After a long weekend in Paris in which most of our money was spent within the first 24 hours drinking our way from café to café in Saint Germain, Sunday evening rolls around and we’re at a loss as to where to eat cheaply. Most restaurants in Paris are closed on Sundays, leaving any recommendation I’ve been given in advance sadly by the way side. I want steak and we need it on a budget.
I have visions of stumbling into some amazing bistro in Montmartre and happening on the best food of my life, so we head up to watch the sun go down from Le Sacre Couer before dinner and walk down the steps to find our perfect meal. Needless to say, nearly everywhere was closed and everywhere else was empty and, well, looked uninviting at best. Twenty minutes of traipsing around and we’re nowhere nearer to steak frites. We head back up toward Le Sacre Coeur, and near the bottom of the hill find Le Bon Bock tucked into the wall.
Suddenly I feel like Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris, thrown back in time to another era as I peak through the door of Le Bon Bock. The restaurant is narrow and has only a handful of tables, tall ceilings (apparently well over 4 metres tall) and wooden panelling. But the thing that really draws you in is the lady wandering the short length of the restaurant singing opera. At first I couldn’t work out whether this was an impromptu novelty from a customer, but it turns out this is standard procedure at Le Bon Bock. She was wonderful, singing French classics with a large smile on her face. What a brilliant addition to our evening.
Speaking of French classics, Le Bon Bock delivered a traditional menu in excellent home cooked style. The French onion soup with melted cheesy croutons on top (€6.80) was beautifully flavoured, and I’m assured the goats cheese with honey and apple starter (€9.80) was also a winner. Duck confit (€16.80) went down a storm and my steak cravings were satisfied well, complimented by lovely roast potatoes and well seasoned greens (€25.50). Le Bon Bock offers a generous 3 course set dinner which includes most of the a la carte menu for only €25pp too, which is a big draw in an expensive city.
It turns out that Le Bon Bock is actually the oldest restaurant in Montmatre, dating from 1879, and supposedly a frequent haunt for long evenings drinking absinthe amongst the likes of Picasso and Toulouse Lautrec. Whether that’s true or not, who really knows, but this hidden gem in the north of the city certainly feels like somewhere they would hang out. A unique and charming find.
2 Rue Dancourt, 75018 Paris, France
+33 1 46 06 43 45
Open every day between 11.00 and 15.00; 18.00 and midnight
Starters: €6.50 – €14.50
Mains: €16.50 – €25.50
Desserts: around €7.80
3 courses set menu for €25pp