Bistrot Paul Bert

Paris: Bistrot Paul Bert

This beloved institution is the poster child of everything that a Parisian bistrot stood for a hundred years ago and is still current for today’s diners. Even with all the hype, what makes it special is the fact that it isn’t trying to be anything other than what it is. It is simply a casual neighborhood place where Bertrand (aka M. Bistrot Paul Bert) is always in the dining room, circulating among the tables to greet regulars, locals, international chef industry friends and visitors alike.

The chalkboard menus rotate between tables (choose quickly so you don’t hold up the next table) and change daily. You’ll find all the rustic classics French people were fed by their grandparents with some sexy ingredients thrown in for good measure: sole meunière, eggs & black truffle shavings, peppery filet mignon in Cognac butter cream sauce, house made frites, cheese platters, soufflés & bottles of natural wine. All the fruits and vegetables are grown on their normandy farm, the seafood is sourced from his wife’s family in Brittany (France’s premier shellfish area) and the wines are personally walked in the door by the winegrowers.

By design, a bistrot is loud, buzzy, tight on space and the servers are racing to keep up. Locals who love it have been regulars for years. Visitors have been making it a part of their eating plans each time they visit, as a tradition. If you are at Bistrot Paul Bert, it means that you are in PARIS.


What to know before you reserve:

  • If you are looking for a quiet night out, you are better off at a restaurant which is built for that.
  • Service is BRISK – order & get on with having a great time with each other. When you need something later, use your best polite technique to grab a server’s attention.
  • Don’t mess with French culture on meat being cooked “badly” if its cooked more than medium. If you need your meat cooked well-done, it is better not to reserve here and risk be disappointed/offended when they tell you they won’t do it.
  • As the owner politely explained to Andrew Zimmern on TV, “We’ve already killed the animal once, why would we do it twice?”

Why do certain diners get it so wrong?

Reality: Because it is exactly what all French people know of as a bistrot. It isn’t a Disneyland copy doing things for mass tourists pretending they are in the film Ratatouille. BPB has been doing things authentically Parisian for 24 years.

Seating: The owner originally acquired the main room, then over time acquired two more spaces next door, etc. It is three separate rooms. If you are the kind of person that feels “shoved” to the back instead of just enjoying your friends’ company, then please just don’t go.

Service: Those that complain about the lack of service, they are expecting restaurant service. “Service” in a bistrot is providing the menu, taking orders, bringing food and the bill.

Language: Too many people are speaking English (someone PLEASE tell me what language other people are speaking next to you has to do with your meal?) These people won’t get it and never will. I feel for them.


Bistrot Paul Bert