Aux Tonneaux des Halles
28, rue Montorgueil, in the 1st Arrondissement.
01 42 33 36 19. Lunch daily; dinner Mon–Sat.
There is no shortage of Paris restaurants serving steak frites. You can find the dish on many menus, and everyone claims to have a favorite, from the all-you-can-eat steak frites at Le Relais de l’Entrecôte to the beef aged to perfection at Le Severo. I’ve eaten my share of this delicious red-meat-and-potato combo in Paris, but I recently learned of an old (but new to me) top-notch steak frites spot called Aux Tonneaux des Halles, and I had to check it out.
Aux Tonneaux des Halles is on the bustling, somewhat touristy rue Montorgueil, a stone’s throw from St.-Eustache and Les Halles. A dozen tables are scattered casually around the outdoor terrace, and a long wraparound bar sits just inside, opposite a red booth stretched along the wall.
The menu is small. There’s beef, veal and duck, along with several nice charcuterie and cheese boards. All of the main dishes are under 20 euros, which is a good buy for the quantity and quality served. You’ll also find a solid wine selection with multiple sizes available for reasonable prices.
We started with a tomato salad that was bright and lightly dressed with olive oil and fresh herbs. We moved on to a thick slice of wild boar pâté, which was rich and creamy and primed our palates for the main event. The entrecôte was served with a tangy Bordelaise sauce, but I found the meat itself a little uninspired. There wasn’t a lot of flavor, but there were a lot of fatty, crisp fries to pick up the slack.
My new favorite meat-and-starch pairing ending up being an impulse order of duck confit. Nicely browned skin gave way to succulent, salty meat that I devoured right off the bone. It was served with quarter-size grilled potato rounds and a side salad—a nicely done dish that I look forward to enjoying again soon.
It’s hard to find room for dessert after a large meat-laden meal, but the cheese board ended up being a good finish, complete with a mound of rich golden butter from Normandy, a worthy dessert unto itself.
In a nutshell: Aux Tonneaux des Halles offers an inexpensive menu of steak frites, as well as an excellent duck confit. Sit on the large terrace and savor one of the bar’s many affordable wines while watching the action on rue Montorgueil.
Price check: Starters 4–8 euros; mains, 16–19 euros.
If you like the sound of Aux Tonneaux des Halles, also consider Le Relais de l’Entrecôte, where you’ll be treated to unlimited steak frites in an addictive secret sauce. Read the review.
Le Relais de l’Entrecôte
20, rue St.-Benoît, in the 6th.
01 45 49 16 00. Lunch and dinner daily.
For additional locations, see their website.
Editor’s note: For a gourmet walking tour, check out our DIY downloadable Paris tours.