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Brasserie Lipp: Yes, it's touristy, but it's also literary!
There are three famous cafes near the Church of St. German des Pres, the Deux Magots, the Cafe Flore and the Brasserie Lipp. All are mentioned in literature and connected to the marvelous era when Hemingway was in Paris. We decided to ignore the fact that they are considered tourist traps and eat in one of them just to say we'd been there.
We couldn't find the posted menu at Deux Magots and it was very crowded. Cafe Flore was crowded beyond all belief so we headed across the street to Brasserie Lipp where the afternoon coffee crowd had left and the evening dinner crowd hadn't arrived and got a table (after making sure we could afford it).
The waiter was very nice and seated us in the back near a table of German businessmen, a French family and a lone French woman. We were subsequently joined by another French woman with what appeared to be her grandson or young nephew. It was quiet and friendly and the waiters were friendly and efficient.
We had an excellent dinner, very well served, for more than we usually spend, but we decided it was worth it. When we left several hours later, we noticed the cafe was completely full so if you don't have a reservation, go early, 7ish perhaps.
Favorite Dish: I can't remember what we got, but it was a cold November night and we got something delightfully warm and filling. The lighting in the restaurant is such that is a warm place anyway and the three waiters in our section obviously enjoyed their work. It was warm and friendly and worth every penny we paid.
My husband reminds me that we got a cheese fondue that night. It was cold and rainy and we wanted comfort food.
Brasserie Lipp: Hem's Fave Restaurant
This was my fourth trip to Paris & I was just getting to the famous cafés. During the first three trips I'd never done the big cafés, so in one day I went to two: Brasserie Lipp & Café de Flore.
At Brasserie Lipp, a favorite of Ernest Hemingways, I ordered a demi blonde bier à la Hemingway (Demi-blonde Mutzig - 4.30€); I also tried the Pommes de Terre a l'Huile which comes with harengs mariné (marinated herrings & potatoes in oil - 8.60€) that he raved about in A Moveable Feast. Unfortunately, I didn't like the herring (too raw tasting, the texture was off for me) but the potatoes were good.
Total - 12.90€
Brasserie Lipp is still a place where literary figures, famous journalists and politicians gather for a meal. The ground floor is the place to see and be seen. If you're relegated to the upper floor you are said to be in "Siberia"! I dined just inside the door in order to watch the rain. Lucky me, I was inside of Lipp while it rained and when I came out it had blessedly stopped.
In Surviving Picasso, Picasso (Sir Anthony Hopkins) says "Let me take you to Lipp's and buy you pork." The scene features Dora Maar (Julianne Moore) and Françoise Gilot (Natascha McElhone).
In case you're unaware, brasseries are restaurants where one may buy beer with meals. In fact, the term "brasserie" originally meant brewery and were opened by Alsatians who fled to the city in order to escape the war in Alsace-Lorraine, the area the borders France and Germany (and fought over in 2 world wars by these 2 countries).
Photos: February 2006
Favorite Dish: The beer!
This place is much less expensive than Café des Flore or Café les Deux Magots which are directly across the street. I'll definitely have to come back and try some of their specialties such as blanquette de veau or choucroute Lipp (meat simmered with sauerkraut).
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