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Pirouette

At this beautiful restaurant in the underserved district just north of Les Halles, serious technique is brought to bear on beautiful veggies and offal alike. The consistently delicious dishes, the polished room and the very good wine list all add up to something that’s much greater than the bargain prices should allow. There’s a prix fixe at lunch for only 15€, and diners can go à la carte at lunch or dinner for 36€. Chef Tomy Gousset departed in 2016 to open Tomy & Co, but Pirouette remains a solid bet.

Ellsworth

Address: 34 rue de Richelieu, 75001
Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch & dinner. Closed Sunday & Monday.
Telephone: +33 1 42 60 59 66
Website / Book Online / Facebook / Instagram

2021 Update:
Ellsworth is currently closed and not accepting reservations. They’re planning to reopen in September.

Our Most Recent Visit

Following their success with Verjus, where the more elaborate formula of dégustation + wine pairings has drawn a loyal following of happy locals and visiting celebrities, Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian have decided to open something more casual. Let’s call it “serious casual” because at Ellsworth (named for Perkins’ grandfather), foods that you might see at a county fair are elevated through careful sourcing and a sincere spirit of DIY. The fried chicken from Verjus Bar à Vins has moved over to Ellsworth, leaving the former as more of a place for drinks and snacks before or after dinner at Verjus

Hakata Choten

While the focus of this cheap and cheerful Japanese franchise is ostensibly the authentic tonkatsu ramen, the real highlight is the gyoza with a thick, crisp, seared crust and a juicy pork filling. The parent restaurant won the Prix du Concours National of Gyoza in Japan in 2004, and the dumplings truly are winners. The dining room is busy and the lines can be long, but the steaming bowls of ramen come out fast and are worth the wait. The counter seating on the bottom floor makes this a nice option for dining alone.

— Catherine Down, September 2015

Les Crocs des Halles

Practical information

Address: 49 rue Berger, 75001
Nearest transport: Les Halles (4), Louvre-Rivoli (1)
Hours: Closed Sunday & Monday; Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner
Reservations: Book a day or two in advance
Telephone: 01 40 28 00 00
Average price for lunch: 40-59€
Average price for dinner: 40-59€
Style of cuisine: Meat
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Reviews of interest

John Talbott (2015) “We were greeted warmly, seated and overwhelmed by the list of offerings, all meat except for a coquillages starter and sole & chips main… Go?  I heartily urge you to.”

Figaroscope (2015) “Un sérieux antre viandard qu’une cave d’envergure rend encore un peu plus saignante… Moelle en brioche: de l’idée. Bœuf Kronos (bœuf taillé façon carpaccio et mariné): gentiment draculesque. Hampe de bœuf: jolie pièce, cuisson idoine.”

L’Express (2015) “Bon, je ne me tape pas la tête sur le billot pour commander le boeuf entier, j’ai même du mal à y retourner, vu qu’au bout de 5 minutes, le morceau est désespérément froid. Faut bien avouer que la maison manque un peu d’imagination pour la garder au chaud.”

Zébulon

A second effort from the folks behind Pirouette, here with a chef who trained in Japan and his arsenal of anywhere-East-of-here flavors. The two-course 20€ lunch menu on the day of our visit included gnocchi with gingered sea bass, plus steak with caramelized shallots and tempura shimeji mushrooms. The three-course 45€ menu (available lunch & dinner) is a roster of French standards with exotic inflections, like my dish of perfectly cooked turbot accented with nori and encircled by delicate nests of interwoven fennel and shallot strands.  If there’s anything to shrug about, it’s the interior. Design choices that worked well in the shadowy space of Pirouette appear here, in the shadow of the centuries-old Palais Royal, as painfully new. In any case, Zébulon’s arrival is great news for anyone hoping to eat well before or after a visit to the Louvre, and a welcome addition to the increasingly interesting  (VerjusJuveniles,) Palais Royal quarter. 

La Régalade Saint Honoré

This second location of La Régalade has been full since chef Bruno Doucet opened the doors in spring of 2010. The formula (terrine + 3 classic courses for a prix fixe) has since been replicated at a third location in the 9th. Is it less special now that it’s a franchise? Some think so (see below), but it remains a good bet in central Paris, especially on Mondays.

