10 of the Best Gastronomic Restaurants in Paris

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10 of the Best Gastronomic Restaurants in Paris
“Talking about French cuisine is also talking about joie de vivre, delicacy, optimism, and pleasure, ideas that are essential to the image of France,” says Alain Ducasse. Here are BonjourParis’s picks for some of the best addresses for fine dining in the city. Agree or disagree? Do let us know. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée At the newly transformed restaurant, Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athénée, beef takes a back-seat, replaced with “a healthy trilogy” of fish-vegetables-céréales. It’s all explained in Naturalité, a beautiful short film. Check it out here: http://vimeo.com/105527421 “Our planet has limited resources, we need to consume more ethically, more fairly, tackle climate change,” the chef insists. Most of the vegetables are sourced from the organic gardens at the Palace of Versailles, created by Monsieur Ducasse and Head Gardener Alain Baraton. On the almost no-gluten menu, interpreted by Executive chef Romain Meder, are healthy dishes influenced by Toshio Tanahashi, Japanese Shojin specialist, invited to Paris by Monsieur Ducasse. “It’s important to listen to the vegetables, they’ll tell you how they want to be prepared,” explains Monsieur Tanahashi. Patrick Jouin & Sanju Manku’s bold decor features steel/wood/diamanté; and a Cabinet de Curiosités from Monsieur Ducasse’s private collection. Out go the tablecloths ! Diners sit at sleek, hand-carved oak tables on handsome leather chairs. Attentive service is headed by George Clooney lookalike Denis Courtiade. An ironic touch, the fish knives have been replaced (thank heaven) by steak knives. “They don’t bruise the fish,” explains Monsieur Ducasse who just received the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) award. 25 avenue Montaigne, 8th. Tel: 01 53 67 65 00. Closed Mon-Tues-Wednesday for lunch. Metro: Alma Marceau. Menu: 380€ (+ wine) A La Carte 200-340€. www.alain-ducasse.com Guy Savoy at L’Hôtel de la Monnaie In a bold move, Guy Savoy- the celebrated Michelin three-star chef- has moved his eponymous flagship restaurant, together with 30 chefs, across the River Seine to the L’Hôtel de la Monnaie. The décor is by award-winning architect Jean Michel Wilmotte and the contemporary artwork is on loan from French businessman and art collector François Pinault. The listed 18th century building, which formerly housed the Paris Mint workshops, administrative offices, and residential quarters, wraps around a large interior courtyard. At the top of the elegant staircase leading to the restaurant a neon sign reads: “Cooking is the art of instantly transforming produce suffused with history into happiness”. From the state-of-the-art kitchens, Savoy sends out new inspirations such as, “Seafood Graffiti”, a composition of raw and cooked cockles, mussels, clams and sea almonds. “Saumon Figé”, thick slices of marinated salmon, “slow cooked” at table on a block of carbonic ice and Saddle of lamb, “Terre et Mer”, (earth and sea) matched with tiny grilled lamb sausages. Some classic signatures remain, including the soothing “Artichoke and Truffle soup”: “Oysters au nage glacée”, plump aspic jellied oysters, in their shells, a touch of cream and sorrel. Not forgetting cheeses from Marie Quatrehomme or the warm, crumbly, feather-light Millefeuille. Study the glass “wine walls” for suitable vintages, or consult Head Sommelier Sylvain Nicolas. Perhaps he’ll suggest, by bottle or glass, Champagne Guy Savoy Blanc de Blancs; Romanée Conti 1996; Barolo 2010 Mauro Molino and, to finish, a perky Poire William. “There’s never too much on my plate”, says Savoy. 11 quai de Conti, 7th. Tel: 01 43 80 40 61. Metro: Pont Neuf. Closed Saturday lunch, Sunday, Monday. Average Spend 200€ + wine. Menu Couleurs, Textures, Saveurs: 360€ Pierre Gagnaire “Write down the dishes, they’re never the same twice”, suggests the waiter, pouring Saumur Blanc 2004 Domaine du Collier from Antoine Foucault at Pierre Gagnaire’s eponymous restaurant off the Champs Elysées. In a white porcelain dish: tender new season’s asparagus from Domaine Saint-Vincent, chives, thai grapefruit, parsley root, diced scallops and cubes of asparagus au macvin, which melt sensuously as vegetable bouillon is trickled on. Hot breads are placed on the table, and monkfish served, sprinkled with sweet paprika and a warm pumpkin velouté, foie gras and black gnocchis: nicely paired with Crozes Hermitage 2004. Casseroled sweet onions from Cevennes with a broth of oursins (sea-urchins) are flavoured with garam-marsala, thin slices of cuttlefish, wild mushrooms, Spanish pimento and veal’s head follow with Alsace Grand Cru 2004 Muenchberg Pinto Gris. The main course is lamb from the Pyrénées with lard, saffron and a little silver stick bearing its provenance. No cheese trolley; instead it’s a skewer of Tomme de Savoie with a velouté of sheep’s cheese, mâche with honey, a tiny bouillon of old Dutch gouda, celery. Expect light seasonal products presented as only Gagnaire can, think blending of unexpected tastes and flavours that tingle on the palate. Desserts keep coming, then homemade chocolates. Finally, Gagnaire comes out of his kitchen, grinning and happy. “Cooking is a bridge that joins people together”, he reflects. 6 rue Balzac, 8th. Tel: 01 58 36 12 50. Metro: George V. Closed Sat-Sun. Creative Menu: Lunch 150-295€. Dinner 300-350€ Yannick Alleno at Ledoyen Last Autumn Yannick Alleno took over the kitchens of Pavillon Ledoyen. Freshly decorated, the beautiful mansion overlooks L’Avenue des Champs Elysées, where Napoleon dined with Josephine, and Maupassant, Zola, Flaubert and Coco Chanel were regular guests. The first floor dining room is orchestrated by Frédéric Pedrono with chef-sommelier Vincent Javaux. “The concept is, construct each guest’s meal when they have chosen “Le Principal”, their main dish core ingredient (Vegetables, Fish or Meat),” explains Monsieur Pedrono. So, if you choose tender roasted turbot, from French waters, with marrow, artichoke Camus au gratin de Parmesan as your main, it may be preceded by, say, a tiny tart…

Lead photo credit : Epicure

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Born in Hampton, Middlesex, UK, Margaret Kemp is a lifestyle journalist, based between London, Paris and the world. Intensive cookery courses at The Cordon Bleu, London, a wedding gift from a very astute ex-husband, gave her the base that would take her travelling (leaving the astute one behind) in search of rare food and wine experiences, such as the vineyards of Thailand, 'gator hunting in South Florida, learning to make eye-watering spicy food in Kerala;pasta making in a tiny Tuscany trattoria. She has contributed to The Guardian, The Financial Times Weekend and FT. How To Spend It.com, The Spectator, Condé Nast Traveller, Food & Travel, and Luxos Magazine. She also advises as consultant to luxury hotels and restaurants. Over the years, Kemp has amassed a faithful following on BonjourParis. If she were a dish she'd be Alain Passard's Millefeuille “Caprice d'Enfant”, as a painting: Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe !


  • Rebecca
    2015-05-28 23:19:57
    This is a great section on the new website: descriptive of ambiance, the creativity and élan of featured chefs and their cuisines. Price orientations are also welcome, and while phone numbers are provided, a reservations link would be most welcome.