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France Opens to Vaccinated Americans on June 9 (really!)

Vaccinated Americans, Canadians, and Brits are allowed into France from June 9 with a PCR or antigen test. Unvaccinated travelers from these countries have to jump through a lot of hoops. Australians, New Zealanders and other travelers from “green” countries with very low COVID rates face no restrictions in entering France or crossing EU borders.

Le Saint-Sébastien

This contemporary French restaurant in the 11th arrondissement is known for its handmade charcuterie, vegetable-driven (but not vegetarian) cooking, and desserts with a savory spin. The 400-reference-strong wine list and impeccable (Anglophone) service make this neighborhood restaurant one worth crossing the city for. Now helmed by chef Christopher Edwards, the menu in summer 2021 is featuring plenty of peak-season produce, line-caught fish, and an incredible selection of white wine and craft beer for sipping on the sidewalk terrace.

La Poule au Pot

La Poule au Pot is a looker. It's wonderful to walk in and witness the vintage wallpaper, the globe lighting, and the silver-plated serving chariot wheeling between Pepto-Bismol colored tables. It is at once a little elegant and also a touch cheesy. One can almost picture the 80s pop stars who used to slouch into these red banquettes, the mirrored pillars reflecting their manliner and sprayed hair. Today's Poule au Pot, having been recently rebooted by star chef Jean-François Piège, reflects something different - a desire for traditional cuisine bourgeouise and also the willingness (by some) to pay for it.

Le Rigmarole

This small plates restaurant not far from République boasts a Japanese-accented assortment of dishes from French-American chef Robert Compagnon. Handmade pastas and yakitori are must-try items on the tasting menu. Ask for seat at the bar to see the binchotan grill at work. The team here easily caters to more (or less!) adventurous diners, with offerings like chicken sashimi and offal skewers. Co-owner Jessica Yang is the Taiwanese-American pastry chef behind the delectable desserts – save room.

Arnaud Nicolas

At the impossibly young age of 24, Arnaud Nicolas achieved one of the highest honors in gastronomy – the title Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) – for his talent in charcuterie. Fourteen years later, he opened an ambitious shop and restaurant near the Eiffel Tower with the explicit goal of returning charcuterie to a place of honor on the French table. In the same way that prize-winning artisans have reshaped traditional baguette-making and pâtisserie, Nicolas wants to reintroduce charcuterie to palates that have become used to mediocre industrialized examples. So is it really that different? Yes.

Le Baratin

Food and wine pilgrims, particularly those who read the New York Times or watch Anthony Bourdain, are willing to climb the hill for this Belleville institution. Raquel Carena tends the fire, offering her own personal brand of bistro cooking - sometimes delicate, sometimes hearty, always heartfelt. In stark contrast to the loving kitchen, the dining room is cold as ice, thanks to the joyless leadership of Carena's husband Philippe.

Le Repaire de Cartouche

Le Repaire de Cartouche Restaurant in Paris | Paris By MouthThis simple bistro has for years been a favorite among wine lovers, who arrive hoping to plumb the depths of Rodolphe Paquin’s cellar. Whether you taste something from the carte, or persuade Paquin to share an off-list treasure from his cave, wine is undoubtedly the highlight of any experience here. Paquin’s terrines are also extraordinary. He’s written a book about the subject and sells them whole in ceramic crocks to go. In autumn and winter, this is the place to go for wild game. Everything else here is pretty average, except for the service, which is atrocious. Two different tables stormed out during my most recent visit. What saves the experience for some is the joyful welcome from Paquin, the affable host (some ladies might say too affable) who greats regulars like long lost friends. Since I’ve been coming for years, I get a squeeze and a smile but still suffer through the terrible service… no one is safe. Visitors to Paris who can’t cite a winemaker connection or who haven’t yet been introduced will most likely be ignored and wondering why we’ve included this on our site. We’ve included it to reclassify Le Repaire de Cartouche as a great place to sit at the bar without reservations, order wine with a slab of terrine, and wait for your table to open up at Au Passage. It’s still great fun as a wine bar, even if it can no longer deliver as a restaurant.

Le Chateaubriand

Le Chateaubriand currently holds the #4 ranking in our list of our favorite Tasting Menus under 100€You can only reserve for the first seating at Le Chateaubriand. After that, you’ll have to wait in line from 9pm for a stab at Iñaki Aizpitarte’s no-choice tasting menu, a parade of provocative flavor pairings that has landed the restaurant on San Pellegrino’s 50 Best list for several years running. Whether you love or hate this restaurant may depend on your affinity for natural wine and improvisational cooking. We have had brilliant meals here, where every delicious dish taught us something new. We have been outraged, and we have been indifferent. You never quite know what to expect here, and that’s part of the fun. Just be sure to go with omnivorous friends who share that outlook.

