Café & Bar Gavroche

This restaurant is a real slow burner. It grows on you. The food (mainly sandwiches and salads) is nothing fancy—head to sister establishment Brasserie Gavroche just across the street for more elaborate recipes—and might first seem underwhelming.

But the menu’s full of simple things (all flawlessly executed) that are perfect at all times of day. The croque monsieur ($16), thick slices of brioche filled with creamy nutmeg bechamel and savory ham, is one of our favorite lunches in the city. And we love having their open faced sandwiches or tartines—which come topped with everything from light tomatoes and tapenade ($17) to indulgent pork rillettes ($9)—post work, especially washed down with well-mixed drinks like the fresh Pierrot ($18), Picon bitter orange liquor and Champagne. 

Brunch is stellar too (and quiet, a rarity in this town). We just can’t get enough of the eggs benedict ($22), which is blanketed with some truly lush hollandaise. Everyone needs a spot like this in their neighborhood. Not only is the grub the kind of thing you could eat almost every day, the space (inspired by the streets of 1920s Paris) instils an instant sense of calm with welcoming rattan chairs and quirky vintage outfittings like street lamps and typewriters.

We also love how they get a steady stream of customers (and really interesting ones at that—great people watching material), but are never overcrowded. Come and stay a while, perhaps lingering over their intense chocolate brandy ice cream ($12) or killer profiteroles ($10): You’ll never want to leave.

Eat this at Café & Bar Gavroche: Croque monsieur. It’s one of I-S Magazine’s 50 things to eat before you die (2013).