It is actually pretty hard to find good traditional French food in Paris now. Josephine Chez Dumonet is on it. This is an old world bistro from the Belle Epoque era.
Here’s the thing. Before we dive in, I want to keep it real. I’ve been to Josephine Chez Dumonet many times over the years. But you know what? I always go at night. And you know what’s not good at night? Lighting. In an old restaurant. So the photos I have are trash, and I admit it, with my whole heart.
Since my photos are too dark and ugly to see the light of day, I’m going to insert some Instagram photos from total strangers who went during the day and got better photos. I’m just a girl living my life and eating food at the time I want to eat food. I’ll tell you about it, but in this case, others will show you.
There. It’s out there. I think we all feel better now.
On to what makes Josephine Chez Dumonet the classic French restaurant of your dreams.
Old World Atmosphere
Think white tablecloths and waiters with black ties. It can feel a bit on the upscale side of things, but sometimes that’s what you want. This place probably hasn’t changed in a hundred years if you’re on the search for a little old world Paris. You can get that from other institutions like Chez Georges, too, but I think the food wins at Josephine Chez Dumonet.
Josephine Chez Dumonet is very well known amongst travelers. World has gotten out. So there will be a lot of anglophones in there, which I know can throw off the fun of being in a French restaurant. I would even dare go as far to prepare you for the fact that they will likely put English speakers all together. Let’s face it, certain English speakers (cough Americans) are loud talkers. We all practically scream at each other over dinner. Laughing at the top of our lungs and yelling about our story we want to tell from earlier.
In American restaurants, that flies, because everyone is yelling, and the music is blasting, and we’re all having dinner at rock concert volume levels. Meanwhile, the French are hovered over their little table having conversation that only people at their table can hear, and that’s how they like it.
In sum, you might get thrown into the English-speaking bull pen. That’s okay. Be prepared for it. This is how they can still serve their regular French customers who want to come for a nice quiet dinner and not have visitors shouting about their stories at each other. Can’t find fault in that, can we? And anyway, the food is delicious no matter where you sit.
That being said, because the restaurant is popular amongst the international food-loving crowd, the waiters will for sure speak English, and they won’t shame you for your lack of French skills. I have always found the servers to be friendly and charming, which can be a rarity.
The Beef Bourgignon is out of this world. I’ve had many a Beef Bourg in the hallowed places of Paris, and a lot of times, I think, “yah that’s good”. I’ve made beef Bourguignon many a time at home, and I think, “yah that’s good”. Here at Jo Chez Du (such a long name, this had to be done), it is just “Oh. Oh, this. This is Beef Bourguignon.” Moment of silence. Here, you’ll find rich, meaty and bacon-y wine sauce with tender chunks of melting braised beef.
When it comes to the side, I’ve never been one to eat BB with rice. That’s for the paupers. (Although there is a spot in the 15th I like which serves THREE side dishes with its beef Bourguignon: mashed potatoes, rice, and polenta. And it’s quite fun to mix and match.) But noodles are the way to go.
The half portion is plenty, by the way.
Honestly, when faced with the decision between ordering Beef Bourguignon and the duck leg confit, you have to feel what is in your heart.
The duck confit is done perfectly – crisp on the outside and falling apart on the inside. It’s everything a duck confit should be, and most restaurants just butcher it. Dry meat, flabby skin. Woof. But here, it’s text book. Even the mighty David Lebovitz agrees, there is no duck confit more perfect than Josephine Chez Dumonet. Annnnd there’s a side of potatoes fried in duck fat, don’tmindifido.
Classic French Desserts
For dessert? They’ve got the classics, and they do them well. They are known for their Grand Marnier soufflé, but the trick is that you have to order it at the beginning of the meal. It will then saunter over to you at the end of the meal, just so, a pillow of soufflé perfection.
You will receive a small glass of Grand Marnier on the side to add in a little extra oomph, or to sip alongside, as you wish.
They have other fantastic classic desserts, too, and another top choice is the millefeuille (a pastry that literally translated means “a thousand sheets” – sheets of pastry, that is). Ironically, their particular millefeuille does not have as many layers as you typically see at a pastry shop or restaurant, but they still have one of the best in town.
All in all, I believe Josephine Chez Dumonet is the perfect choice for classic French in Paris. Go in hungry, and enjoy rolling out, stuffed to the brim, filled with a piece of Paris history.
Josephine Chez Dumonet
Mon-Fri 12:30-2:30PM, 7:30-10:30PM
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