The Thrill Is Never Gone In Paris' Romantic Restaurants

Paris offers a romantic vacation constructed of many joyful moments. Or that's what it ought to be. And while of course dining experiences make up only one small facet of the whole experience, choosing the right restaurants, like Les Deux Magots, can only enhance the romance of your time spent here. On this list you will find restaurants that will make you feel like they have been created just for the two of you. If being among the trendsetters makes you feel like you have more sex appeal, the restaurant at the top of the super hip list today is Beefbar. Be sure to ask to be seated inside under the Art Deco authentic 19th c. hand painted glass roof. It is one of Paris' most exquisite interior decors and a registered national landmark.

In the right setting, with the proper presentation and the just-perfect dishes curated on a restaurant's menu, a romantic dinner or lunch can be one of life's most enjoyable moments.  And what is happiness, ultimately, if not many joyful moments strung together to make a whole? To find some of these happy moments, try BO (it means 'Kiss' in Creole) for some rum and spiced up Caribbean cuisine or Brasserie Vaudeville for a journey back to old-world charm. 

When you are looking to celebrate love in the City of Light, take a meander over to the Latin Quarter on the Left Bank where you will find Le Mavrommatis, the most elegant of Greek-French fusion restaurants, the only one outside of Greece with a Michelin star. Or think Sunday brunch at Cafe de la Paix which sets the gold standard, though Alcazar offers a Saint-Germain chic alternative. For a chic and relaxed dinner, Hexagone, by multiple-starred chef Mathieu Pacaud, is sure to make the date-night go swimmingly (also recommended is his newly-acquired Apicius).

Art gallery browsing on Paris' Rive Gauche makes for an afternoon or Thursday evening's (when the art galleries tend to have their opening night shows) romantic pastime. In this neighborhood you have three superlative choices: Les Bouquinistes by Guy Savoy, Ze Kitchen Galerie by William Ledeuil. 

And for that French Bistro, the one with the cosy red velvet seating and the view out onto Ile St. Louis, whose chef is a master at anything that has truffles in it, look no farther than Chez Julien


6th Arrondissement - Rive Gauche

Les Bouquinistes is one of Chef Guy Savoy's more casual dining establishments. Meaning, you can expect your meal to be top-shelf without the 3-star price tag attached. This restaurant's decor has been newly refreshed with master modern art works by Fabrice Hyber, taking its inspiration from the many art galleries that surround the restaurant in this Left Bank neighborhood. Come prepared to indulge in a favorite wine or discover a new one as the extensive wine list will have you delighting in anticipation. The menu offers signature dishes like mushroom-prawn raviolis in a beef broth; suckling pig, braised until sweet, served with slow-cooked lentils in the meat juices; ile flottante (a very French dessert made with egg whites and creamy custard sauce) flavored with candied rose. The lunch tasting menu is ever so affordable and if you want to indulge you can do the 6-course tasting menu. SO worth it!

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: One of the most emblematic addresses of Rive Gauche, this dining experience will have you feeling like you've found your own corner of food heaven.

Paige's expert tip: It's safe to say that pretty much everything Chef Guy Savoy touches turns to gold, at least in the culinary sense. This, his more affordable restaurant (he is, after all a 3-star Michelin chef), offers you a taste of what all the delighted fuss is about. The restaurant's new modern art decor is also worth stopping in for.

Read more about Les Bouquinistes by Guy Savoy →

4éme Arrondissement
Chez Julien
Photo courtesy of Chez Julien

In one of the oldest areas of Paris, the Marais, you'll find this charming French restaurant that has stood here for 100 years. There are times when the location and the decor are so charming that diners are willing to overlook the cuisine - but here you get all three as the top-notch cuisine has this memorable and romantic restaurant on a sure-fire winning streak. Chef Helmi Derbal is a connoisseur of truffles and he knows where to source the best. Depending on the season, he'll whip up his signature dishes using either white or black truffles, and only the best. One of the house specialties is the simple-sounding croque monsieur a la truffe - a classic French melted cheese sandwich that when truffles are added becomes something altogether out-of-this-world. This is also one of the best places to enjoy a cocktail - either with or without alcohol.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: In one of the oldest parts of Paris with a view onto the the Ile St. Louis, this restaurant is picture perfect with delicious cuisine.

Paige's expert tip: If you like truffles, you've found your place. The chef here used to be the Exec Chef at a restaurant specialized in only truffles. So whatever the season, you'll find truffles on the menu here - black, white and even those nuggets of black gold from Burgundy. The terrace is one of the best in the summertime!

