There are people who believe you can't get a bad meal in paris. I am not one of those people. In fact, I would argue that it's easier to get a bad meal than it is to get a good one, and so I never travel without an arsenal of reservations and a well mapped out meal plan. The good news is that when it's good, it's insanely good. Here, my current list of favorites.
Note: Restaurants in Paris (actually, Paris in general) keep odd hours. They close on random days, at random times and sometimes last minute. All I can say, is a reservation is always a good idea.
L'ATELIER DE JOEL ROBUCHON
Hôtel du Pont Royal
5 rue de Montalembert, 75007
+33 1 42 22 56 56
No reservations means there's always a line out the door, but it’s worth it. Robuchon’s food is incredible and the space is really cool, too. It’s an open kitchen with 40 seats at the bar (It actually looks like a sushi bar from the outside) and the menu is seasonal and served tapas-style. If the wait is long, you can always go next door to the Hotel Montelambert for a drink while you wait.
79 rue Saint-Dominique, 75007
+33 1 47 05 79 00
It’s located in the Hotel Thomieux and there’s a super formal Michelin-starred restaurant upstairs, but the downstairs Brasserie Thomieux is where it’s at in our opinion. It’s casual but stylish in a perfect red leather banquette way. Order the mesclun salad, which sounds pedestrian but is actually one of the most incredible things you will ever see. As is the wild calamari carbonara.
9 rue Vieille du Temple 75003
+33 1 42 72 13 77
It feels a little like you’ve just walked into the original Le Pain Quotidien, and the lines can be aggressive, but if you want to sit down and eat a crepe (as opposed to the normal street fare), this is the place to go. Everything is fresh and organic and their combinations are great.
6 rue de Varenne, 75007
+33 1 45 48 62 72
A step up from a typical café. And one that Patricia Wells writes about frequently. It’s a great lunch stop if you’re shopping in or around Bon Marché.
7 rue des Canettes, 75006
+33 1 43 26 27 08
A little bit of Naples in Paris when you absolutely cannot look at another piece of foie gras or cheese. Everything here is fantastic, including the pizzas and pastas. Note: It’s cash only, so hit an ATM before you stop by.
5 rue des Prouvaires
+33 1 42 36 21 82
We love it here. They pretty much hate tourists, and the service can be aggressive, but there’s no better place for a cote de boeuf for two and a pile of french fries.
CREPES ON THE RUE DE L'ANCIENNE COMEDIE
This Greek kiosk on rue de l’ancienne comedie looks far from appetizing, but it honestly serves the best crepes in Paris. No joke. And it’s always open.
29, rue Surcouf, 75007
+33 1 45 50 11 10
This is on our list for our next trip for sure. I have heard it’s simply incredible.
11 rue Treilhard, 75008
+33 1 45 61 09 46
A very cool mix of casual and elegant (think white table clothes and exposed brick), and the food is really fantastic. Chef Bouchet started his career with Joel Robuchon and worked at la Tour D’Argent and the Hotel Crillon and today has one Michelin star here. What we loved was that it's beautiful food, beautiful ambiance and amazing service without feeling over-formal as so many “fancy” French places can feel. A great night out.
L'ECLAIR DE GENIE
It’s all eclairs. Dozens and dozens of flavors and they are crazy good. We only tried four: caramel beurre sale (salted caramel and butter), coco choco(chocolate and coconut), choucou caramel (caramel and whole bunch of other stuff and pere noel ( a traditional eclair but with the most beautiful picture of Father Christmas on the chocolate). There are a few of these around the city, and they are worth a stop.
5 rue du Nil, 75002
+33 1 40 39 96 19
There’s a ton of hype surrounding this new-ish restaurant, which always makes me a little nervous, but on this last trip we were lucky enough to snag a last minute table, and I would have to say it was one of my favorite meals ever. The space is tiny and really, really cozy and the food is just as superb. We did the 5-course tasting menu, and while it may sound stuffy, the food is actually pretty simple - just really creative and inventive in a non-foam-all-over-the-food kind of way. It was truly memorable. And if you can’t secure a reservation, they also have a fantastic wine bar next door and a to-go spot at 9 rue du Nil.
4 rue d'Assas, 75006
+33 1 42 22 00 11
Chef Helene Darroze takes her cooking to heart, and the proof is in her incredible ingredients and the crazy care she takes in every step. The rooms are beautiful also, and I really just love everything about this woman.
85 Avenue Kléber, 75016
+33 1 42 25 98 85
Hexagone is owned by Mathieu Pacaud (his father owns the 3-Michelin starred L'Ambroisie) and it's perfect in every way. Formal. but modern and understated and the food is sublime.
LE BOURSE ET LA VIE
12 rue Vivienne, 75002
+33 1 42 60 08 83
The latest from Chef Daniel Rose (who we hear is coming to New York soon!) doesn't disappoint with amazing food and a great space.
21 rue Mazarine, 75006
+33 1 46 33 76 90
It’s dark and clubby and a little too quiet maybe, but you’ll soon not notice much but the amazing (mainly seafood) menu, although now that I think of it a plate if the hand cut prosciutto is a perfect bite with an aperitif. The fish and chips can't be beat, and any fish they steam under glass is a must have.
LE BARON ROUGE
1 rue Théophile Roussel, 75012
+33 1 43 43 14 32
It’s really all about the oysterman who appears on winter weekends and sets up shop to shuck on command. Great wines and fantastic cheese and charcuterie can make for a great meal, too.
9 Carrefour de l'Odéon, 75006
+33 1 44 27 07 97
Wake up early and get on line by 11:30am. Just do it. Please. There’s no other way to get into Le Comptoir located in the Relais St Germain Hotel, and this is a meal you really won’t want to miss. The food, by "Bistro Baron" Yves Camdeborde (he’s also a judge on French TV’s Master Chef), is truly phenomenal. They are open at dinner as well, and I believe they do take reservations for that dining period, but the menu is set and tables almost impossible to come by.
