Simon Horwitz

Simon Horwitz and his restaurant Elmer are emblematic of Paris’ new-wave of dining: French in spirit but influenced by the food of the world. After cutting his teeth in Parisian restaurants including time with Pierre Gagnaire and helping his friend Bertrand Grébaut open Septime, Horwitz went worked at high-powered international kitchens including Attica in Melbourne and Central in Lima. His well-travelled palate isn’t just obvious in his cooking, but also his hit-list for where to dine in the French capital.

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The Septime Connection

For fine-dining style, perfectly done with creativity I like Saturne and of course, Septime. Every time you go it’s interesting, full of flavour and very smartly done. There is nothing put without any sense in the plate. On Sunday, my day off, I love to go to Clamato; the small restaurant from Septime. Every single Sunday, this place will be full of Parisian chefs – it’s the type of place where you always see people that you know, hanging around and enjoying good food, good wine and maybe a cocktail. It’s really nice.

A Tiny Canteen Serving Good Food And Natural Wine

Le Servan is a restaurant opened by a friend of mine, Tatiana Levha (formerly at L’Arpège and L’Astrance) and her sister Katia. It’s quite smart, it’s not expensive, and you eat very good food and drink natural wine. It’s quite small, like a canteen where you’re almost eating with the people around you; the atmosphere is quite nice.

Close To Home

Le Grand Bol is a Chinese restaurant in my neighbourhood so I’m going there quite a lot. They do really nice dim sum, and I love their Peking duck; the skin is super crispy, and the roasted breast is delicious. It’s one of my favourites. Norma is an Italian restaurant that’s only a few streets from my place. It’s really nice pizza, with a good dough that’s spent like two or three days fermenting. For their pasta, everything is homemade, and they play with really amazing products.

French Classics, Done Right

Aux Artistes is a really small restaurant in the 15th district – it’s not well known at all, but it’s always totally full. You have a lot of young people – young locals – coming here. It’s a long-time favourite of mine, for sure. A very close friend of mine took over the restaurant nine years ago from his father, and the menu is 13 or 15 years old by now. It’s really simple food, but when people are looking for traditional French food – like steak frites, really well cooked – this is definitely what I recommend. It’s just delicious.

A Speakeasy In A Taco Shop

For good cocktails there is La Candelaria near Rue de Bretagne; they’re quite famous for their cocktails and for using interesting alcohols and sake, and they do it really well. It’s a speakeasy. So, you find a little taco shop, and then you have to find and push on this door which will take you into the bar.

Oysters And Cocktails

If you love oysters and cocktails, then you have to go to ISTR; an oyster bar on the same street as Elmer. There are not many places where you can find such a good, and big selection of oysters; it’s great. And the bartender trained with some of the best mixologists in Paris, so his list of cocktails (around 20 – 25) are really, really good. If I’ve had a big lunch, and feel like having something small to eat and a drink at around 7pm, this is where I’m going.

Neighbourhood Bistro By Day, Wine Bar By Night

I’ve recently been going a lot to Café du Coin, a neighbourhood bistro that becomes a wine bar at night.  It opened about two years ago in an old café, but they kept everything just as it is, and just put some small tables inside. The dishes are very simple, but perfectly done; like their famous pizzetta. They always use the freshest products, and it’s not expensive at all. It’s a good place for a weekday lunch.

A Bistro From A Former Septime Sous Chef

There is a place that I love called Gare au Gorille which is from a good friend of mine, Marc Cordonnier (formerly the sous-chef at Septime), and it’s quite amazing. He’s changing the menu every week, and it’s definitely delicious with joie de vivre. They have a wine list (mainly natural), and you can find some really good wines from within and outside of France – they’re looking for different wines; it’s definitely interesting. Regarding the food, they have a three-course menu for lunch that’s only around 25euros, and for dinner, they propose a list of mostly small and a few big plates that are perfect to share with a bottle of wine. It’s a great place to go with friends.

A Grocery Shop, Patisserie, Wine Bar

At Elmer we opened a little grocery shop and a patisserie, and you can sit inside and have a couple of glasses of wine, or a bottle to share if you like. Our sommelier is very good, so we have a lot of bottles from small producers; our list is a mix of both natural and classic-style. We are mostly selling things we prepare in the restaurant, so of course some terrine, pickled vegetables, smoked salmon – things like this. But we also added some tables, so that people can sit to try or eat some food – to try the wine – and of course, discuss. We want to create human places that encourage interaction.

Say Cheese

There is a really nice, small fromagerie not far from where I live called Taka et Verno. It’s owned and run by a Japanese man and a French girl, and they’re looking for good, interesting cheesemakers. I really love La Ferme d’Alexandre, a fromagerie that is quite interesting. The owner really loves cheese, so he’s very carefully looking for special people and special cheese. You can always find things that are not very common. They have two shops now – in the 6th and the 14th district.

Say Cheese. And Wine.

La Vache Dans Les Vignes (The Cow in the Vines) is a small wine bar and shop by the canal that sell amazing cheese. Every time I go there, I’m going to discover a new wine. It’s really interesting, I love this place. Surprisingly there are few wine bars in Paris where you find wines that you didn’t know before, but the owner here is really passionate about wine (and cheese!) and the wine list changes all the time. It’s a place by the canal where you can sit, relax and enjoy – it’s really nice

Guide last updated August 2019

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