See if you can guess what three remarkable Paris restaurants have in common:
First, we have The Cristal Room - the restaurant of the Baccarat Museum - which perches like a glittering gem on the Place des Etats-Unis. Then there's L'Opéra Restaurant, an establishment built in the old horse carriage park of the Opéra de Paris, the Palais Garnier. In the spotlight here, too, is the all new FR/AME brasserie that offers California-Franco fusion cuisine, located just a few minutes from the Eiffel Tower.
So how are these three Paris eateries similar? Each is anchored by a renowned city monument.
FR/AME Brasserie, located near the Eiffel Tower — Photo courtesy of Petra Mezei / FR/AME
FR/AME near the Eiffel Tower
Don’t be put off by the fact that FR/AME restaurant is the hotel restaurant of the Pullman Hotel, located around the corner from the Eiffel Tower.
As one bravely enters into what seems like this modern hotel’s lobby, in fact you will see that it is FR/AME Restaurant, the spacious airy design that is a California interpretation by designer Christophe Pillet. It's a design that puts you right into a Napa Valley vibe, with its understated greys and accents of head-high silver potting vases set off by orange bar stools.
Young American chef Andrew Wigger's menu can only be described as California-Franco fusion. His fish tacos are served with tequila-flavored ceviche, mango salsa, guacamole and Napa cabbage. Or try this for starters: BBQ frog’s legs.>
The house salad is a real one, made with greens from their organic garden kept in the hotel’s courtyard, which is visible from the dining room. Honey used in the kitchen comes from one of the eight hives kept on the hotel’s rooftop.
A lasting impression that FR/AME leaves is the fresh Santa Barbara Valley Chardonnay they keep stocked in the vinoteca, one of those machines that dispenses wines by the glass. Head to FR\AME when you want to kick back on a nice sunny terrace and contemplate the exquisiteness of Paris, a Paris infused with a California vibe, that is.
Le Cristal Room at Musée Baccarat
Le Cristal Room is where Eva Longoria and Tony Parker celebrated their engagement dinner. But don't think you have to save dining in the restaurant of the Musée Baccarat for a special occasion. You don't.
As opulent as its setting is on the Place des Etats-Unis, as dazzling as its cuisine, you’d think there'd be prices to match. But there is a welcoming factor to the Starck-designed Cristal Room that makes you feel instantly at ease, and the lunch menu is comfortably approachable.
Le Cristal Room in Paris — Photo courtesy of Paige Donner
The menu - designed by Executive Chef Guy Martin and his designated chef Adrien Manac'h - includes the Œuf bio croustillant, which can only translate as a crispy organic egg. It’s like nothing else you’ve ever seen or tasted: a whole soft-boiled egg, encrusted in crispy breadcrumbs, flash-fried and then served on a bed of fragrant greens.
For dessert, you must ask for the Harcourt. It was created especially for this year’s 250th anniversary of the House of Baccarat and includes fresh cherries, fromage blanc and whipped cream, all served in a crystal Harcourt glass.
Throughout your meal, you’re treated to sipping water or wine in all Baccarat crystal ware. This in itself lends gravity and elegance to the dining experience, without making it feel stuffy or overly serious.
L’Opéra Restaurant at Paris' Opera
When L’Opéra Restaurant opened a few years back, it was to a cascade of commentary. At long last, exclaimed the Paris scenesters, there is a restaurant at the Palais Garnier. The Palais Garnier, otherwise known as the Paris Opera house, is that overwhelmingly beautiful building ornamented with gleaming golden statues, the crown of Avenue de L’Opéra.
L'Opéra Restaurant at Palais Garnier — Photo courtesy of Paige Donner
But unless one already knows there is a restaurant tucked off to the right side of the Opéra de Paris, you could walk right past it on your way to the Apple store and miss it. Why? Because the tour buses tend to park right in front of it.
Once you've entered onto the restaurant's street-level terrace, however, the buses become a plus, because they help shield this more than 16,000-square-foot magnificent terrace from the traffic swirling around its adjoined national historical monument.
The Entre'acte menu and its snacks of smoked salmon, salad garnier and housemade sorbets from fresh seasonal fruits are available any time. The cocktail list includes the famous Fantome, but of course!