You can argue whether France is the culinary capital of the world or whether this title belongs to another nation, but one thing is not up for debate – if we want to eat well, France is one of the first destinations. This is where the most famous chefs come from, where the richness of regional cuisines is breathtaking, it is the French who set the tone for the world’s gastronomic trends, and it was there that the most prestigious restaurant guide, Michelin, was born, whose stars are the highest honor and a guarantee that the premises will be full for several months in advance.
If we consider France to be the world’s capital of gastronomy, then Paris brings together all of the best things that we can get to eat there. So if we do not have the money for a culinary trip across the entire country, let’s go to Paris and try everything that the French chefs have to offer. Below are 9 suggested places where we can try something. In some, tables must be reserved in advance, others we can walk into from the street and wait a few minutes, which is not so terrible when we have a drink in hand and after a short while the waiter leads us to our spot and hands us a menu.
For starters, a place that is considered by some experts as one of the best French restaurants. I’m talking about La Chateaubriand, which is headed by the sort of crazy, eccentric, but holding everything that’s going on in the place under control, Inaki Aizpitarte.
Situated in the 11th district, slightly away from the tourist trails, it resembles an inconspicuous bistro. Lightly scratched tables without tablecloths, we will not even get the ever popular paper placemats under our plates. But we quickly stop paying attention to it because more courses are arriving onto the table and we arrive at the culinary paradise conjured by chef Inaki. What’s nice is that in the off season you can come in from the street and get a table. The bill does not ruin your wallet either, though of course it is not for every pocket.
If we do not enjoy a slightly laid-back atmosphere, we can surround ourselves with splendor. The world-famous luxury crystal maker, Maison Baccarat, bought the residence “Hotel de Marie-Laure de Noailes”. About halfway between the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, at 11 Place des Etats-Unis is the exclusive Cristal Room Baccarat restaurant. Phillippe Starck, who we all associate with a classic citrus squeezer, was invited to do the interior design. The owners did not take money into account and created something of decadent splendor.
Wealth is obvious from the beginning, so that we begin to taste the surroundings with our eyes right from the entrance. The restaurant is headed by world-famous chef Guy Martin. The prices of main courses are not low and range from 30 to 50 euros, so if you want to eat there, you need to prepare for some more serious expenses – appetizer, main course, dessert and some alcohol is about 100 euros per person. If we do not have such a budget but we would still love to eat there, we can opt for the lunch menu for around 30 euros. They say that it’s worth going there at least once in a lifetime.
Guy Martin has another proposition for us. At another very famous Paris address is his next restaurant, Le 68 Guy Martin. The address is known from the famous Guerlain perfume shop: 68 avenue des Champs-Elysees, the most famous street in Paris. The restaurant is located, let’s say, in the basement and in it, the worlds of gastronomy and perfume meet. Thanks to this, we can experience a multi sensual experience.
The place was designed by New York architect Peter Marino and during our visit to Le 68, we are surrounded by a world of sensual scents, a fantastic interior and refined dishes on our table. Guy Martin and his partner, Thierry Wasseur, took a year to design and develop a surprising menu based on Guerlain’s scents. Prices are higher than average, but they are not terrifying, for a dish from the menu we will usually pay about 40 euros.
Charles Garnier’s dream was to allow the Parisian opera audience to eat an exquisite meal. The challenge was great because the restaurant had to be arranged in such a manner so that it would not interfere with the walls of this architectural masterpiece. Thanks to the unique talent of Odile Decq, now Parisians and tourists visiting this city can enjoy a meal in these noble interiors.
Chef Chihiro Yamazaki skillfully uses seasonal regional products. The menu of the L’Opera restaurant is divided into III acts. Act I is an appetizer, for which we pay 10-20 euros. In act II main courses (up to 30 euros) enter onto the stage, while in the third, desserts, whose prices do not exceed 15 euros.
Dans le Noir is an unusual place, since it has been serving meals for over 12 years in total darkness. Now, of course, this is nothing new, as there are a number of establishments specialized in this type of business, but Dans le Noir was one of the first restaurants of its kind, and then it was an extravagant and courageous step. Because really? I won’t see what I’m going to eat? Of course, the idea is that when we turn off the vision, we sharpen the remaining senses, making the taste experience more complete, more expressive. We are taken to our table by someone who is blind, the menu is a surprise, because our task is to recognize the flavors and tastes. Of course, the menu takes into account any allergies or special diets that a customer may have. The average menu price is around 55-60 euros, the most expensive tasting set is a cost of around 100 euros.
1 Place Vendome in the Vendome Hotel on Vendome Square 1 is a very chic place, designed by Michele Bonan. Velour sofas, silk curtains and satin, pink cushions. Everything is elegant, one even begins to wonder whether it is for sitting or looking at. The young and very talented Josselin Marie offers us elegant, classic French cuisine. Of course, the menu is laid out seasonally and no one offers us frozen asparagus in the middle of winter.
The quality is first class. A reservation is necessary because it is one of the most popular restaurants in Paris at the moment. Also keep in mind that the restaurant is closed all throughout August. Prices? Well, they are not among the lowest, the average price of a meal from the menu is about 80 euros, a tasting menu is an expenditure of 90 euros.
Well, what if we wanted to eat in an elegant and good restaurant, but we do not want to spend so much on one meal that we have to shorten our stay in Paris by two days. I can propose the bistro Au Bougnat, where we can eat everything that we associate with French cuisine. All of this in nice, warm surroundings. In the heart of the historical center of Paris. Do you like it?
Au Bougnat offers great quality meals at a reasonable price. Appetizers within 10 euros, main courses do not exceed 20 euros, desserts under 10 euros. A set consisting of an appetizer, main course and dessert can be bought for 25-30 euros.
And for the total and passionate carnivores, I have one of the coolest American diners in Paris. There are some appetizers, there are traditional American desserts, but the most important part of My Pop’s cuisine is French beef converted into steaks and burgers. This is not my kind of cuisine, but My Pop is a new trendy point on the gastronomic map of Paris and it’s hard not to mention it. Especially since we will pay a little more for a steak than in Warsaw. A T-Bone with a side (french fries!) is less than 25 euros, New York steak less than 18 euros. We will pay more for their flagship MyPop hamburger – 26 euros. We also get a fantastic view of the Seine for free. Another cool place to eat where we will not have to spend all of our money.
Last but not least, I left the nice, elegant restaurant Bouillon Chartier. Among many others in Paris, it stands out because it has over a hundred years of history. In 1896 the brothers Camille and Lucien Chartier came up with a simple business idea. They thought to open a place where people will get good meals and good service at reasonable prices. For more than a hundred years, the formula has not changed – friendly, somewhat old-fashioned dressed waiters (those long black aprons!) swing between the long tables, efficiently handling the crowds of customers. The dishes offered are scrumptious and cost… from 10 to 20 euros.
The restaurant is large, over three hundred guests can fit inside, but in spite of its large capacity, there are such large crowds that we can expect to wait in a queue. Especially during lunch time.