– Meg Zimbeck, 2010

Nest

Practical information

Address: 9 rue Villedo, 75001
Nearest transport: Pyramides (7,14)
Hours: Closed Sunday; Open Monday-Saturday for lunch only
Reservations: Reservations Not Accepted
Telephone: 01 40 20 45 20
Average price for lunch: 10-19€
Style of cuisine: Vietnamese
Website   Facebook

Reviews of interest

L’Express (2014) “Une cuisine pour urbains connectés -la population du quartier- en mal de dépaysement. Traduction: les it-asiat’ à la mode US… mais sans les calories! Vegan rolls, banh mi burger, mais aussi quelques spécialités locales comme les chao tom, des brochettes de gambas marinées à la canne à sucre ou des salades croquantes et colorées.”

Les Tasters (2014) “Les plats dégagent une impression de légèreté et une certaine subtilité. Confirmée au long de l’après repas. Quelques aromates simples, de la coriandre fraîche et de bons produits produisent des accords délicats.”

Photo courtesy of Nest’s Facebook page

Izakaya Issé

Practical information

Address: 45 rue de Richelieu, 75001
Nearest transport: Pyramides (7, 14)
Hours: Closed Sunday; Open Monday-Saturday for lunch & dinner
Reservations: Book a few days in advance
Telephone: 01 42 96 26 60
Average price for lunch: 20-39€
Average price for dinner: 20-39€
Style of Cuisine: Japanese
Website   Facebook

Reviews of interest

Patricia Wells (2011) “I walked into Izakaya Issé on the rue de Richelieu, hoping for a quick, flavorful, inexpensive and light lunch. And that’s just what I got, in the name of domburi, the Japanese bowl of rice covered with a diverse assortment of fish, shellfish, meat or poultry.”

Le Figaro (2011) “… Aubergines mijotées, joues de bœuf au miso, couteaux sautés à l’ail, brochettes de porc avec légumes frits, fritures de pommes de terre et oignons… C’est plaisant, sans prise de chou, agréable à picorer, charmant pour tout dire.”

John Talbott (2009) “… a place all the critics have been falling all over themselves about…Occasionally the big boys, when they haven’t been outside Paris for a while, fall in love with a chimera.”

Table à Découvert (2009) “… je me régale tous les samedis, presque à en devenir monomaniaque…”

Photo courtesy of Issé’s Facebook page 

Naritake

Practical information

Address: 31 rue de Petits-Champs, 75001
Nearest transport: Pyramides (7, 14)
Hours: Closed Tuesday; Open Wednesday-Monday for lunch and dinner
Reservations: Reservations not accepted
Telephone: 01 42 86 03 83
Average price for lunch: 10-19€
Average price for dinner: 10-19€
Style of cuisine: Japanese
Facebook

Reviews of interest

L’Express (2011) “…nouvelle cantine de Little Japan qui place très haut la barre du ramen parisien…nouilles fraîches maison, bouillon de porc à la recette tenue secrète, miso de qualité, viande de porc fondante…”

Kunitoraya 2

Practical information

Address: 5 rue Villedo, 75001
Nearest transport: Pyramides (7, 14)
Hours: Closed Monday; Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner; Open Sunday for lunch only
Reservations: Book a few days in advance
Telephone: 01 47 03 07 74
Average price for lunch: 20-39€
Average price for dinner: 60-100€
Style of cuisine: Japanese
Website 

Reviews of interest

Simon Says (2010) “… udon d’enfer et toute une joyeuse ribambelle de petites assiettes façon tapas japonissimes, tempura impec (regardez les éraflures légèrissimes).”

L’Express (2010) “… des udons justement al dente, accompagnés de tempuras de légumes et de crevettes d’une parfaite blondeur croustillante, à tremper dans un bol de bouillon fumant gorgé de parfums. Un sublime en-cas à 19 euros.”

Caves Legrand

A jewel box merchant in the beautiful Galerie Vivienne, Legrand specializes in the great and worthy of vinous France. Many of the shelves are taken up by wines that would be special occasion bottles for most drinkers, and safe bets for tradition-minded lovers of traditional wines. There are some surprises here and there, but this is not a funky natural wine dive. Prices aren’t exactly the lowest in the city, and the ambient temp runs a bit warm, but the space is majestic.

The store (with tables that spread out into the hallway) doubles as a wine bar/light bites restaurant, offering wine by the glass or off the shelf for a reasonable uncorking fee, and it’s worth noting that of all the many places in Paris that offer the same, Legrand has some of the nicest stemware.

