The French multi-course gastronomic meal may have been included on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2010, but people have been flocking to Paris to enjoy its world-famous cuisine for much, much longer. The pleasure of taking your time over a symphony of courses, each one the result of sophisticated technique and paired with one of the country’s great Burgundies or Bordeaux. From the pristinely-set table to the final flourish: cheeses and compotes with sweet liqueur, the French dining experience is not unlike an elaborate orchestral performance, with each course elaborating on the one before it. With such a reputation to uphold, Paris has no shortage respected restaurants perpetuating the classic craft. Unconcerned with Michelin-stuffiness, our short list of favourite French restaurants in Paris covers the full gamut of contemporary French cooking, from Inaki Aizpitarte’s bold experiments, to the excellent bistro fare at Le 6 Paul Bert.
The self-taught chef with the unpronouncable name Inaki Aizpitarte is a pioneering member of the new guard of French chefs working in Paris today. His simple and unpretentious dining room attracts the city’s fashionable set, who come to enjoy the chef’s creative—at times provocative—menu. Next door is his second address, Le Dauphin, where diners mix and match from his small-plates menu.
Le 6 Paul Bert
Chef Louis-Philippe, of Quebec, is also exciting Parisian palates with his contemporary menu of small plates. The market-driven dishes are uncomplicated and well-executed, and the dining room is simple but charming (the focal point is a row of Broadway lights fringed with silver spoons). A long and excellent wine list completes the winning formula.
Chef-owner Gregory Marchand’s ever popular restaurant continues to serve a traditional three-course set menu of updated classics (duck foie gras with sherry vinegar and fig, or bone-in monkfish with soubressade sausage). In the summer, the cozy space spill out onto the sidewalk with bistro tables, but if you don’t manage to score a reservation, his wine bar and take-away storefront are on the same little cobblestoned street.
This fine-dining destination, nestled inside Hotel Thoumieux and designed by the inspired India Mahdavi, stimulates the senses with colorful, wing-backed sofas and animal-print accents. Piège’s Michelin-starred dishes are as creative as the décor. Downstairs, in the Thoumieux brasserie, you can sample a more simple and affordable version of the chef’s acclaimed modern French cuisine.