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“Behind every plate of food is a story. All together we must make sure that all the stories behind every plate of food are good stories.” — José Andrés, chef, restaurateur, founder of World Central Kitchen (WCK)
From the new Cheval Blanc hotel to a food destination in the Marais, the Paris restaurant scene is buzzing. Here’s a selection of tried-and-tested gourmet addresses to add to your little black book.
At this chic, all-day space on the ground floor at the recently opened Hôtel Cheval Blanc, Chef Maxime Frédéric’s concept is based on his love of bread and cereals. The focal point is the bar, punctuated with pots of fresh herbs, and, like books on a shelf, tomes of warm bread. Once seated (at the bar or your chosen table), a panier is proudly proffered. Today we chose from sourdough baguette, buckwheat crown with organic cider, and rye, which we spread with rich Normandy butter…
The short and to the point menu boasts organic ingredients from the Frédéric family farm at Tourville sur Sienne in Normandy. Should you visit Les Secrets de Nos Vergers, they have a few rooms for overnight guests.
Begin with fresh Kombucha/ginger infusions, salads, soups, then try, say, the flaky, pastry vol-au-vent “poule au pot.” The puffy pie combines Beaufort cheese, candied egg yolk, oakleaf lettuce and roasted corn. The tomato tart is colorful, or share the wicked signature “Croissant Pont-Neuf,” a magnificent achievement made with ham, comté cheese lettuce and love.
And, if lunch is not for you, consider Afternoon Tea, a lovely surprise where you’ll feel like Alice. Burn off the calories walking around the Samaritaine, gasping at the €750 million+ transformation.
By night Limbar segues into a seductive piano and tapas bar where mixologist/alchemist Florian Thireau creates Elixirs du Nuit, “tomorrow’s cocktail today.” Choose from nine cocktails (€22) shaken and carefully stirred with ingredients like aloe vera, rose, timur berries, orange blossom, vanilla, and pomegranate. Or, if you prefer, there are mocktails on offer.
And yes, buy the bread and a takeaway menu’s available.
8 Quai du Louvre, 1st
Metro: Pont Neuf/Louvre Rivoli
Tel: +33 (0)1 79 35 50 44
Deep in the heart of the Marais district, Grand Duc, the former Les Chouettes brasserie (originally a jewelry workshop) has been transformed by Thibault Vidalenc into a destination restaurant as theater experience. Out goes the brasserie vibe, in comes elegant neo-Eiffelien décor by Hugo Toro and Maxime Liautard. Over several light-filled floors, you’ll find a cocktail bar, Art Deco dining room, monochrome mezzanine and, on the top floor, a sushi bar and wine library extraordinaire.
For Vidalenc: “I needed Grand Duc to be a Parisian address that’s the very essence of conviviality and sharing.” For General Manager Pascal Billon (whose grandfather was chef at Le Louis XV Monaco), the service and the comfort of guests is a priority “as well as superb cuisine and wines, bien sûr.”
In the kitchen is the chef Hervé Nepple (previously at La Maison Blanche with the Poucel twins, Pic Valence with Anne Sophie Pic, Paris with Pierre Gagnaire). Nepples’ colorful, flower-strewn dishes are inspired by the seasons and the market. We appreciated the generosity of the menu du jour, warm bread, the helpful equipe. Stand outs are goat’s cheese (from Dominique Fabre) based salad; tartare de daurade; perfect caramelized rib of Black Angus beef with vegetables and crispy potatoes; and A La Carte, the epic black cod – so much tastier than Nobu! Dessert of the day, pear sablé by young Italian pastry cheffe Sarah and regal Mystere au chocolat du Grand Duc.
Mixologist Matthias Giroud creates seriously good cocktails/mocktails. Try the herby Grand Duc, made with Hennessey cognac, grape and lemon juice, Romartin cordial, and egg white (€14). Or the non alcoholic “Drink Me If You Can” concocted with Martini floreal, shiso cordial, limejuice, ginger ale (€10) .By the glass wine from €7; try the dry, woody, white Les Mesclances Cuvée Romane 2018.
32 rue de Picardie, 3rd
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 61 73 21
All weather, people watching terrace
Lunch formula Monday-Friday from €21.50-€27
A La Carte from €16-€52 + wine
Remember Le Purgatoire? The avant-garde Art Gallery/Canteen? Alors, it’s now Sapid, the latest brand from super chef Alain Ducasse, a naturalité-themed refectory/supermarket/canteen to schmooze, booze, eat, shop, take out.
There’s no formal wait service; you order your meal by Romain Meder (yes, he was at the Plaza Athenée) and cheffe Marvic Medina (also at the PA) at a terminal, collect your utensils from state of the art cubby holes, ditto mineral water.
