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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. La Table d'Aki

    $$$$ | Eiffel Tower | French

    Set in a quiet, aristocratic quartier near the Musée Rodin, La Table d'Akihiro might just be the most perfect little-gem restaurant in all...Read More

  • 7. La Tour d'Argent

    $$$$ | Latin Quarter | French

    You can't deny the splendor of this legendary Michelin-starred restaurant's setting overlooking the Seine; if you don't want to splurge on dinner...Read More

  • 8. Le Cinq

    $$$$ | Champs-Élysées | French

    Christian Le Squer is among the most famous and most respected chefs in Paris, as proved by his turn here at one of the city's most deluxe dining...Read More

  • 9. Le Grand Véfour

    $$$$ | Louvre | French

    Originally built in 1784, Le Grand Véfour has welcomed everyone from Napoléon to Colette to Jean Cocteau under its mirrored ceiling, and is...Read More

  • 10. Le Pré Catelan

    $$$$ | Western Paris | French

    Live a Belle Époque fantasy by dining beneath the chestnut trees on the terrace of this fanciful landmark pavillon in the Bois de Boulogne...Read More

  • 11. Restaurant du Palais-Royal

    $$$$ | Louvre | French

    This stylish modern bistro serves stunning gastronomic cuisine to match its gorgeous location under the arcades of the Palais-Royal. Sole, scallops...Read More

  • 12. Sola

    $$$$ | Latin Quarter | Eclectic

    This foodie sanctuary is where dishes like miso-lacquered foie gras or sake-glazed suckling pig—perfectly crisp on the outside and melting inside...Read More

  • 13. Benoît

    $$$$ | Marais Quarter | French

    Without changing the vintage 1912 setting, superchef Alain Ducasse and Thierry de la Brosse of L'Ami Louis have subtly improved the menu here...Read More

  • 14. Epicure

    $$$$ | Champs-Élysées | French

    One of the more inventive young chefs in Paris, Eric Frechon is now the chef at Le Bristol Hotel's revered restaurant, quickly earning the three...Read More

  • 15. L'Arôme

    $$$$ | Champs-Élysées | French

    Eric Martins ran a popular bistro in the far reaches of the 15e arrondissement before opening this contemporary restaurant off the Champs-Élysées...Read More

  • 16. La Cristal Room

    $$$$ | Champs-Élysées | French

    The success of this restaurant in the Baccarat museum-boutique stems not only from the stunning decor—mirrors, patches of exposed-brick wall...Read More

  • 17. La Table Lauriston

    $$$ | Eiffel Tower | French

    This chic bistro near the Trocadéro has a winning formula: top-notch ingredients, simply prepared and generously served. The trademark dish...Read More

  • 18. 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

  • 19. Le Grand Colbert

    $$$ | Louvre | French

    One of the few independently owned brasseries left in Paris, Le Grand Colbert, with its globe lamps and ceiling moldings, feels grand yet not...Read More

  • 20. Le Jules Verne

    $$$$ | Eiffel Tower | French

    Alain Ducasse doesn't set his sights low, so it was no real surprise when he took over this prestigious dining room on the second floor of the...Read More

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