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Top Tables Paris: Great Restaurants in the City of Lights

Indagare’s favorite hot spot restaurants change all the time, but there are also some staples in each of the cities we love that never go out of style. Here is our current short list of great restaurants in Paris.

Great Lunch Spots

Near the Eiffel Tower:

  • L’Ami Jean: This lively bistro serves marvelous southwestern-French cuisine—don’t miss the legendary rice pudding for dessert.
  • Les Cocottes: A cozy and refined neighborhood spot from chef Christian Constant, Cocottes is a go-to for simple salads, sandwiches, omelettes or cocottes (casseroles) of vegetables or lamb.
  • Girafe: This beautiful, hot spot restaurant from the team behind Loulou and Monsieur Bleu has a terrance with stunning views of the Eiffel Tower and a menu of fresh Mediterranean fare.
  • Ducasse sur SeineFor an only-in-Paris experience, Alain Ducasse’s Ducasse sur Seine is a stunning boat restaurant that offers prix-fixe lunch and dinner cruises and afternoon tea from its docked location right in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Near Notre Dame Cathedral:

  • Le Comptoir du Relais: This cozy, ten-table bistro in the center of St.-Germain is just about the toughest restaurant to score for a dinner reservation, so go for lunch, when it’s first come, first served.
  • BenoitAlain Ducasse’s beloved bistro (it first opened in 1912) serves traditional French cuisine in a classically Parisian dining room.
  • Baieta: This highly regarded new Nicoise bistro in the 5th is run by chef Julia Sedefdjian, the first female chef in France to be awarded a Michelin star (in 2016, when she was just 21!).

Near the Louvre:

  • LoulouSet in the beautiful Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Loulou offers a mix of French and Italian Riviera–inspired cuisine. The truffle pizza is a must-order and the terrace is the best place to dine when the weather is nice.
  • Clover Grill: This casual spot from Michelin-starred chef Jean-Francois Piege focuses on charcoal grilled food, mainly top quality meats, but there is also fish, lobster and fresh vegetables.
  • La Poule au Pot: After a stylish revamp in 2018, this institution (which has been open since 1935 and is now led by chef Jean-Francois Piège) is a top spot for a traditional feel and timeless classics, including buttery snails, veal stew and cherry clafoutis.
  • La Bourse et La VieThis tiny bistro—featuring a brocante décor that mixes 19th-century mirrors with 1960s-style globe light fixtures—is helmed by French-trained American chef Daniel Rose, who serves up French staples like pot-au-feu and oysters gratinée. Don’t miss the only-at-lunch steak frites.

Near the Left Bank/Orsay:

  • Le RécamierA Left Bank institution, where soufflés are a specialty of the house, with new ones such as Creole and vanilla added monthly to the more traditional choices. Snag a seat on the terrace.
  • Café de Flore: This icon is one of the oldest cafés in Paris (it was a favorite of Pablo Picasso and other creative types) and offers great people-watching on its terrace and simple fare such as a delicious club sandwich and omelette et salade.
  • SociétéThis hot spot serves up crowd-pleasing food (nothing too adventurous) and a glamorous crowd that is enhanced by the sexy atmosphere. La Société has an enviable location right on the Place St. Germain.
  • Le Bar des PrésThis cozy restaurant has booths, leopard-print floors and a long bar, where Japanese chefs prepare fantastic sushi and dishes such as mini lobster rolls and a crispy curry galette with avocado.

Near the Marais:

  • CaretteThis famous tea salon has an enviable location on Place des Vosges, overlooking the beautiful square.
  • Breizh Café: Arguably Paris’s best creperie, Breizh is a tiny spot worth stopping at for their innovative sweet crêpes and savory galettes.
  • Chez Janou: This casual corner bistro is popular with both travelers and locals who come for its classic Provençal dishes (think moules gratinées and ratatouille).
  • Wild & the Moon: A hot spot adored by model-esque Parisians, Wild & The Moon offers all-day vegan and gluten-free cuisine in its compact dining area (it’s better to grab a quick bite here or something to-go as it gets busy). There is a location in the Marais as well as several others throughout the city.

Related: Healthy Dining in Paris

Near Rue St. Honore shopping:

  • Hotel Costes: Stylish visitors adore this hip eatery with a lovely courtyard. The service can be a touch spotty but Costes is one of the best spots to see and be seen in the city.
  • Le CastiglioneThis family-run café is a supremely charming place for lunch. (Yes, the café dog belongs to the owner, whose father ran it before him.) You can eat inside, where there’s a zinc-topped bar, or outside, under the red-awnings at café tables.
  • Balagan: Two Israeli star chefs head up this chic restaurant known for its Middle Eastern dishes such as salmon tataki with cherries and Persian-style sea bass with tahini beurre blanc.

