Chez l’Ami Jean
One of those bistros that many an industry insider tips as a favourite, L’Ami Jean is the oldest Basque restaurant in Paris, and a place of contemporary foodie pilgrimage, attracting a true cross-section of diners. It pairs boisterous informality (you might be seated near a table of rugby nplayers or firemen) with superb gourmet food, much of it using ingredients from the southwest: the menu might feature cochonnaille, aka great hams from the Camdeborde family (see LComptoir du Relais), milk-fed lamb from the Pyrenées, foie gras, wild boar and pigeon; whelks, langoustines and seabass are from Brittany. The wine list features distinctive Basque grape varieties, such as tannat from Irouleguy. Do book ahead, even during the week; there’s never much of a lull.