I trust the recommendations of locals more than tourist guides. Some places are only frequented by locals and since places change ownership, chefs, and menus, unless someone is a regular, you would never know that the charming bistro is now a hip coffee bar, or the hip coffee bar is now a bistro. My last post about Lockwood illustrates that point since it wasn't even a place that served food or drink in its previous incarnation.
Although I've never met Karen who writes the Bonjour Paris newletter, we've tweeted about food and wine, so when she said that Café du Commerce was a great neighborhood find in the 15th, I went. I know many of the arrondissements very well, but not the 15th, although I did go to the Salon du Chocolat at the exposition center:) When I came upstairs from the Metro at Commerce, it was literally a breath of fresh air. This is a perfect "in-between" neighborhood, not packed with tourists and shops, and not deadly quiet from the silence of being on the outskirts of town. Because the Eiffel Tower is in the bordering 7th, this arrondissement is "Eiffel Tower adjacent", while also home to many companies, and International school, and bordering the Gare Montparnasse.
Café du Commerce is the quintessential neighborhood bistro, packed with locals for the lunch specila of Plat, Dessert & Café for 15,50 € ($18). If you only want the plat, it's less than 13€ ($15) for lunch! Most people eating next to me ordered the steak and fries for their main course and the dessert & coffee special, but after hearing the table of businessmen next to me complain that their steak and fries were cold even after sending back their order, I opted for one of the daily specials, the lamb stuffed with chèvre (goat cheese), roquette (arugula), served with lentils and garlic cream for 19,50 € ($23).
For less than 4 €, I also had a nice glass of Bordeaux. The meal was good enough that I decided to come back a bit later than the lunch rush so that the kitchen and staff would be less harried and try the steak and fries.
I walked off my meal in the adjacent park :)