with hands (as opposed the the Parisian staple- the knife & fork). While I have still seen the k&f used on tacos (gasp), at least we have tacos in Paris now! And, finally, the mimosa- thank god I don’t have to explain that one anymore. Yes, we Americans like to put orange juice in Champagne!
If you’ve had enough ham & cheese or steak frites to last you a lifetime, or if you’re just in the mood for a little American comfort food, here are my favorite spots (right now) to get just that.
Leave it to Ralph Lauren to open up the chicest American restaurant in Paris. The menu is full of items like “Cowboy Steak,”, veggie and turkey burgers, crab cakes, and an amazing peanut butter chocolate dessert. They also have a really impressive selection of American wines, too bad the import tax makes them nearly unaffordable. I absolutely love the décor of the restaurant’s patio. In the summertime it reminds me of the East Coast, with its blue and white prints, romantic candles, plush benches and large umbrellas in case it rains. It’s the coziest patio in all of Paris, perfect for groups or a romantic table for two. The inside is great too, with its stately fireplace, country inspired photographs adorning the walls, leopard pillows and huge leather benches. I just wish they’d offer another American wine by the glass than Mondavi Cabernet, but at least we’re getting somewhere…
Yes, it’s a French name…but their menu has some items that I haven’t seen elsewhere in Paris. Take their iced matcha, for example. It’s the perfect refreshing drink for a hot day, so much so that I crave it and sometimes stop there twice a day to get my fix. (Helps that it’s next door to the new house!) They also have a cobb salad and a club sandwich on their menu (an oddly Parisian menu item) but both are delicious and not too heavy. I love their brunch on Sundays, particularly for the eggs benedict with salmon. They also have an American wine on their menu by Coppola.
3. Le Depanneur
Once an American diner serving late-night food, Le Depanneur is back with a new look and a new menu after a long hiatus. It’s prime location, just across from one of my favorite bars, Le Mansart, in the South Pigalle neighborhood makes it that much more attractive. The menu at Le Depanneur was inspired by Cantine California, the food truck serving up some California-inspired cuisine, and the décor is by the same designer as Le Mary Celeste and Candelaria. I love their carnitas tacos (they have a bit of a kick) and their margarita takes me straight back to Austin. While they have a lengthy cocktail list, I opted for a classic marg. Sometimes I think I can really tell how good a place is by how well they do the basics. I also love that they make their tortilla chips fresh, but the salsa (or pico de gallo I should say) could use some help. Other menu items like quinoa were are pleasant surprise, as this isn’t something I see often in a sit-down restaurant in Paris. I’m hoping their service improves because the food and cocktails are really delish. (Forest Collins of 52 Martinis has a great review focusing on their cocktails here).
4. Freddie’s Deli
Leave it to Kristin Frederick, founder of Le Camion Qui Fume, to create the best representation of the American sandwich I’ve tasted in Paris. Heck, even if this place was in the US I’d say it was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. Whether hungover and in need of a hot, greasy Freddie from Philly (Philly Cheesesteak) or a more refined Little Richard (roast beef sandwich), or a healthier I <3 Lucie (classic turkey), Freddie’s has them all. They have another something you don’t see all that often in Paris- fountain soda (and free refills!!) Frenchies, say au revoir to those ham & cheese baguette sandwiches slathered with butter and hello to the art of the American sammich.
Ok so tacos aren’t exactly American, but I’m going to be all encompassing here and say that my definition of American food is anything I used to eat at home. Being from Texas, tacos are as much a part of our life as the word y’all is. One of the things I missed the most when I moved over here was Mexican food. At Candelaria, their authentic street-style tacos are so warm and delicious you will literally crave them when you get back to the USA. I love that they are small enough to try every flavor of the day, yet satisfying enough that you don’t need all the stuff that generally comes on the side in the states (talking about our friends rice & beans). My favorites are the Nopal (melted cheese and cactus), the carnitas with a bit of creme fraiche and the black bean taco with queso fresco and red cabbage. Their tequila bar in the back is super fun too, with DJ’s playing nightly. Check out their Facebook page for schedules. (I posted about Candelaria a long time ago, read it again here)
Paris has it’s fair share of American-style breakfast and brunch spots, as well as a handful of great burger joints, but I feel these are worthy of a post of their own. While I don’t generally crave lobster rolls, there is a great one at Frenchie To Go, who also has a killer pulled-pork sandwich, home-brewed iced tea, homemade donuts, home-smoked hot dogs, and egg sandwiches in the morning- but you should all know by know how much I love Frenchie To Go. Can’t beat it.
If you’re searching for American food in a typical grocery store, chances are you won’t find it. However, there are a handful of regular grocery stores in town that have an “International” section with things like Dr. Pepper, French’s Mustard & Hellman’s Mayo, among other things. If you really want to go all out, you can go to stores like Thanksgiving, The Real McCoy, or Le Grand Epicerie at Le Bon Marché for a full-on selection of American grocery classics (just don’t be surprised to pay 10 euros for peanut M&M’s).
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