Septime is a modern and creative restaurant in eastern Paris. It’s led by chef Bertrand Grébaut and currently holds one Michelin star. Septime is the most highly rated Paris restaurant on the World’s 50 Best list at #22.
I’ve been to Septime many times and the experience is variable. My most recent visit was good enough to land Septime back on our list of 50 favorite restaurants in Paris. The preceding visit was a dud. I’ll leave both reviews here as a caution.
I’ve been loudly singing the praises of Septime for more than a decade, even though they’ve been wildly inconsistent. I’m done singing, at least for a while. My most recent update to this page acknowledged that “my visits in 2015-2016 were fine but not great,” but “a return visit in 2017 has left no doubt in my mind that Septime is still the best contemporary tasting menu in Paris.” After that, I went back in 2019 and had a forgettable experience.
I returned in early 2022 with a table full of food lovers and endured a meal that was austere and brown and soft. The incredible wine list, joyful service and good company went a long way to make the evening enjoyable, but most of the dishes we received as part of a 110 euro tasting menu were confusing or sad. This wasn’t a matter of execution or a bad night – this was a poorly conceived menu with an irritating lack of generosity. The service experience at Septime remains outstanding, but the food bears little relation to the restaurant I celebrated a decade before.
It’s easier to shrug off a disappointing meal when the restaurant is less expensive and easier to book. Septime is neither of those things right now, so skip it.
The lunch I just had was (almost) good enough to erase the memory of last year’s terrible dinner. It was definitely good enough to land Septime back on our list of 50 favorite restaurants in Paris. Click below to read the review and learn what was different this time, and what we think about Septime now.
80, rue de Charonne, 75011
Open Monday-Friday for lunch & dinner
Reservations online or at +33 1 43 67 38 29
Their Instagram / Our Instagram
OUR PHOTOS OF SEPTIME
Our most recent visit
IN OTHER WORDS
Time Out (2017) sings an ode to Septime through the years before breaking down a recent, post-Michelin-star visit, writing “the cuisine seems to have been simplified. At its core: sublime ingredients, perfect cooking, correct seasoning.” Writes the journalist: “What pressure for a chef to always need to be inventive, genial, and deserving of his reputation.”
Bon Appétit (2017) advises you to “go here for graphic-designer-turned-chef Bertrand Grébaut’s confidently creative food in a room that gets everything right. Grébaut, who cooked at the three-Michelin-starred L’Astrance and L’Arpège, is always finding new ways to provoke flavor from familiar ingredients, with a love of contrasts—raw and charred, puréed and crisp—and compositions that are as inspiring to look at as they are to taste.”
Condé Nast Traveler (2015) “Bertrand Grebaud serves modern bistro dishes—steamed cod with pickled turnips and yuzu sauce; white asparagus with an oyster sauce gribiche. Unfortunately, since reservations are accepted no more than three weeks in advance, booking a table for dinner is highly competitive. Lunch openings are a good alternative.”
Philippe Toinard (2012) “… c’est sans doute l’un des meilleurs rapports qualité prix au déjeuner.”
The New York Times (2011) “… both visually refined and relaxed, with a polite, house-party-in-the-country style hospitality…Though produce-centric, it eschews the Paris trend of name-dropping producers and lets the ingredients speak for themselves.”
David Lebovitz (2011) “… the cooks are actually cooking, not just coming up with tricks and trends (like slate “plates” and jam jars) to obscure the fact that they don’t know what they’re doing, or that their ingredients aren’t good enough to be presented on their own without some sort of fuss and fanfare. Chef Bertrand Grébaut doesn’t seem to want to (or need to) resort to any culinary tricks; he’s just using good ingredients sensibly. And his presentations are beautiful.”
John Talbott (2011) “… great butcher block tables, spiral iron staircase, seemingly unfinished old walls… asparagus stalks with orange slices, microtomed carrots and tiny leaves of mountain spinach (arrach) and a terrine of layered foie gras, canard was it?, some scallion-like vegetable and a beet puree. Terrific!”
