December Feasts: Where to Eat in Paris This Month

December Feasts: Where to Eat in Paris This Month

Vintage photo of the Caviar Kaspia boutique

Tried and tested, here are some addresses that we recommend during the festive season in the City of Light.

“What I say is that, if a fellow really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.” A.A. Milne

L’Orangerie – Four Seasons George V

It’s always a thrill to glide through the revolving doors of the George V; the lobby showcases incredible flower and plant creations by Jeff Leatham, the hotel’s Artistic Director. Ahead, the iconic marble courtyard around which are located, arguably, the best restaurants in town, as well as a bar and gallery buzzing with ze beautiful pipole.

Chef David Bizet

In the 2017 Michelin guide, Four Seasons George V restaurants were awarded a galaxy of stars: *** for Christian Le Squer at Le Cinq and * each for L’Orangerie (opened in May 2016) and Le George (by chef Simone Zanoni) making it the first hotel in France to boast three Michelin-starred eateries.

The talented David Bizet leads the brigade at L’Orangerie, housed in a glass-and-steel Pierre-Yves Rochon designed structure extending from La Galerie. You’re eating outside – although it’s inside. Book ahead; there’s only room for 20 guests.

The marble courtyard at the Four Seasons George V. Photo: Guillermo ANIEL-QUIROGA

Bizet’s not a new boy, having worn the whites for 17 years at Le Cinq. His dishes are delicate from the very first amuses of beetroot chiboust, horseradish and feta cream.

Starters of poached langoustine, seaweed tartar, roasted hazelnut cream or smoked egg, Imperial Caviar, watercress. Mains of Red mullet “à la royal”, butternut, olive and foie gras; Lièvre à la Royale (Bizet won the “Lièvre à la Royale” World Championship 2016) or bran crusted Pigeon, turnips, truffles and black olive. Gaëtan Molette matches wines to perfection. There are five perfect cheeses from Marie-Anne Cantin before epic desserts by chef pâtissier Maxime Frédéric including Chocolate leaves and Soufflé, Peruvian dark chocolate, black cardamom. Lunch menu (€75), Discovery Menu (€95) or A La Carte about €125 + wine.

31 Avenue George V, 8th arrondissement. Metro: George V. Tel: +33 (0)1 49 52 70 00. Open 7/7. Valet parking available.

Le Bistro Mavrommatis

Le Bistro Mavrommatis

Recently opened on the first floor of the deli that formerly housed Hediard, this bistro is minutes from the newly opened outpost of La Grand Epicerie de Paris on the Right Bank. 

Brand Mavro began back in 1981 and since then the three brothers Evagoras, Andréas and Dionysos have won a multitude of awards for their interpretation of Greek/Cyprus/Mediterranean cuisine.

The room is light and bright punctuated with sunny images by Nikos Aliagas. Order a bottle of white “IGP Ahaïa Domaine Parparoussis, Les Dons de Dionysos, Cava 2010” (cépages: Assyrtiko, Athiri €20.50) and, say, a sharing platter of seasonal house specialities creamy tarama etc. (€26.50) or Greek Salad (€13.50). And then, what better than soothing Moussaka (with a vegetable version available €19) or Brochette of beef, lamb, chicken (from €19)? Blackboard lunch formula 29€ + wine.

Le Bistro Mavrommatis

It’s not a Paris-Brest for dessert but an Athens-Brest (€8.50) and do taste the creamy goat’s yogurt Mavrommatis with honey and walnuts. Leave via the incredible deli and order festive delicacies which can be collected in-store… and you can say, “of course I made them!”

The restaurant is closed 24th & 25th December and 31st and 1st January. However, the deli/traiteur/wine cave and Mezzé Bar are open 7/7 from 10:30 am – 9 pm.

Kalí Óreski!

70 Avenue Paul Doumer, 16th arrondissement. Metro: Trocadero. Tel: + 33 (0)1 40 50 70 40

Le Bistro Mavrommatis

Caviar Kaspia

“Because customers love to try before they buy, we’ve created a tasting bar,” explains François Sylvan, the delightful caviar-savvy server. A recent makeover to the classic boutique is part of the 90-year celebrations of this iconic address. Available in the boutique– to taste on the elegant royal blue banquette with a flute of Duval Leroy Kaspia (€16) champagne– or take away: 5 Caviars from Imperiale Baeri (€28) to Royal Beluga (125g – €1477); Smoked salmon; Tasting platters (€25) not forgetting the vodkas, bien sûr.

