Paris has boldly reclaimed its title as the best food city in Europe. Carbs, sugar, and fat are basically the three French food groups – and the chefs of this great city have managed to combine them in ways that you can’t imagine. The City of Lights is bustling with constellations of new restaurants by young chefs and a wide range of casual dining spots. The city is bursting with tourists all throughout the year, meaning the most famous restaurants are always busy. But that just adds to the hubbub of traveling there and lets you experience the life of a true Parisian. Here, then, are the 9 best spots to taste the perfect Parisian cuisine:
- Les Arlots
Although the tiny bistrot a vins packs its clients in like sardines, no one minds the humdrum location or the crowds because it serves some of the most reasonably priced comfort food in Paris. The chef, Thomas Brachet, changes his chalkboard menu daily, but the food still comprises of a mix of contemporary dishes as well as traditional ones. The John Dory meuniere with vegetable beignets and rice pudding with cinnamon and orange are most definitely worth a try. Be sure that you book a few days ahead of time.
- Le Bon Georges
One of the most popular restaurants in the Ninth Arrondissement, a food loving neighborhood, is a charming postcard-perfect bistro near the Place Saint Georges. It is one of the rare Paris restaurants that serves Polmard beef, and the bone marrow with mushrooms is sublime. Those who prefer seafood should order the yellow pollack with rhubarb meuniere and leaks, as well as the wine of your choice from the epic wine list.
- Clown Bar
The Clown Bar is strategically located between the Marais and the 11th Arrondissement – where many of the cities youngest and best chefs are cooking. The restaurant has a clown theme and is right next door to the Circus Cirque d’Hiver, which is a charming 1852 vintage theater where circuses used to perform. The restaurant was built for circus performers to grab a drink or a quick meal, now serving Japanese chef Atsumi Sota’s exquisite contemporary French menu. Although the menu changes according to the season and the chef’s inspiration, be sure to try the veal sweetbreads.
This laid-back restaurant was opened by Hugo Hivernat, Sophie Coribert, and Rebecca Asthalter (three French food writers) with bare wooden tables and an open kitchen. Since this place opened in 2005, it has earned a reputation of being one of the most exciting tables in town, as it welcomes young chefs who have arrived at a critical moment in their careers. The current chef cooks her Franco-Vietnamese menus through September, although they change often – her pho is fabulous. Fulgurances is worth a try if you are intent on experiencing a new culinary treasure.
Chef Christopher Philippe serves the best chocolate mousse in Paris at his Edward Hopper-like bistro near the Bastille. The chocolate mousse is made of the sublime chocolate produced by Italian Claudio Corallo on the African islands of Sao Tome et Principe. This funky, deep, dark fluff will leave you craving and make you want to come back again and again.
Scoring a reservation at chef Bertrand Grébaut’s relaxed modern bistro is hard, but it is worth the wait. The chef’s style is “innocent, spontaneous, and balanced” as he says it, which translates to exquisitely delicate and subtle dishes like mushrooms with oyster and seared tuna with raspberries. The loft-like space is airy and the staff is friendly and easygoing.
- Le Servan
The menu reflects chef Tatiana Levha’s French-Russian-Filipino background and her training at two of the most exalted temples of haute cuisine in Paris. She pulls an arty young crowd from one of the last bohemian neighborhoods in Paris. The steamed baby clams in a chile-spiked, coriander-brightened fish sauce are a perfect example of her cooking, which can usually be found on the menu. The food is fresh and is generously served.
You won’t get the typical view of the Eiffel Tower here, but you’ll surely see Montmartre surrounded by the Parisian rooftops, which can be a pretty amazing view as well. It is the kind of place that mostly Parisians know of. Settled in an industrial-looking building on rue Crespin du Gast, Le Perchoir is a rooftop bar, and the restaurant is one floor down with a carte blanche menu – where everything is reasonably charged as well.
A perfect place for hipsters, Triplettes has a wide variety of options on its menu, from classic French dishes to the modern hip Parisian favorites. Previously a dive restaurant, the place was newly renovated and has a great mixture of indie aesthetics and French bistrot designs. Geeks will enjoy eating here too, as you’ll also find that there’s a foosball table and other board games, with amazing happy hour specials as well.
Emmeline Brown is a passionate travel blogger. She shares an uncanny love for food and travel and has been dreaming of exploring the world ever since she took a trip to the Grand Canyon with her parents when she was 13. You can read more of her work in her blogs written for Dubai travel agency, Travelex Travels & Tours.