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An authentic brasserie

Tucked away in a side street off the glittering Champs Elysees Chez André is one of my very favourite Paris brasseries. Why ? Because this soignee and unfailingly cheerful table delivers absolutely everything that anyone could possibly want from a brasserie one of the most emblematic of all the different categories of French restaurants. ln case you were wondering what the others are here's the gastronomie totem pole Bistros serve simmered dishes while brasseries are big busy lively places that are open daily and late and usually serve an appetising menu of roasts and grills. Then white-table cloth restaurants become more formal and more ambitious according to the Michelin stars they either hold or hope to obtain.

So what does Chez Andre offer ? Charming service excellent food and a great atmosphere. I also love the aura of pre-war Parisien glamour that pervades this pair of dining rooms, too. They always make me think of the photography of such famous French shutterbugs Robert Doisneau and Edouard Boubat, both of whom would have found a perfect subject in this restaurant. Part of this sophisticated ambience is due to waitresses in black dresses with white aprons and a natty and exceptionally cordial maître d'hôtel and part of it is due to the fact that Chez Andre attracts a well-heeled well-dressed clientele from all points of the compass.

Stopping by for dinner recently a very chic young French couple from Bordeaux on their honeymoon sat to our right, while a pair of retired admirals from the U S Navy tucked into big juicy steaks to our left. (Yes I ll admit it eavesdropping is one of the great pleasures of dining out) There was also a good looking Brazilian family nearby and another table of two Parisien grandmothers with their grandchildren. You see everyone is comfortable here and this is why Chez Andre has so many regulars.

Looking for a light meal on a Sunday night this is an exceptionally good weekend address we started with a beautifully seasoned salmon tartare and a curly endive salad with Roguefort and Granny Smith apple (a great pairing of tastes), and then impeccably-cooked grilled sole and beef filet with green peppercorn sauce. This delightful meal concluded with a floating island with a caramel veil in custard sauce, a well-imbibed baba au rhum with whipped cream and a firm intention to return to this lovely restaurant again soon.

A-L

Traditionnal bistro
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