Two Stylish It-Girls Explore Paris’s Coolest New Restaurants
Two of the city’s “It” girls—model of the moment Jeanne Damas and her friend, the artist Marieke Gruyaert—take spring’s latest looks for a twirl. Plus: T+L picks the top new restaurants in town.
For about a decade now, the trends of hyper-local ingredients, sustainable sourcing, and nose-to-tail cooking have been sweeping through Paris. In the process, the city has shed its museum-of-food reputation and once again become a mecca for culinary creativity. Ambitious chefs from near and far are bringing with them new ideas for the kitchen and a fresh approach to dining out. There’s experimental haute cuisine at the gastronomic temples, sophisticated cooking at scruffy bistros, and surprising small plates at buzzy nouveau bars frequented by the kind of pretty young things featured in these pages. Here are some of the latest openings taking Paris in new directions.
Alléno Paris at Pavillon Ledoyen
Last year’s shuffle among top chefs began when Yannick Alléno returned to Paris after almost two years of retreat at Le Cheval Blanc, in Courchevel. There he pioneered a technique of extracting liquid from vegetables, fish, and meat for deeper flavor, and he recently took over Ledoyen, housed in a Beaux-Arts villa near the Petit Palais, to show Paris the results: roasted veal with fermented cherry leaves, caviar with beef marrow mousse and lovage jus, smoked-eel soufflé. Validation came in the form of three Michelin stars. Entrées $102–$156.
ON MARIEKE: 3.1 Phillip Lim jacket, Damir Doma jacket. ON JEANNE: Anthony Vaccarello jacket, T by Alexander Wang shirt. Alistair Taylor-Young
Without insulting it, Martin could be called a dive—but one that serves refined small plates like leeks with pear vinaigrette and beef cheeks confit. Small plates $3–$9.
Good food served all day long is already scarce in Paris—authentic Venetian fare even more so. This swanky café has excellent Italian classics—pasta, risotto, veal Milanese—as well as small bites like fried polenta with salted cod, all of it paired with a deep by-the-glass list of wines from Italian small producers. Entrées $28–$54.
Left: At Les Chouettes. ON MARIEKE (LEFT): Derek Lam coat, Nina Ricci skirt, shoes, and bag. ON JEANNE: Calvin Klein Collection coat, Gerard Darel jacket, Prada shoes. Right: In Caffè Stern. Isabel Marant Étoile jacket, Chloé blouse, J Brand pants, Charvet scarf. Model’s own jewelry. Alistair Taylor-Young
Japanese chefs have been making waves in Paris for several years, but usually with French food. Here, chef Taku Sekine adds flavors from his homeland—a kimchi amuse-bouche, mackerel chirashi with cucumber and strips of omelette—to a menu of grilled pigeon, Iberian pork chop, and chicken pot pie. Stellar cocktails blend flavors like smoky tea and clementine with whiskey, and spiced grape juice with aquavit. Entrées $13–$27.
Gare Au Gorille
The draw at this restaurant in Batignolles is excellent, unpretentious food from a former sous-chef at L’Arpège and Septime. The three-course lunch for 25 euros is a bargain, but the small-plates menu at dinner is the star, with dishes like monkfish carpaccio dotted with gribiche and mushroom velouté with poached egg. 68 Rue des Dames; 33-1-42-94-24-02; small plates $7–$15.
Golden hour at Place de la Concorde. Nina Ricci dress and shirt. Model’s own necklace. Alistair Taylor-Young
Pierre Jancou, an early adopter of natural wine, has a strong track record of opening indie bistros with integrity, like Racines and Vivant. His latest is a hybrid of French and Italian that shows the locals (guilty for centuries of turning pasta to mush) the meaning of simple, flavorful, and al dente, as in a rich rabbit-ragù tortellini in sardine bouillon brightened with lemon zest. Prix fixe from $56.
Mathieu Pacaud hasn’t just slipped into father Bernard’s whites at the Michelin three-starred L’Ambroisie; he’s also opened this hit of his own near Trocadéro. The standout dish is a blancmange of celery-root cream, coddled egg yolk, and black truffle. Honorable mention goes to the sole encased in a thin layer of toasted bread, with vin jaune cream and smoked potato. The cooking is high-minded, but the lively bar scene keep things informal. Entrées $32–$42.
Right: A cocktail at Caffè Stern. Pedro del Hierro Madrid dress, Charvet scarf. Left: At Les Chouettes. ON MARIEKE: Gucci dress. ON JEANNE: Gucci dress, Calvin Klein Collection shoes. Alistair Taylor-Young
Ledoyen’s former toque Christian Le Squer headed over to the dining room at the Four Seasons Hotel George V, where he is winning raves for preparations like tangerine-glazed John Dory with mango petals and rose-scented lychee snowballs. Entrées $106–$151.
Almost as good as Les Chouettes’ modern spin on comfort food (guinea fowl with Comté cheese crust, hanger steak with a fried roll of cheese-and-potato aligot) is the all-day bistro’s location, in the upper Marais shopping area. The bright, two-story, Moroccan-tiled space—which has a curated list of spirits including Nikka Pure Malt Whisky and 15-year-old Caroni rum—encourage chic carousing. Entrées $23–$29.
At the steps of Pont Alexandre III. ON MARIEKE (LEFT): Nina Ricci dress and shoes. ON JEANNE: Dior dress and shoes. Alistair Taylor-Young