L’Assiette

With its worn wooden tables, intricately painted ceilings, and charcuterie slicer propped on the marble counter, L'Assiette has the precise look of a dream Paris bistro. It also serves many of the classic dishes, like escargots and cassoulet, which have mostly disappeared from the city's restaurants. The far-flung location in the 14th arrondissement, near the Catacombs but far from the center, has probably helped L'Assiette to stay off the tourist radar. Chef David Rathgeber and his team are friendly with visitors but don't cater to them. The customers who come to indulge in this hearty fare are mostly local, which makes this a great option for tourists looking to avoid their own countrymen.

Le Grand Restaurant

Address: 7 rue d’Aguesseau, 75008
Hours: Open Monday-Friday for lunch & dinner. Closed Saturday & Sunday.
Telephone: +33 1 53 05 00 00
Book Online / Website / Instagram

COVID-19 UPDATE:
Le Grand Restaurant is currently closed.

Le Grand Restaurant in Photos

In Other Words

Le Figaro (2015) “Le plat à ne pas laisser filer: homard bleu de Bretagne en feuille de figuier, mûres épicées, foie gras au poivre sauvage, pur instant de mijoté réinventé.”

Simon Says (2015) “En fait, si l’on a bien compris, Jean François Piège semble vouloir siffler la fin d’une mi temps où les chefs faisaient un peu n’importe quoi (voir ailleurs s’ils y étaient). Il est en cuisine avec ses coéquipiers (chacun à sa place), fait une cuisine franche, lisible et distincte. C’est du premier degré (ouf!). Avec un élément nouveau: la sincérité. “

Where to Find the Best Baguettes in Paris

Where can you find a great baguette in Paris? Below we’ve listed and mapped the bakeries who have placed among the top ten winners in the city’s annual competition to determine La Meilleure Baguette de Paris. Look for the bakery that’s nearest to you, or focus your efforts on those who have finished first – we’ve indicated the Grand Prix winners with a heart.

The Beast

Frenchman Thomas Abramowicz spent a year training in central Texas and tracking down everything he would need (meat, wood, Bourbon) to open the first authentic smokehouse in Paris. Beef is king here, in the form of slow and low smoked brisket and gigantic ribs, but barbecued chicken, baby back ribs and pulled pork also feature on the short menu. Vinegary cole slaw and steamed vegetables instead of baked beans or mac & cheese, but you can still expect to finish with pecan pie. Or just have another Bourbon – there are more than 50 to choose from – including impossible to find Pappy Van Winkle’s and a 22-year Elijah Craig – plus a handful of craft beers and natural red wines. Read the backstory here.

Office

Practical information

Address: 3 rue Richer, 75009
Nearest transport: Cadet (7), Grands Boulevards (8, 9)
Hours: Closed Saturday and Sunday; Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner
Reservations: Book a few days in advance
Telephone: 01 47 70 67 31
Website   Facebook   Book Online

L’Office in photos

What people are saying

Have you been? Leave your own opinion about L’Office in the comments!

John Talbott (2014) “The newest chef, Konrad Ceglowski, is a master of protein with fruit and veggies… seduced, successfully, by the sauteed calamari with a creamy fennel sauce, zucchini and squid ink.  It was superb, no other word for it.”

Figaroscope (2011) “De jolies surprises dans des formules à prix doux : velouté de coco et lardo di Colonnata pour l’onctuosité, mariage détonnant de poulpe, os à moelle et citron, poulet tendre parfaitement rôti, girolles et panais. Une belle maîtrise qui s’affiche jusqu’au dessert…”

Alexander Lobrano (2011) “I was impressed by [former chef] O’Donnell’s technically impeccable and very personal Italian accented bistro cooking…This is a terrific little restaurant, though—and also an excellent buy for the money.”

John Talbott (2011) “…superbly priced lunch menus…the pork belly with tomato, egg and rocket and…the pulpo with bone marrow and lemon…were tasty, very tasty.”

Table à Décourvert (2011) “un style entre les irrésistibles tables du moment (Septime, Frenchie, Autour d’un Verre) et le bon vieil Office que l’on aimait…Allez-y!”

