A Food Lover’s Guide to Paris
There are countless lists and recommendations on where to dine out in Paris, from the Michelin Guide, San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 best restaurants to food blogs. So where does one start navigating the gastronomic scene in Paris?
I’ve distilled some delightful dining options here that don’t break the bank. These brasseries and fine dining restaurants are quintessentially French and also regular haunts of French chefs, with a mix of new discoveries and classic institutions.
Tomy & Co
Chef Tomy Gousset’s eponymous restaurant opened earlier this year in the 7th arrondissement serving up fine food in a cosy environment. Gousset was the former chef at Pirouette after passing through the kitchens of Le Meurice and Daniel Boulud in New York. Order the chef’s menu and discover perfectly executed dishes, the flavours and textures delicately layered and speaking volumes of the chef’s refined cooking techniques. The sommelier recommendations are fabulous; some notable wines we had were the Saint Romain from Alain Gras and “Le temps est vent” from Stephane Ogier. Here, you’ll enjoy a stellar gastro experience in Paris at brasserie prices.
Tomy & Co, 22 Rue Surcouf, 75007 Paris, France; +33145514693
This two Michelin starred restaurant (formerly three) is an institution in Paris, remaining a popular dining spot for French politicians—given it also has one of the best wine cellars in France, it’s unsurprising. Chef Alain Soliveres has a few signature dishes you should definitely keep in mind: the crab and fregola—a type of pasta from Sardinia—served with octopus. If you’re a party of three or more, definitely consider the whole poulard–the hen is a humble taste grenade, cooked the traditional way and served with chicken juice and potatoes. Fun fact: the animated film Ratatouille is based on the kitchen at Taillevent.
Taillevent, 15 Rue Lamennais, 75008 Paris, France; +33 144951501
One of the most reasonably priced three-star restaurants by Parisian standards, the 25-seat L’Astrance is open four days a week and closed over the Summer, with a long reservation list throughout the year. A protégé of Alain Passard (of L’Aperge), chef Pascal Barbot presents perfectly executed seasonal produce with a variety of Asian twists inspired by his travels. There is no menu; ordering the French version of an omakase will ensure that you are served the day’s best produce from the markets made in Passard’s tiny kitchen. The chef is best known for his mushroom millefeuille, comprising thinly sliced raw mushrooms with foie gras sandwiched between each layer—each bite is beautifully earthy, with just enough acidity from lemon zest and slices of granny smith apples. A three-course lunch sets you back €70, or €150 for the Menu Saison and the seven course at €230. I often opt for the wine pairing to discover some more interesting labels.
L'Astrance, 4 Rue Beethoven, 75016 Paris, France; +33140508440
Kitchen Galerie Bis
This brasserie is the casual offshoot of the one Michelin starred Ze Kitchen Galerie down the street, helmed by chef proprietor William Ledeuil. Here, you’re invited on a culinary voyage–dishes are simple, colourful and delightfully refreshing. Ledeuil skillfully adds Asian elements like lemongrass bouillon and other herbs to complement his classic French cooking. The wine list includes quite a few small artisanal producers that make for an interesting discovery.
Kitchen Galerie Bis, 25 Rue des Grands Augustins, 75006 Paris, France; +33 146330085
The name of the restaurant translates to “the deserters”, which is said to be a reference to how chef proprietor Daniel Baratier and his partner (and sommelier) Alexandre Céret moved on from their previous workplace, the now-closed Le Sergent Recruteur. But worry not, as a meal here won’t leave you hanging. Most of the produce served here is homegrown, coming straight from the garden. The menu is simple and seasonal and Baratier works with local artisanal producers. The unique wine list includes delightful Loire Valley wines such as Vouvray and Jacky Blot from Montlouis. Lunch sets start from €50 for three courses.
Les Déserteurs, 46 Rue Trousseau, 75011 Paris, France; +33 148069585
This brasserie serves simple and perfectly executed classic dishes by chef David Rathgeber, an alumnus of the Alain Ducasse group, and it’s not unusual to see top chefs from around the world gathering here for meals when they are in Paris. Everything on the menu is seasonal and the ingredients are allowed to shine through simple preparations. The modest menu has all the brasserie classics, from cassoulet to escargots. Our recommendations are the scallops with champagne sauce, pâté en croute and the soufflé for dessert.
L'Assiette, 181 Rue du Château, 75014 Paris, France; +33 143 226486
Le Chardenoux is a historic brasserie that opened in 1908—and today, its original mirrors, ceiling murals and woodwork have remained intact. After changing hands several times, celebrity chef Cyril Lignac is the latest to take over the space, and he has turned it around with his modern take on classic French food. Stand out dishes include typical brasserie fare such as beef entrecote and veal fricassee. The wine list ranges from small wine producers to expensive bottles, and the sommelier can offer interesting suggestions for food pairings. If you’re dining alone, book a seat at the bar counter and take in the Parisian bistro vibe. Don’t miss out on classic desserts such as the Paris-Brest and chocolate soufflé.
Le Chardenoux, 1 Rue Jules Vallès, 75011 Paris, France; +33 143714952
Juliana Loh is a freelance food and travel writer based in Hong Kong and an adjunct lecturer at IFT--Macau’s hospitality school. A true glutton, food road trips across Europe with her chef husband are an annual ritual.
See more Food Lover's Guides by Hong Kong Tatler: