send to printer

Paris Restaurants

4 Rue Beethoven
France 75016
Tel: 33 1 40 50 84 40
Metro: Passy

For fashionable foodies, a meal at this small, split-level dining room with silver-painted walls on a quiet residential street near the Trocadero is guaranteed Nirvana. In fact, some of the most demanding local gourmets insist there's no young chef in the French capital today who has more talent and imagination than Pascal Barbot. As proof, they cite the rapidity with which his creations find their way onto the menus at other restaurants, notably his much-imitated avocado and crab ravioli dribbled with almond oil. To have the pleasure of a meal here, you'll have to book a month ahead, but it's worth it to sample dishes such as mille-feuille made with thin slices of button mushroom sprinkled with verjus (fresh grape juice) and caramelized foie gras, or langoustines in an airy egg-and-beer batter with a colorful salad of romaine, begonia flowers, garlic flowers, and pansy petals. You never know what you're going to get with Barbot's set-price "Surprise" prix-fixe menus—but that only seems to add to the place's mystique. Expect a diverse, international crowd of assiduous gastronomes, often including a famous face or two.

Open Tuesdays through Fridays 12:15 to 1:30 pm and 8:15 to 9 pm

Hotel Photo
Aux Lyonnais
32 Rue Saint Marc
France 75002
Tel: 33 1 42 96 65 04
Metro: Richelieu-Drouot

For years a seedy neighborhood bistro, Aux Lyonnais is a case study in turning pigs' ears, snouts, and trotters into a silk purse. When Alain Ducasse took over in 2003, he wisely left intact the circa 1890s off-yellow walls with their tall mirrors, tile floors, and wooden tables with iron legs. He trimmed the menu to fit a page, and radically lightened the gutsy Lyonnais cuisine, keeping the variety meats, stewed suckling pig, braised shoulder of lamb, and the classic soufflés and île flottantes. You might not be able to hear yourself think over the convivial noshing of serious French eaters and itinerant gastronauts, but you won't mind, especially if you're chowing on the fried pork rinds and tangy potato salad with garlic sausage on the daily 30-euro prix-fixe menu—a bargain by Paris standards. Miracle of miracles, the pike dumpling—these can be downright leaden—practically levitates in its crayfish sauce. And the old Lyonnais standby of pears poached in Beaujolais, usually lumps of slippery fruit in gluey purple sauce? Here you get one easy-to-eat, lightly winey pear sliced and garnished with a scoop of fromage frais ice cream. Book ahead.

Open Tuesdays through Fridays 12:15 to 2 pm and 7:30 to 10 pm, Saturdays 7:30 to 10 pm, from September through July.

See More: Alain Ducasse reveals his favorite places in Paris

Hotel Photo
Brasserie Lipp
151 Boulevard Saint-Germain
France 75006
Tel: 33 1 45 48 53 91
Metro: Saint-Germain-de-Prés

This perennial brasserie opened in 1880 in the heart of Saint Germain is almost as famous for its clubby habitués and standoffish service—newcomers are often banished to the second floor, instead of being seated in the beautiful Art Nouveau ground-floor dining room—as it is for its scene. The food is better than it used to be, and service is now at least polite and sometimes even charming. While the old-fashioned cooking is to be prized more for its homely authenticity than its gastronomic ambitions, you can eat well here, especially if you stick to basics: pâté en croûte, "Bismark"-style herring (fish poached in white wine and herbs and garnished with juniper berries), sauerkraut with ham and sausages, and classic salmon with sorrel sauce. The restaurant is open until 2 am (orders are taken until 12:45 am), but if you're interested in people-watching, go for lunch, when it's frequented by an odd and sprightly mix of politicians, editors, fashion people, and the occasional movie star.

Open daily 9 am to 1 am.

Café Constant
139 Rue St. Dominique
France 75007
Tel: 33 1 47 53 73 34
Metro: École Militaire

Formerly the executive chef of Les Ambassadeurs, Christian Constant has spun his well-earned celebrity into a mini empire of four restaurants, located practically side by side on Rue St. Dominique, near the Eiffel Tower. His establishments range from the pricey, high-design Le Violon d'Ingres (33-1-45-55-15-05; to this unassuming corner café. And they all turn out some of the best food you'll eat in Paris. Café Constant's market-based menu is ever-changing, but the neighborhood regulars seated cheek by jowl on bentwood bistro chairs or burgundy-colored banquettes might be tucking into, for example, house-made foie gras terrines, roasted Bresse chicken, crispy phyllo purses stuffed with shrimp and basil, or plump chocolate dumplings. The wines are affordable—try the flinty Quincy from Philippe Portier or inky Côtes du Rhône from Perrin—and the weekday prix-fixe lunch is an excellent value at about $30. Reservations are not accepted, but if you arrive at noon for lunch, or 7:30 pm for dinner, you probably won't have to wait. Once installed, you can relax: Service is swift yet startlingly courteous, and the staff doesn't rush to turn tables.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays noon to 2:30 pm and 7:30 to 10:30 pm.

Café des Musées
49 Rue de Turenne
France 75003
Tel: 33 1 42 72 96 17
Metro: St. Paul or Chemin Vert

Talented chef François Chenel's flavorful, classic bistro food follows the seasons and comes at bargain prices. The daily prix fixe (about $30) might include upside-down foie gras custard, roasted free-range chicken, and a fruit tart in a perfect, buttery crust. The à la carte menu always includes house-smoked Scottish salmon, cold cuts made from heirloom cochon noir de Bigorre, luscious chicken-liver and Calvados terrine, grilled rib eye with béarnaise sauce and thick-cut fries, a casserole of fresh market vegetables flavored with marjoram-perfumed oil, and a daily fish dish (perhaps whole lingcod). A selection of artisanal cheeses or homey desserts such as fruit crumble or chocolate terrine finish the meal. The half dozen wines (by the carafe or glass) include a fine white Viré-Clessé Domaine de la Bongran from Jean Thévenet. Decor isn't this corner café's strong suit (tile and plank floors, vinyl banquettes, bentwood chairs, chalkboards, and cheek-by-jowl seating), but it's hard to imagine friendlier service; a more pleasant, casual atmosphere; or a better location—halfway between Place des Vosges and the Picasso Museum. At lunch or dinner, you'll mix with local regulars and savvy travelers on the Marais beat.

