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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Le Galopin

    $$ | Canal St-Martin | French

    Across from a pretty square on the border of two up-and-coming neighborhoods, this light-drenched spot is one of Paris's standout gastrobistros...Read More

  • 4. Restaurant David Toutain

    $$$$ | Eiffel Tower | French

    Although chef David's Toutain's approach may be exasperatingly conceptual for some, others find his earthy, surprising, and inspired concoctions...Read More

  • 5. Soul Kitchen

    $ | Montmartre | Café

    Run by three friendly young women, the snug Soul Kitchen unites a pleasantly homey decor and welcoming atmosphere with the kind of Anglo-French...Read More

  • 6. Au Passage

    $ | République | Wine Bar

    This bistrot à vins has the lived-in look of a longtime neighborhood hang-out—which it was until two veterans of the raging Paris wine-bar...Read More

  • 7. Café Coutume

    $ | Eiffel Tower | Café

    A lofty space between the Musée Rodin and the Bon Marché makes this the perfect pit stop between museum-going and shopping. Look for healthy...Read More

  • 8. Café Le Brebant

    $$ | Grands Boulevards | French

    Night owls will love that this popular brasserie—a favorite of Parisian film folk—is open until 5 am daily. The rest of us can just enjoy the...Read More

  • 9. Café Lomi

    $ | Montmartre | Café

    A trailblazer on the Paris gastro-coffee scene, Café Lomi first supplied expertly roasted single-origin coffees to the first wave of barista...Read More

  • 10. Cantine Merci

    $ | Marais Quarter | French

    On the lower garden level of a chic concept store resides the perfect spot for a quick and healthy lunch between bouts of shopping. Highlights...Read More

  • 11. Delaville Café

    $ | Grands Boulevards | French

    This edgy café is a favorite with locals. Open late, it's best for an evening apéritif and snack. A DJ spins tunes at night, Thursday through...Read More

  • 12. Lazare

    $$ | Grands Boulevards | French

    With so many of Paris's fabled brasseries co-opted by upscale chains, the news that three-star Michelin chef Eric French was opening a modern...Read More

  • 13. Le Chateaubriand

    $$$$ | Canal St-Martin | French

    A chef who once presented a single, peeled apple pip (really) on a plate (at the museum restaurant Le Transversal outside Paris) has no ordinary...Read More

  • 14. Le Dauphin

    $$ | Canal St-Martin | Wine Bar

    Avant-garde chef Inaki Aizpitarte transformed a dowdy café into a sleek, if chilly, all-marble watering hole for late-night cuisinistas. Honing...Read More

  • 15. Le Verre Volé

    $$ | Canal St-Martin | Wine Bar

    Cyril Bordarier blazed a path with this small bar à vins, which quickly became the ticket for hipsters seeking out exceptional, good-value natural...Read More

  • 16. Mini Palais

    $$$ | Champs-Élysées | French

    Inside the Grand Palais, Mini Palais is among Paris's most stylish dining rooms, but the menu is the real draw. The burger de magret et foie...Read More

  • 17. Unico

    $$$ | Bastille | Argentine

    An architect and a photographer, both Parisians born in Argentina, teamed up to open one of Bastille's hottest restaurants—literally hot, too...Read More

  • 18. Le Chapeau Melon

    $$ | Belleville | French

    A real neighborhood find, this quirky little cave and wine bar is run with imagination, flair, and zero pretension. Dishes like salmon cru...Read More

  • 19. Spring

    $$$$ | Louvre | French

    The private-party atmosphere in this intimate, elegantly modern space may be exuberance at having finally snagged a table, but most likely it...Read More

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