“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” —Anonymous
Looking for a great place to eat in Paris? We have a number of selections to whet your appetite. The summer brings high-quality seasonal produce to restaurant menus and a festive feeling to the salles. Here’s what’s crossed our radar recently.
Le Grand Véfour Summer Terrace
“We have to move with the times,” observed Guy Martin last Thursday before lunch service. With a touch of his usual genius, the chef’s brought the magnificent monument historique into century 21 and it’s a triumph.
“Like Molière, Guy Martin wants to give pleasure. He’s created the new Véfour linked to the cuisine, the regions and the daily memory,” says author Nicolas de Rebaudy, also a revered gastro critic for Slate.
Eat inside, as before, at tables marked with polished copper plaques in homage to regulars with their rond de serviette: Napoleon and Josephine, Victor Hugo. Sartre and de Beauvoir, Cocteau (who designed the original menu), Colette, Coco Chanel & Co.
Outside there are now two terraces, one in the Palais Royal Gardens, another in the cool shade of the arcades. “Le Semainier” menu is available from Tuesday-Saturday and costs €49-€58 + wine. Sunday, it’s €65. There are confident, delicious, seasonal combinations on the “Semainier” lunch menu, beginning with carpaccio of Sea-Bream Royale, shimeji, fennel, a slither of argan oil. The main was roasted free range chicken served with green asparagus and baby onions. For dessert, we enjoyed Vanilla Panna Cotta, meringue, marmalade of kiwi and fromage blanc, coconut sorbet.
Or go a la carte (about €68 + wine) and choose options like roasted aubergine, caviar d’aubergine, pink grapefruit (€22); Tuna, ginger, avocado, wakame, tomato jus (€36); Salmon, laquered, chia, a touch of mint (€38); and for the vegetarians at the table: Braised Provence Artichokes, tomatoes and olive pearls (€28). Cheeses of the day are priced at €16. Dessert? Deconstructed pineapple and passion fruit tart – a lick of Espelette pimento- the perfect palate cleanser (€18). Let Chef-Somm Romain Alzy suggest the wine.
Strolling in the Palais Royal Gardens post lunch we agreed that Guy Martin, the art loving chef, has given Véfour an exciting perspective that showcases, to perfection, French artist Daniel Buren’s black and white stripe columns.
Part of Relais&Chateaux
17 rue de Beaujolais, 1st
Metro: Palais Royal
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 96 56 27
Bambini at the Palais de Tokyo
Say sayonara Tokyo Eat, and ciao to Bambini – Paris Society’s terrific trattoria for big children!
For the neo-cantine chic and festive vibes, two pretty terraces with designer parasols, on Avenue du President Wilson (great address on market days, Wednesday & Saturday) and on the Palais de Tokyo parvis, overlooking the Seine, Passarelle Debilly, and La Tour Eiffel. If the weather’s bad there’s plenty of room in the 240- seater interior space by architects Virginie Friedman and Delphine Versace. Tap into the stunning decor: Murano glass, a bold wall mural depicting a Roman banquet by Roberto Ruspoli. The bar’s headed by ex-Experimental Cocktail Club’s Eric Sabloniere (and Hotel de Crillon) shaking up cocktails/mocktails/ suggesting appropriate vino and champagne (cocktails from €10 – Prosecco €9 – Chianti Classico, 2018 €55). Close your eyes – you’re in Roma with Fellini.
The Italian chef Sasha Arandjelovic — who we discovered chez Assagio, Hôtel Castille, rue Cambon — helms a young, motivated brigade who glide around in signature Bambini T’s available in the boutique.
What’s on the menu ?
Begin with Cicchetti (small plates) say: stuffed Calamari (€15); Pasta shells stuffed with courgette and goat’s cheese (€12); Herb Focaccia (€6); Vitello Tonnato (€15) and match with a Peach Bellini (€14). Then try the Truffle Pizza (€29). For the ladies who do, there’s an Insalata of green beans, pistachios, ricotta (€15).
But I’m still hungry! Go for the Pollo Alla Cacciatora (€27); Veal Ecalope Milanese, salade de roquette (€29); or gone fishing with Cod, petis pois, sucrine, jus de mussels (€33). Dolci? Torta della Nonna, tart of the day (€10), Nutella Pizza (€19), Il Gigante al Limon (don’t ask – just order – dessert heaven) (€10). Tiramisu to share (no way!) €18.
Bambini’s a work of art within a palace of art – Ciao Bella!
Palais de Tokyo
13 Avenue President Wilson, 16th
Metro : Iena
Tel: +33 (0)1 40 70 86 08
Paris, what does it mean to you? Guerlain, Hermes, Champagne, The Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysées, romance? And, tantalizing tastes of summer on dreamy terraces, where time stands still. For me it’s La Grande Cascade (*1 Michelin), located in the heart of the bucolic Bois de Boulogne, originally Napoleon III’s hunting lodge.
“An oasis of greenery within the zen vibes of La Grande Cascade waterfall – we’re opposite Longchamp race course,” points out Executive Chef Frédéric Robert. “I worked here in my early days as a chef,” he recalls. “It beckons you back somehow.” Mâitre d’hotel Bertrand Leprovost nods in agreement.
It’s a classic carte with vibrant cutting edge spins, illustrating impressive technique, as in the house signature black truffle macaroni, foie gras, celery, parmesan gratin (€88); Brittany crab, cauliflower, bottarga, yuzu, iodine jelly (€70); Plump King prawns, artichoke (€70); Provence asparagus in puff pastry, grapefruit and caviar (€95). Mains include Saddle of Pays d’Oc lamb, polenta burrata, taggiasca olives, pistou, pimento (€72); Atlantic Turbot, raw and cooked green asparagus, hollandaise Cascade (€85); Salers Beef Rossini, old Madere sauce, smoked golden onions, marrow chutney (€72). Then Saint-Nectaire cheese (€18, from Souchal).