Open daily noon to 3 pm and 7 to 11 pm.

Chez Les Anges
54 Boulevard de La Tour-Maubourg
France 75007
Tel: 33 1 47 05 89 86
Metro: La Tour-Maubourg

Cool jazz on the sound system, a sunny veranda, and a cool, modern bar: That's how Jacques and Catherine Lacipiere—the husband-and-wife team also behind Au Bon Accueil (14 Rue de Monttessuy; 33-1-47-05-46-11)—have reinvented this former Burgundian bastion located within a Champagne cork's flight of Les Invalides. Catherine greets guests and takes orders at lunch; Jacques does the same at dinner. This is pure market cuisine, the daily changing menu punctuated by fabulous wild fish, wild mushrooms, and seasonal game. To start, try escabèche of mackerel with capers and parsley sauce or succulent boned quail with a perfect soft-boiled egg on a bed of fresh spinach. Follow with thickly sliced pan-fried calf's liver with coarse salt and roasted shallot, or an intensely flavorful Bresse hen cooked in its own juices and served with dreamy mashed potatoes. At lunch expect politicians, journalists, and museumgoers (from the Rodin and Invalides), and at dinner, chummy regulars: a mix of ladies in designer jeans and pearl necklaces, gentlemen in blue blazers.

Open daily noon to 2:30 pm and 7:30 to 10:30 pm.

Dominique Bouchet
11 Rue Treilhard
France 75008
Tel: 33 1 45 61 09 46
Metro: Miromesnil or Saint Augustin

At a time when many new restaurants in Paris spin on a "concept" or gimmick, chef Dominique Bouchet's eponymous spot next to the Marché de l'Europe upholds the time-honored theme that's made it a word-of-mouth success since it opened in 2004: excellent traditional French cooking. Better still, superb dishes such as roast sea bass on a bed of fingerling potatoes mashed with vanilla-perfumed olive oil, capers, and lemon; lamb marinated in red wine for a full day, then slow cooked with cocoa for seven hours; and a charlotte of crab, avocado, green apple, tomato, and fresh mango are served by cheerful waiters in a comfortable dining room with ebony-stained wood tables. Desserts are homey—a white peach simply poached in vanilla syrup and served with Champagne granita, for instance—and even the least expensive wines are great drinking.

Open noon to 1:30 pm and 7:30 to 9:30 pm.

5 Rue du Nil
France 75002
Tel: 33 1 40 39 96 19

Tucked away in the cobbled, film-set charming Rue du Nil in the Sentier, Paris's old garment district, chef Gregory Marchand's terrific modern bistro, Frenchie, is a place I dearly wish I could have kept to myself. But that wouldn't be fair. Marchand, who cooked at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen in London and then at Danny Meyer's Gramercy Tavern in New York, changes his short menu—two starters, two mains, two desserts—daily, and after a half-dozen meals here, I can say he's doing some of the best cuisine du marché in town. On my last visit, a steamy night in Paris, a salad of watermelon and pine nuts in a light vinaigrette, sea trout in horseradish sauce, and a perfect cheese plate were a cool way to beat the heat. The meal not only showed off Marchand's technical skills but let his Anglo-American ambitions shine through. I'm still dreaming about the lamb and chickpea ragout and the rhubarb-lemon verbena panna cotta I had the time before. If this place were within walking distance of my apartment, I might eat there every day.—Alexander Lobrano, first published on

208 Rue de la Croix-Nivert
France 75015
Tel: 33 1 45 57 73 20

Jadis ("in times past") may seem like an odd name for a brilliant new bistro by one of the most talented young chefs in Paris, but after a meal there, you'll get it. Guillaume Delage is an intensely disciplined classicist who reveals his cards with a quote on the menu from the late, great Edouard Nignon: "The chef who knows and understands the past well, who is inspired by it, will in turn become an innovator." At Jadis, in the far reaches of the 15th arrondissement, that means a double menu listing traditional French dishes on the left and market-driven creations on the right. Past or present, Delage's cooking is lean, clean, and muscular. There's so much precision in everything he does—whether it's creating a gently tangy lemon sauce to meld a sauté of lamb's feet and button mushrooms, or constructing an intricate retro checkerboard terrine of artichoke hearts and foie gras—that every meal reinforces the perception of him as some sort of intensely drilled culinary athlete. An oyster velouté with shavings of Cantal cheese and a brilliant pairing of Puy lentils with sea snails and smoked bacon show that Delage is not just an A+ student, but he also has a nascent gastronomic imagination of his own. For main courses, a perfectly cooked lamb shoulder on a bed of plump white mogette beans, revved up with black olives and fine slices of dried tomato and served in a copper casserole (a vieille France dish if ever there was one), contrasts brilliantly with ocean perch in a wasabi sauce with a side of velvety sweet potato purée and Delage's funky sauté of cockscombs, duck hearts, kidneys, and other gizzards. But nothing demonstrates Delage's work ethic better than a galette du roi (flaky, buttery pastry with a frangipane filling) that the waiter gravely warns will take 20 minutes—a mere nanosecond for something so good.—Alexander Lobrano, first published on

84 Rue de Varenne
France 75007
Tel: 33 1 47 05 09 06
Metro: Varenne

In 2006, chef Alain Passard's L'Arpege turned 20 years old and, with the reconversion of Alain Senderens's Lucas-Carton, this pear-wood-paneled property in the embassy-studded Seventh Arrondissement might now be the most expensive table in France. Passard is brilliant and idealistic in his maverick way: In 2002 he created his own strictly organic kitchen garden to supply the restaurant, at the Château du Gros Chesnay about 150 miles southwest of Paris. But he's also quixotic. Several years ago Passard renounced red meat in favor of a menu that stars vegetables, fowl, and seafood. Yet because Passard is such a gifted technician, the cuisine's parameters never feel limiting. Deceptively simple dishes, such as a rich, mustard-based gazpacho with ice cream and heirloom Haut-Maine chicken with cabbage, squash blossoms, and baby root vegetables, are breathtaking. Passard's most famous dessert is the tomato roasted with 12 spices, invented in 1986 and on the menu again 20 years later, but the chocolate mille-feuille du mendiant with herb ice cream is just as impressive. The catch? The prix-fixe dinner menu currently runs 360 euros per person without wine (add at least 100 if you order à la carte), making the 135-euro "pleine terre pleine mer" lunch menu sound like a real bargain.

