Chef Toutain’s ethereal treatment of unusual produce at Restaurant David Toutain ($$$$) has notes of Scandinavian-style naturalism, but his dishes are locally sourced. The seasonal menu may include steamed sea urchin with espresso foam or black truffle with raw hazelnuts and pea shoots.
If the justifiably famous Septime ($$$) is booked, Bertrand Grébaut’s casual Clamato (80 Rue de Charonne; 33-1/43-72-74-53; $$$) next door, with its focus on fresh seafood, is first come, first served. The crab fritters and maple syrup tart have become instant crowd-pleasers.
Chef James Henry’s flair on the grill at Bones ($$$) is the only hint at his Australian origins; his house-made charcuterie, baked bread, and cultured butter are from regional farms and producers.
With a willingness to dial up the spice, Le Servan (32 Rue St.-Maur; 33-1/55-28-51-82) specializes in updated bistro classics in a slick white-on-white dining room. The fried quail is lacquered in soy and honey, beef bouillon is served with a wonton—nods to Asian cooking that never feel like gimmicks.
A sous-chef and a sommelier from the upscale Sergent Recruteur have created a homier, but no less refined, version of the same locavore cuisine at the tiny neighborhood bistro Les Déserteurs (46 Rue Trousseau; 33-1/48-06-95-85; $$$). Portions are generous in dishes such as poached, line-caught grouper with peas and fava beans in a milky yuzu foam.
Video: Paris Bistros: Old and New
Where to Sample the Culinary Classics
Few restaurants will take the eight hours needed to cook this beef stew down to its richest extreme, but regulars at Joséphine Chez Dumonet, in Montparnasse, demand nothing less. 117 Rue du Cherche-Midi; 33-1/45-48-52-40. $$$
Antoine Westermann’s upscale Le Coq Rico, in Montmartre, offers the last word on spit-roasted bird, with special breeds from Landes, Challans, Gers, and Bresse. $$$$
Pâté de Campagne
This spiced liver loaf is a grandmotherly staple. Le Repaire de Cartouche raises it to an art form, offering five to six different choices—pork with apples and Calvados and duck with pistachio, to name just two. 8 Blvd. des Filles du Calvaire; 33-1/47-00-25-86. $$$
Celebrity butcher Hugo Desnoyer supplies Le Severo, in Montparnasse, with aged cuts, from côte de boeuf to faux-filet to pavé de rumsteak, which are served with either thick fries or green beans. 8 Rue des Plantes; 33-1/45-40-40-91. $$$
Twice-cooked in its own fat, duck leg is deceptively simple, but needs proper crisping or the dish is likely to disappoint. That’s the case at many bistros, but never at La Fontaine de Mars, in the Seventh Arrondissement. $$$
Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150