Hide Kobayashi, known as "Koba," is one of several Japanese chefs in Paris who trained with some of the biggest names in French cuisine before opening their own restaurants. With stints at Lenôtre, the Louis XV in Monaco, and Joël Robuchon under his belt, Koba had the brilliant idea of opening a great-value bistro near the Arc de Triomphe (the three-course prix fixe is €32.50). Not surprisingly, this little dining room with cream-color walls and red banquettes became
instantly popular with locals as well as visiting Japanese and Americans who follow the food scene. Generosity is the key to the cooking here, which steers clear of haute cuisine flourishes: both the monkfish fricassee with anchovy-rich tapenade and a classic veal kidney in mustard sauce, for instance, come with a heap of mashed potatoes. For dessert try the stunning île flottante (floating island), made with oven-baked meringue. Wines by the glass start at €4.50—unheard-of in this area.