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Authentic, Exquisite Paris Restaurants Sure To Please Your Refined Palate



There are times when all you really want is a good meal. Those times seem to occur quite often in Paris where excellent bistros and restaurants line nearly every street you walk down. And that's not to mention all those must-eat-here places, you know, the ones that have all those user recommendations and Instagram photos.

But image doesn't always equate with taste. So when the only thing that will do is a satisfying, taste-good, sure-fire meal, you can have confidence that any of these restaurants on this list won't let you down. Some offer haute cuisine, what some men might call frilly food, and others offer just that perfectly grilled, thick steak served with potatoes and an excellent glass - or bottle, why not? - of red wine. 

Many of today's noteworthy chefs here in Paris seem to practice the cult of personally sourced ingredients. There was a time when restaurants made their purchases at the big fresh market called Rungis out by Charles De Gaulle airport, every morning. Many still do that, but you'll find that the really finicky chefs have their fish provider, their meat cultivator and their butter and cheese curator on speed dial on their portable phones. And they don't readily share that info with others. This is one of the ways you can assess how passionate a chef is about the ingredients he allows into his kitchen and hence onto your plate. Here on this list, all of these chefs meet that telling criteria. 

 

 


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10
9ème Arrondissement

This is the kind of tucked away little bistro on a Parisian sidestreet in a chic quartier that inspires novels and pivotal scenes in French films. The young team of Jonathan Caron and Anne Legrand have the mentorship of Christophe Pele (2 stars, Le Clarence) in common, save for a passion pure of serving up excellence on a plate. Here at L'innocence, with its tightly fitted dozen tables, the food becomes the sole focus. Chef Legrand works in the open kitchen to craft her fixed menu dishes while Caron interacts with guests and selects wine pairings. Each evening differs, but you can expect delicacies of grilled cauliflower with minted fromage blanc and citrus condiments; toasted foccaccia with basil olive oil; white asparagus with smoked poutargue in a white butter sauce; lamb shank served with carrots from Annie Bertin's gardens, and for the pre-dessert, tempura-fried acacia blossoms with Bruyere dipping honey.


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16ème Arrondissement


Still a remarkable spot in the poshest part of the city, opened by a young chef who is doing it all on his own (not backed by a big industrial group, that is). Hexagone is a refreshingly elegant restaurant-bar just near the Trocadero. Its welcoming entranceway ushers you directly to the bar, where a trained mixologist whips up intoxicating cocktails in the granite black surroundings with white and yellow accents. The dining room is down the steps and this kind of spaciousness is rare in Paris, even moreso in such a prestige address. The breathtakingly beautiful cuisine here fits into the nouvelle French category with such things as capuccino of green peas, Bresse chicken and the Ganache Bayano Bresil served between buckwheat glazed wafers with honey ice cream. True, Mathieu worked alongside his 3-Michelin starred chef father and his mother at L'Ambroisie for years. And, yes, the pedigree shows.




Nestled in a historic pavilion located off the Champs-Elysees near place de la Concorde and surrounded by greenery, this dining room is legendary. It now has a living-legend new owner, Chef Yannick Alleno of Terroir Parisien fame. His menu is crafted originally. First of all, he's done away with the traditional starter, main, dessert formula and put together a menu of dishes that complement one another when ordered in the right combinations and sequences. On top of that he has included both traditional and nouvelle French cooking, so you are sure to find satisfaction here whatever your taste is for at the moment. Closed August.


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7
16ème Arrondissement


Recently re-opened after impressive renovations, this restaurant affords sweeping views onto the Eiffel Tower. It's a misnomer to call it a cafe as it serves proper meals, requires a reservation and men will feel much more comfortable in a suit jacket here. What's more, it's open until 2 a.m. so you can come here for drinks and dessert, too. The restaurant's renovations were done by Gilles & Boissier, two names that anyone familiar with French design will already know. The emerald green dining chair upholstery compliments the white marble tables and white leather, supremely comfortable, accent chairs. This jewel-like atmosphere is set off by floor to ceiling mirrors framed in blonde wood. Things not to miss on the menu: Veal filet mignon on a bed of buttery sauteed spinach; tuna tataki, foie gras from Landes and the chantilly profiteroles. For French wine connoisseurs, the wine list is unparalleled in Paris.


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1er Arrondissement
L'Absinthe
Photo courtesy of L'Absinthe


Beetroot Gaspacho with goat cheese, a thick juicy steak - the kind you dream of, their signature Le Hot Duck as appetizer... these are only a few of the savory items on the menu that you'll find here at the Rostang's L'Absinthe. Pair that with a chilled carafe of Beaujolais and you've got yourself a memorable meal. Adding to the charm of this family bistro is its location on the Marche St. Honore, a pedestrian area and market square hidden between the Eglise St. Roch and Place Vendome. And let's not forget the handcrafted absinthe cocktails, the namesake of this little gem. Though if sitting out on this picturesque terrace on a Parisian market square and pedestrian zone is your idea of a perfect end to a wonderful day, then rest assured there are plenty of cocktails and a solid wine list, too, to choose from for your down time.