 

 

 

 

 

Verjus Restaurant

Address: 52 rue de Richelieu, 75001
Hours: Open Monday-Friday for dinner only. Closed Saturday & Sunday.
Telephone: +33 1 42 97 54 40
Website / Book Online / FacebookInstagram

COVID-19 UPDATE:
Verjus is currently closed.

Our Most Recent Visit

I never tire of returning to Verjus, which has one of the most creative and affordable modern tasting menus in town. Chef Braden Perkins is self-taught, disciplined and obsessive. He makes time time for travel in order to take inspiration from chefs around the world, returning home to refine and personalize their best ideas. When he wasn’t happy with the produce available from local sources, he partnered with other chefs to cultivate a more direct network from farms in Normandy. The result of all this is a tasting menu that mixes a modest amount of meat or fish with some of the best vegetable creations I’ve ever tasted. Six very small dishes (snacks) are followed by homemade bread and butter, three more substantial dishes, and dessert for 78€. Perkins’ partner Laura Adrian has put together an incredible wine list that is heavy with organic and biodynamic producers, and her wine pairings for the tasting menu (55€) are spot on. On a practical note, there’s a private room that can be booked for 8-12 people, and the kitchen is known to accommodate a wide range of dietary issues with advance notice.

Pirouette

At this beautiful restaurant in the underserved district just north of Les Halles, serious technique is brought to bear on beautiful veggies and offal alike. The consistently delicious dishes, the polished room and the very good wine list all add up to something that’s much greater than the bargain prices should allow. There’s a prix fixe at lunch for only 15€, and diners can go à la carte at lunch or dinner for 36€. Chef Tomy Gousset departed in 2016 to open Tomy & Co, but Pirouette remains a solid bet.

Ellsworth

Address: 34 rue de Richelieu, 75001
Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch & dinner. Closed Sunday & Monday.
Telephone: +33 1 42 60 59 66
Website / Book Online / Facebook / Instagram

2021 Update:
Ellsworth is currently closed and not accepting reservations. They’re planning to reopen in September.

Our Most Recent Visit

Following their success with Verjus, where the more elaborate formula of dégustation + wine pairings has drawn a loyal following of happy locals and visiting celebrities, Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian have decided to open something more casual. Let’s call it “serious casual” because at Ellsworth (named for Perkins’ grandfather), foods that you might see at a county fair are elevated through careful sourcing and a sincere spirit of DIY. The fried chicken from Verjus Bar à Vins has moved over to Ellsworth, leaving the former as more of a place for drinks and snacks before or after dinner at Verjus

David Toutain

David Toutain, who brought acclaim to Agapé Substance before jumping ship back in December 2012, returned to the Paris scene with this signature restaurant in 2013. His meticulous and conceptual cooking highlights seasonal produce, with vegetables often playing the starring role. This is by no means a vegetarian restaurant, but Toutain's ability to bring out the beauty in oft-ignored roots reminds us of his former boss Alain Passard.

Fish (La Boissonnerie)

This popular restaurant and wine bar run by Drew Harre and Juan Sanchez is a sort of Anglo haven, excellent for a quick glass, a solo dinner at the bar, or for those times when you’re just tired of speaking French. The wine list is populated by small producers, many of them organic and bio-dynamic, with fair prices and plenty of options by the glass. They’re open every day, and we often find ourselves here on a Sunday or Monday when so many other restaurants are closed. Compared to their sister restaurant Semilla, the more gastronomic option across the street, Fish is the reliable bistro and a genuine Saint-Germain institution.

52 Faubourg Saint Denis

After L’Office and Le Richer (one of our favorite new openings of 2013), Charles Compagnon is back with another gift for the Faubourg. If he has run out of ideas for restaurant names, the same cannot be said for the dishes coming out of his kitchen. The compact menu with 3-4 choices per course contains plenty that we want to eat: well-roasted duck with coco beans, corn and kale, and an egg yolk ravioli with ham and mushrooms that was satisfyingly reminiscent of one of our favorite dishes at L’Office. Beyond the very good wine list, special attention has been paid to other liquids, starting with their own café Compagnon (roasted by Coutume), including a beer called La Maryse created in collaboration with Dirk Naudrs from De Proef, and finishing with a selection of very special small batch eaux de vie from Christoph Keller at the Stählemühle distillery. Like at Le Richer, this place is open every day with continuous service from 8am to midnight. No reservations, but you can wait (or eat, or drink) at the bar. 

