A bare bones room lined with shelves of natural wines, a tiny kitchen turning out simple and dishes; this doesn’t immediately feel like the kind of place a person would cross town for. And yet many do. Booking is imperative.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Villaret is one of our favorite Classic Bistros in Paris. Sometimes in life we chase after the ones who play hard-to-get and we ignore the nice, stable options who just want to treat us right. Le Villaret is the homely neighborhood bistro that I never appreciated until I stopped looking for love at Le Baratin and Le Repaire de Cartouche.
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.
We’re falling more in love with Tomy & Co. with each visit, and have elevated this to our #1 favorite Paris restaurant for modern & creative cuisine. Chef Tomy Gousset’s cuisine is thrillingly modern, and he’s a master of using herbs, acidity and texture to elevate sometimes humble ingredients like beef tongue or tête de veau.
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.
Mensae is a contemporary French bistro not far from the sprawling Buttes-Chaumont park. Classics like frogs’ legs and steak tartare are frequently featured on the ever-changing menu, revisited with a contemporary bent and more reasonable portion size than the behemoths found in other restaurants. Don’t miss the chocolate mousse for dessert.
This historic three-star restaurant is perched in a pavilion just off the Champs-Elysées and has been a dining destination since the French Revolution. Long-time chef Christian Le Squer handed the reigns to Yannick Alleno in July 2014, and Alleno has promised a renewed focus on what he considers to be the great strength of French cuisine – sauces.
The real specialty at this classic, luxe shop is Armagnac, with vintages dating back to 1868. Don’t know the first thing about Armagnac? Just ask, and one of the friendly staff will pour you a taste. The back room houses an impressive collection of first growth Bordeaux (Margaux, Latour) and Chateau d’Yquem, and R-D bottles their own lines of port and Scotch, too.
A recent editorial in the New York Times claims that hipsters have ruined Pigalle. However, the author’s withering references to good coffee and gourmet hot dogs lacked the concrete details necessary to procure these delicious items. We’ve compiled our own guide to eating & drinking in Pigalle, filled with recommendations from the very people Chatterton Williams holds responsible for ruining Paris. Go forth and destroy.
It’s truffle season in Paris, and the knobby tubers are turning up on restaurant menus all over town. Many people, however, don’t know their Alba from their elbow, and can’t understand why a kilo of fungus might sell for thousands of euros. Are are some basics, with a little help from truffle maven Patricia Wells.
Gail Simmons recently returned to Paris for the first time in a decade and (helped in part by your Twitter suggestions) ate her way through the city. She named the sweetbreads at Spring and Frenchie’s cod with smoked eggplant as two of her favorite Paris tastes. But what else did she put in her mouth?
Meg Zimbeck is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Paris by Mouth. Beyond the content on this site, she writes about food in Paris for the…