Abundant in history and culture, Montmartre is one of the best places to explore picturesque Paris. The former village is also rich in gastronomy, with a host of venues blending fine dining with a taste of history and contemporary culture. In our updated dining guide, we’ve selected the 10 best restaurants to help you experience Montmartre in all its splendor.
With its purple façade and small pavement terrace, it is hard to miss Le Babalou lodged on the rue Lamarck, one of the main streets winding down from Sacré Coeur. Le Babalou specialises in fine Italian cuisine, offering a great choice of authentic pizzas and fresh pasta dishes, all prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Desserts are no less authentic, featuring some delicious favourite Italian sweet treats such as homemade tiramisu and panna cotta. Le Babalou’s interesting interior is reminiscent of a living room complete with patterned wallpaper, well-stocked bookshelves and a fine collection of lampshades, making this a great spot to feel part of the trendy side of Montmartre.
Situated at the bottom of the Butte in a busy shopping street, Le Café de la Poste is the perfect place to mingle with the locals and get a true taste of Montmartre life. An authentic brasserie, the menu proposes a great selection of burgers and steaks, including steak à cheval topped with a fried egg, snack foods and cheese or cooked meat platters to accompany a bottle of wine from the well-stocked cellar. In keeping with the local spirit, the neighbouring tradesmen, including the fishmonger, baker and patisserie supply Le Café de la Poste with fresh and high quality produce. A glass of wine at Le Café de la Poste can extend into the night with the occasional evening events organised around a good plate of traditional French cuisine.
No visit to Montmartre would be complete without a wander around the Place du Tertre to observe artists painting at their easels and showcasing their work. This bustling area also boasts some of the oldest restaurants in Paris, including La Mère Catherine founded as far back as 1793. La Mère Catherine is bursting with symbols of the old days, with the ambience of old Montmartre captured in the paintings that line the walls, live musicians singing the likes of Piaff as they circle the red and white gingham-dressed tables and a menu of copious French classics, including onion soup bubbling with melted cheese, frogs legs and the famous apple pie known as tarte tatin. In the summer months, La Mère Catherine shares the Palace du Tertre with the artists, setting up a secluded terrace and providing an excellent spot to linger over a long lunch to the sound of the bells chiming from the nearby Sacré Coeur.
Montmartre’s iconic Moulin Rouge, which lights up the Place Blanche at night, is an indispensable place to experience Paris as it was during the Belle Epoque. Its cabaret featuring the famous French cancan is performed here every night of the week, showcasing a piece of French culture that will never disappear. Dining in the legendary music hall to the sound of accordions and sweeping skirts is an unmissable once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Moulin Rouge menu offers various options, recipes devised by Toulouse-Lautrec, who swore by his philosophy of food being an art, or a Belle Epoque option comprising ‘1889 beef’ with French beans. Le Moulin Rouge kitchen is also sensitive to changing lifestyles, proposing vegetarian and vegan options. With champagne flowing and red lamps glowing, whatever is on the plate, dining at the Moulin Rouge is a perfect blend of gastronomy and tradition.
Sacrée Fleur’s amusing name rhymes with its neighbouring monument but is essentially a tribute to the restaurant’s main feature, the sacred cow. Meat lovers will be in their element here faced with a wide choice of beef, including the finest rump steak, beef rib or raw beef tartare, all prepared to order and served with chips, salad and three sauces. The menu also proposes alternative meat options such as veal liver or leg of lamb and classic French starters, among which are the famous frog’s legs and snails, and a great selection of wines from all regions of France to accompany the selection of succulent meats. After starring on the menu, the cow is present all over Sacrée Fleur from the logo to décor, with prints of cows adorning the brick walls and the waiters’ aprons.
Cafe, Coffee Shop, Pastries, Vegetarian, Salad Bar, $$$
Soul Kitchen is the perfect place to nourish the body
Run by a trio of ladies who decided to give up their day jobs to open a restaurant, the Soul Kitchen is a perfect place to nourish the body after a soul-nourishing visit to the nearby Sacré Coeur. The trio serve homemade lunch, afternoon tea and dinner basing their recipes on locally sourced organic ingredients. A delicious savoury menu comprising soups, pizzas, salads, couscous and vegetarian options, as well as scrumptious muffins, cupcakes and a host of other homemade pastries. The Soul Kitchen is bright and cheerful with vibrant tiled flooring and vintage furniture, making it a feel-good place with some seriously feel-good food.
Situated on a quaint back street running parallel to the rue des Abbesses, Les Tantes Jeanne is a friendly restaurant, welcoming meat lovers to a feast of tender cuts they will need to go a long way to experience elsewhere. The highly acclaimed JapaneseKobe meat features among the array of revisited French classics prepared with a creative twist and beautifully presented. Look out for the chef’s tantalising sweetbread cassoulet with cep mushrooms or duck breast with Sichuan pepper, and don’t miss the selection of divine desserts including prune soufflé or fruit sorbet with champagne. This deviation from the main streets of Montmartre will be time well spent.