Empire Celeste

The best way to understand the underground appeal of Latin Quarter Cantonese restaurant Empire Celeste is by comparing it to another well-known Parisian Chinese restaurant, Davé on rue Richelieu. Davé, which offers run-of-the-mill Chinese cuisine in a cramped, kitchy red interior, is notoriously popular with the fashion set. Its walls are festooned with images of the eponymous proprietor arm-in-arm with Yves Saint-Laurent, Mick Jagger, Kim Kardashian, etc. Empire Celeste, run by three generations of the Wang family since the restaurant’s founding in 1953, is the Davé of another peculiar subculture: the natural wine crowd.

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Le Cadoret

Nestled on a drab Belleville backstreet beneath the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, Le Cadoret’s blue awning shines out like a beacon. So does chef Léa Fleuriot’s delicate, thoughtful approach to country-bistrot classics. A sleeper hit since Fleuriot and her brother Louis opened it in 2017, Le Cadoret is a bistrot and café where an ostensibly straightforward offering - traditional recipes, inexpensive natural wines, craft beers - achieves the sublime thanks to rare combination of sincere and efficient service, serious value, and an ironclad commitment to ingredient quality.

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Cheval d’Or

Cheval d’Or is a tasteful and welcoming luxury small-plates restaurant offering a delicate synthesis of pan-Asian and Parisian cuisines, more middle ground than Middle Kingdom.

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Le Saint-Sébastien

This sweet little restaurant is a sparkling addition to the already glutted east Paris gastronomic scene. It has everything I want in a neighborhood joint – a warm welcome, reasonable prices and, for the moment, relative ease of snagging a reservation.

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Partisan Café

Combining a historian’s appreciation of coffee culture and Paris architecture with a physicist’s approach to fluid dynamics, Georges Karam’s coffee geekery caters to a distinctly French sensibility. 

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Dining room at Robert restaurant in Paris | parisbymouth.com

Robert

I waited a long time before giving Robert a try. This restaurant from the team behind Martin (Loïc Martin & Edouard Bergeon) opened in February 2018, but early word-of-mouth reviews were very mixed. A common refrain was "it's expensive for what it is."

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Café du Coin

Fresh off Paris’ greatest resto reboot of recent years - transforming the defunct destination Restaurant Bones into the beloved seven-day mainstay Restaurant Jones - chef-restaurateur Florent Ciccoli doubled down on the Voltaire neighborhood in late 2017, opening Café du Coin with the aid of frequent collaborator Greg Back (L’Orillon, Les Pères Populaires).

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