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David Toutain

David Toutain restaurant in Paris

A recent lunch – our fifth visit to his eponymous two-star restaurant, was phenomenal. David Toutain is fulfilling his mentor Alain Passard’s promise in a way that Arpège is now failing to do. It’s not a vegetarian restaurant, but seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs are at the heart of Toutain’s inspiration. Tasting menus are priced at 150€ (lunch), 180€, 240€ and 290€. This and Alliance are currently our favorite fine dining experiences in Paris, and neither restaurant holds three Michelin stars.

Be sure to specify when booking that you’d like to be seated downstairs in the main dining room. They’ve recently added a number of small tables in a cramped and airless room upstairs near the bathroom. Surely these bring in more money, but dining there is another (far less interesting) experience altogether.


29 rue Surcouf, 75007
Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner
Closed Saturday & Sunday
Reservations online or at +33 1 45 50 11 10


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Condé Nast Traveler (2015) “At his Left Bank outpost, Toutain, who grew up on a farm in Normandy, honors the produce-based tradition of the region with dishes like seared foie gras in baked potato bouillon with black truffles.”

Atabula (2015) “Bref, une cuisine sur la retenue alors même que le talent était là, omniprésent, incontesté et incontestable.”

Le Monde (2015) “Ce chef n’a peur de rien. De la branche de salsifis craquant, crème de panais et chocolat blanc en amuse-bouche à la crème de chou-fleur, coco, chocolat blanc en prédessert, on va de surprise en surprise durant ce menu obligé.”

L’Express (2014) “Retenez le nom de ce chef surdoué: il va faire le tour du monde.”

Eater (2014) ” His surprise menus are inventive, eclectic, and hyper-seasonal.”

Patricia Wells (2014) “David Toutain is a cerebral chef. Nothing is accidental and when you enter his brand new 7th arrondissement restaurant you are subject to his rules and his way of thinking. Yet you never feel as though your arm is being twisted. This is not a restaurant for a casual meal, but rather one that is meticulously planned and thought out, and begs for, yes deserves,  your attention. And it’s well worth your time.”

The New York Times (2014) “The rhythm of the prix-fixe menu, which changes daily, is intentionally varied. Toutain composes meals so that a quiet dish, like seared foie gras in baked potato bouillon with black truffles, sets up the drama of another dish meant to dazzle, like a monochromatic white composition of cuttlefish with yuba (bean-curd sheet) and nearly translucent Parmesan gnocchi, seasoned with the juice extracted from cooking the cheese at a very low temperature for many hours.”

Le Fooding (2014) “Chez lui, Toutain joue en sourdine. Décor aéré presque sévère (bois, béton, aplats gris), service cravaté et… carte muette ! Tout commence par une page blanche – une table en bois massif qui s’habille pièce à pièce : serviette, verres, cailloux, coupelles, terres cuites.”

John Talbott (2013) “Any striking plusses? The wonderful warmth of the newly gathered staff (quite astonishing). The innovative, consistent, explosive food.”


2 thoughts on “David Toutain”

  1. I also had a horrible experience here. The server and host were rude and clearly are biased. While most of the dishes (not all) are very good, the unprofessional and dirty looking servers will run the place down. I hope Michelin reconsiders these stars until the chef hire more professional staff.

  2. My guest and I just walked out of David Toutain’s restaurant, midway through our “meal”.

    In a word, from start to when we departed, the meal was foul.

    Course after course of contrived nasty tasting “food”, including:

    Burned bread served with a disc of refrigerator hard cheese.

    A green leaf wrapped around a turpentine cream. It was disgusting. We watched 6 nearby customers as they too tried to swallow this vile concoction.

    Asparagus served with “caviar” that tasted like weeks old rotten fish. Once we tasted their horrible caviar, we asked that any other strong flavored fish be omitted. Unfortunately, they soon served a dish of eel, which we promptly had removed from the table.

    Yet another asparagus dish served with “shrimp powder” and raw onions.

    An unseasoned piece of white fish. I asked for salt. 5 minutes later a dish of wet salt was provided.

    And then the duck. A nearly raw thick slice of a duck’s breast, complete with ultra soggy/limp/greasy skin. It was no surprise that they present their guests with a bucket of sharp knives. Really- they provided each table with a bucket of steak knives so that we can select which knife might be best to butcher the duck. Every other utensil was placed by the servers, for each course, on the table. I guess steak knives are somehow special and thus deserving of a unique distribution system.

    It was at this point that we decided that enough was enough. Even though we paid for the pre fixe menu, including desserts, we asked for our check, paid the bill, and got the hell out of there.

    Honestly, this was the worst meal we had in France. Good food, let alone great food, has to taste good. David Toutain’s food tasted bad. It was an insult to 100’s of years of French chefs who elevated France’s cooking to the world’s best.

    Who decided that foams (AKA cat spit) do anything to improve a given dish?

    My guest and I both felt queazy following our Toutain “meal”. We don’t know if the culprit was the turpentine cream, the rancid tasting caviar or the seemingly raw duck.

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