Frenchie

Address: 5 Rue du Nil, 75002
Hours: Open Monday-Friday for dinner. Open Thursday & Friday for lunch.
Telephone: +33 1 40 39 96 19
Book Online / Website / Facebook / Instagram

COVID-19 UPDATE:
During lockdown, Frenchie launched Frenchie to Go, a takeaway delivery service that it maintains following lockdown easing Tuesday-Saturday. Order the three- or four-course menus (complete with vegetarian options) online. Frenchie is also now open to dine-in; reserve online. It boasts a few tables on the pedestrianized rue du Nil available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Muscovado

We first discovered Quina Lon during her pastry chef days at Au Passage and then Martin. Her pastries, never too sweet and always utilizing the freshest ingredients, were evidence of time spent in some of the best kitchens in the world (Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Mugaritz). She partnered with her sister Francine, who holds an equally impressive CV (Eleven Madison Park, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal) to open Muscovado in 2016. The breakfast and lunch menus, which change often, are served Wednesday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday feature a special brunch menu from 10am – 5pm including classic egg dishes, coffee from Belleville Brûlerie, and of course their in house pastries that are available all day, everyday. They’re experimenting with also serving dinner on Thursday and Friday nights, but you may want to confirm that by calling for a reservation.

Papillon

Address: 8, rue Messonier, 75017
Hours: Open Monday-Friday for lunch & dinner. Closed Saturday & Sunday.
Telephone: +33 1 56 79 81 88
Website / Facebook / Instagram

COVID-19 UPDATE:
Papillon has reopened.

Papillon in Photos

Photos by Meg Zimbeck © Paris by Mouth

In Other Words

John Talbott (2016) “The best/most innovative meal I’ve had in 3 weeks.”

Les Grands Ducs (2016) “La carte est courte, c’est le moins que l’on puisse dire, et le menu déjeuner (choix imposé), à 36 €, une toute relative bonne affaire. Mais le talent est là. Car côté cuisine, ce papillon ne manque pas de couleurs. Ni de  vivacité. L’influence des années Ducasse y est bien présente, dans une forme de simplicité et de vérité rendue au produit dont les saveurs sont présentées sans artifice inutile… Seuls gros bémols, un niveau sonore beaucoup trop bruyant et un service en surnombre et pourtant débordé.”

Paris’ Best Baguette in 2016: La Parisienne

Results from the annual competition to name the city’s best baguette – the Grand prix de la baguette de tradition française de la Ville de Paris – have just been announced. This year’s winning baguette was made by bakers Mickaël Reydellet and Florian Charles from La Parisienne at 48 rue Madame in Saint-Germain.

Daniel Rose to take on Chez la Vieille & New York

Chez la Vieille occupies an unassuming corner at the intersection of two quiet streets, Bailleul and l’Arbre Sec, between the Louvre and what’s left of Les Halles. It was opened by the formidable Adrienne Biasin back in 1960 and catered – like most restaurants in this neighborhood – to a clientele of workers from the nearby Les Halles market. When the towering iron and glass pavillions were torn down in 1971 and the market was transferred to the sanitary suburb of Rungis, the “old lady’s” place remained as a comfort for locals who were (and still are) mourning the loss of “the belly of Paris.” 

Beards, beanies & bacon jam: Brooklyn arrives at Le Bon Marché

Hovering fifty feet above the corner of Sèvres and Babylone is the image of a hipster eating a hot dog. The waxed tips of his mustache curl up as he gazes down upon the sidewalk scene below: an elegant woman wearing a camel trench coat is loading her shopping into a car. This is the line for valet parking at the city’s most expensive department store, and madame’s bags are bursting with jars of bacon jam.

Between now and October 17, Le Bon Marché (LBM) is celebrating New York’s most populous borough with their Brooklyn Rive Gauche festival.  Throughout the department store and their next-door food hall La Grande Épicerie, black water tower display stands direct shoppers to kale chips, artisanal matchsticks, and beard cream.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2015

The annual ranking of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants has just been announced. El Cellar de Can Roca in Girona (Spain) now wears the crown and Copenhagen’s Noma has fallen to #3 with Osteria Francescana in Modena (Italy) sneaking up to grab second place. Here’s a look at where Paris ranks among the best in the world, according to this jury.

Our Favorite Three Star Restaurants in Paris

In discussing the three-star restaurant L’Ambroisie, which ranks among the most expensive in the world, people often bring up a quote by chef Bernard Pacaud. “Someone’s first meal here is never their best,” he once said. “It takes at least two or three meals for us to learn the customer and for the customer to learn us.”

