French pâtisserie from South Pigalle, Paris

South Pigalle, Paris: 10 best places to eat and drink

Check out author of the Wallpaper* City Guide Paris Sophie Dening's guide to Paris' once overlooked SoPi neighbourhood. A must-visit for its artisan patisseries, hip bistros and stellar cheese shops

1) Modern bistro

Although it opened in 2011, Le Pantruche feels old-school. Slide onto a banquette, unfurl a white napkin, and eat deftly executed classics such as braised ris de veau (sweetbreads), scallops with cauliflower purée, or roast sucking pig with pear, celery and chestnut, followed by Grand Marnier soufflé or cheese from dairy royalty Pascal Beillevaire. The team’s stablemate, nearby Caillebotte, is equally admirable.


2) Burgers and beers

Trendy and fun, Le Dépanneur might seem anathema to “real Paris”, with its Brooklyn beer, milkshakes and cheesecake, but young locals love this neighbourhood diner. It’s more Mex than Tex, with cacti adorning tables and a menu featuring ceviche, guacamole and tacos, as well as gourmet burgers: go for a ‘dude’, with bacon, beaufort (Alpine cheese), grilled peppers and caramelised onions.

3) Pâtisserie perfection

French pâtisserie from South Pigalle, Paris

Pretty vitrines of cakes, chocolate and confectionery in Sébastien Gaudard’s Rue des Martyrs boutique give grown-ups a cinematic kid-in-a-candy-store treat. Indulge in a caramelised choux bun or a rum baba, or take home a jar of crème de marrons (chestnut cream) or a packet of candied fruits.

4) Italophile style

The menu at the new Grand Hotel Pigalle (the first hotel project from the folk behind Experimental Cocktail Club) gives fans of Giovanni Passerini, formerly
at Rino in the 12th, a chance to revisit his ethereal pasta. Start with fiore sardo hard cheese with sautéed escarole, then try a seasonal take on gnudi or ravioli, and finish with proper cannoli.

5) Japanese bites

A favourite among young chefs and restaurateurs (it’s open late), Ito Izakaya is hung with glamorous vintage geisha prints and paper lanterns. Book ahead for inventive small plates, and sake by the carafe, and go in a gang so you can try everything: wakame salad with fried anchovies; curried monkfish; ox cheek croquette; risotto with kombu dashi.

6) Proper coffee

When you wake up and smell decent coffee in Paris, there’s often an Antipodean influence. Set up by a Frenchman ‘pining’ after a spell in Sydney, KB Café Shop (the KB is for ‘kooka boora’) is a cheery, laptop-friendly space where the carrot cake is homemade and the beans are roasted on site.

7) Fine cheese

Fine cheese shop in South Pigalle, Paris

On the eastern slopes of South Pigalle, Crémerie Rochechouart is an old-fashioned encyclopaedia of a cheese shop, stocking pretty much every style, from obvious to obscure. Pick up some comté (young and nutty or the ultra umami 24-month aged version), or the highly transportable vieille mimolette.

8) Dream deli

When Causses opened in SoPi in 2012 (there are sibling stores in the Marais and Les Halles) it won local gourmets over instantly – no small feat. It’s a stylish-looking slow food deli selling every sort of well-sourced premium comestible, from Alpine honey and Limousin yogurts to jambon de Paris and caillettes (faggots).

9) Buzzy brunch

Comfort food and low-key, arty decor means the restaurant at Hôtel Amour attracts a cool, sometimes starry crowd. The 21 vegetarian brunch includes salad of carrot, orange and passion fruit, tandoori avocado, and pumpkin velouté. Or, go à la carte with eggs benedict, steak tartare or chicken and chips.

10) Cool cocktails

Artisan cocktail from South Pigalle in Paris

Never mind Artisan’s slightly exasperating name, just enjoy its gimmick-free, friendly vibe, deftly made cocktails and superb small plates. Try a Rhubarbe, made with rhubarb-infused vodka, grapefruit juice, Peychaud’s bitters, absinthe and elderflower cordial, and a plate of pork belly with bourbon, ginger and szechuan pepper.


How to do it

Return fares from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord start at £58 ( Double rooms at Hôtel Panache cost from 250, room only (