Open Mondays through Fridays 12:15 to 2:30 pm and 7:30 to 10:30 pm.

Hotel Photo
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
5 Rue de Montalembert
France 75007
Tel: 33 1 42 22 56 56
Metro: Rue du Bac

Former three-star chef Joël Robuchon was hailed as the best French chef of the 20th century before he retired at age 50. Then, a few years ago, he returned to the limelight with this unlikely vehicle: a New York–style coffee shop cum tapas bar. Ironically, Robuchon wanted out of the Michelin rat race but received a star here in 2006 and a second star at his other Paris restaurant, a somewhat staid sit-down place in the 16th Arrondissement called La Table de Joël Robuchon. L'Atelier is innovative, totally nonsmoking, and fun, as long as you don't mind the counter-only service, high-rise stools, and reservation policy—tables can only be booked for 6:30 p.m. If you choose to dine later, odds are you'll wind up admiring the black and Chinese-red lacquer interior for an hour or more before ascending your stool. Begin with caviar, Spanish ham, or spaghetti carbonara, or perhaps an assortment of little tasting plates. This French take on tapas changes often but might include veal sweetbreads skewered with a bay leaf twig and garnished with creamy Swiss chard, or a tart of mackerel filet, Parmesan shavings, and olives. Then, go classic with a steak or opt for something more inventive like sublime cannelloni stuffed with foie gras and Bresse chicken.

Open daily 11:30 am to 3:30 pm and 6:30 pm to midnight.

Hotel Photo
L'Atelier Maître Albert
1 Rue Maître-Albert
France 75005
Tel: 33 1 56 81 30 01
Metro: Maubert-Mutualité

This is three-star chef Guy Savoy's rotisserie-restaurant for the bold and beautiful, on the Left Bank across from Notre-Dame. The unusual interior successfully marries glass surfaces and angular tables and chairs in shades of gray, with centuries-old golden limestone walls, pumpkin-colored ceiling timbers, and a massive, ornate fireplace. On the menu is high-end comfort food—chicken, veal shanks, filets of beef, and monkfish spit-roasted at one end of the cavernous main dining room. Meats come with luscious mashed potatoes, spinach-and-mushroom gratin, or stewed carrots and onions. Desserts are simple but sumptuous: small water glasses filled with chocolate mousse, crème brûlée, and other creamy favorites. At lunch you'll mix with the suited set, but at dinnertime you may be excused for imagining you've stepped onto a fashion runway. Book ahead.

Mondays through Wednesday noon to 2:30 pm and 6:30 to 11 pm, Thursdays and Fridays noon to 2:30 pm and 6:30 pm to 1 am, Saturday 6:30 pm to 1 am, Sundays 6:30 pm to 11 am.

L'Avant Goût
26 Rue Bobillot
France 75013
Tel: 33 1 53 80 24 00
Metro: Place d'Italie

More popular than ever, this contemporary bistro (opened in 1997 near the Place d'Italie), draws crowds because of the superb cooking of Christophe Beaufront and its extremely reasonable prices. The friendly chef and his sassy wife run the restaurant like a kind of open house—generating an aura of conviviality that encompasses regulars from the neighborhood along with many well-advised foreigners. The food varies according to season, but it's all great: cold spinach soup, fresh cod ravioli with a frothy shiitake mushroom nage, long-cooked duck thigh stew with turnips and a dash of piquant anchovy. Among the main courses, Beaufront's signature dish is still the succulent pig-focused pot au feu—off-cuts of pork, fennel bulb, and sweet potato, with side garnishes of cornichons, horseradish sauce, and deep-fried slices of ginger root—served on a plate flanked by a glass of its own flavorful bouillon.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 12:30 to 2 pm and 7:45 to 10:45 pm.

Hotel Photo
L'Épi Dupin
11 Rue Dupin
France 75006
Tel: 33 1 42 22 64 56
Metro: Sèvres-Babylone

Chef François Pasteau's market-based, creative cuisine served in a neighborhood-style setting was revolutionary for the mid-1990s. Now it has become the norm, yet few chefs do it better, and the popularity of this far-from-new neo-bistro continues unabated. Pasteau favors sweet, mildly spicy combinations for his ever-changing menu. For a starter, there might be a beef mille-feuille paired with chutney, ginger-perfumed zucchini, and a shellfish coulis for balance. The five main-course options may include skate with slow-cooked orange- and coriander-spiked fennel, sautéed scallops with meltingly tender leeks in citrus vinaigrette, or a spiced skirt steak in a rich red-wine sauce. Desserts range from house-made gingerbread with orange marmalade and basil sorbet, to roasted peaches, to plum crumble. The location is convenient (Le Bon Marché is half a block away); the food is affordable (a dinner prix-fixe is about $45); and the markups on the short, well-chosen wine list are reasonable (try a glass of the peachy house organic white from the Armagnac region). There are, however, drawbacks to the compact dining room: The faux wooden tables and plastic chairs could be in a 24/7 diner, and the decibel level reflects the elbow-to-elbow crowding (as well as contentment). Reserve at least a week ahead, and request the second seating for lunch or dinner and a corner table.

Open Mondays 7 to 11 pm, Tuesdays through Fridays noon to 3 pm and 7 to 11 pm.