17 place de la Madeleine, 8th arrondissement. Metro: Madeleine. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 65 66 21. Open 24th & 31st December from 9am-12.30am

Caviar Kaspia

L’Elan 9

Eric Fava is my tip for the top — a wonderful finish to 2017 — with the opening of his  bistrotheque on the hill, with a terrace to watch the world hurry by. From his open kitchen, Fava– who’s sharpened his knives with the likes of Bernard Pacaud at Ambroisie, Le George V, and Trou Gascon– sends out dishes such as house smoked salmon, avocado mousse, wasabi cream or pôélée of girolles/mushroom velouté. Mains of parsley crusted cod, Thaï bouillon, spaghetti of vegetables. To finish, try the Vanilla Financier “Ile Maurice”, pistachio and vanilla ice cream (ask for a taste of the Mars ice cream!)

L’Elan 9

Lovely wines by the glass cost (€6), Château Talbot Caillou 2015 (€69) and interesting Vins d’Exception – Côte Rôtie – La Turque 2013 from Monsieur Guigal. 

Lunch formula from €17. A La Carte about €46 + wine. Adorable service from Léonie, the future Madame Fava !

The street is the former road through which the fish from the northern ports arrived at Les Halles, hence its name.

113 Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, 9th arrondissementMetro: Poissonnière. Tel: +33 (0)9 80 65 88 70. Closed Christmas Day & New Year’s Eve

L’Elan 9

Astier Grill

“Basta La Pasta!” says über restaurant owner Frederic Hubig, arriverderci Sassotondo and “Here’s the Beef!”

With the launch of Le Grill Astier, Hubig puts his signature to a fabulous concept from the starter of a superb salad as well dressed as the bistro’s clientele. “It’s healthy and takes a while to eat (with warm fresh soda bread) so the chef has time to cook your choice of beef,” he explains.

Côte de boeuf de race normande – La Nievernaise – at Restaurant Le Grill Astier. Photo: Roberta Valerio

Choose your cut from the glass armoire de viande, settle back with a Long White Lady cocktail (€12, dedicated to Madame Hubig), and study the wine card showcasing Hubig’s rare collection and some favorite Côte de Rhône wines. Bespoke Olivier Roellinger peppers are mixed at table – by Brigida and Emmanuelle – to match the beef: Picanha de Salers bio, La Côte de Bœuf Normande, Le tartare and La Côte de Veau bio. These cuts are matched with hand cut chips, served from a copper pan, and seasonal vegetables. Finish with cheese and the dessert du jour such as the warm apple and pear tart. Average spend €30-€60 + wine. 

40, rue Jean Jacques Timbaud, 11th arrondissement. Metro: Parmentier. Tel: +33 (0)1 43 55 57 00. Closed 24-25th December, 2017 and January 1st. Open from December 26-31st

Homemade fries at Le Grill Astier. Photo: Roberta Valerio

Villa Corse Rive Gauche

If you love Corsica – and who doesn’t – you’ll love Villa Corse, created as an homage to La Belle Isle. (Napoleon looks on in approval from the walls.) Chef Cyril Gauzit (who had former stints chez Robuchon, Frechon, Mavromatis) creates fresh Mediterranean dishes from his open kitchen. Begin with Carpaccio of Octopus or Cauliflower Taboulé, mousse of cauliflower, warm house chestnut flour bread is served by Michel de Santiago, who will suggest wines from Corsica or “Le Continent”. Say, the red Clos Canarelli 2014 (€60) or by the glass from €8. Mains include signature Brocciu ravioli, spinach and nepita jus and tender sea bream with seaweed butter, yellow pepper and fresh herbs from the maquis. Cheese is from Jean-Noel Casanova and don’t ignore the traditional Fiadone ricotta “cheesecake” dessert.

164 Boulevard de Grenelle, 15th arrondissement. Metro: La Motte Piquet-Grenelle. Tel: +33 (0)1 53 86 70 81. Closed 24th-25th December: Open New Year’s Eve. Live music. Average spend €95-€110 + drinks.

Villa Corse

Villa Corse

Photo credit : Homemade fries at Le Grill Astier. Photo: Roberta Valerio

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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, 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 !

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