85, rue de la Roquette, in the 11th Arrondissement.
01 43 71 90 75. Mon–Fri, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
Looking at the storefront of this pocket-size Paris restaurant, you might walk right past it, not only because of its size, but also because of the name posted above the door: “Chevaline,” which translates to “horse butcher.” This place was indeed once a horse butcher, but now it’s home to a great new lunch spot. Delphine Zampetti, last in the kitchen of Le Verre Volé, is putting her stamp on the place with a switch in letters—CheZ Aline.
Zampetti has produced a deli extraordinaire. When I arrived before the lunch rush, there was a freshly made tortilla sitting atop a deli case housing a unique selection of salads, including a corn, green pepper and mussel mix; an octopus and cucumber pairing; and my favorite, yellow beans with sun-dried tomatoes in an herb vinaigrette.
You can also choose from a range of interesting made-to-order sandwiches, like the large baguette stuffed with Prince of Paris ham, artichokes and a generous slathering of garlicky pine nut pesto. That’s going to be a staple for me on many future Paris picnics.
There is one cold and one hot dish rotated and served daily. Expect inventive fare like a cool pig cheek salad or classics like roasted chicken served with a side of zucchini. You can wash it all down with one of the bottled fruit juices, or choose from a half-dozen French and natural wines all picked and priced to complement your lunch.
Desserts may include just-fallen-off-the-tree peaches in a buttery crumble, or summer strawberries with fromage blanc.
Since there are just four barstools inside and a small terrace for a table or two, arrive early. Or plan on creating the perfect picnic to take with you.
In a nutshell: A must-visit before your next picnic to purchase unique sandwiches and homemade salads at affordable prices.
Price check: Sandwiches, 6–8 euros; mains, 9–10 euros; desserts, 5 euros.
If you like the sound of CheZ Aline, check out Rose Bakery. Read the review.
46, rue des Martyrs, in the 9th.
01 42 82 12 80. Tues–Sun, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
30, rue Debelleyme, in the 3rd.
01 49 96 54 01. Tues–Sun, 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m.