Read more about Chez Julien →

2éme Arrondissement

What would Paris be without these turn-of-the-last-century brasseries and traditional cafes? I can answer that for you, it just wouldn't be Paris. With all the new and ever more fabulous, concept-driven restaurants that great capital food cities such as Paris see every year, even every month, it is good to go back to the roots sometimes and remember these traditional establishments. This classic offers a menu heavy on seafood platters but with plenty to satisfy a meat eater as well. Oysters and seafood platters play a big part in dining out here in Paris. Any time of year,but especially during the months ending in -er, is the time to order a platter of oysters, served on ice, with some country bread, a bit of salted butter and fresh lemon. Wash all this down with a crisp, dry white and you've got yourself a little romantic heaven in Parisian yesteryear.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: No expense was spared in creating this sister-flagship to the original Pouchkine in Moscow. That said, you will find only refinement here and very good tastes.

Paige's expert tip: Here you will be dining in old-world charm, just across from Paris's stock exchange building (used today for events like wine tastings). Finish off with a selection of cheeses or perfectly made profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce poured at table.

Read more about Brasserie Vaudeville →

6th Arrondissement - Rive Gauche
Ze Kitchen Galerie
Photo courtesy of Ze Kitchen Galerie photo by Eric Laignel copyright

This is the talented Chef William Ledeuil's Left Bank restaurant and a place where you will enjoy French-Asian fusion cuisine. The restaurant's ambiance is that of an art gallery (hence the name) where collector-worthy paintings are displayed and rotated every 6 months. Chef Ledeuil is the author of two recent food books, one about bullion, a book that helped touch off the bullion craze that swept NYC a few years back as well as Paris, and another more recent book about pasta in all its expressions. Dining here at this 1-Michelin-star restaurant is just as romantic an experience for lunch as it is for dinner since the location has you in the heart of one of Paris's most charming art gallery districts. And there is nothing more romantic than a long, lingering lunch enjoyed with a glass of wine (or two) followed by leisurely sauntering through the small Saint-Germain-des-Pres streets.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Food and culture and romance - Ze Kitchen Galerie Paris, 1 Michelin star, is at the very heart of this intersection.

Paige's expert tip: Chef William Ledeuil is one of Paris' most talented, yet most humble, star chefs. It is well worth dining here to taste a sample of his cooking universe. It's also a very good idea to pick up one or more copies of his books as you settle your modest bill.

Read more about Ze Kitchen Galerie →

6th Arrondissement - Rive Gauche

This is a Rive Gauche find that will fool you by its demure XVIIth century exterior. But once through the doorway, you discover a huge dining room with a 20ft high interior covered courtyard that has you feeling immersed in an exclusive luxury garden. The successful refurbishment, post its Top Chef tv-set incarnation, has given it a new lease on life. The food here is prepared from the highest quality ingredients. If you decide to start with oysters, be assured they are from the top-notch Perles Blanches producer. The steak-frites is a perfect combo of lean meat and house fries served in a silver cone. For brunch, the menu is all organic and mostly vegetarian, with a couple of choices - salmon and chicken - for those wanting it. Either before or after your meal, be sure to pay a visit to the bar upstairs. They often even have DJs.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Alcazar is one of the restaurants in St.-Germain-des-Pres where all the locals go. The bar upstairs, the restaurant below and weekend brunches all rock.

Paige's expert tip: The Sunday brunches here are the chicest on the Left Bank but there's something really special about the evening ambiance at Alcazar. Since flying high on its reputation as the Parisian restaurant where Top Chef was filmed for tv, it has since undergone a complete interior renovation. The result: an inner garden oasis that is at once relaxed, chic and intimate.

Read more about Alcazar →

5éme Arrondissement
Restaurant Bo
Photo courtesy of Bo Restaurant

This is what is known as a "bar a manger" meaning a small plates kind of place. The food is Creoles inspired by the Antilles and the cocktails are all rum-based. You won't find any dim lighting here or quiet candlelight but you will find a warm and inviting, fun and relaxed atmosphere in Restaurant Bo which means 'Kiss' in Creole. Another notable is that the Executive Chef here is Julia Sedefdjian who, at 21, became the youngest ever chef to earn a Michelin star. Now at 23, this is her third and most relaxed restaurant. Small plates include chopped chicken and mango in a banana leaf, stewed sausage and lentils and other light fare that come in small portions. Surprisingly, this makes for a perfect date night since food is the last thing you want to fill up on when you are enjoying someone's good company. The signature cocktail is a champagne infused rum confection and others include honey and citrus. The location is just across the bridge from the Ile Saint-Louis, so you can stroll along Quai d'Orleans afterwards and take in the breathtaking views of Notre Dame cathedral.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: This is the most relaxed and accessible of Chef Julia Sedefdjian's three restaurants; Since the name means 'Kiss' in Creole, it's perfect for date night.