This was true for food blogger Adam Goldberg, who wrote a scathing report of his first meal at L’Ambroisie. After returning more than twenty times, however, he declared “I am now certain that this is the finest French restaurant in the world.”

Behind the Curtain: Examining Haute Cuisine in Paris

More than 100 years ago, a tire company named Michelin began telling people about their best options for eating while motoring around the country. Travelers wanted to know what was worth a detour or a special journey, and that’s still the case today. The question I’m most frequently asked by our readers is where to go for a special blow-out meal. You want to celebrate a birthday, an anniversary, a victory. You want to seal a deal, whether business or pleasure. You’re willing to drop some cash, but you don’t want to feel like a fool.

Until now, I’ve had a hard time answering this question. I know well the landscape of the city’s classic bistrosmodern French restaurants, and food-loving wine bars, but this class of two- and three-star tables is a different terrain entirely. There’s an obvious barrier to understanding these restaurants: the staggering, outrageous, almost immoral price of a meal. Prior to this project, in which I anonymously tested every three-star restaurant in Paris over a period of twelve weeks, I had only visited a handful.

Zébulon

A second effort from the folks behind Pirouette, here with a chef who trained in Japan and his arsenal of anywhere-East-of-here flavors. The two-course 20€ lunch menu on the day of our visit included gnocchi with gingered sea bass, plus steak with caramelized shallots and tempura shimeji mushrooms. The three-course 45€ menu (available lunch & dinner) is a roster of French standards with exotic inflections, like my dish of perfectly cooked turbot accented with nori and encircled by delicate nests of interwoven fennel and shallot strands.  If there’s anything to shrug about, it’s the interior. Design choices that worked well in the shadowy space of Pirouette appear here, in the shadow of the centuries-old Palais Royal, as painfully new. In any case, Zébulon’s arrival is great news for anyone hoping to eat well before or after a visit to the Louvre, and a welcome addition to the increasingly interesting  (VerjusJuveniles,) Palais Royal quarter. 

Eating & Drinking in the No-Go Zones

Nolan Peterson, photo from his Facebook page
Nolan Peterson, photo from his Facebook page

The reliably cynical Fox News network has been broadcasting an interview with Nolan Peterson (photo at right), a supposed security expert and confirmed bozo who has declared Paris to be dotted with “No-Go Zones” where “in just a ten-minute cab ride from the Eiffel Tower, you can be walking through streets that feel just like Baghdad.”

Baghdad, eh? How wonderful for Baghdad if their streets are also filled, as these districts are, with modern bistros, craft breweries, natural wine haunts, vegan cafés, and spots for Philly cheesesteak. Not to mention a place that ranks among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and a bakery that won the Best Baguette in Paris competition.

Inspired by a rebuttal by Sened Dhab, we decided to plot all of the wonderful restaurants, bars and shops that fall within these unterrorized borders. They are some of the most vibrant quarters in Paris and you shouldn’t hesitate for a single moment to visit.

Au Passage

Address: 1 bis passage de Saint Sébastien, 75011
Hours: Open Monday-Saturday for dinner. Closed Sunday.
Telephone: +33 1 43 55 07 52
Book Online / Website / Facebook / Instagram

COVID-19 UPDATE:
Au Passage has reopened with a temporary terrace across the way.

Our Most Recent Visit

It’s so nice when a restaurant delivers more than they need to, more than you expect to receive. When looking at a chalkboard menu filled with cheap small plates, one rarely hopes for anything more than simple products. But here at Au Passage, your 8€ octopus dish has undergone three days of preparation. There’s a quiet ethos at work beneath the blaring bustle of the dining room: staples are homemade (butter, bread, stock, charcuterie), vegetables and fish receive priority attention, and meat is served in a nose-to-tail spirit with every last offaly bit turning up on the menu. So much heart and creativity for so little money. Au Passage is not for everyone, nor is it trying to be. If the loud music, frenzied service, and worn-out interior turn some people away, that leaves more space for me. 

Lawsuits and threats for negative reviews

Update December 16

Following his (really very) negative review of Le Verre Volé sur Mer, writer Aaron Ayscough (Not Drinking Poison in Paris) received this comment from chef Laurent Julien:

your gonna review only soups restaurants after you cross my way motherfucker.You need a good reminder of what respect is.Tu va connaitre ton poid sans tes dents mon enfant de chienne.a bientot