Cosi

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The kitchen at Cosi, the original Mediterranean sandwich shop that spawned the American chain, located in the 6th Arrondissement of Paris

Cosi
54, rue de Seine, in the 6th Arrondissement.
Open every day, noon–11 p.m. (till midnight Fri and Sat).
01 46 33 35 36.

I hear what you’re saying. You’re wondering, “Isn’t there a Cosi at my local mall?” “Aren’t there a dozen of these in Midtown Manhattan?” Probably, and yes. But this Paris lunch spot in the 6th is where it all began. The owners sold the concept years ago; Cosi in Paris is run by locals, not a massive public company.

And not just any locals, but Drew Harré and Juan Sanchez of the restaurant Fish (just across the street) and the wine shop La Dernière Goutte (around the corner), which means that Cosi probably has one of the best selections of wines by the glass to be found in any sandwich shop, in Paris or elsewhere.

The bread—essentially what makes a Cosi a Cosi—is baked continuously on the premises (if you’ve eaten at Fish, you’ve had it). The rectangular slabs are pulled out of the oven, cut into squarish pieces, split and filled to order.

The Cheesy English, an Anglo-inspired sandwich at Cosi, the original Mediterranean sandwich shop that spawned the American chain, located in the 6th Arrondissement of Paris

The Cheesy English, an Ango-inspired mashup with roast beef, cheddar and mayo.

As for what’s inside, the choices run from obviously Mediterranean (the Rocket Scientist has arugula, tomatoes, chives and basil; the Med Wedd has chèvre, tapenade, red onion and cucumber) through central France (the Blues has bleu d’Auvergne, walnuts and salad) to Anglo mashups, like the Cheesy English, with roast beef, cheddar and mayo; the Tom Dooley, with tandoori, cheddar, and tomatoes; and the Perfide Albion, which is not the only non-PC name on the menu: The Flipper is filled with tuna.

The name might be cheeky, but I promise there’s nothing naughty about the Naked Willi. To the contrary, it’s filled with roasted vegetables—perhaps a little heavy on the zucchini when I last had it—ricotta, olive oil and herbs. It’s one of several vegetarian options, by the way.

I like to go to Cosi for an easy pre- or postmovie meal. You can take your sandwiches to a table upstairs or get them to go (perhaps down to the Seine or to the Luxembourg Gardens for a picnic), though I recommend eating up relatively soon; Cosi sandwiches are more time sensitive than those made on crustier bread, and because they are so fresh, they also wilt.

In a nutshell: Fresh fillings and fresher bread make Cosi stand out from the Paris sandwich crowd.

Price check: Sandwiches, 5.50–8.50 euros; salads, 4–8 euros; dessert, 3.50 euros.

If Cosi sounds good, you may also like La Cuisine de Bar, a sit-down-only spot serving open-face sandwiches (tartines) on PoiIâne bread.

La Cuisine de Bar
8, rue du Cherche-Midi, in the 6th.
01 45 48 45 69. Mon–Sat, 9 a.m.–7 p.m.

Related links:

La Dernière Goutte

Poilâne

Editor’s note: For a gourmet walking tour, check out our DIY downloadable tours.

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