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. 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

  • 2. Semilla

    $$$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    The duo behind the popular neighborhood bistro Fish and the excellent wineshop La Dernière Goutte have poured their significant expertise into...Read More

  • 3. Boucherie Roulière

    $$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    If it's steak you're craving, put your faith in Jean-Luc Roulière, a fifth-generation butcher who opened this long, narrow bistro near St-Sulpice...Read More

  • 4. Café de Flore

    $$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | Café

    Picasso, Chagall, Sartre, and de Beauvoir, attracted by the luxury of a heated café, worked and wrote here in the early 20th century. Today...Read More

  • 5. Café de la Mairie

    $$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    Overlooking the St-Sulpice church, this retro café recalls the Latin Quarter of yesteryear before the proliferation of luxury boutiques and...Read More

  • 6. Café du Métro

    $$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    You can refuel at this friendly café-brasserie after a shopping spree around Rue de Rennes. Main menu items are pricey, but the free Wi-Fi...Read More

  • 7. Eggs & Co.

    $ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    With a cheerfully bright and tiny, wood-beamed dining room—there's more space in the loftlike upstairs—this spot is devoted to the egg in all...Read More

  • 8. Gaya Rive Gauche

    $$$$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    If you can't fathom paying upward of €200 per person to taste the cooking of Pierre Gagnaire (the city's most avant-garde chef) at his eponymous...Read More

  • 9. Hélène Darroze

    $$$$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    The most celebrated female chef in Paris is now cooking at the Connaught in London, but her St-Germain dining room is still the setting for...Read More

  • 10. Huîtrerie Régis

    $$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | Seafood

    It's all about oysters at this bright 14-seat restaurant with crisp white tablecloths and pleasant service, popular with the area's chic set...Read More

  • 11. KGB

    $$$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    After extravagant success with his Asian-infused cuisine at Ze Kitchen Galerie, master-chef William Ledeuil extended his artistry to annex KGB...Read More

  • 12. La Ferrandaise

    $$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    Portraits of cows adorn the stone walls of this bistro near the Luxembourg Gardens, hinting at the kitchen's penchant for meaty cooking (Ferrandaise...Read More

  • 13. La Palette

    $$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    The terrace of this corner café, opened in 1902, is a favorite haunt of local gallery owners and Beaux Arts students. Light fare is available...Read More

  • 14. Lapérouse

    $$$$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    Émile Zola, George Sand, and Victor Hugo were regulars here, and the restaurant's mirrors still bear diamond scratches from the days when mistresses...Read More

  • 15. Le Bar du Marché

    $$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    Grab a sidewalk table—if you're lucky—or stand at the bar, skip the food, and order an apéritif at this constantly packed little place. The...Read More

  • 16. Le Comptoir du Relais Saint-Germain

    $$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    Run by legendary bistro chef Yves Camdeborde, this tiny Art Deco hotel restaurant is booked up well in advance for the single dinner sitting...Read More

  • 17. Le Timbre

    $$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    The meaning of Le Timbre ("postal stamp") really does describe this intimate space, where a spare but constantly changing seasonal menu concentrates...Read More

  • 18. Les Bouquinistes

    $$$$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | French

    Expect to hear more English than French in the cheery, contemporary dining room of this bistro, with its closely packed tables looking out onto...Read More

  • 19. Yen

    $$$ | St-Germain-des-Prés | Japanese

    If you're having what is known in French as a crise de foie (liver crisis), the result of overindulging in rich food, this chic Japanese noodle...Read More

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