Le Servan

Tatiana Levha, formerly at L’Arpège and L’Astrance, and her sister Katia opened this light, airy bistro with a central bar & hand painted ceiling. The short list of offerings changes each day, but expect seasonally driven cuisine inflected with international touches like tandoori spiced beurre blanc atop asparagus or harissa to spice up the line caught hake. Dessert left room for improvement, but otherwise Le Servan had reasonably priced, expertly executed dishes and friendly service in a beautiful space.

La Buvette

A simple spot where you can taste bottles of excellent natural wines alongside a few small plates from proprietor Camille Fourmont, formerly the bar manager at Le Dauphin. Not to be confused with the other Buvette, this off-the-beaten path bar (that is technically a shop where you can buy bottles) was selected as the Best Cave à Manger by Le Fooding.

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.

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 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.

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.

Mensae

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.

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.