92 Rue Broca
France 75013
Tel: 33 1 47 07 13 65
Metro: Gobelins

The menu changes almost daily at this superb old-fashioned French bistro near Gobelins, but usually offers a mix of traditional, homey, primarily southwestern classics such as piquillos stuffed with brandade (whipped salt cod). Plus, there's classic creamy blanquette de veau and contemporary creations like braised rabbit with green beans or cannelloni stuffed with lamb and eggplant. Service is friendly, and the small, brightly lit dining room has the appealing atmosphere of a country kitchen, decorated with old irons, hand-cranked coffee mills, and knickknacks. Book far ahead.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays noon to 2:30 pm and 7 to 10:30 pm.

Hotel Photo
La Bigarrade
106 Rue Nollet
France 75017
Tel: 33 1 42 26 01 02
Metro: Brochant

La Bigarrade may be the city's most avant-garde table d'hôte. Even the address—the unfashionable part of the 17th arrondissement, between Place de Clichy and the beltway—is forward-thinking. In the high-tech open kitchen, chef Christophe Pelé (formerly of Le Jardin at the Royal Monceau) and his assistant star in what feels like performance art. Their audience is the clientele, seated on pea-green upholstered armchairs at the eight tables. Meals commonly run over three hours, and while stimulating the senses is one of Pelé's priorities, satisfying hunger is not. Among the six or more market-based dishes (announced only when served) on the prix fixe menu, there might be a pair of shelled clams in a tablespoon of bouillon; two saltine-size slices of raw veal garnished with carrot flowers, herring eggs, translucent radish, and ginger; a pumpkin-and-foie-gras emulsion with squash-seed oil and a single grilled hazelnut; or barely cooked wild sea bass flanked by a pinch of roasted, crumbled black olives. The sweets are astonishing miniatures: rosemary-and-honey–flavored frozen nougat, fluffed fresh white cheese with puréed black currant, and walnut-size chocolate soufflé. And there's often a mystery dish: Diners are asked to guess what they're eating…few get it right. La Bigarrade's well-chosen wine list includes about 20 whites and 25 reds, among them a remarkable organic Mâcon-Cruzille Blanc from Domaine Guillot-Broux, and Saumur Champigny Clos Cristal. The best part? This culinary artistry costs $50 to $60 for lunch, $60 to $90 for dinner—about a quarter of what you'd pay in a bigger, more luxurious Parisian temple of gastronomy. Intrepid French and foreign food lovers are quick to snap up reservations, so call at least two weeks ahead.

Open Mondays noon to 2 pm, Tuesdays through Fridays noon to 2 pm and 8 to 10 pm, September through July.

La Coupole
102 Boulevard du Montparnasse
France 75014
Tel: 33 1 43 20 14 20
Metro: Vavin

If metropolitan bustle and an intriguingly diverse Parisian crowd are a vital part of your brasserie experience, this sprawling Art Deco–style dining room in the heart of Montparnasse is still hard to beat. Brasserie Lipp's counterpart in stature has all the local archetypes on display: the portly man with a nubile young woman (is it his daughter, wife, or mistress?); the carefully dressed old woman with a poodle in her velvet-lined bag; bawdy quartets of arty types; Japanese tourists so jet-lagged they can barely keep their eyes open; and French families from the provinces who are simultaneously intrigued and appalled by it all. The columns in the dining room were painted by the artists who frequented the place in its interwar heyday (and restored rather heavy-handedly when the place was bought up by a chain in the 1980s). The food's best at the simpler end of the menu, so choose basics such as oysters and shellfish platters, onion soup, quiche, sole meunière, or the famous lamb curry.

Open daily 8:30 am to midnight.

Lao Siam
49 Rue de Belleville
France 75019
Tel: 33 1 40 40 09 68
Metro: Belleville

This sprawling, overlit, crowded dining room can be pretty noisy, but it's a great address for both fans of Asian cooking and anyone who's counting their euros. The voluminous menu here offers a generally excellent gastronomic tour of Laos and Thailand. Popular with the local Asian diplomatic community, this is a great place to come in a group so that you can sample as many different dishes as possible. Don't miss the giant shrimp sautéed with ginger and chives or the tourteau au diable, a whole crab that's served in a sauce of coconut milk, hot pepper, and celery.

Open Mondays through Saturdays noon to 2:30 and 7:30 to 10:30 pm.

Le Bistrot Paul Bert
18 Rue Paul Bert
France 75011
Tel: 33 1 43 72 24 01
Metro: Faidherbe-Chaligny

With a friendly, arty crowd and wonderful food, this back-beyond-the-Bastille bistro would be well worth seeking out even if it weren't one of the best buys in town. Don't be put off by the slightly cliquish vibe—no one's going to cold-shoulder you; it's just that this place has a devoted following of regulars, all of whom seem to know one another. So settle into one of the moleskin banquettes, enjoy the snug dining room's flea market kitsch (including a chandelier that looks like it's made of melting ice cubes), and inspect the regularly changing blackboard menu. What's cooking depends on what's in the market, but typical starters include a wild mushroom omelet and sautéed squid with risotto, while mains run to perfectly cooked cod steak with chanterelles and guinea hen with bacon-spiked cabbage. Finish with the serve-yourself cheese tray or the chocolate ganache cake draped in pistachio cream.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays noon to 2 pm and 7:30 to 11 pm.

Le Cinq
31 Avenue George V
France 75008
Tel: 33 1 49 52 71 54
Metro: George V

No matter how good the food, a meal at a grand hotel restaurant used to be a yawn or, worse, a parody of obsequiousness. It's places like Le Cinq at the Four Seasons Hotel George V that are redefining Parisian luxe as an epicurean dream nestled in palatial walls. The maître d' addresses you by name, and a discreet footstool appears from nowhere for your purse, newspaper, or hat. The decor befits a palace hotel, from the moldings and frescoed cupola to the gray-and-gold drapes and plush carpet. Chef Eric Briffard's sophisticated cooking is exceptional in freshness, flavor, and inventiveness without being wild or fussy. Artichoke pie is perfumed with Périgord truffles. Line-caught turbot with watermelon is basted in an aromatic broth of spices and lime. Pantelleria capers enliven the rack of milk-fed veal. For dessert, don't miss the ethereal gratin of strawberries with mascarpone sorbet. At noon expect to see a business crowd peppered with traveling gourmets and blueblood regulars, and a global mix of foodies at dinnertime. Reserve far in advance.

