When visiting the Louvre, Paris’s masterpiece of a museum exhibiting one of the world’s most impressive art collections, where to dine? Most neighboring restaurants are typical tourist traps, over-priced and under-esteemed, unless you choose to splurge beneath the arcades at the Louvre’s contemporary brasserie Café Marly. Having taken many a sunset stroll through this former palace, I’ve discovered a few neighboring restaurants worth the time, and money. After all, isn’t haute cuisine considered a work of art?
A classic haunt that has been around for ages, considered by many to be a local institution, Le Fumoir is just steps away from the Louvre. Boasting a spacious terrace, it’s the ideal spot for an expertly mixed cocktail, including some of the best mojitos in town. Head chef Henrick Andersson serves brunch and dinner daily, and stays open late. The restaurant’s decor is sleek and intimate, reminiscent of a speakeasy, revealing a book-lined rear dining room. Lunch formulas €22.50-26.
6 rue de l’Amiral de Coligny, 75001. Tel: 01 42 92 00 24
Laura Adrian and Braden Perkins, the couple behind Hidden Kitchen, willingly take responsibility for one of the most talked about addresses in town. Their intimate wine bar, often filled with Anglophones, serves small plates including a must-try buttermilk fried chicken, while the more formal restaurant upstairs offers a seasonal tasting menu for 68€. Chef Braden Perkins is a master at combining flavors, and reservations at this hot spot are a must.
Restaurant: 52 rue de Richelieu 75001, Wine Bar: 47 rue Montpensier 75001. Tel: 01 42 97 54 40
In case you miss Verjus, the famed duo have just opened their second restaurant nearby, another take on creative Franco-American cuisine. Young Canadian chef Hannah is at the helm at this more intimate spot, preparing a selection of small plates, including a delectable raw Brussels sprouts salad with mint and faro and the aforementioned fried chicken. To accompany is a carefully selected wine list. What I fell most in love with were the cinnamon sugar and apple “beignets,” served with dulce de leche with Maldon salt. Lunch formulas €18-24 (except on Saturday), a la carte €25-35.
34 rue de Richelieu 75001. Tel: 01 42 60 59 66
Already a fan of their first restaurant Pirouette, I was pleased to find a second address well positioned in the Palais Royal quarter. The space is vast and modern, a piano resting in one corner. Chef Yannick Lahopgnou, having mastered his craft at Le Meurice and in Japan, combines French standards with more exotic influences, often using flowers in his colorful dishes. I recommend one of their exquisite fish dishes, paired with a selection of their vast Bourgogne or Rhône wines. Two-course lunch is 20€ and three-course lunch/dinner is 45€.
10 rue de Richelieu, 75001. Tel: 01 42 36 49 44
The latest address by Pierre Jancou, the guru behind Racines and Vivant, is certain to please many a refined palate. With a simple no frills ambiance, it’s all about the food and the service, both of which are stellar. The cuisine is classic French and Italian with an Asian twist, the best of three worlds. The fine wine selection will welcome many a wine connoisseur to the table. At 26€ for a two-course lunch or 34€ three-course, Heimat is certain to become a favorite. Dinner at 50€, or carte blanche menu at 70€, Monday to Friday.
37 rue de Montpensier, 75001. Tel: 01 40 26 78 25