Simon Says (2011) “… une des plus belles découvertes de ce printemps. Le chef, Bertrand Grébaut, a été formé à l’école Passard. On retrouve ainsi dans son assiette cet eliptisme rayonnant… asperges, oranges, ricotta ou encore joue de cochon, jardinière, oseille sauvage. Encore? Cabillaud, épinard, civet d’arêtes… La salle du restaurant Septime est dans ce même esprit : bois brut et épais, tables solides, country chic- barbe de trois jours. Service vraiment gentil…”
Alexander Lobrano (2011) “Grébaut reboots his short menu almost daily, but is obsessively committed to working with the best seasonal produce and also does smart and slightly seditious riffs on the Escoffier canon… A perfect example were the wonderfully crunchy white asparagus with an oyster-spiked sauce gribiche that I had as a first course… the iodine in the bivalves at once brightened and softened the acidity of the sauce gribiche, with trout eggs and artfully chosen herbs adding witty gastronomic punctuation…”
Table à Découvert (2011) “Un lieu pas vraiment classable, pas bistrot, pas gastro non plus…Merlu/sauce vierge rhubarbe/asperges vertes Filet de poisson tendre, sauce beurrée et acidulée, oeufs de (mince, truite ?), radis émincés, toujours ce côté cru et cuit si plaisant au printemps, de la fraîcheur, du vif, c’est bon.”
Le Figaro (2011) “Œuf, bouillon de champignon: limpide. Cochon noir, carottes et radis: sur la chair comme sur le végétal, un petit modèle de cuisson.”
Food Intelligence (2011) “Les assiettes vives et excitantes mobilisent les sens, aussitôt portées sur table. Quelques effluves de mer et voilà les asperges ou poireaux sauce gribiche, écume d’huitre et oeufs de truite. Du gourmand, une claque aux papilles!”
No guarantees, but I suspect that they would be happy to do a tasting menu with fish and not meat if you make the request upon booking.
I have had the delicious pleasure of dining at Septime and it was incredible! I want to bring my friends this September, if we get in. Is it possible for my friends, who are pescatarian, get a dinner with mo meat? Please let me know.
I agree this restaurant is pretentious, too expensive, and the cook is really not a nice person. Seeing him cooking in front of me litterally spoiled my meal, and the whole table left being hungry, given the tiny size of plates. A lot of fuss for nothing, a fashionable place that will soon be gone.
I have been wanting to try this place since it opened! Finally, a friend took me to an overdue birthday dinner and a treat it was. A 5 course, no choice menu, beautifully put together and nearly flawless. The starter carpaccio was seasoned perfectly and the second starter of celeri was very interesting and light (I like any restaurant that’s not afraid to experiment with veggies, meat isn’t the be all of food). The first main of fish was the only one I was a bit critical of – the morue was overcooked and a bit too fishy for my taste. It became a bit dry and flakey. Not ideal. The second main of veal was just incredible and the dessert was light and palate cleansing. It’s 55€ for the menu and wine is extra. A bit pricey but absolutely worth the price! Go and go quickly!
One of the trip’s culinary highlights. Rustic room, fresh smells, good wine, great service, and blowout flavors from seasonal ingredients. What more can one ask for. Each dish in the 5 course carte blanche was screaming freshness and seasonal, particularly the beetroot salad and chestnut/squash starter. The dessert playing tribute to the squash in season through the use of the toasted seeds was sublime!. Septime is one of the leading “modern bistros” of the city, and a repeat visit is in the cards no doubt in the future. It takes reservations online, a plus
I booked my table at Septime months in advance and was looking forward to my dinner there immensely. Sounds like a recipe for disappointment, doesn’t it? And yet, despite my high expectations, I was still blown away. The staff was delightful, including accommodating my husband’s and food restrictions for the fixed menu. The room was lively and charming. But most importantly, the food was downright exciting. I live in Chicago which has some amazing restaurants, so I think I am a relatively sophisticated consumer. (Maybe I am kidding myself but who knows?) I was very impressed by the seasonality of the chef’s cooking and the deep, complex flavors. We were there in mid-May and the menu seemed like an ode to spring. One dish included tiny baby potatoes that had been smoked — literally the best potato I’ve ever eaten. The dessert of fromage blanc ice cream with strawberries from the south of France and meringues will stay with me always. The very strawberry-ness of it was incredible. I would recommend Septime without reservation, but not without reservations!
i had to choose between Youpi & Septime, thanks to this blog, and we went to Septime and damn, it was good… you can see the pics at my blog.
I do not understand some people think 55 euro for a 5 course meal is expensive? If u want quantity in stead of quality, there’s always macD 😉
The atmosphere is great, maybe speedy at some times but very friendly staff and great food…
Septime is a great experience, professional team, nice atmosphere, and the cuisine is absolutely remarkable. Thx to Bertrand Grebaut and his team. A lot of Bistronomes should take good example from them…
I’d love to get a recommendation from Julian Malpas…. so easy to criticizes !
I agree with Joseph. Septime is a wonderful restaurant. Can’t fathom the snippy comments in this comment stream.
Get a grip. This is the best restaurant any of us have seen in a long time. But keep complaining and leave it to those who love it.
i am back from Septime and i am still hungry ; 4 guests, chose the Carte Blanche. and still “sur ma faim” at many levels. Small portions, not really super creative, no “wow factor” and super speedy service (barely finished my plate that they were ready to go to the next one) and super duper expensive. 5 mini plates for 55 euros. Nice restaurant decor though. but will not be back.
