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Letter from Paris: Jòia

Hélène Darroze. Credit Hungry for Paris

By Alexander Lobrano

In the dialect of the Bearn region of southwestern France, Jòia means “joyous.” But ever since chef Hélène Darroze’s new restaurant by the same name opened in Paris, it also means great eating and good times.

“I found this space when I was looking for a new address for my gastronomic restaurant on the Left Bank,” Darroze told me and Bruno when we chatted with her across the counter that separates the counter seating in the dining room from the busy open kitchen where half the staff are women at dinner the other night.

Jòia. Credit Hungry for Paris.

“It wasn’t right for my gastronomic table, because I’d been thinking I wanted to be somewhere in the 8th Arrondissement, but I fell in love with the space and decided to do a new restaurant-bar that would serve the kind of southwestern French comfort-food I make when friends come over for dinner. So this restaurant is about relaxing, sharing, and having a good time … read more “


Alexander Lobrano grew up in Connecticut, and lived in Boston, New York and London before moving to Paris, his home today, in 1986. He has written about food and travel for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Saveur, Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler. He is the author of Hungry for Paris: The Ultimate Guide to the City’s 109 Best Restaurants (Random House), which was published in a second edition in 2014, and is a Contributing Editor at Saveur Magazine. His latest book, Hungry for France, was published by Rizzoli in April 2014. Visit his website, www.alexanderlobrano.com (Photo by Steven Rothfeld)

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