Cuisine de Bar
8, rue du Cherche Midi, in the 6th Arrondissement.
01 45 48 45 69. Mon–Sat, 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
38, rue Debelleyme, in the 3rd.
01 44 61 83 39. Tues–Sun, 8:30 a.m.–10 p.m.
Good sandwiches start with good bread, and there aren’t many breads better than pain Poilâne. The legendary loaf stands well on its own, but it is sublime when toasted, which is exactly the treatment it gets at Cuisine de Bar, a smart eat-in annex of the famous bakery (which now has a shop in the upper Marais, by the way).
More than a café, but barely a restaurant, the “bar” in this cuisine is the long counter that divides the open kitchen from the banquette seating, where locals and tourists squeeze in for a shopping break. Poilâne is a classic, but this space, and the concept, are contemporary.
The offerings include a dozen or so tartines—open-faced sandwiches—served hot from the broiler, topped with anything from fresh vegetables and goat cheese to smoked salmon to foie gras. Each comes with a small salad, thankfully no longer speckled with canned corn as it once was. It’s refreshing, I suppose, but really just incidental, something to keep you occupied while waiting for the main event to be delivered, which happens in short order. I got the “For’bon” tartine, which is topped with ripe and oozy Saint Marcellin, crisp Bayonne ham and a pungent mix of herbs—a far, far cry from the toasted cheese sandwiches of my youth. Honestly, it would require real effort to screw this up.
Though I was sitting inches away from a formidable-looking tarte tatin, I skipped dessert and went straight to coffee, served with a shortbread spoon.
In a nutshell: Poilâne bread is the basis for a near-perfect lunch at Cuisine de Bar.
Price check: Tartines, 7.60–12.90 euros. Lunch formule, 13 euros.
If you like the sound of Cuisine de Bar, try Cosi for more great sandwiches in the 6th. Read the review.
54, rue de Seine, in the 6th.
Open every day, noon–11 p.m. (till midnight Fri and Sat).
01 46 33 35 36.
Editor’s note: For a gourmet walking tour, check out our DIY downloadable tours.