Le Meurice

Practical information

Address: 228 rue de Rivoli, 75001
Nearest transport: Tuileries (1), Concorde (1, 8, 12)
Hours: Open Monday-Friday for breakfast, lunch and dinner; Open Saturday and Sunday for breakfast only
Reservations: Book a day or two in advance for breakfast; Book a week or two in advance for lunch & dinner
Telephone: 01 458 00 21 19
Average price for lunch: 60-100€
Average price for dinner: More than 100€
Style of cuisine: Haute cuisine
Website   Facebook   Book Online

Reviews of interest

Reviews from meals with Christophe Saintonge / Alain Ducasse as chef

L’Express (2014) “Une belle grosse asperge verte de Jérôme Galis à Piolenc en Provence, épluchée au scalpel, confite à basse température dans l’huile de pépin de raisin, puis grillée. Une pousse d’ail grillée. Une crème d’amandes de Sicile. Un jus d’asperge à l’estragon réveillé par une larme de vinaigre d’ail des ours. Et ces miettes de charbon : une cendre de Comté. Ou comment réécrire l’accord classique asperge/comté dans un nouveau dialogue entre le croquant doux-amer de l’asperge, le fondant délicat de l’aillet, le poudré étonnamment « umami » du comté, le duveteux gourmand de l’amande et le jus d’asperge tonique… Je me régale en silence.”

David Lebovitz (2013) “I’m gonna call it and say that the first course was the best thing I ate in 2013. Out came an iron pot with a lid, which was set down between us along with two long forks and little bowls of sorrel mayonnaise. When they lifted the lid, we were presented with a simple tumble of vegetables cooked over a concave demi-circle of coarse, gray salt. Each vegetable was au nature, but each one was the most marvelously flavored vegetable I ever tasted in the last ten years.”

Figaroscope (2013) “Voilà une table de hauteur jamais hautaine, où l’on s’accorde l’art de se ruiner heureux. Surtout le meilleur Ducasse depuis longtemps!”

Alexander Lobrano (2013) “Ultimately, this was a superb and very daring meal… simple and wholesome.”

Le Monde (2013) “Alors oui, les prix sont astronomiques, et je préfèrerais toujours une assiette bonne franquette dans un bistro où l’on peut parler fort et rigoler de bon cœur. Mais Ducasse et ses équipes savent créer des moments gastronomiques de haute volée, qui étonnent et détonnent, prouvant que l’on peut cuisiner grand sans rien dénaturer, et que le luxe réside souvent dans les goûts simples et une belle botte de navets.”

Reviews from meals with Yannick Alleno as chef

Gilles Pudlowski (2011) “Bref, voilà une maison au mieux de son style, à redécouvrir le midi pour ce menu fortiche qui exalte les saveurs du terroir parisien avec une confondante habileté.”

Simon Says (2010) “L’assiette de Yannick Alleno était dans ce genre de magie poétique…”

Alexander Lobrano (2009) “… five days after left the table at Le Meurice, I am still savoring that exquisite spring lunch.”

Food Snob (2009) “…Everything was cooked flawlessly, ingredients were excellent, presentation appealed, but I was just not overwhelmed by deliciousness.”

Macéo

Practical information

Address: 15 rue des Petits-Champs, 75001
Nearest transport: Pyramides (7, 14), Bourse (3)
Hours: Closed Sunday; Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner; Open Saturday for dinner only
Reservations: Book a few days in advance
Telephone: 01 42 97 53 85
Average price for lunch: 20-39€
Average price for dinner: 40-59€
Style of cuisine: modern French
Website   Facebook   Book Online

Reviews of interest

Figaroscope (2008) “De très beaux volumes haussmanniens et un coin salon idéal pour conversations discrètes.”

Photo courtesy of Macéo’s Facebook Page

La Dame de Pic

Practical information

Address: 20 rue du Louvre, 75001
Nearest transport: Louvre-Rivoli (1)
Hours: open every day
Reservations: Book a few weeks in advance
Telephone: 01 42 60 40 40
Average price for lunch: 60-100€
Average price for dinner: More than 100€
Style of cuisine: contemporary tasting menu
Website   Facebook   Book Online

Reviews of interest

Table à Découvert (2013) “Le vacherin au parfum de rose, de riz, de gingembre et de thé sencha. Si j’ai retrouvé avec plaisir tous les textures du vacherin (glacée, fondante, craquante), la délicatesse des notes était tellement poussée qu’elle m’a fait passer un peu à côté des parfums. Comme un parfum très, très léger qui se sent à peine sur la peau. Si je devais rester dans la métaphore du parfum, je dirais qu’il n’était pas assez capiteux à mon goût.”

