The French capital is known for the sheer number and quality of its restaurants and cafés, and visitors rarely have to go far for a memorable meal. Nowhere is this more the case than in the passage des Panoramas, one of Paris’s first covered arcades, which opened in 1800. It was inspired by the bazaars and souks of more exotic climes, and its glazed roof, paved flooring and, after 1831, thoroughly innovative gas lighting made it a welcome retreat in all weathers. Smart Parisians came to stroll, to explore its specialist shops and, increasingly, to meet friends.
Today, the charmingly retro passage off boulevard Montmartre packs a surprising range of places to eat into its 133-metre length. Visitors can start the day with a leisurely breakfast, including coffee to please the pickiest connoisseur, continue with a convivial lunch and a cake or two, and end the day with a glass of something and an indulgent dinner, all under one roof.
Racines is a French bistro with a difference, thanks to its excellent selection of biodynamic, organic and unsulphured wines. Locals and visitors flock here to enjoy a glass or two in a lively and convivial atmosphere, accompanied by updated classic dishes designed to complement the wine list. Daily specials reflect whatever has caught chef Renaud Marcille’s eye at the market that day, while the simple but delicious platters of cheese and charcuterie are always popular. This is unpretentious, authentic French cooking at its best.
Racines, 8 passage des Panoramas, 75002 Paris, +33 (0)1 4013 0641
Occupying the former premises of historic Paris printer and engraver Stern, Caffè Stern brings a taste of Italy to the arcade. The sumptuous interior was designed by Philippe Starck, and provides a chic setting in which to savour everything from a lì per lì, a mini cappuccino that originated in Trieste, to a senza fretta, prepared in a Neapolitan coffee maker. The all-day menu takes in extra virgin olive oil brioches for breakfast and Venetian-style tapas (cicchetti) such as whipped salt cod with fried polenta for later in the day; along with dishes such as fried langoustines with bottarga (salted and cured fish roe) sauce for lunch and dinner.
Caffè Stern, 47 passage des Panoramas, 75002 Paris, +33 (0)1 7543 6310
Noglu is proof that gluten-free cooking can produce truly delicious results. The restaurant and bakery was set up by Frédérique Jules in 2012, and everything is freshly made daily using organic produce where possible. If you’re in a rush, stop at the fantastic bakery, which turns out cakes that are so exemplary you’d never know they were made without wheat: choose from a tempting assortment of French classics such as fruit tarts, as well as cheesecakes, brownies and carrot cake. In the restaurant, more substantial dishes include a classic hamburger along with plenty of vegetarian friendly and lactose-free plates.
Noglu, 16 passage des Panoramas, 75002 Paris, +33 (0)1 4026 4124
Canard & Champagne
Behind a beautifully carved wooden frontage, Canard & Champagne focuses on two emblematic French products: duck and champagne. The restaurant’s interior preserves the building’s rich heritage while imbuing it with contemporary appeal, plus there’s an ‘outdoor’ terrace that allows diners to absorb the atmosphere of the arcade. Begin at the bar with a few appetisers of duck saucisson and rillettes, accompanied by sparkling cocktails. The menu offers a choice of two starters and three main courses, including duck breast fillet or homemade confit duck served with either homemade fries or seasonal vegetables.
Canard & Champagne, 57 passage des Panoramas, 75002 Paris, +33 (0)9 8183 9569