I adore Septime, its great service, beautiful “Primal Earth” decor, and given account of Bertrand Grébaut’s wonderfully delicate and just cooking, the evening tasting menu is a bargain. I also like the relaxed, casual approach to wines. Actually I like everything about Septime, but particularly at dinner.
At lunchtime some small flaws do show through: given the size of portions, three courses are likely to leave you hungry. The setting is a tad less attractive in daylight than it is under the lovely night lighting. Which is why I think lunch at Septime is more expensive than dinner. But these are minor flaws.
I also think that’s a lot of discussion on nothing for just one comment from someone who visibly only wanted to show off with London and NY references (which unfortunately are not even to the point). Septime does not need to be justified. Just one tiny line – see what flow it generates! That would be better off on PBM’s discussion forum!
i have been there in may (someone we met at l’avant comptoir insisted on our reservation there) and enjoyed food, wine & atmosphere very much. in fact, we liked it even better than châteaubriand, saturne and l’arpège. i recommended septime to a friend who has been there last week and had the same experience.
Nothing but pure, natural flavours and soul in the food. P.U.R.E. I love the room, I love the natural light. And I love the wine list with the cool wines that you can try in few restaurants. I felt very comfortable there and think of it as one of my best meals in Paris.
If Septime is flavourless, expensive and pretentious, then all of the restaurants are… No, definitly, Septime IS a very good address and a lot of restau-addicted enjoy it.
I was more impressed with Rino in terms of flavour, and the price was better than Septime. I didn’t find Septime pretentious in the least, and decor is not an important part of my dining experiences as long as the bathroom is clean. The service and the wine were great.
Thank you for posting your thoughts on Septime. From the outset, I will say that I do not agree with you on all levels. Septime has a warm staff — all of them. Our charming and lanky waiter affably dealt with an obnoxious old friend of mine (who, as a mater of fact, won’t be invited back to Paris next year) that said, “I don’t want the tasting menu because I hardly like anything on your menu.” (Oy vey!!!) I even messed up my order of water…I thought I said “tap” but they heard “plat.” Nonetheless, when I mentioned it to the later-evening woman waiter (where is her accent from???), she was so cool and took the charge off the check. That’s class…especially when it was probably my error.
The decor is strangely both warm (love that glass wall!) and minimally austere. I would say it works, even thought I could suggest some improvements. But, it’s not my place. And, where in New York are you talking? Septime is way too hodgepodgey to resemble any place in particular. Also, remember those few blocks on and Charone used to be old furniture craftsman’s studios/shops.
And price? I simply wouldn’t go there. The quality of all the ingredients – from the pristine vegetable to the poultry and meats – are really high-end and cost them boatloads. The mandoline used on those veggies is probably more than a month’s rent for many. None of these small places (i.e, Spring, Rino, or Jadis) are really making serious profits on their food. For most, I would pay 50-100% more…although I wouldn’t get to eat there as often.
Thanks you again for your courage to voice your displeasure. But, if my truculent friend does make it back to Paris, I may just try to set you two up on a dinner date. I have a few places I am certain you’d both enjoy.
Expensive? As I keep reminding all, lunch is the deal in Paris – 26 E here for three courses is hardly expensive. Nor is it pretentious. You must have hit a bad day.
I don’t agree either. I thought the decor was really nice and homey, and the staff really nice.
I had a reservation for 9:30 and we did wait quite a long time but they brought us a few things to keep us waiting.
I tried the ‘tasting’ menu (2 half appetizers / 2 half dishes and 2 half deserts) and yes 55 Euros is a bit on the expensive side, but every dish was well thought through even if some were definetly better than others (the raw tuna with raspberries and tomatoes and the crispy duck were the highlights).
Overall I’d recommand it
Though I agree with Monsieur Malpas that Septime is (too) expensive, I don’t find it even remotely pretentious–au contraire, the staff is charming, think the food is excellent, and never saw any place in either NYC or London, which I visit regularly, that approximates the hip Scandinavian farmhouse decor of this very successful restaurant.
Fade, cher, pretentieux. Decor de Londres ou New York de 1998.
Fadish, expensive and pretentious not at all !!!!
Just gave it away to the first responder. (12:19 – 2 Aug).
I have a reservation for 2 people @ 21:00 tomorrow, Wednesday, that I cannot use. (I already went last week and loved it.) Since they are fully booked until they leave for vacation, I figured I would give it away to PBM reader. Please e-mail me if you’d like it I will write the first person back with the name the res. is under. Cheers.