Paige's expert tip: When romance equals fun and food is an added pleasure but not the central theme of the evening, this is a good place to come and hang for awhile. The plates are small and packed with flavor. Rum cocktails will put you in a good mood when, baby it's cold outside or even when the weather heats up and you need that refreshing dose of tropical spiked punch.

Read more about Restaurant Bo →

16éme 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 elegant entranceway welcomes 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.

Read more about Hexagone →

5th Arondissement - Latin Quarte

After an upscale up-do, this 1-Michelin star Meditteranean-Greek-French fusion icon in the Latin Quarter is ready for its close-up. The beginning of 2018 marked when for the first time a 'Greek' restaurant outside of Greece was awarded a Michelin star. This jewel of a restaurant spans its own little corner of this idyllic spot in the 5th arrondissement. It's not more than a stone's throw from the Arenes de Lutece, the 2000 year old Roman arena, a holdover from days gone by when Paris was called Lutece. Somehow fitting, then, that this gorgeous, neutral-toned fine-dining establishment would grace the neighborhood. Tables are discreetly placed just far enough apart so that your conversations can remain private. If need be, there is also an upstairs dining room. Accompanying the founder, Chef Andreas Mavrommatis in the kitchens now is the recently added chef came from the Royal Monceau, so you can expect exquisiteness in presentation as well as substance. Another detail is their attention to the Art de la Table. This is something that restaurant trends seem to be bypassing these days, but here they conscripted an artist friend, Georges Moustaki, to grace their insignia on the J.L. Coquet fine crockery.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Many Michelin-star restaurants are singular, but this Greek-fusion restaurant is the only one of its kind outside of Greece to be awarded star-distinction.

Paige's expert tip: Though this restaurant is often described as Mediterranean and Greek, in fact its culinary influences owe more to Chef Mavrommatis' Cyprus roots. Admittedly, it will be one of the most elegant and refined - and French fusioned - Cyprian/Greek dining experiences you can imagine being treated to. The wine list offers a spectacular choice of fine Greek wines, with specialty regional dessert wines even, too. The wait staff is friendly, attentive and the Maitre d' even worked for Daniel Boulud in NYC before returning to Paris.

Read more about Le Mavrommatis →

8éme Arrondissement

In the past, you could occasionally hear the comment that a good steak was hard to find in Paris. With the city's recent opening of the world acclaimed Beef Bar restaurants, this is certainly no longer the case. When a succulent piece of top-quality steak from Kansas (USA), Australia, Kobe (Japan) or France is what has your mouth watering, this is the place to indulge. Only the best cuts of beef are served here and they are choice pieces that melt in your mouth. The concept restaurant was created by Riccardo Giraudi in 2005 in Monaco. It has since expanded and now the long awaited opening in Paris has arrived. There is a jewel hidden inside this historically classified venue. It is an interior glass roofed atrium or 'jardin d'hiver' in French and the new re-do by Humbert & Poyet interior designers is nothing less than breathtaking.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The location was worth waiting for. The address is an historic landmark and now the site of Paris' top steak restaurant.

Paige's expert tip: Steak. Not just steak but the choicest cuts of steak, exquisitely marbled and prepared so they melt in your mouth. Large chilled wine cases, floor to ceiling, stocked with jewels like Echezeaux and Haut-Brion. Appetizers include meat bonbons (these defy crispy-fried delicious description and simply must be tried) and truffle adorned ceviche. Sides are whipped mashed potatoes served in individual copper single-serving pots. And the decor... for a romantic meal be sure to request seating in the inner atrium, the 'jardin d'hiver', where Belle Epoque Paris envelops you and the Humbert & Poyet redecoration of this classic restaurant lavishes its tastefulness on the two of you. Sumptuous velvet seating, roomy booth seating and Art Deco motif carpeting infuse this classic with timeless style in the form of its Belle Epoque decor of the 'Salle 1900' so named after the year it was created.

Read more about Beefbar Paris →

6éme Arrondissement

If you are wondering what a magot is, or why there are two of them, just step inside the iconic cafe and bear witness to the statues of two Chinese magi, or wise men, presiding over the center of the room. It is very fitting decor, since this room has played host to literary, artistic and political greats over the past century such as Picasso, Hemingway and Louis Aragon. The tables outside are where history was made, hosting such literary greats. This anchor of Parisian life and history is still run by the same family, though today at the helm is the great-granddaughter. The quality of food and service has been equally impeccably maintained. The food is prepared in-house as well as meticulously sourced from the best producers. The wine, even when ordered by the glass, is always served table side from the bottle by your white-gloved, tuxedo-clad waitstaff.

Read more about Les Deux Magots →


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