My hunt for the best burger continued on my recent trip to Paris. Asking around my trusted sources and scouring the web, I found that Le Castiglione was a very popular option with tourists, locals and celebrities alike. It was expert burger man Nick Andrews’ (of ‘Burger Me’) final recommendation on twitter that sealed the deal for me.
August is a month of quiet and calm in Paris, while everyone migrates south to Provence and the seaside; the shops shut, cafés close and restaurants remain eerily empty. Le Castiglione is an exception to the rule and continues to thrive in the summer months, testament to the quality and success of the food. This charming restaurant is located in the 1st district near Place Vendome and among designer outlets galore.
The cosy carpeted top floor is closed during August, I can imagine it would just be too stuffy in the summer heat. The more casual ground floor has a lovely ambience and excellent speedy service. With the outdoor seating, it is ideal for light lunches in the sunshine. We went along with one mission in mind… to investigate the famed Casti burger.
Before we could gorge ourselves, we were treated to cold drinks and delicious crusty artisan bread. Ravenous and tired from trekking around the city, I gobbled far too much of the bread and butter, forgetting my rule number one, “avoid bread, at all costs”, it was just too good to resist. Next light but generous sized starters arrived: a very fresh and flavoursome tomato and mozzarella salad for me and homemade crispy chicken dumplings for my guest.
There wasn’t much of a break before the burgers… we didn’t have a chance to even anticipate the epic feast that was imminently arriving. I noticed onlookers drooling as our giant Casti burgers were placed on the small table. There’s no time, space or necessity for salad in these burgers – instead the bun is packed full of a huge soft crumbly meaty burger, soft and juicy but not bloody (much too my relief), there is oozing cheese and a decent helping of caramelised crispy bacon (very moreish and utterly yummy) and then the overflowing creamy orange magic sauce, of which the ingredients and recipe remain a secret for all to ponder and debate. We were so stunned by the scrumptious meal, there was no time to discover what made this sauce so special and why exactly the combination worked together so well. One thing is for sure, it is not a burger for the weak hearted, rich and calorific this burger requires a big appetite. Priced at 23 Euros it is not cheap, but for burger lovers it will be worth the cost. The burgers arrive with portions of soft and crispy frites, salty and delicious and perfect for dunking into the excess sauce. I was glad I’d had salad to start, as I feel this meat feast could definitely leave you in need of greenery.
Devastatingly we were just too full for dessert, instead I ordered a macchiato to revive my food induced weariness before returning to the streets of Paris. I’ve heard the puddings are magnificent at Le Castiglione and will definitely be returning to try out a selection of sweets.
Le Castiglione is your classic Parisian restaurant, all the food looks and tastes divine, but the secret of this café’s success lies with the juicy burgers which are rated among the best in this food obsessed city.
Visit the website for more information here.