It’s fitting that the city credited with the invention of the restaurant should now be revered for having some of the finest in the world. In all, Paris currently has more than 100 Michelin-starred joints, including nine with three stars each – an accolade awarded only when an establishment is absolutely note perfect.
But sublime food isn’t all glitz and glamour. Some chefs are celebrating modern methods, international influences, neighbourhood spirt and a refreshing love of locally grown vegetables. In today’s Paris, there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant to suit all tastes.
With not one, not two, but three shiny stars twinkling in its firmament, chef Alain Passard’s Arpège is a gastronomic legend. It’s also been a pioneer of high-end, vegetable-focused cooking, with exquisite dishes such as cauliflower velouté, delicate raviolis and the house bouquet de roses apple tart. Ingredients come direct from the restaurant’s own organic gardens.
The daughter of a French cheffing dynasty, Anne-Sophie Pic was named world’s best female chef in 2011, but has not rested on her laurels. Her Paris restaurant, opened in 2012, features highly personal creations and pushes boundaries by appealing to all the senses. Expect your dish to come bathed in the clearest of consommés and surrounded by a halo of flowers.
The Bois de Boulogne, a large public park, provides a lovely setting for this grand villa, a riot of silver leaf and chandeliers. Frédéric Anton’s dishes are as opulent as their surrounds, with extravagant ingredients such as black truffle, foi gras, and gold-leaf jelly, all presented like wondrous jewels of the kitchen. An outstanding wine cellar boasts more than 30,000 bottles.
In contrast to the glitz of the high-end Michelin starred joints, Septime is a relaxed neighbourhood restaurant with the simple ambition of serving fabulous modern French food. Five-course tasting menus are available at lunch, seven-course for dinner, and very reasonably priced at under €100. To stand a chance of getting a table though, book precisely three weeks ahead.
Entering La Fourmi Ailee (The Winged Ant) is like going through Alice’s looking glass.
The small but cosy, high-ceilinged resto is decorated like a cabinet of curiosities, mixing yellow leather seats with marble tables, and wooden shelves full of books with Boris Vian quotes written on the walls.
Their must-try plat: La blanquette de veau.
A bar, a restaurant and a rooftop, Brasserie Barbes has everything it takes to attract Paris’ cool kids and food lovers.
The well-thought-out, organic menu is one of the many reasons to visit the trendy brasserie.
Their must-try plat: Merlu roti à l'huile de cêpes, purée à la cecina et jus réduit.
If your budget doesn’t stretch to a gourmet’s table at La Tour d’Argent, head instead to its casual sister bistro. Decorated with books, globe lights and cheery gingham tablecloths, La Rôtisserie d’Argent is a great spot to warm up in after a bracing riverside walk. The star dish here is the spit-roasted chicken, a black-legged farmer’s number from Challans that’s a real treat for two.