Restaurant Review: Janine, Paris

Restaurant Review: Janine, Paris

Traditional French bistro meets Italian trattoria in the dishes served at Janine, a recently-opened restaurant in the north-west of Paris.

Even in the world’s most visited city, there are delightful, little-known neighbourhoods that remain very much the happy turf of the locals who live there. Les Batignolles on the northern edge of the 17th arrondissement is one such place, although it is becoming more popular with visitors thanks to excellent restaurants like Rooster and the recently-opened Janine.

The latter is an absolutely delightful new bistro by restaurateur Thibault Sizun, who began his career in his native Brittany and then cooked in New York City and other places before hanging out his first shingle.

Arriving for dinner, I fell into conversation with the very hospitable Sizun, who quickly poured an excellent Chardonnay from the Jura to slake my thirst while I waited for Mehdi, one of my oldest Parisian friends to join me for dinner. Sizun told me that his restaurant – which looks like it’s been here forever but is in fact brand new – is named after his adored grandmother, Janine, “a great cook with a big heart who gave me my love of food and cooking”.

Janine’s cuisine is decidedly French

The rock-of-ages bistro décor – vintage tile floors, a big zinc-clad service bar, bare wooden tables, bentwood chairs, framed drawings, retro posters and bric-a-brac on the walls – creates a warm, homey atmosphere that is the perfect prelude to a good meal.

When Mehdi showed up, we had a good yap about the days we were neighbours in tiny maids’ rooms on the seventh floor of a building without a lift in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Neither of us had a spare penny, so we shared a lot, both food, wine and stories. Still gluttonous after all these years, we ordered an excellent slice of pâté de campagne, made according to grandfather Jean’s recipe, with a sprightly garnish of pickled red onions, cauliflower sprigs, carrots and celery that we shared over glasses of that Jura Chardonnay.

“Even though I’m Tunisian, I love this ruddy, old-fashioned French grub,” said Mehdi, now a prosperous banker and father of three children.


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After the excellence of our first courses – celery remoulade garnished with mussels, squid and grilled leeks for him and a juicy slice of roast veal in a suave tuna sauce with a scattering of salted capers for me, I played my joker, explaining to him that the chef at Janice is Soda Thiam. Thiam is a talented young Senegalese woman who grew up in Italy and whose cooking is a clever personal riff on traditional French bistro and Italian trattoria dishes modernised with inventive garnishes and seasonings and a minimal use of dairy produce.

Mehdi was fascinated. “It’s really gratifying that French gastronomy has become so international in terms of staffing and inspiration and so open to the world of new ingredients and flavours,” he said to me.

The menu at Janine is regularly revised, but if the braised pig cheek with creamy polenta and treviso, a bitter Italian vegetable currently in vogue in Paris, or the Comme une Soupe VGE, an interpretation of the late Paul Bocuse’s famous pastry dome-capped soup, are on the menu, don’t miss them.

Piercing the pastry atop the soup, I found a sublime mushroom chowder garnished with smoked haddock and Fourme d’Ambert blue cheese from the Auvergne.

Finish up with the buckwheat brownie with bread ice cream, a nod at Sizun’s thrifty Breton roots. Janine is one of the best new bistros to open in Paris for a very long time.

90 Rue des Dames, 17th arrondissement, Paris.

Tel. (33) 01 42 93 33 94,

Average à la carte €60.

From France Today Magazine


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Lead photo credit : © Antoine Boddaert

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Alexander Lobrano grew up in Connecticut, and lived in Boston, New York and London before moving to Paris, his home today, in 1986. He was European Correspondent for Gourmet magazine from 1999 until its closing, and has written about food and travel for Saveur, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Travel & Leisure, Departures, Conde Nast Traveler, and many other publications in the United States and the United Kingdom. He is the author of HUNGRY FOR PARIS, 2nd Edition (Random House, 4/2014), HUNGRY FOR FRANCE (Rizzoli, 4/2014), and MY PLACE AT THE TABLE, newly published in June 2021.

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