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Posts Tagged ‘Falafel’

I have seen frustrated vegetarians online who wish that they could come to Paris and enjoy real Parisian food and not ethnic food. I think there is one ethnic food in particular which may not be French but which is very Parisian, and that is Lebanese.

For over twenty years, after the fall of the Ottomans, Lebanon was a French mandate and since then Paris has been home to generations of Lebanese families. It’s practically as ubiquitous as Indian food in London, and just as delicious. It’s also super Vegan-friendly and your best chance of getting good animal-free food if you find yourself suddenly hungry in Paris. Particularly if you find yourself in a more touristique part of Paris, like over by the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe, Lebanese can be a life saver. And it’s really easy to stop someone in the street and ask where the nearest “restaurant Libanais” is.

Lebanese food is one of my favorite somethings about living in Paris. I crave it often and would be happy to eat it much more often. It always tastes so fresh with such variety of vegetables, textures, dips and salads. A combo plate usually consists of mouttabal, hommous, feuilles de vigne, taboulleh, falafel, fatayer, green beans in sauce and excellent pita. They’ll often also include some cheese, so just ask them for no cheese and they’ll usually cheerfully substitute something. As a rule of thumb, a vegetarian plate will run around 15 euros.

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I’m starting a list of some that I have visited and will add to it as I sample more of this wonderful cuisine.

Noura
Institut du Monde Arabe, 9th floor, 1 rue des Fossés St Bernard, 75005
Métro : Cardinal Lemoine or Jussieu
01 55 42 55 42
Multiple locations in Paris including two spots at L’Institut du Monde Arabe: their nice and casual ground floor café and pricier top floor restaurant which many Parisians say has the best view of the city of any dining spot. Its prices reflect this, but still affordable as a treat. Classy joint, impeccable service, fab fattoush.

Noura

L’Escale du Liban
1, rue Ferdinand Duval, 75004
Métro: St. Paul
01 42 74 55 70
This is the closest Lebanese to my house and probably the best in the Marais. Casual, great for takeout, excellent taboulleh. I would skip the Mannakish breads, though. If it’s Sunday and you want a Mannakish, get yourself down the fairly nearby Bastille market.

Liza
14, rue de la Banque
Paris, France 75002
Métro: Bourse
01 55 35 00 66

I stumbled upon this place during a flea market fest on rue de la Banque. I had THE most delicious, huge spinach filled pastry loaded with pine-nuts at their bakery. I don’t know why I haven’t been back. Look forward to trying the restaurant. Looks splendid.

Al Boustan
21, rue Montorgueil 75001
Métro: Étienne Marcel
01 40 41 02 40
A Casual little place with take-out counter. Good take-out deals, nice to sit outside on a great street for people watching and soaking up city atmosphere.

Naî
229, Rue Du Faubourg-Saint-Honore 75008
Métro: Ternes
01 40 68 90 70
Not far from Arc de Triomphe or to escape from the Champs d’Elysee. Nice place, with great veg plate and great service.

Traiteur Al Sage
If you are on the run, or on the run from the prices of this swanky neighborhood,  the take-out place on the corner of Ave Hoche and Faubourg St. Honore offers great cheap eats fast.

Tavern du Nil
16-18 rue le Régrattier, 75004
Métro: Pont Marie
01 40 46 09 02
I hear this place is quite good, but haven’t visited yet. It’s on the Île St. Louis so if you’re headed there for Berthillon sorbets, you can do the double.

Al Dar
93, av Raymond Poincaré, 75016
Métro: Victor Hugo
01 45 00 96 64
One of the most highly regarded Lebanese spots in town. The actual restaurant is underground, beneath the pastry shop and café. If you are very hungry and want to splurge, the set menu is expensive but will fill even the most ravenous herbivore. They also have a location in the fifth.

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Rue des Rosiers

I live in the Marais district in the 4th arrondissement, and one of the main reasons for that is the nearby presence of Rue des Rosiers

Rue des Rosiers gets more and more full of pricy boutiques each month but it is still the heart of the Jewish community and the best place in town to eat falafel sandwiches.

There are two main shops on the street that compete face-to-face to entice you in for one of their sandwiches. If you believe famed vegetarian Lenny Kravitz and judge by the length of the lines the best shop is L’As du Fallafel. However, a blind taste test I just did reveals that the rival Mi-Va-Mi just edges them out. It also has the best frîtes.

PROS: Filling, fast, cheap and the street is great fun. Open Sundays
CONS: Lines can be long, not organic, schwarma sandwiches also sold. Closed Friday Evenings, Saturdays and Jewish Holidays.

UPDATE: My most recent taste test gave L’As the edge on sandwich quality over Mi-Va-Mi. But they are both great

Rue des Rosiers

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