Screen the Best From the Rest: The Ultimate Dining Guide to Paris
By Mara Hoberman
French cuisine is what many of us fantasize about as we prepare for a Paris trip. Sadly, as in many major capitals, for every excellent brasserie there are 20 that simply aren’t up to snuff, which is why it helps to come prepared with a list of bonnes addresses, as well as some advance bookings. Here is Indagare’s diverse—but concise—short list of Paris restaurants to know now.
The Trend: Increasingly hard to find, the traditional Parisian bistro may soon be an endangered species.
The Picks: Tucked away on a quaint street in the 11th arrondissement, Le Paul Bert is popular with locals and visitors who come for the traditional fare (signature dish: côte de boeuf), a good wine selection, and convivial atmosphere. Up in Montmartre, Restaurant Miroir also has a loyal neighborhood clientele who flock to this charming bistro for its reasonable prix-fixe and chalkboard specials. Open since 1912, Benôit, not far from the Pompidou Center, is part of Alain Ducasse’s culinary empire. The food is what one expects from Ducasse (superb) and the dining room is très francais, with red banquettes, engraved glass windows and daily newspapers mounted on sticks. Allard, another historic bistro now managed by Ducasse, is located in Saint-Germain-des-Près and also checks the requisite boxes in terms of bistro accouterments (zinc bar, tile floors, brass coat hooks) and menu staples (beef filet with pepper sauce, roasted Bourbonnais chicken, crème caramel.)
Back on the Right Bank, just steps from the Louvre behind the Palais Royal, the recently refurbished Bistro Valois is a good bet for a hearty, traditional French-style lunch in the heart of Paris’ 1st arrondissement. Two good alternatives to the numerous trendy, here-today-gone-tomorrow restaurants in Le Marais are Café des Musées and L’Ami Louis. The former is a charming inexpensive bonne adresse where you will find fashionable locals and hungry visitors enjoying generous portions of steak-frites. The latter is known for its roast chicken, celebrity clientele and high prices — but if you can score a reservation for one of the dozen tables, you’re in for an authentic bistro experience (sassy waiter included.)