Open daily 7 to 10 am, 12:30 to 2 pm, and 7 to 10 pm.

Le Comptoir du Relais
9 Carrefour de l'Odéon
France 75006
Tel: 33 1 44 27 07 97
Metro: Odéon

With his 1990s hit restaurant, the far-flung La Régalade, Yves Camdeborde was credited with reinventing the Parisian bistro. Now the cult chef presides over this irresistible neo-bistro—40 wooden chairs atop multicolored mosaic-tile floors, with wood paneling and yellow-and-red-trimmed walls—next to the Hôtel Relais Saint-Germain. A master chef and marketeer, the affable Camdeborde offers two distinct menus: bistro (or brasserie), from noon to 6 pm daily and until 11 pm on weekends; and on weekdays, the phenomenal bargain five-course "gastronomique" menu. Lunch service is sans reservations, meaning a daily free-for-all (come just before noon or after 2:30 pm for the best chance of scoring a seat), and dinner reservations book up months in advance. But it's worth the hassle for Camdeborde's wild cèpes molded with foie gras and flanked by whipped artichoke mousseline, and a neo-tarte Tatin dessert that merges apples and mango, with vanilla ice cream. The secret to getting a dinner reservation? Stay at the Hôtel Relais Saint-Germain, which occupies the same building (33-1-43-29-12-05; or phone at about 7:30 pm on the evening you hope to go, and ask if, by some miracle, anyone has canceled. The magic word in French is désistement.

Open Sundays through Fridays noon to 6 pm and 8:30 to midnight, Saturdays noon to 11 pm.

Le Dauphin
131 Avenue Parmentier
France 75011
Tel: 33 1 55 28 78 88

When Inaki Aizpitarte decided to open another restaurant just steps from his groundbreaking Le Chateaubriand, Paris foodies took note. Admirer Giovanni Passerini calls Le Dauphin, also in the eleventh arrondisement, "the place I want to eat most at this moment," adding, "Inaki is in Olympic form. His cooking is fantastic, full of taste, difficult to define, always evolving." It doesn't hurt that starchitect Rem Koolhaas re­imagined the space—formerly a nondescript café-bar—as a modern boîte constructed entirely of Carrara marble (tapas, $7-$35).

Must eat: Revisited French classics such as boeuf bourguignon and blanquette de veau.

Chef Inaki Aizpitarte's favorite new restaurant: Christian Puglisi's Relæ, Copenhagen

Le Dôme
108 Boulevard du Montparnasse
France 75014
Tel: 33 1 43 35 25 81
Metro: Vavin

A quick scan of the prices at this luxurious seafood house in Montparnasse makes it hard to believe that Trotsky ever sat on the glassed-in terrace, reading the papers over a coffee. (He did, though, along with Brancusi and a variety of other arty types who lived and worked nearby in the 1920s.) Despite Le Dôme's thorough transformation from bohemian café to elegant restaurant, something rakish and distinctly Parisian still hangs in the air here. Perhaps it has to do with the clientele, which includes everyone from cabinet ministers dining with their mistresses to theater people, politicians, writers, and, yes, even an artist or two. What everyone loves are the ultrafresh platters of shellfish, including some of the best oysters in Paris, and an impeccable catch-of-the-day menu, including sole meunière, line-caught sea bass, and wild salmon. In winter, regulars skip dessert in favor of the excellent Auvergnat cheeses that the owners, the Bras family, bring up from their home region.

Open daily noon to 3 pm and 7:30 to 11 pm.

Le Grand Véfour
17 Rue de Beaujolais
France 75001
Tel: 33 1 42 96 56 27
Metro: Palais Royal or Bourse

By many a twist, this restaurant, opened in 1784, has survived the French Revolution, industrialization, and passing culinary fashions. And despite chef Guy Martin's self-taught eclecticism and the distraction of opening chic Sensing in 2006 (19 Rue Bréa; 33-1-43-27-08-80;, he's still a major player in the Michelin game, with Le Grand Véfour clocking in at two stars as of March 2008. The setting is ravishing: chandeliers, plush carpets, and 18th-century mirrored and painted panels. At least one menu item is nearly as old as the restaurant: the sublime mashed potatoes with oxtails and black truffles. Not so the rest of Martin's cooking, which borrows inspiration from Japan, North Africa, and Italy more than from his French Alpine homeland. Witness the sautéed John Dory perfumed with parsley and ginger juices or the tandoori-spiced frog's legs with parsley-root jus. The desserts are surprising, too: roast mango and ravioli stuffed with passion fruit cream and accompanied by coconut sorbet. Local businessmen and the art arbiters of the Ministry of Culture (also housed in the Palais Royal) fill the Grand Véfour by day, in part because it offers an excellent prix-fixe lunch menu—for around $110. At dinner, expect to see a global mix of romantic couples and theatergoers with platinum cards. Book far ahead.

Open Mondays through Thursdays 12:30 to 2 pm and 8 to 10 pm, Fridays 12:30 to 2 pm.

