After wandering the streets and visiting the landmarks of Paris, there are times when all you really want is a good meal.
And sometimes all you really want is a fabulous pizza. In fact, I’d argue that the last couple of years impacted our collective culinary habits to a degree that has made a good pizzeria even more sought after than ever before. And, as luck would have it, Paris is home to the world’s best pizzeria, Casa di Peppe, voted world’s best in 2022.
Many of today’s noteworthy chefs here in Paris have begun to practice the cult of personally sourced ingredients. There was a time when restaurants made their purchases at the big fresh market called Rungis out by Charles De Gaulle airport, every morning. Many still do that, but you’ll find that the really exacting chefs have their fish provider, their meat cultivator and their butter and cheese curator on speed dial on their portable phones. And some even have their own vegetable gardens. Here on this list, many of these chefs meet that telling criteria.
Those times seem to occur quite often in Paris where excellent bistros and restaurants line nearly every street you walk down. And that’s not to mention all those ‘must’ places. You know, the ones that have all the user recommendations and Instagram photos.
But image doesn’t always equate with quality. So when the only thing that will do is a satisfying, taste-good, sure-fire meal, you can have confidence that any of these restaurants on this list won’t let you down. Some offer haute cuisine, what some men might call frilly food, and others offer just that perfectly grilled, thick steak served with potatoes and an excellent glass – or bottle, why not? – of red wine.
Refreshing here is that the service is quick and pleasant and the staff is welcoming and warm. Duck is the dish here, so much so that it even embodies its mascot. Other classics on the menu not to miss is the Mimosa eggs which are a crab salad filled devilled eggs appetizer, heavy on the fresh crab. The foie gras is top quality. Sides – whipped mashed potatoes, full of cream and butter, a fresh green salad, roasted potatoes and sauteed crisp vegetables in, yes, butter come in dishes that you can share.
Don’t even think about skipping dessert here. If you’ve never tried the French whipped, lightly toasted egg white in a sea of creme anglaise, otherwise known as Ile Flottante, I highly recommend you do. The portion here is more than generous and its done exceptionally to perfection. Or you can always go for the tarte du jour.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: During the warmer months, outdoor terrace dining here means looking out over the Seine onto the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris and the Ile Saint-Louis.
Paige’s expert tip: For your first visit to this bistro, stick with the classics and signature dishes. That means have a taste of the roast duck and the crab stuffed devilled eggs. The wine cellar at the sister ship (La Tour d’Argent) is ranked one of the best in the world. So even the wines by the glass here will be excellent choices for whatever you order. Sides are fun and are meant to be shared. A simple tapenade and country style bread is your pre-appetizer for whetting the palate as you peruse the menu.
Under the recently assumed reigns of André Terrail, son of the famous Tour d’Argent restaurateur, Claude Terrail, the family’s gastronomic bistro La Rotisserie d’Argent offers delightful accessibility. The sizzle of the establishment’s signature roasting duck and farm-raised chicken greets you when you enter this red-checked tablecloth icon on the Left Bank. It is literally just next door to the shrine of gourmets the world over, La Tour d’Argent, but here what is served is the bistro version of French food of the highest quality ingredients. Claude Terrail acquired this bistro in 1989 with the intention that snobbery had no place within its walls.
Read more about La Rotisserie d’Argent →
The Southwest region of France is known for its food. After all, this is where the Perigord is located and from which the famous truffles come. Less known are its wines. But once you’ve been introduced to the beauty of Malbec’s original terroir, there is no going back.
This restaurant consecrated itself to being the culinary tapestry by which the region’s wines would shine. So the menu is fairly simple: a dozen oysters to share for starters, a huge (1 kgl) chuck roast of beef ‘Irish Vintage’ to share between two or even two adults and two kids are the kinds of items you’ll get to choose from here.
Gazpacho, devilled eggs and other nibbles are also S. West classics that go well with these deep reds and sometimes sweet whites. Roast duck served with raspberries and beets as its cold side; and the French toast as dessert which is made with brioche (not bread!) served with melted salted caramel butter – now aren’t these mouthwatering?
