Sometimes you and your stomach just need comfort foods from home (sadly you can’t find Philly soft pretzels or cheesesteaks with Amoroso rolls on the road). After two months away from the U.S. on my sabbatical, I had enjoyed the Spanish tapas, Barcelona food tour, Cava tastings and a month in Italy eating gelato daily and indulging in carbs via the pizza, pasta and wine. I had a few yens that only a few American diners in Paris would satisfy. If you think about it, I was living like a local and enjoying these American styled restaurants filled with French people and students. While the staff spoke English, many of the people around me were speaking French as they enjoyed their American comfort food meals (i.e. -burgers, fries, milkshakes, wraps, etc.).
So a few American Diners in Paris finds for your next visit (great if you have kids or picky eaters in your group).
My Pop Paris
With my injured foot, I walked across the street from my hotel, Platine Hotel, to the Beaugrenelle Mall and while Chipolte was tempting, I rode the escalators up passing each floor of food and the M&S. I settled at the top at the My Pop, a contemporary update on the classic American diner.
Expecting to see many tourists as the restaurant has a lovely view over the Seine, it was pretty empty on a Tuesday night. Frankly, this area of Paris, the 15th arr, doesn’t quite see the influx of tourists that the others do. The restaurant was part of the mall that included the movie theatre and M&S food market which are more neighborhood than tourist attraction. Welcomed with popcorn, I quickly ordered a glass of red wine (my American diner doesn’t serve wine) but had to sit with my back to the Seine due to the strong sunlight streaming in (a few people in the know, speaking French, were wearing sunglasses at the table and only in Paris does this seem ok to do).
Looking out at the restaurant, the design is really appealing. It’s cool, a bit trendy with a spot of fun mixed in – I spied Campbell’s soup cans on the shelf as decorating pieces.
I was two months away from the U.S. having indulged in Spain, Italy and Malta so I really needed a grilled chicken sandwich and a taste of home. The menu offered me many comfort food choices (I don’t eat nachos, onion rings or mozarella sticks but you get the idea) so I added bacon and avocado to make it a healthy balance (haha!). With a side of fries and Heinz ketchup, I was a happy girl. I didn’t need to wander about in search of steak frites or other French dish, my fractured foot led me here. A chocolate brownie cake for dessert with another glass of red just made it fabulous.
My meal cost €34.00 (sandwich, bottled water, two glasses of wine and chocolate dessert).
Breakfast in America
Last year, my niece and I found comfort at Breakfast in America – I loved the sandwiches, my niece loved the milkshakes. We visited the café for breakfast and two dinners because my niece really enjoyed food she knew (milkshakes, California wraps, eggs and bacon). It was definitely kid friendly even if she was the only kid in the joint.
So this year, when I stayed in the 5th arr, at Hotel Atmospheres again, I visited Breakfast in America because it was reliable, reasonably priced and good. I still haven’t tried their burgers that many students were enjoying (the Sorbonne is nearby).
Their small space is classic American diner with the red leather seats, counter service and chrome details. There are a few booths, a communal table and a few small tables. It’s like stepping back in time (before my time) into a movie of the 50’s diner. The menu has enough choice to satisfy everyone. With specials during the week and brunch on the weekends, it does get crowded (no reservations).
My meal cost €11 (grilled chicken sandwich with bacon, fries and filtered (free) water).
Loulou’ Friendly Diner
Walking around the city, I passed a café that was full of happy people during the day so I made a note to return later. When I returned the next night for dinner, I realized it was a cute diner (inside) named Loulou’ Friendly Diner with an outdoor seating area on Blvd Saint-Germain and everyone was eating burgers so I ordered a burger. With a mix of students, couples and groups of friends, this seemed like a popular café and I can see why. I was definitely an observer here noticing all the details in the food, the service and the décor. The service was attentive and friendly. I felt weird taking photos here and sticking out as the tourist I was that I just sat and enjoyed the atmosphere while drinking wine.
When my burger arrived it was massive and full of toppings. The burger was a messy delight which paired well with a glass of red wine. The burger was so filling that I couldn’t finish it which meant I had to pass on dessert! (such a travesty).
My meal cost €24 (burger and a glass of wine).
Burger Bonus: Hamler’s Burgery
In search of dinner, I spied a shop named Hamler’s Burgery, that reminded me of Shake Shack. Staying in Paris for a week, this was my second burger. With the menu on the side wall, it was easy to order and add a glass of wine (it’s Paris, wine is essential). I wanted something that wasn’t expensive, seemed quick and looked good – a place where I could happily eat alone without issue.
The décor really didn’t scream Paris, you could be anywhere USA enjoying a burger, fries and a milkshake. The food was freshly prepared and delivered to my table since there wasn’t a crowd. The portion size was good and the food was quite tasty. It’s funny that for a moment I felt guilty eating a burger in Paris but then with greasy yumminess in hand, I quickly forgot that and my stomach was happy.
My meal cost €18.50 (burger with bacon, side of fries, glass of wine and a cookie to go)
So just because you are in Paris, doesn’t mean you need to go only to French cafes in search of the “authentic” meal and experience (I will have a post on three French foodie finds soon). You can easily find a bit of the local experience at these American diners in Paris – your American stomach will thank you!