Note: L’avant Comptoir, its sister restaurant, is a wine and tapas-style bar with standing room only. Not the best scenario, but a fine choice if you can’t get a seat next door.
LE JULES VERNE
Restaurant Tour Eiffel
Avenue Gustave Eiffel 75007
+33 1 45 55 61 44
Alain Ducasse. There’s really nothing else to say. It might seem like a tourist trap, but the truth is that eating at Jules Verne is like dining in a jewel box in the sky. The views are ridiculous, and the food is sublime. And you’re in the Eiffel Tower.
8 rue des Plantes, 75014
+33 1 45 40 40 91
Steak, steak and more steak, especially since the owner used to work for the Boucheries Nivernaises, one of the best butchers in Paris. It’s small, but they do take reservations and it’s as good for lunch as it is for dinner.
27 Quai Voltaire, 75007
+33 1 42 61 17 49
The first time we ate here was about 15 years ago and I was sitting next to a very chic Frenchwoman’s petite chien which pretty much sums up the ambiance here. It’s so old school and so French, but so good. The chocolate mousse is off the charts.
13 rue du Bac, 75007
+33 1 42 61 08 36
For the past couple of trips, we have made it a habit to make Les Antiquaires our first stop. It’s relatively new but tricked out to make you believe you’re in a very old apothecary (don’t worry – it’s so well done you’ll have no idea it’s anything but authentic), and it’s one of the friendliest, coziest places I have ever been to. Lunch is perfect with a number of huge and fantastically fresh salads, omelettes and sandwiches. And the location can’t be beat, especially if you’re planning a trip to the Musée D’Orsay.
38 rue Montorgueil, 75001
+33 1 42 36 83 51
L’Escargot has been open since 1832 and frankly I can’t believe it took us this long to find it. Obviously escargot is their thing (yes, they do serve a gold-plated version), and I couldn’t help but try the escargots with Ricard (served in a dropper to infuse the escargots), but everything they do here is spot on, and the room is old school beautiful.
LES GOURMETS DES TERNES
87 Boulevard de Courcelles, 75008
+33 1 42 27 43 04
Lots of celebs and SUPER local. Don’t be put off by the communal cornichon jars and communal pates. It’s just the way it’s done here.
PHILLIPE ET JEAN PIERRE
7 rue de Boccador, 75008
+33 1 47 23 57 80
This is one of our favorites and its chef, Jean Pierre, was one of the first chefs Marc worked under. The food is traditional higher-end French, somewhere between a bistro and a brasserie, and all I can tell you is that they bake their own bread and their cheese cart is something out of Alice in Wonderland.
173 Boulevard Saint Germain, 75006
+33 1 44 77 76 00
It’s no surprise that Ralph’s, located in the courtyard of the Ralph Lauren store on Boulevard Saint Germain, is flawless. The menu is simplicity at its best – salads, sandwiches, burgers and grilled meats and fish – and the location can’t be beat. The perfect place to sit outside for lunch or a glass of wine.
ROBERT ET LOUISE
Restaurant de Feu
64 rue Vielle du Temple, 75003
+33 1 42 78 55 89
Great spot for lunch in the Marais. Everything is cooked in the wood burning fireplace and it is a DELICIOUS meat fest! Perfect place on a cold winter day.
Palais de Tokyo
13 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116
+33 1 47 20 00 29
Inside this very cool modern art museum is Tokyo Eat, as worth it for its cool, inventive menu (coconut and pineapple ravioli!) as for the space itself, with interiors by Stéphane Maupin (architecture and lamps), Ivan Fayard (the tables) and the artists André, Marcus Kreiss, Olivier Babin, Kolkoz and Zevs (the chairs). Bernard Brunon is responsible for the wall paintings.
These three brasseries are all fairly close to one another and are known less for the food than for their histories and fantastic people watching. Home to philosophers, writers and artists including Hemingway, Sartre and Picasso, today regulars include the same entertainers and politicians. All are worth a stop for a glass of wine, a beer or a coffee.
151 Boulevard Saint Germain des Pres, 75006
+33 1 45 48 53 91
CAFE DE FLORE
172 Boulevard Saint Germain des Pres, 75006
+33 1 45 48 55 26
LES DEUX MAGOTS
6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006
+33 1 45 48 55 25
Oftentimes when I ask people for recommendations, I get more than I can handle. Which is a good thing. Herein, some Paris restaurant recommendations that come from very trusted sources, but also with the disclaimer that no one here at The Select 7 has tried first hand. If you happen to hit any of them and have any thoughts you'd like to share, please email us!
47 Passage des Panoramas
47 Galerie des Variétés, 75002
+33 1 75 43 63 10
1 rue du Chevalier Saint-George, 75008
+ 33 1 42 60 14 36
32 rue de Picardie, 75003
+33 1 44 61 73 21
5 rue Perronet, 75007
+33 1 75 50 00 05
GOUST D'ENRICO BERNARDO
10 rue Volney, 75002
+33 1 40 15 20 30
41 rue du Temple, 75004
+33 1 58 28 18 90
Monnaie de Paris, 11 Quai de Conti, 75006
+33 1 43 80 40 61
We hear the best tables are by the window.
37 rue de Montpensier, 75001
+33 1 40 26 78 25
LE GRAND RESTAURANT
7 rue d'Aguesseau
+33 1 53 05 00 00
LES TABLETTES DE JEAN LOUIS NOMICOS
16 Avenue Bugeaud, 75116
+33 1 56 28 16 16
20 rue Saint Victor, 75005
+33 1 44 31 54 54