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, its prettily plated, highly personal creations pushing boundaries and 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 provides the bucolic 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 reverentially 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.
The first Chinese restaurant in France to receive the Michelin nod of approval, Shang Palace is the in-house restaurant of the Shangri-La hotel. Load the lazy Susan with house specialities for sharing: blue lobster ravioli, congee and steamed turbot are all among the chef’s recommendations. Dim sum fans should head there at lunchtime for a serious siu mai fix.