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8ème Arrondissement
Le 1728
Photo courtesy of by Paige Donner Le 1728 bust of Marquis de La Fayette


First built in 1728 (hence the name) these salons of the mansion, the Hotel Mazin La Fayette, have been fully restored and feature a gastronomic restaurant. This is fine dining as has come to be expected from the Relais & Chateaux brand. This mansion was home to the great Franco-American historical figure, the Marquis de La Fayette from 1827 until his death. More than a restaurant today, Le 1728 aims to be at the centrifuge between gastronomy, wine creators, collectibles and fine art. The restaurant's new chef, Gaetan Joly, comes from a Michelin-starred Paris restaurant where he was head chef. And it shows. Creative, playful, refined and delicate his dishes show a master craftsman at work and one who has researched the source of his ingredients. Example, the lamb from Mt. St. Michel: fed on low-tide marsh grass the meat has that wisp of salt water air to it.


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8ème Arrondissement


Opened just a short while ago and already Chef Jerome Banctel has earned this refined and stately restaurant its two Michelin stars. This instantly became one of the city's dining rooms that says class and glamour. The hotel is owned by the group behind La Reserve hotels specializing in renovated apartments but this property is a classic Five-Star hotel, envisioned more like a self-standing chateau in the city. The restaurant does a bustling business during the week when lunch reservations can be hard to come by. The location, near the posh offices and shops on the Champs-Elysees adds to the dining room's appeal. Dinner here affords one of the best experiences in the city and the on-premise smoking room adjacent to the hotel lobby allows for postprandial quiet relaxation.


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8ème Arrondissement
Le Grand Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Le Grand Restaurant copyright Khanh Renaud


This is celebrated French chef Jean-Francois Piege's very own restaurant in that he is not just the Executive Chef but also the owner. Opened in 2015 it more or less instantly was awarded 2 Michelin stars. One of the specialties is slow-cooked Bleu lobster from Brittany (the most tender and flavorful of lobsters) that is served over a blackcurrant reduction sauce. Another specialty is the puffed potato paired with a dollop of caviar on top. Though, surprisingly, it's not these imaginative dishes perfectly executed that are the only big draw here, it's also the playful and meticulous presentation. Each course of your meal is presented and then revealed as the nugget of culinary treasure that it has been fashioned into by Chef Piege. The key words here are playful and treasure. This sort of dining experience is for those whose taste buds enjoy being slightly surprised, delighted and even exhilarated.


2
Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx
Photo courtesy of Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx, Mandarin Oriental Paris


It's easy to feel a little intimidated when you do at last get the chance to dine in the signature restaurant of a famous celebrity chef, whose picture graces billboards city-wide. But intimidating is anything but what warm-hearted Chef Thierry Marx instills by his humble and approachable persona. It is this warmth that he transmit through his cuisine and his curated signature dishes. At the Mandarin Oriental Paris, Sur Mesure is its 2-starred and starring restaurant. This is where Chef Marx's talents are displayed to full effect – and full dining enjoyment. The menu encourages partaking of five, six, seven or eight courses. The only dish that is served to all is the Sushi & Caviar. If you are not yet a lover of caviar, you will find it exquisite when served atop a traditional singular piece of seaweed-wrapped maki. And that's just for the amuse bûches.


1
8ème Arrondissement


This is one of Paris' newest and most elegant restaurants. You may have heard of the Prince Robert of Luxembourg's famous wine estate in Bordeaux, Chateau Haut-Brion? In 2016 he opened these doors to his private mansion in Paris not far from the prestigious Champs-Elysees. Devoted exclusively to the French Art de Vivre, dining here is a most memorable experience that transports you into a luxury cocoon of timelessness. Chef Christophe Pele offers his deliciously devilish take on French classics that marry a modern twist to the favorites. Each day he uses his 2-star Michelin prowess to create the day's offerings. But of course you can choose from the menu as well. In terms of gastronomic dining, a phenomenal wine list and surroundings unparalleled even in Paris, Le Clarence with its friendly and welcoming team, offers you the kind of fairytale experience heretofore only a dream.


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Meet Paige Donner

Paige's latest book, The Romantic Couple's Guide To The City of Love, Sexy Paris follows her earlier guidebook Paris On 4 Paws, A Dog Lover's Guide To The City of Light and her acclaimed...  More About Paige

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