One of the first places to offer small plates (please don't call them tapas) to his diners who didn't make it into his main restaurant, the cult Le Chateaubriand, just next door, Le Dauphin has become its own cult destination. That's mostly to do with Chef Inaki Aizpitarte who has for several years now been the golden bad-boy chef of Paris. And one who delights in breaking all the rules - very successfully, I might add. Though first added as an after-thought, this small-plates restaurant, often standing-room only, caught on so well with Parisian diners that many have made this the main choice for the whole meal, nevermind the appetite teasers. Located in the too-cool-for-school 11th arrondissement, means you'll be well placed to hit the Bastille, République and Oberkampf bars and night spots once you're appetite has been sated.
This Jacques Garcia-designed, aubergine velvet cocoon lives up to its name: boudoir restaurant. You do feel a bit naughty and like you're having just too much luxurious fun when you sit having a meal - lunch or dinner - as you overlook the Tuileries Gardens across the street. The main dining area is spacious and offers corners where groups can settle in and claim as their own. For planned gatherings the food and beverage department of the Westin Vendome hotel will work with you to create a set menu, with a fixed price per person, that can be served during your lunch or dinner meeting.
This location is the newest, and fifth, restaurant in the Ly family empire. The menu is more inclusive than just Chinese, though you will find a fine selection of Hong Kong/ Cantonese dishes to choose from. Thai and Vietnamese fragrant and fresh plates round out the lunch and dinner offerings. Just opened in December 2013, this former Johnny Halliday restaurant location (Balzac) is a comfortable and elegant place to gather with friends and colleagues. Being just off the Champs-Elys�es, and serving until just shy of midnight every day, makes it also a convenient choice when taking in a show, a club or other late night activities in the neighborhood.
The Avenue Gabriel is the small street that fronts between the American and British Embassies. This is where you will find Laurent, the quiet and classy 1-Michelin starred dining establishment that counts Presidents, Ambassadors and the elite of international business among its regular clientele. Chef Alain P�gouret creates dishes that marry flavors and colors in perfect harmony. Ever imaginative, he comes up with 30 new dishes each year, following the seasons. A perennial on the menu is his medley of Roots Vegetables, so colorful that it appears as a painter's palette. The terrace is the true gem of the restaurant and at once offers soothing seclusion and the feeling that you are ensconced somewhere off in a private villa in the French countryside. This oasis was restored by Hittorff in 1842, at the same time as he was commissioned by King Louis Philippe to design the Champs-Elys�es.
Drouant is one of the gilded anchors of Parisian dining establishments. Its history dates back a century and its cultural significance is tremendous, as it is the seat of the Prix Goncourt, the prestigious French literary award. Hence the upstairs dining room named Salon Goncourt; There is even one named after Colette, who presided over the jury for many years. Never mind all that, though. Because when a delightful meal is in order, this instantly should be one of the places you think of in Paris. The location is just a few minutes' walk from Op�ra or Palais-Royal and yet its tucked-away little Square removes you from the city's bustle. Alsatian Chef Antoine Westermann is one of France's best. So whether you order the veal cutlet, the roast chicken or the pollock served with braised, roasted tomatoes, you can be certain all will be well.
As one of the landmark luxury boutiques on Place de la Madeleine, Caviar Kaspia tucks its legendary restaurant upstairs, above the boutique. The sumptuous banquet up agains the wall serves as a welcoming meeting corner of the room for riotous groups of friends, family and colleagues. Of course the caviar, served with small dollops of créme fraiche, tiny potatoes or blinis is what is in the spotlight, the vodkas and champagnes that wash it all down are to be thoroughly enjoyed along with. The dining room itself is a study in art déco décor and caviars that imitate Russian varieties from the 1800s. Aficionados are especially pleased to sample from the selection, which includes sevruga, geluga and ossetra. The extensive wine list carries an appropriate vintage to accent any appetizer or meal you choose.
Since 1686, this historic cafe has welcomed a who's who of history, literature, art, and politics, including Balzac, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Robespierre and even Benjamin Franklin. It remains a sophisticated place to dine, and patrons, while they wait, soak in the ambiance in rapt admiration of all that's gone on before. Shellfish and seafood are popular options, along with grilled beef, roast chicken or duck, and classics like coq au vin. Dessert delights range from chocolate sorbet to profiteroles. But the best time to come is in the afternoon well after lunch is over. That is when, during tea time, you can leisurely sightsee through the many different rooms of the three-storey establishment. There are plaques denoting the rooms where the historical figures once dined and even a framed letter from Louis XVI to Marie Antoinette, and vice-versa, bidding each other adieu before they were dragged off to the guillotine.
La Cantine du Faubourg is a vast space that you enter by going down the stairs from its posh entrance on rue du Faubourg St. Honoré, just near the Rond Point Champs Elysées. It's a good choice for large gatherings, groups of friends and even for hosting parties. The ambiance is club-like so if you're looking for a gathering place where your group can get together, enjoy a few bites and a meal of appetizers and light entrées, this is a perfect choice. The many nightclubs that encircle the Champs Elysées are within easy walking distance from here so you can even save yourself the hassle and expense of hailing taxi cabs as you go forth into the rest of your night.
Because this spot is so famous for its cocktails (and fresh-pressed juices), it's important to remember that it does a quick-paced lunch service and a more lingering dinner service serving up exceptional fare. Here you get to dine in the shadows of the Louvre and also the stately church, Eglise St.-Germain-L'Auxerrois de Paris. Lunch time brings in the crowds and the seating even in the back library fills up quickly. Though if you reserve in advance and don't come too late, you can likely snag one of the gorgeous tables in that back library. Lighter fare could be a chicken salad served with fresh avocados or a heartier choice is braised pork cheeks in apple cider served with seared and then sauteed kale greens. This venerable old Parisian address is at once a cafe, a cocktail bar, a tea salon and a dining room. It is exceptionally convenient for going to the Louvre afterwards or just after finishing a stroll across the Pont des Arts.
When you enter the flagship Guerlain boutique on the Champs-Elys�es, you're not likely to think that downstairs, hiding just from view, is an elegant restaurant and tea salon. But there is and its Executive Chef is none other than Guy Martin. True to what you'd expect from this haute de gamme French perfumery and French Chef Etoilé Martin, their team-up has yielded a menu redolent with fragrant homages to the Guerlain's signature scents: vanilla, bergamote, orange blossom. Take for example the starter dish of Foie Gras and vanilla from Madagascar in puff pastry accented with slightly acid-blue feet mushrooms and passion fruit. Two rooms off the main dining room offer private and elegant dining and meeting options for small to mid-sized groups.