Le Petit Fer à Cheval
Teeny-tiny, but big on atmosphere, Le Petit Fer à Cheval, named for its veritably horseshoe-shaped marble-topped bar, is 100 years old, and the recent retro fittings (giant mirrors, vintage posters) don’t jar.
Wait for your date at the front, watching the rue Vieille du Temple passing by or, if you’re hungry, steal into the rear, where a dozen little tables await; breakfast comes with Mariage Frères tea, then there’s steak tartare, fresh vegetable soup of the day, and a well-nigh miraculous vegetarian plate, as well as a charcuterie selection.
Come at night, when it’s less touristy. The cramped conditions, good mix of ages and unpredictable music policy make for gentle good fun.