Desserts include Amber Baba, rhubarb, ginger (€25) and the Mille Feuille, intensely vanilla (€25). Match with Head Somm Pierre Ouardes’ latest discoveries showcasing women winemakers. Like the Champagne Marie Copinet and “the astonishing” Bellis Perennis 2018 Burgundy by Claire Naudin.
6 course Menu Itinéraire – €205 + €65 with wine pairing
Menu From the Garden – €120
Menu From the Market – €125 or A La Carte
Allée de Longchamp, 16th
Metro: Porte Maillot – then taxi or bus No 244 or 70
Tel: +33 (0)1 45 27 33 51
“While Montmartre is not Paris, it is the carnation in its buttonhole,” wrote poet Leon-Paul Fargue. The recently published album Montmartre Un Village Entre Terre et Ciel (Editions Parigramme 14€.90) pays homage to this unique village with 100 iconic images and texts in French (by Françoise Ravelle) and English (by Mary Deschamps).
Sunday Brunch at Café Aristide in the charming walled jasmine scented terrace garden of the recently reopened Hotel Aristide (just 24 rooms, book well ahead) ticks all the boxes for the perfect Montmartre moment. From Antoine the Concierge’s warm welcome, the Wurlitzer playing Edith Piaf & Co., you’re enchanted with the special atmosphere. The retro decor’s by interior architect Marion Collard, birds twitter, here’s peace and quiet, your home away from home.
“My cooking is inspired by the Mediterranean regions,” says British chef James Riggs. “My brunch panier is classic with breads and viennoiseries, homemade jams, an egg dish of the day and dessert. But, if you’d rather go a la carte, I’ve got sharing plates, mezze, mains, sides and desserts.” Riggs advises to begin with an Apricot and Peach Bellini (€12). “No roast beef on the menu, but I send out Beef tartare with smoked mayonnaise and Grenaille potatoes!” Or, try roast cauliflower with capers, lemon and taboulé (€16). There’s also slow roast lamb, vegetables and ratatouille (€25); Swordfish snacké, black Camargue rice, beurre blanc, a suggestion of lime (€22). Add sweet potatoes, tahini sauce (€5) and Broccoli/Zaatar (€5). Match with Les Jamelles, Minimalist, Pays d’Oc, 2020 (glass €7-bottle €30). Don’t ignore Riggs version of Black chocolate cheesecake, sarrasin crumble. And now, the cobblestone streets of Montmartre Entre Terre et Ciel beckon…
3, rue Aristide Bruant, 18th
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 64 33 33
Dinner Tuesday-Saturday – Saturday & Sunday Brunch (€36) from 12 noon
It’s party o’clock daily on the 7th floor where head chef Arnaud Donckele with chef William Béquin present a colorful menu showcasing tomatoes (at least 30 varieties) and strawberries. Light bright dishes include tomato French toast with Green Zebra tomato sorbet. Cornue tomato is stuffed with bulgur wheat. To finish Maxime Frederick’s Île Flottante with wild strawberries and orange blossom and/or shortcake with Ciflorette strawberry and rhubarb jam. “The alchemy of these recipes unlock the perfumes of a Mediterranean summer, in Paris!” say Donckele, Bequin and Frédéric.
Mixologist Florian Thireau and his team make and shake sublime Pisco sours, Margaritas and Strawberry Daïquiris (with a dab of olive oil!) on the west side of the beautifully planted terrace, the picture perfect spot to watch the sun set over the Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Cœur and Montmartre.
8, Quai du Louvre, 1st
Metro: Pont Neuf
Tel: +33 (0)1 40 28 00 00
Open 7/7 until 15th September
Need to Know – Plaza Athénee Cinema Club
La Cour Jardin restaurant, in collaboration with MK2 Film Group, installs a wide screen outdoor cinema from June 27th to July 1st. “I love the idea that guests can live an immersive experience while eating dishes inspired by the film they’re watching,” says PA’s Executive Chef Jean Imbert.
Riviera cuisine’s on the menu for Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief. French classic dishes for Ratatouille. Fish-based recipes for Jaws and something shaken, not stirred for James Bond’s Goldfinger.
See you there !
About €250 includes boissons + a flute of champagne
The Peninsula x Gucci
It’s L’Heure du Thé celebrating Paris Fashion Week and Anne Coruble, The Peninsula Hotel’s talented cheffe pâtissiere, has created an homage to her favorite Italian brand.
“It’s a contemporary, romantic, sweet and salty collection,” explains Anne who learned her craft at Le Bristol, Paris, with Laurent Jeannin and Julien Alvarez. The Normandy born cheffe was nominated for her creations in the Michelin Guide 2021.
Here’s what to expect. Scones, Madagascar chocolate Gâteau Basque, Fraise des Bois (wood strawberries) pastries, Amandine Tatin of apples, nori leaves, cream, a touch of pepper. Sensational twists on rice pudding with fresh herbs and burrata, pain perdu with aged parmesan cheese, courgette, apricot and summer truffles. Head Barman Ivo Correia’s cocktails and mocktails are perfect for the warm summer days.
Discover until July 11th, 2022.
€58 per person – or €75 with signature cocktail
Restaurant Le Lobby
19 Avenue Kléber, 16th
Tel: 01 58 12 28 88
Lead photo credit : Restaurant - Le Grand Véfour @ Jerome Mondiere