Les Ambassadeurs
10 Place de la Concorde
France 75008
Tel: 33 1 44 71 16 16
Metro: Concorde

In 2004, at the age of 34, chef Jean-Francois Piège left Alain Ducasse's flagship at the Plaza-Athénée to take over Paris's most opulent historic restaurant (at the Hotel de Crillon) and make his own way into the multiple-star firmament. After a renovation of the marble-faced dining room overlooking Place de la Concorde by interior designer Sybille de Margerie, the glittering Baccarat crystal chandeliers and wall sconces still illuminate friezes depicting busy cherubim, but sunlight now shines through beige curtains onto armchairs upholstered in taupe velvet and poppy-colored tablecloths. Piège's menu evolves season to season, though he has several signature dishes, such as caviar-topped langoustines in a frothy nage. Given their exquisite execution, it's no wonder Piège is touted to be the city's next Michelin three-star chef. For dessert, pedigreed pastry chef Jérôme Chaucesse turns out ethereal sorbets and fruit-based confections, plus lavish reinterpretations of the French favorites mousse au chocolat and crème caramel. Fitting for occasions both formal and frivolous, this increasingly magnetic spot attracts a lunchtime power crowd then takes on a romantic air in the evening.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 7 to 10:30 am, 12:30 to 2 pm, and 7:30 to 10 pm.

Les Ombres
Musée du Quai Branly
27 Quai Branly
France 75007
Tel: 33 1 47 53 68 00
Metro: Pont de l'Alma

This rooftop eatery with wraparound views might just be the best thing about Jean Nouvel's $350 million Musée du Quai Branly. The restaurant's name (which translates to "the shadows") and the crisscrossing beams supporting the tinted glass roof recall the fretwork silhouette of the Eiffel Tower, which stands a few hundred yards away. (That transparent roof turns Les Ombres into a greenhouse by high noon, so reserve a table on the terrace in fair weather—or go for dinner to take in the twinkling nighttime views). As with the whole building, Nouvel's design here is a sensory overload: Woven-leather armchairs and wooden tables as solid as pre-Columbian totems contrast with the oversize glasses and bone china resting beside futuristic (though not entirely practical) knives and forks. Chef Arno Busquet, a veteran of Laurent (41 Ave. Gabriel; 33-1-42-25-00-39; and the Ritz's L'Espadon, uses fair-trade ingredients to create colorful fusion dishes that reflect the museum's multicultural theme: French foie gras with spicy mango chutney, giant shrimp stacked in crisp phyllo dough with spicy vegetable fettuccine, braised quail and sautéed leeks drizzled with aniseed honey, crispy mille-feuille dotted with Tahitian vanilla or chocolate and coffee cream. The lunch prix fixe (a steal at $40) changes twice monthly; the dinner menu follows the seasons. And the eclectic wine list has something for both fatigued museumgoers (a $10 glass of Bordeaux) and deal-making business types (the rare 1995 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti for $3,420). Book ahead.

Open Sundays through Thursdays noon to 12:30 pm and 7 to 10:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays noon to 12:30 and 7 to 11 pm.

Les Petites Sorcières
12 Rue Liancourt
France 75014
Tel: 33 1 43 21 95 68
Metro: Denfert-Rochereau

When Ghislaine Arabian was chef at the ultraluxurious Pavillon Ledoyen during the 1990s, the restaurant had two Michelin stars. She was a superstar, and she suddenly disappeared. In 2007, Arabian resurfaced and took over this one-room corner bistro south of the Catacombs. True, the tables are still narrow and pushed too close for comfort, and the noise is considerable, but few diners care. The menu of generously portioned classics changes twice daily and ranges across France (Burgundy snails with garlicky butter, Provençal-style grilled swordfish), but the most consistently fabulous dishes come from Arabian's native northern France. Do not miss the blissfully simple gray-shrimp croquettes, the moules frites, the flash-fried whitebait, the fresh day-boat cod, or especially Arabian's creamy, slightly piquant waterzooi stew with hunks of whitefish and salmon. The desserts are an updated tour de force of centuries past: puffs of freshly whipped meringue that make the île flottante float, the kind of ethereal chocolate mousse that no one makes anymore, and a rustic northern French tarte au sucre flavored with yeasty Belgian beer. People pack in for this eating experience and the astonishingly low prices—especially for the $36 lunch prix fixe (à la carte is about $73 with wine). Reserve—at minimum—a week in advance.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays noon to 2:30 pm and 7:30 to 11:30 pm.

Le Temps au Temps
13 Rue Paul Bert
France 75011
Tel: 33 1 43 79 63 40
Metro: Faidherbe-Chaligny

Bring a shoehorn with you—Le Temps au Temps is one of those cheek-by-jowl Paris places east of the Bastille where a dozen tables share space meant for six. But the service charms, and the bric-a-brac decor with a timepiece theme is fun. Best of all: Chef-owner Sylvain Sendra's extraordinarily good food utterly disarms. Endra comes from Lyon, but you won't find the usual fried tripe or pig snouts on his ever-changing menu. Instead, the meal might start with creamy, flavorful Jerusalem artichoke soup flecked with shaved foie gras and drizzled with pesto, then move on to baked ling cod with whole roasted garlic and tiny fingerling potatoes. À la carte you might find venison stew with wild mushrooms and luscious chocolate crumble cake in a moat of chocolate pastry cream, topped with raspberry sorbet and whipped cream. The downside: Word is out. Artists, architects, hipsters, pearl-draped matrons, and suits keep this neighborhood spot fully booked for lunch and dinner, sometimes weeks ahead.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays noon to 2:30 pm and 7 to 10 pm.

Mini Palais
Grand Palais
Avenue Winston Churchill, Pont Alexandre III entrance
France 75008
Tel: 33 1 42 56 42 42
Metro: Champs-Élysées–Clémenceau

Located in the landmark Grand Palais exhibition hall, trendy Mini Palais is not your run-of-the-mill museum restaurant. The main-floor dining room, a cavernous space dressed up with vibrant textiles and deconstructed crystal chandeliers, overlooks both the art exhibits and the Seine's leafy esplanade—a dramatic showcase for chef Anthony Germani's fanciful cuisine. Germani, an alumnus of L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, changes his menu with the seasons; there might be creatively plated renditions of sashimi-style beef, roasted day-boat cod, or spicy guinea fowl with red pepper fajitas. Among the desserts, the house specialty is Crazy Pot, a confection of meringue, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and hot chocolate sauce. Although the à la carte prices are steep (about $65 to $100 per person), the $25 weekday prix-fixe lunch is a good value: It includes the entrée du jour, a glass of wine, and a good Café Malongo espresso. Even if the food weren't noteworthy, eating here amidst the media and advertising crowd that occupies the tables all day long would be fun. Reserve a couple of days in advance.

