Quality products – often local, seasonal and organic – plus a pinch of grassroots gastronomy and a generous dose of Parisian panache are chef essentials at these takeaway favourites, known for their distinctive gourmet twist.
Ditch the traditional jambon-beurre sandwich (ham and unsalted butter slipped inside a crusty baguette). Head instead to L’Épicerie et Sandwicherie du Verre Volé (leverrevole.fr) for a gourmand sandwich to go. Brain-child of Cyril Bordarier from Le Verre Volé bistro and wine cellar, this retro grocery crafts bespoke sarnies from an exceptional choice of gourmet ingredients, including milk-suckled calf pastrami, Prince de Paris ham and silky pork fat cured in Carrara marble vats in Italy. Build your own, or put your taste-buds in the hands of the chef with a daily special.
Quality ingredients get an American makeover at Frenchie To Go in the 2nd arrondissement. Its Reuben enjoys cult status among local foodies and there is no doubt about it: the combo of shaved house-cured pastrami and zingy homemade red-cabbage coleslaw stuffed inside toasted rye bread spiced with caraway seeds is divine. Wash it down with a bottle of aromatic pale ale, craft-brewed by Les Brasseurs du Grand Paris (bgp.paris) in the capital’s northwest suburbs.
Noglu Takeway (noglu.fr) épicerie arm of the upmarket restaurant, is a hot spot for gluten-free street food. The atmospheric setting inside Passage des Panoramas, a covered passageway dating to 1800, only adds to the charm. Order a sandwich or bun du jour – a tangy mix of aubergine, red peppers, sweet potato and blue cheese perhaps inside chickpea-flour bread – to take away in an old-fashioned brown paper bag.
Veggie hot dogs
Veggie hot dogs are à la mode thanks to Le Tricycle Store (letricycle.fr), an uber-cool address in the edgy 10e. The takeaway joint with a few seats upstairs was born out of Le Tricycle, a nomadic food cart with three wheels that French-Caribbean Coralie and her boyfriend Daqui pedalled around the city for two years selling homemade hot dogs. Sink your teeth into a hip-hop themed Dogtor Dre aka a 16cm-long corn and smoked soya sausage smothered in creamy avocado, fresh coriander, fried onions and sauce chien (dog sauce, or coriander- and onion-laced tomato sauce in English). Or go for the kill with a Snoop Dogg, which comes with pickled onions, cabbage and carrots.
A street-side platter of freshly shucked oysters and a glass of wine is insanely satisfying. On the Left Bank indulge at Huîtrerie Régis whose oysters arrive fresh from Marenne-Oléron Bay on the Atlantic Coast. On the Right Bank, slurp oysters and their tangy sea-air juices from L’Écailler du Bistrot, the seafood annexe of Bistrot Paul Bert. It's €14 for a dozen tantalizingly small No 4s from Creuses in Brittany and €38 for a dozen No 2s from Normandy’s Utah Beach. Or hit the covered market hall at Bastille’s chaotic street market Marché Aligré for a six-oyster tasting platter (€8.60) and obligatory glass of Sancerre (€4) at the Marée Beauvau fish stall – you won’t find cheaper or tastier in town.
Scoffing a finger-licking crêpe in the street, slathered in warm chocolate Nutella or sweet crème de marron (chestnut paste), is a Parisian essential. Real McCoy street stands are like gold-dust these days: make a beeline for Crêperie de St-Germain in front of Église St-Germain des Près in St-Germain des Près. The delightfully retro kiosk has cooked up large thin pancakes to a faithful crowd for the last 20-something years.
Hipsters get their gourmet crêpe fix at L’Avant Comptoir, the hors d’oeuvres bar and takeaway arm of celebrity chef Yves Camdeborde’s bistro Le Comptoir. There’s little elbow room at the zinc bar, but the creamy triangle-folded crêpes are strictly to go.
Street food aficionados go bananas in the Marché des Enfants Rouges, Paris’s oldest covered market. Duck through the vintage green-gated entrance to uncover a dimly lit, ramshackle maze of alluring food stalls cooking up steaming bowls of Chinese noodles, Moroccan couscous, Lebanese falafel et al. Weave your way through the makeshift kitchens to Chez Alain Miam Miam. Alain – a retired baker from Touraine with grey surfer locks, neck scarf and T-shirt with attitude – pulls the crowd with monster sandwiches steaming on a sizzling crêpe griddle. All his ingredients – grated fennel, carrot, smoked air-dried beef, avocado, lemon zest, sesame salt, honeys and goats cheese – are fresh and organic. The skill, passion and humour with which he deftly flips and turns his worn wooden turner to craft his legendary galettes (savoury pancakes) is electrifying.
The croque monsieur (ham and cheese toasted sandwich, topped with creamy béchamel sauce and melted cheese) is a Parisian staple. Grab one to munch on the banks of Canal St-Martin from quayside Fric Frac. Order a classic Titi from the ‘croques mobiles’ hole-in-the-wall or indulge your culinary curiosity in a gourmet Winnie (Crottin de Chavignol cheese, dried fruit, chestnut honey, chives and rosemary) or exotic Shaolin (king prawn and Thai chutney).
Fish ‘n chips
It was The Sunken Chip near Canal St Martin that first hijacked Paris’s takeaway scene with the British favourite, served with mushy mint- and olive oil-laced garden peas and baby onions pickled in tart malt vinegar. Its generous kids’ menu makes it a family favourite. If you prefer your fish reinvented as a fusion-styled bento, grab just that to scoff canal-side from Le Verre Volé sur le Mer (53 rue de Lancry, 10e).
End your street-food feast with a sweet-food treat from a Parisian pâtisserie; a bag of choux-pastry puffs from Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse’s Choux d’Enfer (alain-ducasse.com) kiosk at Gare du Nord; or a made-to-measure profiterole from Profiterole Chérie (profiterolecherie.fr). The caramel-glazed puffs of choux pastry filled with praline, whipped vanilla cream, strawberry sorbet, caramel and other devilish creams are assembled to order and served in clever black-and-silver cupped boxes to take away. Celebrity chef Philippe Urraca’s tart, homemade lemonade is the perfect chaser.
Nicola travelled to Paris with support from Atout France (www.france.fr) and the Paris Convention & Visitors Bureau (en.parisinfo.com). Lonely Planet contributors do not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage.