The Most Stylish Restaurants in Paris
The City of Light may be best known for its decadent classic French cuisine—steak frites; foie gras; rich sauces—but the culinary landscape is increasingly home to a diverse array of stylish, of-the-moment restaurants. From Michelin-starred gastro-temples to laid-back hipster cafes, here are 13 hottest tables in town. Dig in.
One of the city's most talented young chefs recently opened this eponymous dining room in a warm, airy setting in the 7th arrondisement (think blond wood tables, weathered floor-boards, bookshelves and artfully simple flower arrangements), all of which acts as a beautiful foil for his inventive cooking. Toutain is especially renowned for his deft hand with vegetables and offbeat ingredient pairings—expect anything from pigeon with asparagus to oysters with kiwi fruit in his regularly-changing set menus.
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Roman chef Giovanni Passerini has returned to the Paris dining scene with this top-notch Italian dining room, which opened its doors in 2016 in the 12th Arrondissement, close to one of Paris' best markets, the Marche d’Aligre. Enter the beautifully spare room—think terrazzo floors; softly glowing lamps; linen-free wooden tables—and prepare to be wowed by a parade of rustic-yet-refined Italian dishes, as in the breaded rice beignets stuffed with roast pork, cheese and tomato sauce and fresh tagliolini tossed with chili flakes, sumac and red shrimp from Sicily. Many critics are hailing Passerini as the best Italian restaurant in the city.
In-the-know New Yorkers have already been inducted into the cult of chef Jody Williams, whose West Village hotspots Buvette and Via Carota are icons of the neighborhood. Now the ambitious Europhile chef has moved her winning formula across the pond to the Quartier Pigalle, and Parisians are embracing the rather meta experience of being served classic French dishes by a Paris-loving American. Expect the same intimate, farmhouse-chic decor, perfectly-honed wine list and diminutive-and-delicious dishes like tartines topped with boudin noir or walnut pesto, coq au vin and bowls of mussels.
Set by Canal St. Martin, this cozy Australian-style hipster cafe features vibrant tile floors, skinny booth-style tables and a reverse-osmosis, third-wave coffee station of the kind more often encountered in Brooklyn or Melbourne than the home of café au lait. Owners Sarah Mouchot and Nico Alary dish up fantastic breakfasts to go with their cult Brulerie de Belleville coffee: choose from hearty eggs-with-the-lot (options include everything from haloumi cheese to hash browns and "Holy Baked Beans.") Lunch is a more traditionally French affair, starring dishes like beef ragout, chicken pot pie and grilled skate with capers and lemon.
The iconic French bistro isn't going anywhere any time soon, but Parisians are increasingly stretching their culinary wings and flocking to sample the cuisines of other far-flung places. Case in point: this hip joint that claims to be Paris' first authentic Mexican taqueria. The city's social butterflies alight at the atmospheric cocktail bar, to sip world-class craft cocktails made from agave (sample libation: the "La Guèpe Verte," made from chili infused 100% agave, fresh lime and cilantro) then nibble traditional tacos and guac and chips. The bar's parent company, Quixotic Projects, is also behind French inspired fusion joint Le Mary Celeste and the Pigalle dive bar Glass.
Restaurant Le Meurice
When nothing will do but to dine in a glamorous show-stopping venue, join the expense account crowd at this stunning fine-diner set inside the hotel of the same name. The two Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse restaurant run by executive chef Jocelyn Herland, features a head-turning dining room overlooking the Tuileries gardens and inspired by the Salon de la Paix at the Château de Versailles—it feels like there's more crystal, gilt and trompe l'oeil here than the original. After you've drunk in the atmosphere, dine out on classic haute cuisine dishes like foie gras, free range chicken with truffles and Brittany lobster. Will the experience set your finances back? Sure. Will it be worth it? YES.
Le Comptoir du Relais
While not new, star chef Yves Camdeborde's sophisticated bistro in St. Germain is a perennial hit, as is the newer and more casual tapas-style spinoff next door, L'Avant Comptoir. The dining room, described by Camdeborde as a "Bistrot Brasserie," features nouveau riffs on established classics, like roasted scallops in algae butter, but there's no set menu—the kitchen simply cooks whatever is fresh and fabulous at the market that day. Be sure to sample the wine list, which features vintages from wineries owned by the chef's friends—indicative of the intimate, informal vibe at play.
Chef Gregory Marchand's super-cool 2nd arrondissement mini-empire includes the posh Frenchie, a convivial wine bar (Bar à Vins) and upscale takeout (Frenchie To Go), all situated on the charmant Rue de Nil. The name was inspired by Jamie Oliver's nickname for Marchand, after the French chef worked in the kitchens of Oliver's Fifteen restaurant in London. The ambience is quirky and lovely—raw brick and stone walls, rose gold light fittings, walls clustered with empty white picture frames and mirrors, simple black Bentwood chairs, sprays of fresh flowers—and the food just as pleasing. Daily-changing tasting menus might include bites such as burrata with peach and purple basil or duck foie gras served with rhubarb chutney.
This ultra-chic Breton crêperie in the au courant Marais neighborhood draws a well-heeled crowd, who pack the spare, elegant room—decorated in a style that falls somewhere between Japanese minimalism and Parisian coziness—to tuck into some of the city's most delicious and sought after Brittany-style buckwheat crepês. Choose from savory versions with ingredients like Gruyère, jambon and fresh herbs, or sweet treats like Nutella and organic berries.
Beg, borrow or steal a reservation at this Michelin-starred Franco-Chinese restaurant near Les Halles that's unlike anywhere else you'll eat in Paris. The tranquil, stylish dining room, newly located on the swanky rue St. Honoré after moving from the original space on nearby rue Sauva (now a tea house and takeout spinoff called Boutique yam'Tcha), showcases chef Adeline Grattard's inventive take on fusion cuisine. Savor umami-rich dishes like wok-fried langoustines with duck egg, lettuce cream and tomatoes, and don't miss the restaurant's habit-forming bao (steamed buns) stuffed with Stilton cheese and pickled cherries. Tasting menus can be paired with wine or tea, the latter carefully selected by Grattard's Hong Kong-born husband Chi Wah Chan.
Is it a restaurant? A wine bar? A cool lounging spot? Who cares when the vibe is as cool as it as at Les Chouettes (The Owls, in French). This three-story restaurant in the Haut-Marais makes brilliant use of its Art Deco space, with a soaring glass atrium, dramatic spiral staircase, moody lounge and a classic brasserie room with tiled floors, leather banquettes and mirrored walls, all courtesy of Barcelona-based designer Lázaro Rosa Violán. Plates on the daily menu might include comfort food dishes like roasted chicken with crisp potatoes, veal with polenta or tagliatelle with truffle cream sauce.
Le Bistrot Paul Bert
While the interiors themselves are more shabby chic than cutting-edge, Le Bistrot Paul Bert is consistently rated by gourmands as a prime example of the authentic, convivial Paris bistro. Located in the fashionable 11th arrondissement on rue Paul Bert, the menu at this cozy spot—a former butcher shop—features staples like côte de boeuf, poisson meunière (Julia Child's favorite), and milk-fed pork slow-cooked with apricots, prunes and almonds. Prices are reasonable too, considering the quality of the food and the fab locale.
The Fish Club
From the brilliant minds that brought you the globe-spanning Experimental Cocktail Club empire comes this darling seafood spot in the 1st arrondissement. Slide into one of the cozy banquettes in the breezy, blue-hued dining room and peruse the menu (which also doubles as the place mat), deciding between the comforting and familiar—fried fish served with home-made tartare sauce; squid a la plancha—or the slightly more avant garde (grilled octopus with beets and tarragon cream). Or go all out and splurge one of the decadent seafood platters: choose from "red," featuring lobster, shrimp and prawns and ‘grey,’ with oysters, clams and whelks.
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