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: On Sundays, their upstairs ‘speakeasy’ bar transforms into a children’s babysitting den. Yep, that means parents can enjoy their Sunday brunch, in peace for once.
Paige’s expert tip: French Southwestern cuisine is known the world-over. After all, the Perigord is famous for its truffles and foie gras. But here in Paris, it, likes its lovely wines, is often overshadowed by its glitzier kinsfolk. So this lovely little bistro, in a historical building just a couple doors down from where Jim Morrison once lived, offers the whole Southwestern-inspired culinary package.
Read more about Aux Vins des Pyrenees →
My Burgundy – “Ma Bourgogne.” The family traditions carried forward by this landmark bistro occupying a place of honor in the arcades of the Place des Vosges harken from his mother and grandmother. It’s from these family recipes the daily specials and the evergreen dishes originate from.
‘Menu’ in French means Special of The Day. (Whereas ‘la carte’ in French means ‘menu’ in English). Here Le Menu includes an appetizer, a main dish, a dessert or ‘fromage’ and a beverage. All that for a fixed price. Given that you’re dining at one of the top 3 real estate addresses in Paris, this is a fair deal for superior quality food.
The bistro’s wine list lives up to its name, too. Whether you’re fond of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays or not, pretty much anything from Burgundy is sure to win you over, if you’re a wine lover. They do take reservations here (subtle hint) so it’s probably good to plan ahead since this is an overwhelmingly popular choice with locals and visitors alike.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Could there be more of a ‘living the fantasy’ moment than dining on classic Burgundy ‘Jambon Persillé’ while sipping Chardonnay at the Place des Vosges?
Paige’s expert tip: Here you’ll find welcoming staff and service. Meaning, despite this being a destination dining address at one of the most beautiful Parisian landmarks, they’re still keeping it real.
Read more about Ma Bourgogne →
‘In the heart of the gariguette;’ That is this Provençal Restaurant/Bistrot’s moniker. Lets air that out a bit. Ready for a mini-deep dive into French nostalgia and romantic cultural references? ‘Gariguette’ refers to the potpourri of scents you find when hiking the dry, hot country trails of the S. of France. The scent is evocative of sagebrush, thyme, rosemary and a distant hint of lavender. For a French person it prompts memories of long, langourous summer afternoons spent playing petanque while sipping pastis on summer holiday.
And this is exactly where you step into when you enter Chez Janou. Time stops and all of a sudden you are ‘en Provence’ once again. The central, classic zinc bar is lined with over 80 types of different pastis that you can order by the glass.
The menu is just as classic and full of nostalgia. Much of it is market driven.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Leave room for chocolate mousse, it’s served in a big soup terrine and is enough for a table of four. Also prepare to taste pastis!
Paige’s expert tip: I love Paris, but sometimes you really do wish you were ‘en Provence.’ At this neighborhood bistrot, you get to have it both ways. As you enter Chez Janou, you get to step into a France that’s been immortalized in the caper films of Louis de Funes. All that is good and right, classic and delicious about France, you’ll find here at this simple, neighborhood bistrot hidden just a stone’s throw away from Place des Vosges and Bastille.
Here you can always find an abundant selection of fresh-caught seafoods and shellfish. And, of course, succulent meats grilled ‘à point’ round out the choices.
The bistrot’s sprawling terrace in the summer not only encircles the angular sidewalk but overtakes the little ‘place’ across the street, too. The decor is full of Jacques Tati posters from 1950s films.
Read more about Chez Janou →
This is one of Paris’ newest and most elegant restaurants. You may have heard of the Prince Robert of Luxembourg’s famous wine estate in Bordeaux, Chateau Haut-Brion? In 2016 he opened these doors to his private mansion in Paris not far from the prestigious Champs-Elysees.
Devoted exclusively to the French Art de Vivre, dining here is a most memorable experience that transports you into a luxury cocoon of timelessness. Chef Christophe Pele offers his deliciously devilish take on French classics that marry a modern twist to the favorites. Each day he uses his 2-star Michelin prowess to create the day’s offerings. But of course you can choose from the menu as well.
