Eight Great Places for Roast Chicken in Paris

Every since Diane Keaton swooned over the poulet rôti in Something’s Gotta Give, French fowl has been back in fashion.
roast chicken

For the record, Le Grand Colbert, the gilded brasserie where Keaton dined, didn’t even serve roast chicken until the film came out in 2003, bringing in hordes of new customers looking for the “world’s most famous roast chicken.” There are plenty of places in Paris, however, that always had the poulet nonpareil dish on their menus. Here are my favorites:

1. L’AOC

This inviting auberge spins on the axis of a winning formula—serve only products with an official Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée. The poulet aux pattes noire de M. Barreau comes with crunchy sautéed potatoes, and it’s a beauty. Don’t miss the ewe’s milk cheese made by Benedictine monks at the Abbaye de Belloc in the Basque Country. 14 Rue des Fossés St Bernard, 5th (01-43-54-22-52; restoaoc.com)

2. L’Atelier de Maître Albert

One of Guy Savoy’s constellation of Paris bistros, this Latin Quarter outpost is a perfect cold-weather refuge, with exposed stone walls, a wood-beamed ceiling, and a big fireplace to warm up the Zen-like décor by Jean-Pierre Wilmotte. The free-range chicken is spit-roasted on a massive wall-mounted rotisserie and served with a side casserole of silky potato purée. 1 Rue Maître Albert, 5th (33-1-56-81-30-01; ateliermaitrealbert.com)

3. La Bastide de l’Odéon

Gilles Ajuelo’s popular provençal-accented bistro serves up a terrific chicken roasted with ail en chemise (unpeeled garlic cloves), which are just about the most perfect garnish imaginable, and pommes de terre Villegagnon (delectable spuds from a town of the same name in the Seine-et-Marne). Start with Riviera-style eggplant, finish with the vanilla mille-feuille, and don’t be surprised to hear a lot English spoken here—the Odéon is the epicenter of Paris tourism. 7 Rue Corneille, 6th (01-43-26-03-65; bastide-odeon.com)

4. La Cantine du Troquet

Already well-established with his popular Le Troquet and Le Grand Pan, both in the 15th arrondissement, chef Christian Etchebest, a master of terroir cooking, produces a delicious roast chicken with freshly made frites at his latest Left Bank bistro—a simple, moderately priced, and very popular place in the 14th Arrondissement. Don’t pass up the cold fresh pea, pine nut, and chorizo soup, either, or the rice pudding with caramel sauce. 101 rue de l’Ouest, 14th (no phone, no reservations; closed Sunday evening and Monday)

5. Chez Flottes

Popular with office workers and fashion execs, this busy brasserie is moderately priced and features a spit-roasted free-range bird from the Aveyron region with excellent mashed potatoes. Start with some onion soup or endive salad with blue cheese, and enjoy the terrific Auvergnat cheese plate for dessert. 2 rue Cambon, 1st (33-1-42-60-80-89; flottes.fr)

6. Le Relais Plaza

With its streamlined décor recalling the glory days of such transatlantic liners as the Normandie, the brasserie in the Hôtel Plaza Athénée offers a kid-glove setting in which to enjoy some of the city’s best roast chicken. The poulet de Bresse—hands down the world’s best chicken—is spit-roasted with a luscious gratin dauphinois. Add a green salad and a bottle of juicy Morgon and you’ve got one swell little supper. 21 Avenue Montaigne, 8th (33-1-53-67-64-00; plaza-athenee-paris.com)

7. Le Père Claude

This long-running, stylish-but-laid-back restaurant is the kind Parisians describe as “Franco-Français” (French for the French). Long popular with Gallic celebs unknown outside of France, it serves the kind of comfort food that makes penny-pinching aristocrats happy, with the lead dish on the hit parade being the juicy rotisserie roast chicken, a plump free-range bird that comes with crunchy, chicken-fat-infused potatoes. 51 Avenue de la Motte-Picquet, 15th (33-1-47-34-03-05; lepereclaude.free.fr)

8. La Rotisserie du Beaujolais

On the banks of the Seine, just across the street from La Tour d’Argent, this rustic in-town auberge has extra-juicy rotisserie chicken cooked to order (it takes about 40 minutes). Start with the excellent oeufs en meurette (poached eggs in red-wine-and-bacon sauce), and finish up with the crème brulée. 19 quai de la Tournelle, 5th (33-1-43-54-17-47)

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