WANT: American-style brunch and coffee in Paris, France
Occasion: Trendy breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch with friends
Neighborhood: Canal Saint-Martin
Location: 19 rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010 Paris, France
Phone: +33 9 73 60 13 64
Reservations: Not accepted
Mon, Thurs, Fri : 9:00am – 6:00pm (but kitchen closes at 3:00pm)
Tues, Wed: closed
Sat, Sun: 10:00am – 6:00pm (but kitchen closes at 4:00pm)
Prices: Reasonable (around 8-20€ for brunch and a drink)
I wasn’t planning on including restaurants from my travels outside of Barcelona on this blog, but this brunch spot in Paris is worth making an exception for. It opened a little over a year ago and has already become the “it” spot in a world renowned city.
I think this is partially due to its successful efforts in journalism 2.0. Its Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram account, and blog are all easily accessible from its website. This helps spread awareness about the restaurant and makes it “cool” to a younger generation who values a beautifully curated Instagram account that has nearly 8,000 followers. Even though the restaurant is located in France, its social network accounts use English instead of French since English has become a global language that allows people from all over the world to communicate. With a constantly updated presence on social networks, the restaurant seems exciting and the farthest thing from outdated. I have found that most of the best restaurants I’ve been to in my life target an older audience, and usually lack the cool and exciting appeal that’s maintained through the use of journalism 2.0. For example, one of the best seafood restaurants in Barcelona, Passadis del Pep, has incredible quality food but seems old and boring because it lacks a presence on social networks. As a result, the restaurant is full of loyal customers yet new customers do not feel the desire to rush over to try it. Holybelly, on the other hand, is not only known as being one of the yummiest brunch and coffee spots in Paris by people who’ve been to it before, but also by people who have simply seen it tagged and commented about all over the Internet.
Considering its favorable press on various social networks, its no surprise that there’s usually a long wait to get a table at Holybelly. When I travelled to Paris this past weekend for one of my friends’ birthdays, we went to Holybelly with a party of 7. Initially, the host told us it would be an hour to an hour and a half wait, but luckily we were able to get seated in about 45 minutes. We went to Bob’s Juice Bar, another well-reviewed Paris spot nextdoor, and then to a cafe down the street while we waited. After we finally got seated, we were placed at a communal table. I usually dislike communal tables because I feel like the random couple sitting next to me is part of my conversation, but at Holybelly the communal table was large enough that this was not the case. The atmosphere is comfortable yet trendy, with a large open space, big wooden tables, leather benches, and a retro pinball machine. We initially told the host we only needed a table for 6, but him and the other young tattooed waiters were extremely accommodating when a 7th person came to join us midway through our meal. This shows hows flexible and understanding the staff here are.
On top of being welcoming, the Holybelly staff serves one of the best brunches my friends and I have ever had, not to mention in Paris – a city who’s breakfast usually only constitutes croissants. I got an incredibly delicious drink called a London Fog – a sweet, warm blend of Earl Grey tea with vanilla syrup and milk. The only problem I had with it was that I wished it was bigger because it was so good. Some of my friends got the coffee and were very pleased with it as it surpassed American-style coffee standards. If you want to learn more about why Holybelly’s coffee is so good, the restaurant’s “Facts” page on its website explains it well. The service was very fast and soon after getting our drinks, our main dishes arrived. I got the pancakes with fried eggs, bacon, maple syrup, and Bourbon butter. I usually don’t like pancakes because I often find them heavy and sickeningly sweet, but this dish was incredible. It wasn’t too sweet or rich, but was rather perfectly balanced by the eggs and crispy bacon. I highly suggest getting it (my mouth is watering just thinking about it!). The bacon was some of the best bacon my friends and I have had in Europe, so we couldn’t resist getting a few extra sides of it. One of my friends is a vegetarian and got the chai infused porridge with fresh seasonal fruits. I didn’t get a chance to try it because she ate it so fast; this is her way of showing that she loves something. All of my other friends got this weekend’s special, which was a massive dish of poached eggs, mushrooms, bacon, bread, and salad for 18.5€ (about double the price of everything on the menu, but also double the size). They all loved it and our friend who lives in Paris is already planning on coming back next weekend to try another weekend special. The restaurant is a 20 minute walk from the Le Marais area in Paris so we were able to do more tourist activities and shopping after starting our day with this amazing meal.