In terms of gastronomic dining, a phenomenal wine list and surroundings unparalleled even in Paris, Le Clarence with its friendly and welcoming team, offers you the kind of fairytale experience heretofore only a dream.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: When the occasion calls for chateau dining Le Clarence instantly transports you into that magic of French luxury and refinement, while retaining that at-home ease.
Paige’s expert tip: Fairytales do come true. That is what dining at Le Clarence will have you believe. The chateau’s decor was done by Prince Robert himself who tastefully recreated the atmosphere of his legendary Bordeaux estate here in the heart of Paris.
For those exquisite wine pairings with lunch or dinner, you are in excellent hands here with Head Sommelier Antoine Petrus. There are over 120 outstanding winemakers to choose from on the menu representing mostly French but also international wine regions. And, of course, you have your choice of all the excellent Domain Clarence Dillon vintages as well including Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion and Quintas.
Read more about Le Clarence →
Set menus come in a range of three or four services for lunch and four or seven services for dinner. Rather than being seated in one large dining room, you are seated in one of several smaller dining salons, thus adding to the air of intimate dining. Many tables have views out onto the exquisite private garden surrounding the manor.
Things to taste on the menu include ‘blue’ lobster from the Iles Chausey, pigeon de la Guerche on a bed of roses ‘eternelle’ accompanied by balsamic whipped beets. Delicate white cod served with raw slivered coconut over a fine glaze of lightly curried pumpkin purée. And the chocolate soufflé, so rich and velvety that it melts the bourbon vanilla ice cream and the créme chantilly it’s served with.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The creative flair Chef Pacaud lends to his classically interpreted cuisine, maintains Apicius as a culinary temple.
Paige’s expert tip: I don’t always recommend Michelin-starred restaurants, but this one I do, and without hesitation. Apicius has long been a culinary landmark, a Parisian temple of gastronomy, and now under Chef Pacaud’s masterful touch, you not only dine on extraordinary finesse but experience the complete and whole pleasure of haute cuisine presented with excellent, friendly, professional service. The restaurant’s bar off to the left when you enter the private manor is a good way to begin or end your meal.
Named after the Roman who wrote the first culinary book in the times of antiquity, Apicius is the Michelin-starred restaurant set apart in a world unto itself nestled in an 18th c. mansion just a few streets away from the Grand Palais. Helmed now by the young and extraordinarily accomplished Chef Mathieu Pacaud, within a year of taking over, he maintained this iconic temple of gastronomy’s Michelin star.
He and his business partner, Laurent de Gourcuff have infused this park-like setting in the center of the city with a hip, fun, dynamic ambiance while not relinquishing a shred of the establishment’s elegance.
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Located now at the Monnaie de Paris, this celebrated restaurant serves contemporary haute cuisine in a just redone – though historical – space overlooking the Seine on the Quai Conti. The Monnaie de Paris, France’s former mint, is the oldest French institution and was founded in 864 under the reign of Charles II. It offers, now, in this newest incarnation, spectacular views overlooking the Seine.
The interior design has notes of the theatrical, with tables placed just so, to capture the natural lighting. Salmon, flown in direct from Scotland, is served on its bed of ice at table, seasoned before your eyes with a triad of citrus before gingerly being sprayed with a consomm– of citrus.
One of the signature dishes you mustn’t miss is Chef Savoy’s savory use of brioche. It’s a recipe original to him and one that, with its homage to the simple mushroom, delights every time.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Chef Guy Savoy is one of France’s culinary ambassadors, hands down. This, his ultimate flagship restaurant, overlooks the Seine from its minted, majestic perch.
Paige’s expert tip: If the exquisite meal here has left you sated, and you absolutely must pass up the signature house brioche, don’t fret. Just down the street, Team Guy Savoy has opened up a Brioche Takeaway so now you purchase this lovely, doughy (sweet and savory) goodness to bring with you.
Read more about Guy Savoy →
Photo courtesy of photo by Pauline Le Goff copyright of Chef Alain Passard used with permission
When Parisians speak of Chef Alain Passard’s restaurant, Arpege, it is in hushed, reverential tones. Descriptions of meals enjoyed here invariably include mention of vegetables; also that it requires a good three hours of dining time spent at the table.
