5-7 Rue de la Bastille
75004 Paris, France
+33 1 42 72 87 82

The food:

Royal Bofinger choucroute (sauerkraut and various meats)

Profiteroles with warm Valrhona chocolate

The wines:

2013 Hospices de Colmar Gentil


2007 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne  


Sometimes it’s just great to kick back, relax, and immerse oneself in a festive atmosphere, enjoying solid, well-cooked food surrounded by people having loads of fun. Brasserie Bofinger, located near the Place des Vosges and Place de la Bastille, in Paris' 4th arrondissement, provides such an experience. 

The dome at Bofinger

Founded in 1864, Bofinger’s Alsatian food is just fine, the wine list acceptable, and the place beautiful enough, though I do love its Belle Époque setting. On this day, I dug into one of Paris’ best choucroute plates (“Royal Bofinger Sauerkraut”) and finished things off with a rich, decadent dessert of profiteroles that I can still taste today.

Royal Bofinger choucroute (sauerkraut and various meats)

Profiteroles with warm Valrhona chocolate

Given the Alsatian food, it seems right to start off with a Gentil as an aperitif; it’s an easygoing Alsatian white that is a blend of various grapes, including Sylvaner, Riesling, Pinot Blanc and more. The 2013 Hospices de Colmar Gentil is light and lively, though definitely not the last word in complexity. With plenty of tantalizing acidity, fresh citrus and orchard fruit aromas and flavors, it makes for a lovely, if simple, start to a meal. 

Things couldn't be any more different than with the 2007 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne, a wine of almost brutal power and size that is still basking in a heavy layer of toasty, buttery oak. Hopefully, the oak will get reined in with age so that the wine will evolve more beautifully. At this moment, however, the wine is powerful and lush, making for a wonderful match with the choucroute, and standing up well to the various meats and sausages accompanying the sauerkraut. 

Given the huge number of dining choices, many of them not worthy your time, Paris is not an easy city to negotiate. As far as Parisian brasseries go, one can certainly do worse than Bofinger.

--Ian D'Agata