Paris, France: That elusive, perfect bistro (& some of the best duck confit around)
At the bottom of one of the 5th arrondissement's oldest and loveliest market streets, the rue Mouffetard, is a café-bistrot that, frankly, looks like every other café-bistrot you've seen. The red awning. The standard-issue café-terrasse woven chairs. No-one would fault you for suspecting you've hit upon a tourist trap: old and lovely though it may be, the rue Mouffetard is very much on the Left Bank map, and there are plenty of spots ready to make a quick Euro off a wanderer who's looking to be charmed.
The good news: the Cave La Bourgogne is just a bistrot—and we mean that as the very best of compliments. It's one of the few places on this street that's consistently packed with locals swilling a kir or a 1664, or tucking into one of the excellent (and reasonably-priced) dishes: The duck confit with perfectly garlicked potatoes is a study in crunchy golden textures. The cassolettes—earthenware crocks filled with gratiné variations on the always-pleasing theme of creamy cheese, potatoes and something from the bacon family—are big enough to split.
Most of the desserts are standard (your crème caramel, your mousse au chocolat) but their little verrine of sea-salt caramel pudding might make you order a second one.