Near Avenue Montaigne shopping:

  • L’Avenue: An eternal hot spot, with good food and even better people-watching, L’Avenue has one of the best outdoor dining patios on the Right Bank. The well-executed—if somewhat predictable—cuisine includes salads, soups, quiches and tartines.
  • ShirvanThis sleek modern bistro brings a Silk Road sensibility to French cuisine in dishes like eggplant tempura with Moroccan spices and tandoori chicken with mint sauce.
  • Le Drugstore: Designed by Tom Dixon, Le Drugstore offers casual fare with a menu that ranges from “Finger Food” selections like shrimp beignets and gruyère madeleines to classics like burgers, croques monsieurs and Caesar salads.

Near Versailles:

  • La Veranda at Trianon Palace: Chef Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant at the Trianon Palace hotel serves fine French food in an elegant dining room.

Great Dinner Options

Big Night Out

  • Le Clarence: Located in a six-story, 19th-century townhouse just across from the Grand Palais, Le Clarence evokes the atmosphere of a Bordeaux chateau and serves superb two-Michelin-starred cuisine and wines from the owner’s line, Chateau Haut-Brion.
  • Pierre Gagnaire: This fascinating haute cuisine spot serves innovative cuisine from its eponymous chef.
  • Epicure: Le Bristol’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant offers a gastronomic experience in an oak-paneled dining room or a tented room that overlooks a beautiful courtyard garden.

Hot Spot

  • Septime: A hot spot since opening in 2011, Septime is located in the 11th arrondissement and offers a unique five-course carte blanche tasting menu everyday.
  • Monsieur BleuThis iconic restaurant in the Palais de Tokyo serves trendy nouvelle cuisine (burgers, lobster rolls, small plates) to a chic and arty crowd and has stunning Eiffel Tower views.
  • AnahiThis Argentine eatery in the Marais serves delicious South American cuisine, including flavorful dishes like sea bass ceviche and wagyu beef quesadillas in a tiny, white-tiled dining room that is regularly filled with beautiful patrons.
  • MankoLocated inside an old Paris auction house, Manko has a glamorous and buzzy vibe and serves imaginative Peruvian fare like Amazonian flank steak or lomo saltado (a Peruvian specialty of wok-sautéed sirloin).
  • MiniPalaisHoused in the early 20th-century grandeur of the Petit Palais, Right Bank hot spot MiniPalais offers a chic and contemporary setting, with a modern twist on time-old bistro fare. Reserve on the terrace during the warm months.

Local

  • La Régalade St. HonoréThis no-frills restaurant in the 1st has a small bar and simple tables, but the bistro food—squid ink risotto, chicken stuffed with foie gras and served with vegetables—has a loyal fan base.
  • Aux Prés: A jewel box of a restaurant in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Aux Prés is an atmospheric neighborhood restaurant from famed French chef Cyril Lignac. With just a handful of tables, a beautiful bar and floral wallpaper, the chic eatery serves delicious international fusion cuisine like crispy salmon rice, caramelized eggplant with miso and a beef rib for two.

Classics

  • Le RécamierA Left Bank institution, where soufflés are a specialty of the house, with new ones such as Creole and vanilla added monthly to the more traditional choices. Snag a seat on the terrace.
  • Chez La Vieille: Another classic from chef Daniel Rose, Chez la Vieille occupies a two-story restaurant and has a low-key bar on the first floor plus an elegant dining room with a handful of tables on the upper level. Menu highlights include leeks vinaigrette, duck terrine and chicken célestine.
  • Le Soufflé: Stepping into this old school, Right Bank restaurant feels like you are going back to an earlier era. Opened in 1961, Le Soufflé specializes in the dish for which it is named; the chef has more than 20 flavors in his repertoire, but you can also get staples like sole meunière and steak.

Newcomers

  • Joia: The latest restaurant from French chef Hélène Darroze, this 2nd arrondissement spot serves sophisticated but cozy food such as wild mushroom with foie gras and egg yolk confit and a make-your-own guacamole. Don’t miss the second-floor cocktail bar.
  • Hugo&Co: This new contemporary French bistro in the Latin Quarter is earning high praise for its easy-going international comfort food like stracciatella cheese with black olives and tonkatsu-style breaded pork cutlet topped with a fried organic egg and red-curry sauce.
  • Baieta: This highly regarded new Nicoise bistro in the 5th is run by chef Julia Sedefdjian, the first female chef in France to be awarded a Michelin star (in 2016, when she was just 21!).
  • Froufrou: French fashion designer Alexis Mabille designed the jaw-droppingly beautiful FrouFrou, a speakeasy-esque restaurant with several rooms featuring elaborate wallpaper, rich blue and red velvet furnishings and a sexy atmosphere. The menu highlights upscale bistro fare (the truffle bone marrow toast is the must-order dish).

– Indagare

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