Capitaine

Capitaine is a modern bistro tucked into a quiet Marais street just south of the Place des Vosges. The decor is pure (Brittany?) bistro, with bare wooden tables, moleskine banquettes, and assorted maritime kitsch. The menu appears at first glance to match this bistro vibe, but look closely: duck breast is dotted with prik pao sauce, raw oysters are garnished with shredded carrot, chile and peanuts, and fraise de veau (an intestinal membrane) carries the flavors of mapo tofu.

Les Enfants du Marché

Les Enfants du Marché, a modern & creative restaurant located within the open-air Marché des Enfants Rouges market in the upper Marais, is a dining counter known for natural wine and avant-garde cuisine. While the seating on bar stools in the bustling market might suggest a more lowbrow offering, the surprising combinations on Japanese chef Masahide Ikuta’s unforgettable plates evoke a far more fine dining affair (an evocation reflected in the highbrow prices). It is one of our favorite Paris restaurants.

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.

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.

Holybelly

Pancakes, poached eggs and hearty seasonal fare served alongside excellent coffee sourced from Belleville Brulerie in a sunny space along the Canal St. Martin. An international array of coffee preparations (flat whites, espressos, long blacks, cappuccinos, and very good “real deal” filtered coffee) are accompanied by hot chocolate made from homemade chocolate syrup and a selection of teas from Le Parti du Thé.

Abri

We have never been disappointed by the excellent modern bistronomy at Abri, but the only way that we have been able to go in the last year has been when someone else had a reservation they couldn’t use. No, they will not answer their phone. No, there is no secret strategy. Even if you go in person and ask for a reservation, any reservation, at lunch or dinner for any number of people at any time in the future, the answer will be no. So take it off your list, it’s not a functional restaurant if you can’t ever go.

Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen

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.

Not Terrible Near the Champs-Élysées

The Champs-Élysées is one of the most historic and beautiful promenades in all of Paris. Chestnut trees line the streets, as do some of the best (and most astronomically expensive) restaurants in the city, but the high-rent real estate also means that there is an abundance of large, mediocre multinational chain restaurants. It’s slim pickings, but these are our pickings for what’s actually worth seeking out along la plus belle avenue du monde.

Candelaria

With its bright, bare-bones kitchen, crowded counter, communal table, and addictive salsas — all mercifully un-Frenchified — this upper Marais spot has officially changed the game, and people are lining up for tacos and agua fresca. Go through the unmarked door next to the stove and you’ll find a serious bar, staffed by Experimental Cocktail Club grads.