Vegetables have become, since the early 2000s, the chef’s signature. He still serves meat and his preferred method of cooking is still over an open flame, a technique his grandmother taught him. But in the past decade he adapted this talent of flamb–ing, grilling and roasting to vegetables: “Learn how to travel delicately with your pan on the open flame guaranties texture, taste, color, light and transparency with your vegetables,” declares this illustrious French chef. He maintains three of his own vegetable and herb gardens to assure the highest quality ingredients: “Between the gardeners and me, we discuss carrots and beetroot like others speak of Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc!”
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Long before ‘plant based diet’ became a buzz phrase, Chef Passard was dishing up veggies in his 3-star restaurant. They’re grown in his Normandy garden.
Paige’s expert tip: This is the only restaurant in the French capital today to manage all its own fresh vegetables, herbs as well as red and black fruit cultivation. The restaurant’s name is inspired by the chef’s second love: music. Makassar wood furnishings and Lalique crystal ware round out the clubby decor.
Read more about L’Arpège →
Some would say that to make the world’s best pizza, you must first master the crust. This is what Giuseppe, aka ‘Peppe’, Cutraro did when competing for the title, World’s Best Pizza, a title he won in 2019-20. His crust, he explains, is light and full of air, yet still soft and flavorful. It’s easy on the digestion, so that after eating an entire one of his pizzas, you don’t feel heavy.
It would seem that pretty much all of Paris agrees. Even in his expansive new Latin Quarter restaurant pizzeria that seats nearly a hundred inddors and out, reservations are a must.
His ‘Napoli’ wood-fire pizza oven firies out freshly baked Neapolitan even on the hottest days of summer. And not only did he win the title of Best, but so did his Pizzeria, named the best of 2022, and it’s right here in Paris!
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Yes, it’s true. Paris has the world’s best pizzeria, voted in 2022. And Giuseppe ‘Peppe’ Cutraro, world’s best pizza maker 2020, is its chef-owner.
Paige’s expert tip: What hits you when you first walk into this World’s Best Pizzeria (yep, look it up, winner 2022!) – besides the heavenly smells coming from the wood-fire pizza oven – is the feeling of…joy! This is a pizza restaurant where pizza is revered and elevated to its authentic position of a class unto itself. Peppe Cutraro, only 34 yrs. old, was also voted the best pizza chef for 2019-20. His use of almonds in his recipes is original and what’s surprising is how well he harmonizes all his ingredients. Go ahead, try the Champion du Monde pizza. It’s well worth it! But do leave room for dessert. The tiramisu is a delight and the Partenopeo (white chocolate, brioche and red fruits) is heavenly.
Read more about Casa di Peppe →
What do you get when a triple Michelin-starred French chef puts his mind to reinvigorating the best loved staples of roast chicken, heirloom tomatoes and exquisite sides such as hummous and freshly baked bread? You get Le Coq & Fils, The Poultry House.
With wife Patricia by his side, Chef Westermann set out to find only the absolute happiest chickens in all of France, raised with love and freedom to roam, as the base ingredient for their roast chicken here. He then sourced near-forgotten heirloom tomato seeds and had them grown into fabulously flavorful tomatoes he uses in his tomato salads. The dark bread served alongside is freshly baked and reminds you of something your great-grandmother once served you on the farm of your childhood. Fan of hummous? He’s re-imagined that as well, adding secret ingredients. In all, this is the most satisfying comfort food you’ve ever had.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Simimar to an artist like Picasso, it is fascinating to trace a 3-star Michelin chef’s evolution to mastery and re-invigoration of ‘simplest’ of dishes.
Paige’s expert tip: This restaurant is the best reason to head up to Montmartre where you can spend an afternoon at the Museum or wandering the quaint village streets before dinner or after lunch. At Le Coq & Fils you will feast on the best free range, roasted chicken you’ve ever tasted! The side dishes are equally stars, with hummous re-imagined with a blend of aubergines and a tomato salad made with a medley of at least a dozen different types of heirloom tomatoes, including pineapple.
Read more about Le Coq & Fils →