Le Floréal, the best burger in Paris?

by phyllisflick on January 23, 2011

Update 25 July 2011:

Retraction: Unfortunately my last meal at Le Floréal was a big letdown. They obviously spent a lot of effort on the renovations but would do well to spend more time thinking about the food. The burger, which I loved on my first visit, had a strange texture and was average at best.  The fried calamari, thick chewy rings, heavily coated in batter, were a disappointment. Given that my brunch there was barely edible, it’s not a place I can recommend any longer. It’s in my neighborhood, so I’ll give it another try, hoping they change their business model and decide to be more than a money making hipster hangout serving mediocre food.

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What was once a non-descript spacious corner café, the kind where you go to buy cigarettes and men spend their day playing PMU, has been taken over by the team who turned Chez Jeanette in the 10th into one of the most talked about cafes in Paris.

They’ve kept much of the décor the same (although Figaro reports that they’ll be getting a facelift in March) except for a few disco balls and a retro juke box which turns out some pretty good music. With its long bar, 1950-style furnishings, and red banquettes it has an unintentional diner-like feel.  I stopped by for a coffee and cheesecake shortly after the change of hands and wasn’t impressed.  The coffee wasn’t great, the cheesecake too sweet, leaving me in no hurry to return. So it wasn’t with great expectations that I did return last week, wanting something quick and easy in the neighbourhood.

Settling into a comfortable booth, my guy and I both ordered the blue cheese burger made with bleu d’Auvergne.  Our plates arrived and things looked good.  Our burgers were rapped in white paper and came with a mound of French fries. I took a bite and was pleasantly astonished that this was a serious burger and exceptional by Paris standards.  The roll was excellent and the burger itself sufficiently greasy.

Beef in France is typically grass fed and extremely lean which may explain part of the French paradox, but it doesn’t make for a very good burger.  This burger on the other hand was especially juicy in a very un-French burger way.   I told the waiter how impressed I was and he explained that they grind the meat themselves, making sure it is 30% fat. Typically ground beef in France, or steak haché as they call it here, is only 5% fat, which explains the difference.  The bun was homemade, as were the fries, making it one of the best burgers I’ve had in Paris. It may even have been the best burger I’ve had here, especially for the price (the cheeseburger and fries is 12€, blue cheese burger 13€, hot dog and fries 9,50€).

They have other dishes as well—a lobster roll, steak frites, spaghetti “little Italy style” and a strange sounding not very authentic Caesar salad made with iceberg lettuce.  This is probably also the only place in Paris where I’ve ever overheard a table of chic looking Parisians order hot-dogs for dinner. I tried to explain the humour of this to my French guy, but I guess you have to be American to get it.

I returned over the weekend to try the Sunday brunch, which is a choice between eggs Benedict or a bagel and lox, both served with salad, potato pancakes, fresh squeeze orange juice, pastries and coffee.  All I can say is—go for the burger.

Le Floréal
73 rue du Faubourg du Temple
Paris, 10th
01 42 08 81 03

Open daily, service non-stop


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

forest January 24, 2011 at 19:41

glad to hear they didn’t disappoint! (and I”m sure they’re less spendy than Ralphs!) i will have to get myself back in their soon to try one along with some cocktails. and, yes, I hear the same that they’ll be closed for a bit of march for the remodel.

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Lindsey January 24, 2011 at 22:15

I’m so there, so many burgers have potential in Paris but rarely astonish me. If you were astonished, I must try!

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Phyllis Flick January 25, 2011 at 20:45

They were surprisingly good and 1/3 the price of Ralph’s. I just wish the rest of the menu was as good. I would be happy to go again if either of you want to join me. Another place to try that just opened is Bistro Burger on Rue Montorgueil.

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adrian January 26, 2011 at 14:07

Like you said the barguy (Alex West?) did lots of research in NY on the best burgers in preparation for this one. Any more on that?

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forest January 26, 2011 at 14:12

I don’t know if you’re talking to me or Phyllis, but yes, Alex is the barman. Greg is the one cooking. And, it was the owner who went to the US to do the burger research. (i want that job…)

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adrian January 26, 2011 at 18:58

Ah, ok. How would the burger’s compare say, to the other places in Paris- Coffee Parisien, etc

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forest January 26, 2011 at 22:45

oops…i just realized when i saw your reply that typed ‘alex’but that was wrong…David is the barman. (and yes his last name is West, so I think that’s where i was getting confused) and,i don’t know because i haven’t tried coffee parisien. I love burgers, but have never made a huge search for them in paris. i hear the one at the meurice is good as well (probably silly expensive) but i’m going to try it anyway.

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Valentine July 25, 2011 at 17:58

Hello, I’m totally astonished buy these comments. I went there a week ago and the 3 of us had burgers. Most certainly the WORST burger I ever had. The meat was awfully industrial and too cooked, I talked about it around me and everyone seems to agree with me : it such a shame, this restaurant, ideally placed in our favorite neighborhood has such AWFUL food…

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phyllisflick July 25, 2011 at 19:17

Hi Valentine,

Thank’s for letting me know, unfortunately it doesn’t surprise me. I went back to the Floréal right after they renovated and was completely disappointed. The fried calamari wasn’t great and the burger was nothing like the first one I had and the meat even had a strange texture. They also no longer had a blue cheese burger even though they had blue cheese on the menu. I was hoping it was because they had just reopened and were slammed but from what you have said it sounds like something has changed and not for the better. I agree that it’s a shame, it could be a great place. I will definitely write a disclaimer on this post!

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Paris Bobo April 2, 2012 at 17:54

It’s always a shame to hear bad experiences from seasoned reviewers. I had a great time when I was there – perhaps a bit hit and miss? Let’s hope for better luck next time.

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