Food, glorious food…Paris definitely does not disappoint the tastebuds!
Earlier in the year we were in Paris to watch the Paris marathon but this visit soon became an eat-a-thon!
Where did we eat? Here are ten of my favourite restaurants!
1. L’Agape Substance
This fabulous restaurant is a relatively new player in the eating game but one with impeccable connections. Chef David Toutain was previously at one of my favourite restaurants, Murgaritz in San Sebastian and also at Arpege, in Paris. His food reflects a combination of both of these cooking styles.
Simply and stylishly decorated, this narrow restaurant on Rue Mazarine seats only 24 people, most at a long high table with stools. Along the side wall are three separate tables for couples. The best table is opposite the kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work.
Following a trend we saw repeated at Eleven Madison Park and Jung Sik in New York, the menu features one ingredient per course. At Agape Substance this is the only clue as to what you may be served on the degustation menu. There are two menu options, one with a smaller number of plates but if you would like to try all the wonderful creations from this talented chef, I would always take the full degustation menu. It’s only 15+ courses!
Wine pairings are offered and if you are seriously into your wine, the sommelier’s suggestions were clever, astute and inventive, complementing the food perfectly.
With perfect timing, the beautifully presented dishes arrived one after the other with delightful explanations from the staff. Small and inventive, each plate presented a taste sensation of their own. Each dish highlighted seasonal produce that we had seen in the market and some that we had not.
We started with wild garlic bread, beetroot chips and turnip leaves and delicious house made bread and seaweed butter . Seafood consomme with fennel powder, king crab with cucumber and pistachio, turnips with turnip puree, champignons and shallots and corn with a slow cooked egg and cumin followed. An asparagus soup served with Cyrene de Parmegiana was full of flavour whilst the sensational sea urchin with coffee stole the show. Remember these were small dishes! Squid with garlic puree and mushrooms with hazelnut root sauce followed before the fillet of beef with seaweed sauce and potatoes was served. Deep fried blue cheese preceded a stunning lemon dessert. To finish, a decadent chocolate dessert was served.
This is one restaurant I won’t be missing on my next visit to Paris!
66 Rue Mazarine, 6th
Tel: 43 293 383
Bookings essential! Closed Sun, Mon
Since writing this review, chef David Toutain has moved on. I have not eaten here since this.
2. Spring Restaurant.
Chicago born Daniel Rose still wows gourmands at his fabulous restaurant in the 1st Arrondissement.
The menu changes with the seasons and you can be sure that the freshest vegetables seen in the market will be on your plate. The set menu features six or seven courses which can also often vary from table to table with each course surpassing the one before.
An earlier post about eating in the 1st Arrondissement includes the full menu that made Spring such a special meal. Because the menu changes nightly, eating here every night would not be a problem!
Getting a reservation here is a feat in itself so book the necessary month in advance.
6 Rue Bailleul, 1st Arr
Closed Sun, Monday. Lunch served Wed- Fri
Kei was the surprise restaurant of the trip. I had read several reviews extolling this superb young chef’s skill cooking french food with a japanese influence and was excited to try his food.
His simple yet stylish influence was in evidence from the moment we walked into the restaurant. Against the gray and silver background, the white clothed tables and the beautiful flower arrangement on the central table said it all!
The food followed this philosophy too. Spectacular in its simplicity, fresh ingredients shone through, each course a surprise, each mouthful a new flavour. For lunch you choose from a set menu of four or five courses plus desserts. At dinner, it is six or eight courses plus two desserts.
A beautiful corn soup with hazelnuts started the procession of plates with roasted capsicum served with a prefect slow cooked egg and avocado crumbs following. My husband chose the melt in your mouth veal for his main course while I enjoyed the sea bass cooked to perfection and served on a beautifully decorated plate. A sensational dessert of strawberry meringue, basil ice cream and fresh berries finished a perfect lunch.
5 Rue Coq Heron, 1st
Tel: 4233 1474
Closed Sunday, Monday
After some stunning meals where the set menu prevailed we were in need of a local neighbourhood restaurant . Septime has been receiving rave reviews and being within walking distance from our apartment, this was where we headed.
The atmosphere was warm and welcoming and, as we propped ourselves up at the bar for a pre dinner drink, we could take in the room. Simply decorated, the painted walls and wooden tables and chairs oozed comfort. There is a fabulously well priced two or three course lunch menu available during the day but at night, the à la carte menu prevails. Modern french food, cooked simply and beautifully, showcased seasonal fresh produce. It’s very popular so you need to book ahead!