Open daily 8:30 am to midnight.

94 Rue des Martyrs
France 75018
Tel: 33 1 48 06 50 73

It's a sunny Saturday in Montmartre: Children scamper around the merry-go-round on the Place des Abbesses, their giggles and chatter filling the air; a trumpet player works the crowded café tables along the rue Yvonne le Tac; and the rue des Martyrs, which stretches uphill through two arrondissements, is packed with people out to enjoy the street's boutiques and little restaurants. The smart, or lucky, ones will end up at Miroir. It's a small, casual place, hung with red and black cartoony abstracts and lots of miroirs (mirrors)—the neighborhood bistro you wish your neighborhood had. Miroir was opened last fall by Sébastien Guinard, a former chef at Alain Ducasse's Parisian bistro, Aux Lyonnais, along with that establishment's sommelier, Mathieu Buffet, and Buffet's partner, Charlotte Dupuy. The pedigree shows. Guinard gets just about everything on his daily blackboard menu right: generous slabs of homemade duck terrine, moist and delicious; langoustines, barely cooked and bathed in lemongrass cream, that taste fishing-village fresh; juicy patte bleu chicken with woodsy morels and a couple of irresistible little "sausages" made from chopped mushrooms and chicken giblets; pig's feet boned, thinly sliced, and fried until crisp; confit leg of lamb with a whole garden's worth of perfect vegetables; wickedly dense chocolate mousse. Prices are fair, too: about $35 for two courses, about $45 for three, with a glass of wine (the list is small but savvy) and coffee thrown in.—Colman Andrews, first published on

Pierre Gagnaire
6 Rue Balzac
France 75008
Tel: 33 1 58 36 12 50
Metro: George V or Charles de Gaulle-Étoile

Pierre Gagnaire is not only a wizard of contemporary French gastronomy but also one of the most original and artistic chefs working anywhere today. The composition of his dishes is at times baroque—think range-raised capon (the breast stuffed with lemony almond paste, spring onion marmalade, and cherries, the thighs seared with fingerling potatoes), or poached thick-sliced sea bass served with smoked-tomato sorbet and split-pea gnocchi lightly sauced in fennel semifreddo. The menu changes regularly, but Gagnaire has a particular fascination with texture and also likes to explore the sour and bitter sides of the taste spectrum. The clientele in the sedate gray dining room ranges from tables of bankers to solitary Japanese devotees to quartets of ecstatic Americans. Book well in advance, but note that tables are occasionally available on lesser notice for lunch. In case you were wondering, Gagnaire's new glam-fashion Left Bank seafood restaurant Gaya is easier to book and offers a taste of the master's talent at about one third the price (44 Rue du Bac; 33-1-45-44-73-73).

Open Sundays through Fridays noon to 1:30 pm and 7:30 to 9:30 pm.

Restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée
25 Avenue Montaigne
France 75008
Tel: 33 1 53 67 65 00
Metro: Alma-Marceau

Under the aegis of globe-trotting überchef Alain Ducasse, this elegant ivory-colored dining room in the Plaza Athénée does an appealing, contemporary take on French haute cuisine. Ducasse spends most of his time on airplanes these days, and has collected more Michelin stars than any chef in history, so it's young Christophe Moret, formerly of Ducasse's bistro chain, Spoon, who's actually in the kitchen. And that's not a bad thing. Moret is a talented cook, with a style imbued by Ducasse's love of produce and belief that no dish should contain more than four main ingredients. Begin with house classics such as langoustines topped with caviar, or coconut curry scallops, and then sample the spectacular pigeon fillets in a shallot-mustard sauce. The stunning desserts include a vanilla syrup-poached pear with ice cream and streusel. A recent redecoration has enlivened the room by making a big deconstructed crystal chandelier the visual centerpiece of this cosseted little world. The remarkable cellar has about 35,000 bottles, including rare Cheval Blanc, Latour, and Margaux.

Open Mondays through Wednesdays 7:45 to 10:15 pm, Thursdays and Fridays 12:45 to 2:15 pm and 7:45 to 10:15 pm.

46 Rue Trousseau
France 75011
Tel: 33 1 48 06 95 85

In Paris, fancy restaurants are out (for now) and tiny bistros in outlying arrondissements are in. And the most exciting table du jour is Giovanni Passerini's 26-seat modern Franco-Italian Rino. "It encompasses so many dining trends that are taking off right now in Paris," says admirer Graham Elliot of the self-taught Passerini's first venture, in an increasingly arty but still working-class pocket of the eleventh arrondisement. Elliot loves the "laid-back vibe paired with the simple seasonal menu," which touts sexy market-based dishes like sardine ravioli in fennel consommé, and crispy lamb sweetbreads with beets and roasted endive (prix fixes, $52-$76).

Must eat: Homemade ravioli with brandade de morue.

