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Steak Frites in Paris?

Hi all! We are headed to Paris 12/26-12/30! My wife and I would love to have steak frites while we are there. Do you all have any recommendations?

Posted by
8889 posts

Steak Frites is the base meal in a cheap restaurant. Good, filling and cheap. You can get it anywhere.
"Steak" in French does not imply beef. Historically, it was often horse. Personally, I love horse-meat, but in the English-speaking world there is a prejudice against it. Unfortunately, these days it is mostly beef steak.

Posted by
5262 posts

Beef is boeuf, or bifteck. Horse is cheval. Most likely you'll get beef.

Posted by
2466 posts

If you're expecting a thick cut of beef, that won't be what you'll get when you order steak frites.
Unless you go to an expensive steak house that specializes in good beef, you'll get a very thin piece of beef, often gristly and with some fat. French beef is normally grass-fed, so will be much tougher than what you are probably used to eating.
Paul Bert in the 11th arrondissement serves several different cuts of very good steak, and the frites are home-made. It's worth the splurge - around 40 EU - though the restaurant will not cook beef medium or well-done. Order "saignante" (rare) and you'll be happy.
Le Severo in the 14th arrondissement is just as good, but will cook beef to order.

Posted by
254 posts

Another recommendation for Relais de l'Entrecôte. Make sure to get there early since there are no reservations. I believe we arrived around 6:40 to line up and were able to be in the first seating when they opened at 7.

Posted by
1745 posts

I recommend Poulett in the Marais. We went early for lunch and were not disappointed. It was delicious, reasonable and in a beautiful setting, with art nouveau tiles behind the bar.

Posted by
2466 posts

Maybe this is a typo - I don't know of any restaurant named Poulett in the Marais.
The deal with Relais d'Entrecote is that you get a second serving without asking. But the beef and the sauce aren't really very good.

I have never seen horsemeat (chevaline) served in a restaurant in Paris.
People buy it at specialty markets where it is clearly marked for what it is, then they cook it at home.

Posted by
4684 posts

I agree that horsemeat is very rarely served now in France. A couple of years ago when there was the horsemeat adulteration scandal in Europe, I read a news story claiming that a specialist horsemeat hot food stand at the Bastille market had noted an upsurge in trade from people who wanted to know how to recognise it in future.

Posted by
2466 posts

I have been shopping at the Bastille market twice a week for 10 years. Just FYI and not to cause undue panic:

There is a refrigerated stand selling only products made from fresh horsemeat. The sign says "CHEVALINE".
There is no stand selling any hot food products made from horsemeat.
Plenty of stands selling hot food with pork, chicken, beef, and vegetarian options, though.

Posted by
8293 posts

Montrealers don't have to go to Paris to taste horse meat Lucky us .... it is available in any supermarket, clearly marked "chevaline".

Posted by
8293 posts

An acquaintance of mine claims horse meat makes excellent steak tartare, superior to beef. I take his word for it and feel no need to see if he is right.

Posted by
48 posts

Thanks for all of the recommendations all! I think I will pass on the horse meat and stick to beef steak frites. :) I'm an adventurous eater, but horse might be my limit....

Posted by
2466 posts

Horsemeat is good, just tastes a little sweeter than beef does.

Woinparis - there is always a line of people buying chevaline at Bastille - mostly older folks, but not always. It seems to be a little cheaper, too.

Posted by
697 posts

woinparis - to answer your question, no we do not eat horsemeat in the US. And I hope to never eat it in France or anywhere else either. LOL

Posted by
335 posts

Another vote for Relais de l'Entrecôte's steak/frite! I've eaten often at both the Blvd Montparnasse and rue Saint-Benoit restos and always take visiting friends there for a wonderful dinner. Finding good, tender steak can be iffy in Paris, but Relais' is always tender and the sauce is WONDERFUL. And the thin, crispy fries are great too. Be aware that there is nothing else on the menu, only steak - you just tell them how you want it cooked (a point - ah pwa - for medium rare). You can order appetizers and dessert (if you have any room left, try the profiteroles). Especially at the St Benoit location, always arrive at least 15 minutes before they open (noon for lunch, 7pm for dinner) to be near the head of the line. Bon appetit!

Posted by
1954 posts

I think that many Anglo-Americans would consider 'a point' ( 'al punto' here in California and the rest of Latin America) to be more like medium rare than like medium, although the influence of Anglos is reaching far enough that some places are making 'al punto' go a little further cooked in the medium direction.

Posted by
2466 posts

Everything hinges upon the thickness of the meat.
If you want a decent steak, go to a steak house. Look at what other people are eating or ask the waiter to estimate with his fingers how thick the cut of meat will be.
Thin cuts of meat are chewy. Thick cuts of meat are tender.

If you want your steak "a point", it will be barely pink, if it is at least 1.5 to 2 inches thick.
Under 1 inch, it will be grey and warm-ish.

"Saignant" will be very rare and cool in the middle for a very thin cut of steak, between 1/2 inch and 1 inch. Better to order a larger cut of meat, which is finished in the oven and will be warm in the middle and perfectly rare.

"Bleu" is basically raw meat, slapped on the grill for a minute and will be cold in the middle. Larger cuts will be finished in the oven, and the middle will be warm but still very, very rare.

All of this information applies to hamburgers, too.

Posted by
12980 posts

I order my steak frites in France "a point" which I liken to "medium rare" or just a bit less. No problem by me.

Posted by
1954 posts

To get back from the issue of bloody vs. blue to the meat of the topic, steak,
I want to mention that the cuts that French butchery considers standard are
not quite the same as what the English consider standard,
and because we here in the US tend to get so much of our European knowledge
through an English filter, we sometimes lose some of the richness in translation.

French butchery distinguishes 'onglet' from 'bavette', and further recognizes two, or maybe even three, kinds of bavette cuts.
This is from a Chowhound discussion thread several years ago:
"Onglet = hanger (or hangar) steak
Bavette d'aloyau = skirt steak
Bavette de flanchet = flank steak"

The official French website for the Centre d'information des viandes has some nifty video clips showing the details of their beef cuts.

If you google around a bit you'll find more details about what American butchery thinks counts as a hanger cut compared to what the French do.

And there's an article from about a year ago comparing US, French, and Argentine attitudes on steak located here:
http://www.civ-viande.org/2015/11/12/comparaison-des-attitudes-envers-le-boeuf-dans-quatre-pays-differents-argentine-bresil-france-et-usa/

Posted by
2466 posts

That's because most of the cuts of meat mentioned are only familiar to an independent butcher and his staff. If you want to buy and cook a good steak yourself, ask a butcher to recommend something.
Most people buy meat from the supermarket, where it's wrapped in plastic - or go to a "marche volant" where only the most popular cuts are sold, for lack of space.

Posted by
1954 posts

The places in Lyon that I've eaten at are very clear on whether they are serving customers a bavette or an onglet, and certainly would make a point of mentioning entrecote.