Creative Director and ex-Commissioning Director of Nowness, Raven Smith, is a frequent traveller, and reluctant luggage-carrier. He takes us on a tour of his culinary recommendations in Paris and his home city, London.

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For breakfast…

In Paris, it’s Café Charlot, because my friend who used to live here once sent me and now I have to go whenever I’m in town. There’s something a teeny weensy bit dated about the place, like all the achingly cool people have moved on and I love that kind of post-apocalyptic atmosphere, but it feels so familiar and it’s such a tradition to go there that I can’t be in Paris and not stop in for the omelette. I always order eggs for breakfast: breakfast without eggs is completely pointless. The omelette has this red sauce inside that tastes like you could do a six-week evening cookery course with Marco Pierre-White and still mess it up. They also don’t frown if you drink alcohol alongside your breakfast.

For lunch…

L’avant Comptoir. It’s basically just a counter so you have to stand at the bar and order. The menu is written on placards on the ceiling, with pictures of the food, like a beginner’s course in French. You just say je voudrais and point. Always drink Beaujolais with whatever you order because you’re in France, babe. They have this amazing, gigantic paté of butter with knives sticking out of it and you can carve off as much as you want. This picture is missing a ball of mozzarella with pistachio crumbled on it because I’m a greedy pig. It’s the one place I always send people when they say they’re in Paris. It’s not frilly, but it’s actually scrumptious.

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For dinner…

Lipp, Lipp, Lipp. I first came here after a work party in Paris and have hazy memories of falling through the saloon doors into the men’s (salon doors should be obligatory in all bathrooms). Not all brasseries are created equal and Lipp was my first; it’s always stuck with me because it’s great. I’m really militant about not eating meat at all, I never shut up about it, but I will ALWAYS order the steak at Lipp. They also have the chicest plates and branding ever, and I have become the sort of adult who drinks half a bottle of Sancerre and then buys the plate.

For after-hours eating…

I love McDonald’s. But Burger King wins because of the paper crowns and subsequent Instagram opportunities.

For taking away…

I have spent thousands on Leon Deliveroo. Please don’t tell my husband.

For something local…

I love Theo’s in Camberwell. They know my order and they do this chilli sauce that if you had the recipe for you’d never know loneliness again.


About This Series

Breakfast, Lunch, DinnerInspired by Smythson Traveller Sir Hardy Amies, a man who diligently recorded his breakfast, lunch and dinner engagements at London’s hottest spots in his bespoke Panama diaries, we ask some of the people whose opinion we respect the most for their top recommendations in a city where they feel at home. If they could only pick one place for each meal, where would it be? Essentially: an insider alternative to anxiously scrolling through TripAdvisor.

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