Paris Restaurants

A new wave of culinary confidence has been running through one of the world's great food cities and spilling over both banks of the Seine. Whether cooking up grand-mère's roast chicken and riz au lait or placing a whimsical hat of cotton candy atop wild-strawberry-and-rose ice cream, Paris chefs—established and up-and-coming, na
A new wave of culinary confidence has been running through one of the world's great food cities and spilling over both banks of the Seine. Whether cooking up grand-mère's roast chicken and riz au lait or placing a whimsical hat of cotton candy atop wild-strawberry-and-r
A new wave of culinary confidence has been running through one of the world's great food cities and spilling over both b

A new wave of culinary confidence has been running through one of the world's great food cities and spilling over both banks of the Seine. Whether cooking up grand-mère's roast chicken and riz au lait or placing a whimsical hat of cotton candy atop wild-strawberry-and-rose ice cream, Paris chefs—established and up-and-coming, native and foreign—have been breaking free from the tyranny of tradition and following their passion.

Emblematic of the "bistronomy" movement is the proliferation of "gastrobistros"—often in far-flung or newly chic neighborhoods—helmed by established chefs fleeing the constraints of the star system or passionate young chefs unfettered by overblown expectations. Among the seasoned stars and exciting newcomers to the scene are Yannick Alléno, who left behind two Michelin stars at Le Meurice to open his locavore bistro Terroir Parisien at the Palais Brogniart and earned three stars at the storied Pavillon Ledoyen within his first year at the helm; David Toutain at the exceptional Restaurant David Toutain; Sylvestre Wahid at Brasserie Thoumieux; and Katsuaki Okiyama's Abri.

But self-expression is not the only driving force behind the current trend. A traditional high-end restaurant can be prohibitively expensive to operate. As a result, more casual bistros and cafés, which reflect the growing allure of less formal dining and often have lower operating costs and higher profit margins, have become attractive opportunities for even top chefs.

For tourists, this development can only be good news, because it makes the cooking of geniuses such as Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Eric Frechon, and Pierre Gagnaire a bit more accessible (even if these star chefs rarely cook in their lower-price restaurants) and opens up a vast range of new possibilities for exciting dining.

Like the chefs themselves, Paris diners are breaking away from tradition with renewed enthusiasm. New restaurants, wine bars, and rapidly multiplying épicieries (gourmet grocers) and sandwich shops recognize that not everyone wants a three-course blowout every time they dine out. And because Parisians are more widely traveled than in the past, many ethnic restaurants—notably the best North African, Vietnamese–Laotian, Chinese, Spanish, and Japanese spots—are making fewer concessions to French tastes, resulting in far better food.

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  • 1. Abri

    $$ | Canal St-Martin | French

    This tiny storefront restaurant's immense popularity has much to do with the fresh and imaginative food, the friendly servers, and great prices...Read More

  • 2. Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée

    $$$$ | Champs-Élysées | French

    Set within the Plaza Athénée hotel, Alain Ducasse's three-star Paris flagship totally redefines French haute cuisine. Arguably the world's most...Read More

  • 3. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen

    $$$$ | Champs-Élysées | French

    Tucked away in a quiet garden across from the Petit Palais, Ledoyen—open since 1779—is a study in Empire-style elegance. Star chef Yannick Alléno...Read More

  • 4. Bal Café

    $ | Montmartre | Café

    Set in a bright, modern space on a tiny street in the lower reaches of Montmartre, the popular Bal Café caters to a diverse clientele who come...Read More

  • 5. Berthillon

    $ | Île Saint-Louis | French

    Parisian ice cream is served at cafés all over town, but it's worth making a pilgrimage to the mecca of artisanal crèmes glacées to understand...Read More

  • 6. Breizh Café

    $ | Marais Quarter | French

    Eating a crêpe in Paris might seem a bit clichéd, until you venture into this modern offshoot of a Breton crêperie. The plain, pale-wood decor...Read More

  • 7. Café de la Paix

    $$$$ | Grands Boulevards | French

    Once described as the "center of the civilized world," this grand café was a meeting place for the Belle Époque's glitterati. It's an elegant...Read More

  • 8. Fish La Boissonerie

    $$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    A perennial favorite, expats and locals prize this lively, unpretentious bistro for its friendly atmosphere, consistently good food, solid wine...Read More

  • 9. Frenchie

    $$$$ | Grands Boulevards | French

    A brick-and-stone-walled bistro on a pedestrian street near Rue Montorgueil, Frenchie has quickly became one of the most packed bistros in town...Read More

  • 10. Frenchie Bar à Vins

    $ | Grands Boulevards | Wine Bar

    If this weren't one of Paris's outstanding wine bars, the wait and metal tractor seats might be a deterrent. Yet wine lovers would be hard-pressed...Read More

  • 11. Guy Savoy

    $$$$ | Champs-Élysées | French

    Within the beautifully restored La Monnaie (the old Paris mint), you'll find star chef Guy Savoy's hallowed dining room. The market-fresh menu...Read More

  • 12. Hiramatsu

    $$$$ | Eiffel Tower | French

    In this Art Deco dining room near Trocadéro, Takashi Nakagawa continues his variations on the subtly Japanese-inspired French cuisine of restaurant...Read More

  • 13. Holybelly

    $ | Canal St-Martin | Café

    A welcome addition to the Canal St-Martin area, this spacious, modern coffee bar caters to Paris's blossoming breakfast and brunch scene with...Read More

  • 14. Jacques Genin Salon de Thé

    $ | Bastille | French

    Master chocolatier-pâtissier Jacques Genin deserves the Legion d'honneur for his efforts to restore great traditional French pastries to their...Read More

  • 15. Juvéniles

    $$ | Louvre | Wine Bar

    A favorite with the French and the expat crowd, Juvéniles is the ideal kind of neighborhood outpost that mixes great dining with an inspired...Read More

  • 16. L'Abeille

    $$$$ | Eiffel Tower | French

    Everything here, from the dove-gray decor to the sparkling silver, speaks of quiet elegance—all the better to savor Christophe Moret's masterful...Read More

  • 17. L'Arpège

    $$$$ | Eiffel Tower | French

    Breton-born Alain Passard, one of the most respected chefs in Paris, famously shocked the French culinary world by declaring that he was bored...Read More

  • 18. L'As du Fallafel

    $ | Marais Quarter | Middle Eastern

    If you're looking for one of the cheapest and tastiest meals in Paris, look no further than the fantastic falafel stands on the pedestrian Rue...Read More

  • 19. L'Assiette

    $$$ | Montparnasse | French

    David Rathgeber spent 12 years working for celebrity-chef Alain Ducasse before taking over this landmark restaurant, where he has created his...Read More

  • 20. L'Astrance

    $$$$ | Eiffel Tower | French

    Pascal Barbot rose to fame thanks to his restaurant's reasonable prices and casual atmosphere, but after the passage of several years, Astrance...Read More

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