Patricia Wells (2012) “Anne-Sophie Pic’s week-old La Dame de Pic near the Louvre is the sensation of the rentrée… She sports her feminine role, but does not flaunt it or play it cute. Ingredients are impeccable, preparations are complicated but not overdone, and the taste theme throughout is one of  softness and smoothness with a required touch of crunch. I would never think of pairing warm oysters with cauliflower, but Anne-Sophie offers a regal, cloud-like presentation of warm Gillardeau oysters bathed in a frank and fragrant cream of cauliflower and jasmine, surprising as well as satisfying.”

L’Express (2012) “Le plus: Le service, rebondissant. Le moins: Le “classement” olfactif des différents menus (“vanille ambrée”, “iode et fleurs”…) pas très convaincant, et les languettes à renifler comme dans une boutique de parfums gadgets.”

Les Pâtes Vivantes

Practical information

Address: 46 rue du Faubourg-Montmartre, 75009
Nearest transport: Le Peletier (7)
Hours: Open every day for lunch and dinner
Reservations: Walk-Ins Welcome
Telephone: 01 45 23 10 21
Average price for lunch: 10-19€
Average price for dinner: 10-19€
Style of cuisine: Chinese
Website   Facebook

Additional location

Address: 3 rue de Turbigo, 75001
Nearest transport: Étienne Marcel (4)
Hours:  Open every day for lunch and dinner
Telephone: 01 40 13 08 04

Reviews of interest

Table à Découvert (2013) “Tout est mélangé et se déguste avec envie. Sauce un peu sucrée, mais surtout bien serrée, petits morceaux de porc confit délicieux, nouilles irrégulières dans la forme et si bonnes, coriandre, ciboule, céleri, carotte, concombre, le bonheur pour 9,50 €!”

Patricia Wells (2011) “The satisfying and amazingly long, alabaster handpulled noodles are prepared right in front of  you…we headed straight for the heat, their spicy “crevettes touchant la ciel,” a giant bowl of  soothing wheat noodles teamed up with squares of soft tofu, Chinese cabbage, shrimp in the shell, and plenty of Sichwan peppercorns…I was in seventh heaven!”

Alexander Lobrano (2008) “This little cubby hole of a place where a cheerful Chinese lady spins fresh noodles from long coiled wands of dough all day long is a charming spot that’s become a big hit with everyone…My lunch menu include a small salad, two grilled ravioli, and a generous spool of fresh noodles in delicious, flavorful bouillon garnished with fresh coriander, thin slices of beef, bean sprouts, tofu, chili paste and an errant vegetable or two…”

David Lebovitz (2008) “Not only is Les Pâtes Vivantes not expensive, but a bowl of their handmade noodles in soup, or stir-fried with beef, tofu, and chili pepper, is pretty satisfying…”

François Simon (2008) “Des “pates vivantes”, c’est à dire étirées à la main devant vous. C’est tout petit, donné (9,90€ le large bol au boeuf) et sincèrement dans les buées de cuisson…”

Pinxo

Practical information

Address: 9 rue d’Alger, 75001
Nearest transport: Tuileries (1)
Hours: Closed Sunday; Open Monday-Friday for lunch & dinner and Saturday for dinner only
Reservations: Book a day or two in advance
Telephone: 01 40 20 72 00
Average price for lunch: 20-39€
Average price for dinner: 40-59€
Style of cuisine: Modern French, Basque & southwestern
Website   Book Online

Reviews of interest

Le Figaro(2012) “… une petite salle brut de déco aux tables serrées comme la mêlée. Une carte d’envies ventile un chic vrac de recettes à partager…”

Patricia Wells (2012) “Dutournier offers a tempting trio of three significant bites of each dish, focusing on all the finest ingredients of the region: baby squid, or chipirions; foie gras; local ham…Overall, I found the food could have come with a bit more punch, brighter flavors, more focus. But I’ll be back…”

Table à Découvert (2009) “…la lecture de la carte ne vous laisse pas le choix, vous avez envie de tout goûter.”