“Growing one’s own vegetables is an absolute luxury today,” Monsieur Ducasse told France Info recently. Sapid (meaning “tasty” in Latin) is all about giving something back, saving the planet. “The concept is to feed people with a budget at around €25-€30”, he says. “Vegetable protein is more than enough to meet an individual’s nutritional needs, who really needs meat every day?” he reasons. “I was born on a farm. My grandmother was an excellent cook. At noon, we’d go into the garden, pick peas, apples, fresh onions etc. I memorize ingredients I taste all over the world. From the family farm I’ve guarded the taste of freshly pulled lettuce, crunchy peas, from farm to fork”. Watch out for a Sapid near you sometime soon…and please someone tell Greta Thunberg it’s not bla bla bla.
54 rue de Paradis, 10th
Click and Collect and via www.sapid.fr
It’s worth crossing Paris, France, the world to eat here. We can’t get enough of Francois Gagnaire (no relation to Pierre, although he once worked for him on rue Balzac) and his authentic Auvergne regional dishes. Anicia’s an homage to the Latin name for Puy-en-Velay, the world capital of lentil production and, apart from the Cilaos variety on Isle of Reunion, the only region to hold the AOP label (Appellation d’Origine Protégée).
You need to begin with the signature Le Caviar du Velay® – gleaming with seafood jelly – the “caviar of lentils” sits on a bed of crab, mascarpone, yuzu, ginger, matched with warm lentil flour blinis (€18). “Where I come from lentils are the poor man’s caviar,” he laughs. Chef will chat for hours, about the benefits, on all his products, of the volcanic soil of his native Auvergne, and his left bank chic restaurant/bar is a “Nature’s Table” tribute to his hometown.
Try the soft-boiled egg, chorizo, cream of fresh peas with tarragon; the pastoral plate of vegetables and fruits; Fin Gras Mézenc Beef accompanied by wild mushroom mille-feuille; then local seasonal cheeses (the emblem of French fromage-Saint Nectaire fermier, blue Dome du Gevaudan) served with beautiful bread and Domaine des Marmottes jam. Finish with Le Puy Green Lentil Creme Brulee; Madeleines with honey … Sit outside and you may spot Gérard Depardieu on his scooter. That’s his hotel particulier (L’Hotel du Chambon) behind the high white wall.
The wine card takes in the region, like the 2019 Puy de Dôme Chardonnay, Terre & Laves (bottle €31, glass €12).
In the afternoon, Anicia’s got Salon de Thé attitude serving verveine infusions, patisserie, honey madeleines and Weiss Hot Chocolate topped with hay-infused Chantilly cream. For Arlette Arnaud-Landau, the former mayor of Puy: “Gagnaire’s cuisine is authentic, natural and generous, François is the Ambassador for Auvergne in Paris; he has such a passion for his region.”
Gagnaire, born in Puy, says he just has to close his eyes and can smell the earth, the hills, and the alpine fennel-flavored Foin de Mézenc (hay) which comes from a local farmer and is used to make bread, infusions, bouillons, ice cream, tarts… just about everything that chef sends out from his open kitchen.
Three cheers for this excellent address, run with passion and precision by Gagnaire
97 rue du Cherche-Midi, 6th
Tel: +33 (0)1 43 35 41 50
Since 1945, Chez Fred has been the picture-perfect neighborhood bistro de qualité, buzzing with life, good food and passion. It was acquired in January 2019 by genial aubergiste Laurent Hullo (Plaza Athenée, Monsieur Bleu, Kinugawa).
In the kitchen since June 2021, chef Americo Martins Peixoto (who was at “La Poule au Pot” with Jean-François Piège) sends out, depending on the season, house-made foie gras, organic egg mayo, herring in oil, sea bream carpaccio, seared tuna, Scottish salmon steak, truffled pasta, sole meunière, rigatoni with morels and, or truffles, free-range chicken au jus, duck confit, beef fillet béarnaise sauce, blanquette of veal (the favorite dish of a certain Inspector Maigret in the 1950s).
For dessert, there’s pink praline floating island, red fruit millefeuille, Rum Baba, whipped cream, traditional thin apple tart and vanilla ice cream, crème Caramel, and/or artisan ice creams from the Ardèche region. Lovely selection of Bordeaux and Burgundy wines.
190bis Boulevard Péreire, 17th
Metro: Porte Maillot
Tel: +33 (0)1 45 74 20 48
Blackboard Formula 3 courses lunch & Dinner €37
The 26th edition of the Salon du Chocolat will take place from the 28th October-01 November at the Porte de Versailles.
Lead photo credit : The Croissant du Pont Neuf at Limbar. (C) Restaurant Le Limbar