Chef Giovanni Passerini's favorite new restaurant: Inaki Aizpitarte's Le Dauphin, Paris

Hotel Photo
Rue Mouffetard
France 75005
Metro: Place Monge or Censier–Daubenton

Milk-goats no longer wander up Rue Mouffetard, but this cobbled market street has retained much of its pre-industrial character. A dozen "old Paris" shops sell everything from wicker baskets to salt cod, olive oil, wine, cheese, bread, and chocolate, so it's an ideal place to pull together a picnic. Fruit and vegetable stalls front the Saint M)dard church (where the road abuts the 13th Arrondissement), and few Paris streets have as many good cheesemongers; try Androuet, a Parisian high-end mini-chain founded in 1909 (#134; 33-1-45-87-85-05; Stop in Boucherie Saint M)dard for luscious handmade p"t)s and terrines and for hot rotisserie pork roasts and chickens (#119; 33-1-45-35-14-72). Buy wine from a small grower-bottler at La Fontaine aux Vins (#107; 33-1-43-31-41-03), and take your pick of bread from any of half a dozen bakeries nearby. Les D)lices de la Casbah turns out irresistible Algerian pastries (#118; 33-1-43-31-10-13). For handmade chocolates and exquisite Berthillon ice cream, go to Nicolsen Chocolatier (#112; 33-1-43-36-78-04). The best bets for sit-down meals are Sweet Lounge, a neo-bistro with sidewalk tables (#127; 33-1-43-37-60-66), or the street's doyen caf)-restaurant, Le Mouffetard its wraparound terrace with faux cane chairs is fun, especially at breakfast or lunch, when the neighboring shops are bustling. Don't expect gastro-fireworks, just good grub (salads, quiches, duck confit) in a likeable setting (#116; 33-1-43-31-42-50).

Most establishments closed Sunday afternoon and Monday.

9 Place de la Madeleine
France 75008
Tel: 33 1 42 65 22 90
Metro: Madeleine

Many Parisian gastronauts view former three-star chef Alain Senderens as untouchable. He practically invented Nouvelle Cuisine, and for decades he piloted cutting-edge Lucas Carton, where a meal could top $500 a head. Then young chefs stole the limelight, opening exciting new restaurants without the pomp. Instead of retiring, Senderens shook Michelin in 2005 by announcing he no longer wanted three stars, and quickly lowered prices, redid his menu, and radically remodeled his landmark Art Nouveau premises. Nowadays Lucas Carton is—guess what?—Senderens. How he got permission to redo a landmark dating to 1732 remains a mystery. The beveled mirrors and sculpted woodwork survived, but the decorators went wild with curving 1970s beam-me-up-Scotty partitions and tight tables. The upside: Senderens's food still thrills and meals now hover around 100 euros (with wine—or whiskey, another of the restaurant's irreverent touches). As before, each dish is plated artwork: You hesitate to take your fork to rich roasted duck foie gras with caramelized quinces or plump roasted scallops resting on creamed Jerusalem artichokes and two chard-stuffed ravioli. The restaurant is nonsmoking, which hasn't dissuaded the business bigwigs or fashion, publishing, and power-art crowd that fill it lunch and dinner. Book ahead.

Open daily noon to 2:45 pm and 7:30 to 11:15 pm.

15 Rue Lamennais
France 75008
Tel: 33 1 44 95 15 01
Metro: Charles de Gaulle-Étoile

Chef Alain Solivérès, a native of Montpellier, has a remarkable pedigree: He trained under Maximin, Thulier, Senderens, and Ducasse. But he won his reputation with the brilliant modern riffs he did on Southern French classics while chef at Les Elysées du Vernet—hence the quiet magic that has animated Taillevent classics since he arrived in 2002. He tempts nervier palates at this Parisian grand dame (which opened in 1946), with new dishes that reflect his lusty but refined style; among them are a crème brûlée de foie gras that's crunchy on top and creamy inside, a coleslawlike crab rémoulade with dill, wild Dombes duck with caramelized fruit, and a luscious upside-down coffee-and-chocolate tart that turns the classic tarte Tatin on its head. Fine oil paintings, including some surprising contemporary canvases, old-fashioned flower arrangements, hushed service, and one of the world's great wine lists make this place meaningfully mythic. Book weeks in advance and, gentlemen, don't forget your jacket.

Open Mondays through Fridays noon to 2 pm and 7 to 10 pm. Closed the month of August.

10 Rue de la Grande Chaumière
France 75006
Tel: 33 1 46 33 02 02
Metro: Vavin

Although Montparnasse thrives on its reputation as the early-20th-century hangout of Picasso, Hemingway, and their arty contemporaries, few of the neighborhood's bistros are as authentic as Wadja. Little seems to have changed since the days of Modigliani and Gauguin, who supposedly were regulars when they lived and painted next door: The interior has classic banquettes, big mirrors, a tile floor, and a tin-topped bar. The prices remain affordable, too—a prix fixe dinner can be had for about $30. (Note, however, that ordering à la carte will cost about $60 per person.) What has changed is for the better, including the elegant table settings, professional service, and above all, the blend of market-based contemporary cuisine and classic bistro fare from chef Thierry Coué. As you'd expect from a veteran of Alain Senderens's Michelin-starred kitchens, Coué's parsnip fritters levitate, his poached eggs with ratatouille sing with sunny flavor, and his slow-simmered lamb and standing rib roast are cooked to delicious, hearty perfection. Expect to dine amid a mix of casually hip Parisians and local habitués.

Open Mondays through Saturdays noon to 2:30 pm and 7:30 to 11 pm.

4 Rue Sauval
France 75009
Tel: 33 1 40 26 08 07

Though it's being lionized by the French press, Yam'Tcha, the hottest new restaurant in Paris, is actually more of a pussycat than a ferocious beast. Tucked away in a side street off of Les Halles, this tiny dining room—with a Zen decor of dark wood tables and linen runners that starkly contrasts with the ancient stone walls outside—is the perfect expression of the delicate balance struck by the Franco-Asian tasting menus that 28-year-old chef Adeline Grattard prepares in her galley-sized, glass-walled kitchen. Grattard trained with Yannick Alleno and Pascal Barbot at L'Astrance before doing a stint in Hong Kong, where she met her husband, Chiwah Chan, who works as the restaurants tea steward (yam'tcha means "drink tea," and every course is served with a different brew). Her menu changes daily, but a recent $60 "discovery" menu ran to an amuse bouche of slivered broad beans with pork and sesame-seed oil; grilled scallops on a bed of bean sprouts in emerald-green wild-garlic sauce; whole rougets served on Chinese cabbage with enoki mushrooms; Citeaux cheese with toast; and a sublime dessert that winked at the avocado-loving Pascal Barbot—homemade ginger ice cream with avocado slices and passion fruit.—Alexander Lobrano, first published on

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.