A mecca for haute cuisine, the French capital boasts no less than 97 starred restaurants!
And if you would like to discover star-rated gastronomy in a more informal way then that is possible. Numerous chefs awarded stars by the Michelin Guide also work in the kitchens of non-starred restaurants: bistros, steakhouses, brasseries, regional restaurants … and there is something for all tastes and styles. In these places, there is no white cloth, gloved waiters or silver cutlery, the accent is on a more simple and relaxed style. Here is a small roundup of several smaller addresses with the star-quality of top chefs in Paris.
Long live the tradition!
Tradition accounts for many good things. Multi-starred internationally-renowned chef Alain Ducasse oversees several restaurants in Paris. For hearty appetites, enjoy Lyonnaise regional specialities brought up to date with talent and flair at Aux Lyonnais. The menu features the Lyon speciality quenelles (poached dumplings) served in Nantua (crayfish, butter and cream) sauce; oven-roasted leg of lamb, Lyon charcuterie and strawberry melba.
A stone’s throw from Notre Dame Cathedral is Atelier Maître Albert, a contemporary rotisserie designed by the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. The menu features classic favourites selected by owner Guy Savoy (whose eponymous restaurant boasts three stars in the Michelin guide), notably spit-roasted free-range chicken served with creamy potato purée.
Thanks to thrice-starred chef Éric Fréchon of the restaurant Epicure at the Bristol, gastronomy can has now made its way into a railway station … Saint-Lazare. Since 2013, Lazare has served up authentic, homely brasserie staples such as chicken fricassé, croque-monsieur and îles flottantes. Don’t miss the paris-deauville, – a dessert specially created by this chef of Normandy origins, – whose name is a nod to trains that used to leave the Gare Saint-Lazare daily to go to the Côte Fleurie.
Yannick Alléno, who has won three Michelin stars for his cuisine at the Pavillon Ledoyen, is also at the helm of other restaurants such as Le Terroir Parisien, which is set to re-open in the first half of 2018. From the Meaux mustard to green lentils from Brie or spinach from Viroflay, the cooking of Yannick Alléno brings back specialities and vegetables from the Paris Basin that have been forgotten.
Gastronomy is sometimes a question of family history. Besides co-running L’Ambroisie with his father Bernard, Mathieu Pacaud has his own restaurant, L’Hexagone in the 16th arrondissement (one Michelin star). The decor is cool and contemporary and the menu pays tribute to French cuisine, another modern touch.
The scion of another Michelin-star winning family, Pierre Meneau (son of the great chef Marc Meneau) heads up his own bistro, Crom’Exquis. His bold cuisine takes basics (cod, John Dory, chicken supreme, etc.) to intriguing new heights by weaving in contemporary flavours such as verbena, Espelette pepper, strawberries and ginger.
The bistro culture
Another starred-chef Christian Constant, who orchestrates the cuisine at the Violon d’Ingres, has opened several establishments. He cultivates the bistro culture through two addresses: Les Cocottes, which serves up traditional French dishes such as spring vegetables and pigeon in cast-iron cocottes (pots). The star dish on the menu, the Vraie salade César Ritz.
On the ground floor of Hélène Darroze’s starred restaurant the Salon d’Hélène, you can enjoy chic tapas-style food and a selection of signature dishes in mini portions in a relaxed atmosphere with lounge music.
In addition to his Michelin-starred restaurant Le Quinzième, Cyril Lignac runs several restaurants with a focus on bistro fare, often with a modern twist: Le Chardenoux, in a listed historical building and, on the Left Bank, Aux Prés.
In addition to his starred restaurant Sur Mesure at the hotel Mandarin Oriental, the high-media profile chef Thierry Marx also oversees the menu at the Camélia, which serves French cuisine with an Asian touch. There is a fixed-price menu ‘Daily Marx’, which serves dishes from the cookbook of the same name. The extra bit of luxury: all the herbs come from the vegetable garden of the Mandarin Oriental.
Michel Rostang, at the head of the eponymous two-starred restaurant, has several restaurants in Paris. Among these, Dessirier, a seafood bistro, is an institution in itself, and the Oyster Bar which adjoins it, with its Happy Oyster, a kind of offbeat happy hour to enjoy eating oysters. At the Café des Abattoirs, the same programme, but different food: meat lovers will find a good selection of quality products in three 100% meat fixed-price menus.
The new generation
If we take a look at the new generation, there are two highly-promising and already starred chefs. Bertrand Grébaut, a marvel in the realm of nouvelle cuisine and chef at Septime, with one star in the Michelin Guide, already has two other addresses: Clamato, a trendy seafood bistro and Septime La Cave.
Extremely gifted chef David Toutain, formerly at L’Agapé, offers diners a culinary experience at Identi-T, a table d’hôtes restaurant adjoining his starred restaurant, for groups of friends. The chef has carte blanche to create new flavours and textures.
Ze Kitchen Galerie, William Ledeuil’s restaurant (one Michelin star) has spawned two offshoots: Kitchen Galerie Bis (KGB) and Kitchen Ter(re). The menu at the latter is crafted around the foods that Mother Nature provides; for example, the homemade pasta uses ancient and flavourful varieties of wheat.
Young prodigy of French cooking, the chef Akrame Benallal, already awarded one star for his eponymous restaurant Akrame, has opened two subsidiary restaurants. For meat eaters, the place to go is the Atelier Vivanda, a steakhouse that puts the accent on meat; and then in another genre, there is Cave Brut, a gastronomic cheese bar and wine cellar.