Paris is arguably the best food city in the world. Yet dining in a gastronomic capital that’s brimming with boulangeries, pâtisseries, bistrots and brasseries can be just slightly overwhelming. To make planning for your next trip a little more manageable, we compiled the advice of our favorite chefs and authors to create a chef’s guide to Paris restaurants.
We asked each one of them where they would eat if they were given just one meal in Paris. As it turns out, after much deliberation, everyone had a strong opinion to share, from our favorite Francophile cookbook authors to members of the Williams-Sonoma Chefs’ Collective to some of the leading chefs in fine dining today. After much deliberation, here are their answers.
Thomas Keller’s Pick: Taillevent
“This restaurant has had such a tremendous impact on my career. If I could have anything the restaurant’s served over the years, I would order the Boudin de Homard for the first course, the Selle d’Agneau en Rogonnade for the entrée, and for dessert, the Marquise au Chocolat covered in pistachio sauce.”
Taillevent, 15 Rue Lamennais, 75008 Paris
Eric Ripert’s Pick: Guy Savoy
“If I had just one meal in Paris I would go to Guy Savoy. He’s a great chef. I love his style and have been a fan of what he does for many years.” Guy Savoy, 11 quai de Conti, 75006 Paris
(Photo credit: Nigel Parry)
Ludo Lefebvre’s Pick: Le Chateaubriand
“My first meal at Le Chateaubriand about eight years ago became a changing point in my career and my way of thinking as a chef. Inaki Aizpitarte, the chef, was putting out the most incredible food in a bistro setting without any froufrou. The restaurant in my mind was, and still is, the definition of the French bistronomy movement. It is a set menu, so no choice. But when a chef is this great, you should always just trust the chef and eat what is put in front of you. I try to eat there every time I go to Paris.” Le Chateaubriand, 129 Avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris
April Bloomfield’s Pick: Restaurant Allard
“I remember a place called Restaurant Allard with wonderful food. I went there with Fergus [Henderson] and we had a whole guinea fowl, lentils and noodles with a great table wine.” Restaurant Allard, 41 Rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris
Matthew Jennings’ Pick: Ribouldingue
This restaurant offers everything I love about Parisian dining. Ribouldingue is so simple in its structure and approach; that’s why I love it. Chef and owner Nadège Varigny spent ten years working with Yves Camdeborde before opening this restaurant inspired by the food of her childhood in Grenoble. Typically packed with artists, writers, chefs and others who desire that simple, honest fare, such as daube de boeuf or seared tuna on a bed of melting eggplant. There’s lots of offal here that is seasonally prepared, as well as a very special selection of farmhouse cheeses simply paired with honeys, breads and nuts. Ribouldingue, 10 Rue Saint-Julien le Pauvre, 75005 Paris
Josh Harris’ Pick: Au Passage
I absolutely love this restaurant. It is boisterous, convivial, and warm. All the guests are having a blast and the energy is infectious. I feel like I’m being hosted when I’m there. The food and the wine just comes and comes. In regards to a specific dish, there is no way to choose…. and the menu changes so frequently that it would be impossible to make a recommendation. But I’d say go with a group so you can order as much off of that evening’s menu as possible. The last time I was there, there was a bowl of mussels with in a broth with “lait de coco” and coriander that was absolutely to die for! Sop of the rest of the broth with a piece of baguette and you’ll be very happy. Au Passage, 1 bis, Passage Saint-Sébastien, 75011 Paris
David Lebovitz’s Pick: A la Biche au Bois
“For a classic French meal, I would go to A la Biche au Bois, a non-assuming traditional restaurant. I would start with œufs mayonnaise, hard boiled eggs with a crown of Dijon-accented mayo. Because their specialty is game, I would see what was in season—be is venison, grouse or partridge—and order that. They do those kinds of dishes well, delivering them to the table in a well-used enameled casserole, often with a dish of steaming-hot potatoes. For dessert, I’m a fan of floating island, which isn’t for everyone, but I love it. It’s a bowl of cold custard with poached meringue floating in the middle and some lashings of caramel sauce.” A la Biche au Bois, 45 Avenue Ledru-Rollin, 75012 Paris
Rachel Khoo’s Pick: Bistro Paul Bert
“That’s pretty impossible to answer, but if I had one meal I would probably go to Bistrot Paul Bert. It’s a French bistro and you’ll find all the classic bistro dishes on the menu there (they change slightly accordingly to the seasons and what is available at the market). I would order foie de veau (thinly sliced veal’s liver with caramelized onions) with a fresh green salad dressed in simple french vinaigrette and some crunchy baguette to mop up the juices. A cheese plate to follow and finish off with a Paris-Brest, a choux pastry ring filled with praline pastry cream.” Le Bistro Paul Bert, 18 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris
(Photo credit: David Loftus)
I was looking for the Menu for “a French Dinner with the Cook’s Atelier, I cannot find it.
Hi Barbara: You can find more on that dinner here: https://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/open-kitchen/open-kitchen-the-cooks-atelier/ and here: https://blog.williams-sonoma.com/the-cooks-atelier-recipes/
There are so many good meals , even in the cantines such as morue avec puree gratinee hum hum hum , I was about 10 or 12 years old when I ate this dish in school could not duplicate it , or a simple salade with hot vinaigrette and lardons . Looking forward to the new inovations in the States with fromages …..