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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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