By Alexander Lobrano
The health of the Paris dining scene is clear from the city’s ever-growing constellation of brilliant modern bistros. While age-old mainstays with lace curtains and menus starring boeuf bourguignon become ever-rarer, a new generation of talented young chefs recoin the bistro for the 21st century.
A perfect example is Chatomat (6 rue Victor-Letalle; 01-47-97-25-77), a tiny storefront space in Belleville, with a regularly-changing menu with standbys such as roasted celeriac in Parmesan cream, cod with grilled romaine and quinoa, and semolina cake with pistachio ice cream and figs.
Young Bertrand Grébaut, an alumni of Alain Passard’s Arpege, is wowing an international clientele with a market-driven menu at Septime (80 rue de Charonne; 01-43-67-38-29). Delicate but flavorful dishes like grilled razor shell clams in an herb vinaigrette and griddled chicken with grilled green onions on a bed of lentil puree are served at to guests at cozy recycled wood tables.
On the Left Bank just steps from the Odeon, chef David Toutain’s superb contemporary French cooking at Agapé Substance (66 rue Mazarine; 01-43-29-33-83) has caused a local feeding frenzy. Toutain works in a tiny open kitchen at the back of this railcar-like space with a communal table, and his tasting menus change daily. Try the coddled egg in garlic cream with lemon verbena foam, veal with tapenade and grilled shallots and avocado ice cream with a pistachio, cherry and hibiscus financier cake.
Le Shang Palace
Parisian fans of the Chinese kitchen are vying for tables at the luxuriously elegant and newly opened Le Shang Palace (Shangri-La Paris Hotel, 10 Avenue d’Iéna; 01-53-67-19-92) at the Shangri-La Paris hotel. Shangri-La brought in Shenzhen native Frank Xu from Asia to the run the kitchen here, and his mostly Cantonese menu offers the most refined and authentic Asian cooking in Paris right now.
The hotly anticipated Verjus (52 rue de Richelieu; 01-42-97-54-40) by Seattle couple Laura Adrian and Branden Perkins, is so popular it’s nearly impossible to get a reservation. Hidden Kitchen Supper Club, their wine bar, is already opened, with the restaurant to follow in late October.
Heading to Paris soon? For more restaurants and planning information, see our Paris Travel Guide.
American-born Alexander Lobrano has lived in Paris for 25 year, where he’s written about food and travel for publications including Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, Departures, and Conde Nast Traveler. He’s a regular contributor to the New York Times T Style, and the author of Hungry for Paris: The Ultimate Guide to the City’s 102 Best Restaurants (Random House), which is also the name of his blog.
Photo credit: courtesy of Thai Toutain