Lunch at Le Bouillon Chartier in Paris!
David Lebovitz was here and loved it.
And he is not the only one.
Le Bouillon Chartier is one of the most authentic restaurants in Paris. It is so popular because of its simple French cuisine and old fashioned French classics.
Here is our next restaurant review: the highly popular Le Bouillon Chartier in Paris!
We booked two return train ticket to Paris from Brussels South at a very favorable price with Thalys.
First class, WiFi, with drinks and meals for €55 per person.
That is a straight up bargain!
We checked the website, clicked away like mad and got our two tickets for Paris in under 5 minutes.
So that is how we end up in Paris for a couple of days a couple of weeks later.
Lunch in Paris
We arrive at 10am in Gare du Nord, Paris’ North Station.
We find our way to the hotel by subway, leave our luggage there and hit the city to visit district #9 and #2.
This is also a very lively neighborhood housing the Opéra Garnier, the Galeries Lafayette, the Olympia Concert Hall, le Passage des Panoramas, the Folies Bergère Cabaret, le Grand Rex Cinéma and much more.
Around noon we find ourselves near the Grands Boulevards subway station.
Luc shakes a handful of lunch addresses out of his iPhone Paris tourist guide.
One is rather iconic and is over one hundred years old. Its name also rings a bell because a foodie friend of ours was here just a couple of months ago and was ecstatic about the place.
Sounds like we have a winner!
Le Bouillon Chartier
You can find Le Bouillon Chartier in a small alleyway on your left when you enter Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, leaving Boulevard Montmartre behind you.
Step inside, you might have to queue for a while and wait until a waiter brings you to a table.
Mind you, this place can be terribly busy so try to be early for lunch. Once you are seated, enjoy the Belle Époque interior.
This used to be a train station! And it is a classified historic building as well.
FYI: bouillon here doesn’t mean the clear broth but it is also a definition for a restaurant selling decently priced if not cheap food.
Chartier is the family name of the brothers who started the business.
Classic French cuisine
Le Bouillon Chartier is known for its classic French cuisine.
Classic oeuf dur mayonnaise (hard-boiled egg with mayo, €2,20), charcuterie (€4), paté (terrine de campagne, €3,80), celeriac remoulade (€2,70), foie gras (€7), garlic butter snails (€6-€14), confit duck (€9,80), choucroute (€10,80), steak tartare (€9)…
And there are also a couple of sweet desserts and a selection of cheeses to finish your meal with.
French classics at Le Bouillon Chartier
We take a look at the menu.
Seems like this one is going to be a tough nut to crack here at Le Bouillon Chartier.
In the end we go for the leeks in vinaigrette sauce (poireaux vinaigrette, €3,50), herring and French potato salad (filet de hareng, pommes à l’huile, €3,80) for starters.
Followed by the fresh sea bass with fennel seeds (bar rôti au fenouil, €13,50) and low-temperature braised lamb with white beans (today’s lunch special offer, €12,50) for main courses.
And of course a crispy white wine to wash it all down (€19).
Luc tastes the wine and gives the waiter a thumbs up.
The bottle is kept in an ice bucket on our tiny table.
Our starters arrive about 2 minutes later after placing our order.
Which is not surprisingly because they are both cold.
Good, because we are hungry.
In comes the leeks: succulently soft and smooth leeks covered with a creamy vinegar sauce made out of olive oil, mustard and vinegar.
Herring and potatoes
The herring fillet is nicely silky and flaky.
The French potato salad consists of cooked waxy potatoes, raw onion, olive oil and a little vinegar.
A delicious classic.
Yes, I guess that we are off to a good start here!
We are sitting at a table for 4 and since the cool waiter made us sit opposite to each other the seat next to me is taken by a gentleman in a black suit.
Odd perhaps but we don’t mind.
Within 10 minutes the place is literally packed.
The queue outside le Bouillon Chartier is growing and growing. The gentleman next sitting to us orders the oven-roasted sea bream with a fresh herb sauce (daurade royale au four sauce vierge, €13,00).
And it looks finger licking delicious…
Here come our main dishes flying out of the busy kitchen right around the corner, within 10 minutes after finishing our starters.
My fresh sea bass is absolutely gorgeous.
The perfect size for 1 person. Next to it are baked potatoes with chives. The fish is super fresh and perfectly cooked. The fennel seeds give it a pleasant flavor.
Fish and fennel seeds, we like that combination.
The hubs gets a deep plate with a generous serving of stewed white beans and slices of lamb. The beans are to die for. Unfortunately the lamb is a tad undercooked for his taste though.
The waiter clears our table and then notices the half eaten plate of lamb. He offers to bring an extra portion lamb and beans instead.
But since the portion was huge already, Luc declines the offer saying that he is stuffed already.
Or are we?
How about some dessert?
The sweet desserts look good: choux chantilly (cream puffs filled with whipped cream, €3,10), crème de marron vanillée (chestnut spread with vanilla, €2,80), baba au rhum with whipped cream (€4,60)…
But the cheese selection is what we are more interested in.
Blue cheese (bleu d’Auvergne, €2,60), camembert (€2,60), goat’s cheese (€2,60)…
Luc’s most favorite cheese is also on the menu: Pont l’Évêque (€2,60).
And I decide on fresh cheese (fromage blanc de campagne, €1,90).
This is a soft and rich cheese made of cow’s milk, resembling quark cheese.
It comes with a bag of sugar but I eat it plain and simple.
Fast and efficient
It has been 45 minutes since we stepped into Le Bouillon Chartier…
And we have already finished our speedy lunch for a total of €58,30.
Yes, the service here goes pretty fast in Le Bouillon Chartier. The waiters are like whirlwinds, work hurriedly and efficient which people might mistake for rudeness perhaps.
It is true that as soon as you have finished your meal and drinks, the staff will suggest dessert or coffee but if you don’t want any you mostly receive your check within a minute.
Eat, pay and go.
But would I go again to Le Bouillon Chartier?
Yes sure, the food is more than delicious and the prices are definitely dirt cheap for Paris standards!
Le Bouillon Chartier
7 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre
(Side note: Bouillon Chartier opened a second restaurant at 59, Boulevard du Montparnasse. You can expect the same menu, quality food, decor, prices and atmosphere.)