Beef Club

Practical information

Address: 58 rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, 75001
Nearest transport: Les Halles (4), Étienne Marcel (4)
Hours: Open every day for dinner only
Reservations: Walk-ins Welcome
Telephone: 09 54 37 13 65
Average price for dinner: 40-59€
Style of cuisine: Steak joint, classic French
Website   Facebook

Reviews of interest

Table à Découvert (2013) “Les prix s’envolent vite aussi, comptez 10-15€ pour une entrée au minimum, quant aux viandes, elles s’affichent à partir de 25 ou 30€. Ceci me semble justifié compte-tenu de la qualité et du temps de maturation de la viande (explication en quelques mots: elle est déjà restée à maturer chez l’éleveur et elle reste encore un mois dans les frigos du resto= perte d’eau et de poids, stockage, immobilisation d’espace).”

Simon Says (2012) “Le burger. Pour 23 euros, on est forcément  en embuscade… Sous le capot, il y a du monde avec bun maison au sésame, ceccina, poitrine croustillante, pickles, vieux cheddar et sauce whisky. On le boulotte avec l’énergie locale que diffuse l’habile programmation musicale.”

Le Figaro (2012) “De la mâche, des arômes, un goût comme soudain retrouvé, une viande vamp et vampire,  à vous faire oublier la béarnaise…”

L’Express (2012) “Dans l’assiette, c’est la perfection faite viande: servie épaisse, saisie à l’extérieur, saignante et chaude à coeur, des notes corsées, voire sauvages, du fondant et de la tenue en bouche…”

Alexander Lobrano (2012) “I just don’t get this completely misbegotten and off-kilter version of a New York City steakhouse cross-bred with some wispy English version of same  and then lightly extruded through a French sensibility… I might have liked this place if the food had been better than average and the service half-decent…”

Racines 2

Practical information

Address: 39 rue de l’Arbre Sec, 75001
Nearest transport: Louvre-Rivoli (1)
Hours: Closed Sunday; Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner; Open Saturday for dinner only
Reservations: Book a week or two in advance
Telephone: 01 42 60 77 34
Average price for lunch: 20-39€
Average price for dinner: 40-59€
Style of cuisine: Classic French
Website

Reviews of interest

John Talbott (2012) “The ‘menu’ is a very reasonable 29 E for 3 courses, but a la carte we’re dealing with double that, and that’s before liquids.  But I rather liked the ‘menu’…a perfectly cooked duck breast with a ton of vegetables…a chocolate mousse…All were much above average…”

Chroniques du Plaisir (2012) “La cuisine y est dans le droit fil de ce qui avait fait le succès de son jumeau : des produits de belle extraction, à peine transformés, soigneusement assaisonnés et aux cuissons toujours millimétrées. Mais il y a là un je ne sais quoi en plus qui fait claquer les doigts…”

Alexander Lobrano (2011) “this restaurant feels very out of place in the rue de l’Arbre Sec…more alarming than the decor or the crowd, however, was the menu. For starters, it was short and difficult, because not only was it rather unappealing, it was also very expensive…if I want to spend 70 Euros on a meal, I can think of a lot of much better places to do so than Racines 2.”

Figaroscope (2011) “Voilà des plats travaillant a minima, juste dans le souffle et l’élan…Attention, Racines 2 ne fait pas de la grande cuisine, juste une cuisine de produit, laissant passer celui-ci comme la muleta du torero. Certains risquent d’être déçus et je les entends d’ici : “Ah, ce n’est que ça ?!” Réponse: ce n’est que cela.”

Figaroscope (2011)”…un bon spécimen de bistrot urbain nouveau…repas bien découplé entre petits plats de spontanéité et vins nature…Vitello tonnato : tranché un peu trop charnu mais plaisant. Poitrine de cochon, cocos de Paimpol et jus de cresson : beau gras bien relancé par des cocos bien en verve…”

 

 

Kei

After working for Ducasse for seven years, Kei Kobayashi has opened an eponymous restaurant in the old Gerard Besson space near Les Halles, offering four or five courses at lunch (38/48€) and six or eight (75/95€) at dinner. His cooking is spare and delicate, like the room that surrounds you, and service is formal. They’re clearly shooting for the (Michelin) stars here.

Les Fines Gueules

On a lovely corner near the Place des Victoires, Les Fines Gueules serves quality product in simple-but-good preparations. One of the best hand cut steak tartares in the city. The wine list is overwhelmingly natural, and there’s a handful of tables outside for sipping on the sidewalk on warm summer nights. Warning: many readers have raised concerns about the service (see comments below).

– Meg Zimbeck, 2013