The Oberkampf neighborhood seamlessly blends the best of classic and contemporary French cuisines.
This hip quartier takes its rather un-French name after German-born Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf, the royal manufacturer of Louis XVI and the inventor of the toile de Jouy fabric. Once a humble working-class district, Oberkampf is now one of the liveliest areas in Paris, well known for its arts, music and nightlife scene.
Oberkampf is also a dining destination in its own right. Classic brasseries stand side by side with the most innovative among Parisian restaurants, reflecting the cultural diversity of the area. Ambitious young chefs are continually transforming traditional French dishes, enhancing them with flavors from world cuisines, and the results are both surprising and delightful.
Without further ado, here are the best Oberkampf restaurants to try on your next jaunt to Paris.
1. Aux Deux Amis
Aux Deux Amis is a great late-night spot. This animated 70s-style bistro full of chatter and loud music is always jam-packed with fashionable Parisian crowds. The plates are famously small but they are scrumptious.
Expect to find an extensive choice of delicious, shareable, tapas-style dishes: fresh sardines, black pudding purée, beetroot with Bismarck vodka, burrata and manchego cheese. Aux Deux Amis also serves some of Paris’ best natural wines.
Insider’s tip: The restaurant is only open in the evening. It serves cold tapas between 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. when the kitchen opens.
2. Clown Bar
Clown Bar, decorated with elegant Belle Epoque ceramic tiles, was once the canteen for clowns from the circus next door. While we can’t speak for the dishes served here in its circus heyday, the food today is absolutely spectacular.
Tokyo-born chef Sota Atsumi creates delectable, modern French dishes with a Japanese touch, like mussels steamed in sake or cod tempura. The specialty of the house, however, is not for the faint of heart: whole calf brain is served in ponzu sauce and topped with ginger and green onion.
Insider’s tip: The restaurant is extremely popular and you’ll need to book at least a couple of weeks in advance.
3. Les Fabricants
Head to this trendy cafeteria-style restaurant for a casual meal with friends, just like food-loving Parisians do.
Les Fabricants serves traditional home-style dishes at their best. They are acclaimed for their hearty French fares from the Basque region, such as escalope de veau montagnarde (veal stuffed with cheese and mushrooms), tripes basquaise and salade de gessiers (duck gizzard salad).
Insider’s tip: Remember to bring the cash; the restaurant doesn’t accept cards.
4. Pierre Sang
After winning third place in France’s version of Top Chef in 2011, Pierre Sang Boyer—a Korean adoptee chef from Auvergne—opened his first restaurant in Oberkampf, focusing on Korean-style French cuisine.
At Pierre Sang, you’ll experience subtle and sophisticated flavor combinations you’ve never had before. Expect to taste delicacies like octopus ragout served with quinoa and crunchy, crystalline ice plant, or rice balls with sabayon and yuzu sorbet. Each dish is as visually stunning as it is delicious. We recommend finding a seat at the counter where you can watch Pierre Sang’s chefs at work.
Insider’s tip: The restaurant doesn’t accept reservations, so be prepared for up to an hour-long wait.
5. Au Passage
The talented young team that runs Au Passage is not afraid to break the rules of classical French cooking.
This is the place to discover some highly innovative dishes like their signature octopus, which takes three days to prepare, or veal liver accompanied by a silky potato purée. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, you might want to opt for the roasted pigeon, calf brains or veal heart.
Au Passage was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s show “The Layover” and is a popular hangout for Parisian chefs, which explains the long lines that stretch down the street. Trust us when we say the food is more than worth the wait.
Chef Christophe Kestler creates pure magic here: grilled Charolais beef in anchovy butter and smoked herrings with warm potato salad are among our favorites. But the star attraction remains their renowned all-you-can-eat cheese platter with 15 types of cheese—arguably the best of its kind in Paris.
7. La Mère Poule
If you’re after unpretentious food served in an intimate Parisian setting, head to La Mère Poule. Try their signatures like roasted suckling pig, veal tartare and picañha beef from Argentina. Oh, and be sure to order the tarte Tatin or white-chocolate cheesecake, too. With excellent wines, a warm atmosphere and friendly service to boot, what more can you ask for?
8. Ober Mamma
Surprises await behind the blue facade of this popular Italian trattoria, including a giant fake tree and raw prosciuttos hanging from the ceiling. The greatest surprise, however, is the food.
Ober Mamma serves tasty ultra-thin crusted pizzas, cooked at soaring temperatures in the wood-fired oven. Go for the Neapolitan or Regina Wild pizza with fresh truffles. From the dessert menu, try the pannacotta with baked apricots, sprinkled with biscuit crumbs—trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
You’re probably not expecting to find a phenomenal barbecue place in Paris. But what if we told you that this Texas-style restaurant offers some of the best smoked meat you’ll ever taste, in Paris or elsewhere?
Don’t miss the brisket, which is cooked in an oak-wood oven for no less than 15 hours. It is superbly tender and bursting with flavor. The pulled pork and spare ribs, like just about everything else on the menu, are spectacular as well.Want our insider’s guide to eating in Paris? Just add your email address in the form below! ADD_THIS_TEXT
Irma fell in love with all things French while studying in Paris. She currently lives in Norway, making sure to travel to Paris as often as possible. She is always on the lookout for those unique, local experiences that remain unknown to most tourists.