80 Rue de Charonne, 11th Arr
Closed Sat , Sun and Mon lunch
5. L’Atelier du Joel Robuchon
My old favourite! Every trip we return here to savour new dishes and old. It’s unlike any other restaurant…Michelin star bar food at its best. I love sitting at the bar, watching the chefs in action. You can choose to have any number of small dishes or add in one or two of the larger plates. Don’t miss dessert, the souffle is one of the best in town.
The only bookings that can be made are for the 11.30-12.30 and 2pm-3.15pm lunch sitting or the 6.30 dinner sitting. If you’re wanting to come at a different time, I suggest you come a bit earlier, leave your name at the desk and pop next door to the Hotel Montalembert for a drink.
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
7 Rue de Montalembert, 7th Arr
Open every day
6. Passage 53
Hidden between the Bourse and Galeries Lafayette, is the Passage des Panoramaas, one of Paris’s oldest covered passage ways. Here you will find an excellent restaurant, Passage 53. Again, we were offered a choice of two degustation menus…one of 4 courses which we chose and the other featuring a few more. The first course of a broccoli cream , gave us a hint of what was to come. I loved the asparagus served with morels, turnips, broad beans and a pea foam. Delicious! The beef with salsify and horseradish cream that followed was delicious. Salsify is a root vegetable that features on quite a few menus here and in New York.
Dessert was amazing. A glass dome was presented under which lay a sublime passionfruit mousse. In a separate glass was a strawberry topped brulee and just for good measure , a small bowl of oatmeal ice cream was also served. OMG…
53 Passage des Panoramas, 2nd Arr
Tel: 4233 0435
Closed Sun, Mon
The Hidden Kitchen was one of the original private dining rooms in Paris. It became so popular that the owners decided to open their own restaurant and Verjus was born! On a prefect corner position overlooking the Theatre de Palais Royal, light streams into the main dining room which seats about fifty people.There is a small wine bar on the ground floor which also offers tasty snacks and is a great place to meet and have a pre dinner cocktail. The food appeals to many people. No foams or tricks…just good, honest, quality cooking.
52 Rue Richelieu, 1st near Palais
Closed Sat, Sun
You either love it or you don’t! This little restaurant in the 1st Arr has been the talk of the town for a long while now and it’s not the food that is being talked about. There is no argument that the beautifully cooked seasonal fare offered is excellent. It’s just that it is ridiculously hard to get into! It’s a small restaurant so it’s best to call during the lunch or dinner service. If you can’t get in and still want to try the food, don’t forget that over the road is their newly extended wine bar where you can also have dinner.
5 Rue du Nil, 2nd Arr
Closed Sat, Sun
9. Ze Kitchen Galerie
Ze Kitchen Galerie has been around for a while but I love to pop back there to indulge in their tasting menu or just order a plate or two. Paintings decorate the wall in a gallery like atmosphere while the real artists work from the small open kitchen. Art on a Plate describes the stunning meal we had here. If this is not for you, try their bistro, Ze Galerie Bis, just down the road.
Ze Kitchen Galerie
4 Rue des Grands Augustins, 4th Arr
I love this great little local restaurant. When you don’t feel like a big night out but would like a beautifully cooked dinner, this is the place to come. The menu is small, two choices only for entree and main course but the food is wonderful. The night that we ate here, the choice for main course was between a wonderful entrecote of veal with girolles and an equally clever Merdu (fish) with minestrone that included beans, peas, asparagus and chick peas. I can happily report that the merdu minestrone was delicious!
14 Rue Leopold Bellan, 2 nd
Tel: 4026 8733
Closed Sun, Mon
This list is by no means complete. As with my list of Where to eat in New York, there are still many other restaurants that I return to, and even more I would like to try. Paris is a melting pot and there are also many fabulous ethnic restaurants to try.
A lot of the well known and popular restaurants require bookings to be made well in advance but unlike New York, there is no easy way to make a reservation. Some, like Spring, need to be booked 30 days in advance whilst others can be booked a week or two prior to your arrival. Your hotel concierge will always make a booking for you if you cannot contact the restaurant either by email or phone
What are your favourite restaurants in Paris?