How We Select The Best Restaurants In Paris

How We Selected The Best Restaurants In Paris

"A great meal isn't the one you just had, it's the one you're still thinking about a decade later."
–Chef Frédéric Robert, La Grande Cascade

We employ exacting criteria when selecting the best restaurants in Paris. For us, it's all about special meals that deliver exceptional culinary memories — memories that stay long after the meal over, as Chef Robert describes. The Paris restaurants we select excel at all aspects of the dining experience — from the ambience, the service, the menu, and the wine to a certain je ne sais quoi — an undefinable but unique quality. Here, it is our pleasure to share our peak culinary moments in Paris.

Le Jules Verne Restaurant

Le Jules Verne

As soon as we dined at Le Jules Verne we declared it to be The Best New Restaurant in Paris and opined that it was worthy of two Michelin stars. But Michelin, in its wisdom, awarded only one star in its next guide. Five years later, Michelin has finally listened to us and has awarded the Eiffel Tower restaurant a second star.

Le Jules Verne is the restaurant that offers the best views of Paris, and that means it must be on the Eiffel Tower. Indeed, this culinary wonder of a restaurant is located 400 feet above Paris, with fabulous vistas both day and night. But we don't love it only for the view. With the place under the toque of Chef Frédéric Anton, the menu is superb; each dish is a joy. This is going to be an experience you'll never forget.

Culinary Memories in the Bois de Boulogne

La Grande Cascade exterior

In the southwest of Paris is a large park, bequeathed to the city by Emperor Napoleon III. There, in the Bois de Boulogne, you find wooded areas, a race track or two, a children's zoo, miles of trails, and one of the very best dining experiences in Paris — La Grande Cascade.

Michelin-starred Chef Frédéric Robert presides over a kitchen that consistently turns out incredible dishes. The glorious dishes are complemented by the elegant, traditional decor. The service is top-notch. One of our best dining experiences.

Le Gabriel at Hotel La Réserve

Le Gabriel

This top-tier restaurant at one of the the most impressive luxury hotels in Paris won two stars in the Michelin Guide during its first year. That's an unusual achievement, but possible when you have an innovative chef who does wonders with Japanese-French fusion dishes.

You'd think that being located in the 8th Arrondissement, just off the busy Champs-Elysées, would be anything but calm. To the contrary, Le Gabriel is an oasis of serenity and sophistication. Dine here for perfect service and an ambience created by attention to detail.

David Toutain

David Toutain

Stepping into this modern, clean, minimalist restaurant is like stepping into a coffee house in Stockholm. (Or so we imagine.) The food, too, might be described clean and modern… but also innovative and striking. In the 7th Arrondissement we sat down to chaud/froid eggs with a flourish of cream and maple; white squid cut like long noodles full of the flavor of spring; and pigeon served two ways. Try David's modern restaurant when you're in the mood for something new, fresh, and absolutely delicious.

Les Climats

Restaurant Les Climats, photo by Mark Craft

A temple to the wine of Burgundy, Les Climats, the impressive Art Deco restaurant with young chef Emmanuel Kouri at the helm, is turning out carefully constructed, delicious French classics, like lievre à la royale and ris de veau. But, there are also fresh, light offerings featuring lobster, sardines, scallops, and line-caught bass with unique, modern flavors and flourishes. We have many fond memories of our meal here, but even amongst all that goodness one dish stands out — the towering soufflé. Les Climats remains among our very favorites.

Pierre Gagnaire

Pierre Gagnaire

Dining at Pierre Gagnaire's eponymous restaurant near l'Arc de Triomphe is another one of those culinary experiences you're never going to forget; something you'll be talking about for years.

Gagnaire has held three Michelin stars at this restaurant for the entire span of this century to date, and for good reason. Not only are the setting, room and service superb, but each and every plate astounds you with its creativity and bursts of flavor. The last time we were at Pierre Gagnaire there must have been seven tiny dessert courses, served one after the other, each one more amazing than the last.

Epicure at Le Bristol

Epicure at Hotel Le Bristol

We've been following Chef Eric Frechon since he had his own small restaurant in the 19th Arrondissement, La Verriere de Eric Frechon. Since then we've watched the young man grow into a mature chef at Hotel Bristol Paris, earning three Michelin stars as well as a decoration from the President of France.

The elegantly decorated restaurant, Epicure, looks out on the hotel's spacious and lovely courtyard; the bank of French doors is thrown open in the summertime.

Jacques Faussat

Jacques Faussat

This hidden restaurant gem is found in a quiet corner of the 17th Arrondissement, north of Parc Monceau — a place few tourists ever wander. Go for the restaurant's off-the-beaten-path location, go for the Basque-inspired cuisine, go for the attentive service, and, most of all, go for the intensely delicious food created by Michelin-starred Chef Jacques Faussat. How could this not be a favorite?

Le Cinq (Le V)

Le Cinq

Just as at a spa, a meal here can revive your senses. As soon as you are seated in this majestic restaurant in Paris, a bevy of handsome people are there to attend to your every need. A chair for your feet? A stool for your handbag? We were seated near the window and felt a slight chill. In an instant, our server arrived with a cashmere pashmina (color coordinated with the room, of course) and wrapped it gently around our shoulders. Le V has held three Michelin stars for more than a dozen consecutive years. Reservations recommended.


Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos

It's not often that we have the culinary endurance for a multi-course tasting lunch menu, but for our readers we're willing to try anything! So it was that on a summer day in August we spent the afternoon in Jean-Louis Nomicos' bright, sunny restaurant sampling our way around his interpretation of Mediterranean cuisine. And it was time well spent.

Alain Ducasse at Le Meurice

Le Meurice

Most of the meals we've eaten at Le Meurice were created by Chef Yannick Alléno, and they were truly memorable. The dining room, by famed French designer Philippe Starck, is itself a wonder. Chef Yannick has moved on, but über-chef Alain Ducasse has moved in, appended his name to the restaurant and, seemingly overnight, gathered up two Michelin stars. At Le Meurice, a meal orchestrated by Ducasse and Chef Amaury Bouhours seems downright magical.

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