Tuesday, March 25, 2014


A friend of mine asked me recently about restaurants in Paris. She wanted me to recommend a few places to try out while she visited Paris. My first advice to her was not to walk into a cafe or a restaurant that you happen to just walk by. I always plan ahead and decide where to eat my meals at the start of the day or sometimes a few days ahead if its hard to get a reservation in a restaurant. So here are some of my favorite places to eat in Paris.

Most hotels offer breakfast along with the room reservation. One can expect croissants, bread rolls, preserves, cereals, eggs to order, yogurt and fruits. If you step out of your hotel without eating breakfast, Paul is a good place to grab a quick bite on your way to a museum or other tourist destinations. Paul boulangeries are dotted all around Paris and you can easily find one in the neighborhood you are staying in.

Clockwise from top left: Seared scallops with string potatoes and XO sauce, Watercress soup with Sea Urchins, Aromatic broth with Oysters, Seabass with seaweed and Seared beef with Bok choy at Yamt'cha

For lunch, I highly recommend the restaurant Yamt'cha. It is a one-Michelin star restaurant and I would say the food and experience here is better than some of the 3-Michelin star restaurants. Chef Adeline Grattard draws inspiration from her culinary training in Hong Kong and the result is a delightful offering of French Cuisine with very subtle Asian influences. The lunch menu is a usually a 6 course tasting menu accompanied by teas or wine. The guests are asked about their meat preferences and allergies at the start of the meal. It is a surprise menu, you never know what you are getting until the plate is placed in front of you. I have eaten here twice and not a single dish has been disappointing. The desserts are also surprisingly light and refreshing and you won't feel stuffed when you walk out of the restaurant after lunch. It is the perfect place for lunch as the meal is light and you will be all set and ready with a good appetite for your dinner reservation at 8pm.

         Goat cheese with Honey and Olive oil & Meringue with passion fruit and plum puree, Almond sorbet at Yamt'cha

If you are in the Eiffel Tower neighborhood sight-seeing, a good place to stop by for lunch would be Cafe Constant. Chef Christian Constant owns 3 different restaurants, all of them on Rue Saint-Dominique, not far from the Eiffel Tower. They do not take reservations at Cafe Constant and if you plan to have an early lunch, it is easy to find a table at the start of lunch service.

Prawn tart & Guinea fowl with Cous cous at Cafe Constant

As you sight-see and shop around Paris, if you are looking for coffee and a light snack in the evening, Fauchon is a good place to stop by. After a cafe latte and a macaroon or one of their eclairs you are good to carry on shopping in Printemps, Lafayette or the stores on St. Honore street.

Sugary goodness at Fauchon

There are a few options for dinner and a lot depends on how adventurous you are. A great way to spend an evening in Paris with a friend or your spouse is to go to one of the wine bars. These bars serve good wine and cocktails along with delicious gourmet small plates. A few glasses of wine and small plates over an engaging conversation will definitely make for a fun night out in Paris. Some of the tried and tested bars are Le Mary Celeste, Frenchie Bar A Wins and Ver Jus Wine Bar.

Le Mary Celeste is run by Chef Hann who is originally from Canada and he has picked up a flare for International flavors, particularly Asian flavours during his stint in Korea and other places around the world. I recommend that you try the cocktail Rain dog and a couple of small plates from their ever-changing menu. Even the vegetarian small plates are surprisingly tasty and delightful.

Cocktails and small plates at Le Mary Celeste

The restaurant, Frenchie in Paris is one tough place to make a reservation. I almost got calluses in my fingers trying to dial their number to make a reservation, about 2 years ago. So a great option to taste renowned chef Gregory Marchand's culinary magic is to step into the Frenchie bar as they do not take reservations. It can be tough to get a table in the bar as well but you can order a glass of wine and hang around the bar counter while waiting for a table to free up. The food here is definitely worth the wait.

Cava, Crab and Avocado canneloni, Burrata & Cep mushrooms at Frenchie Bar a Vins

Ver Jus Wine Bar  is run by the American duo Braden and Laura, the couple behind the highly popular Hidden Kitchen. They have graduated from running a private kitchen out of their apartment into setting up a restaurant and a wine bar. The small plates menu here is also very interesting and eclectic. The duck meatballs were bursting with flavors and I still remember them very vividly from my visit here last year.

Cava, Hummus & Duck meatballs at Verjus Wine bar

If you are not feeling too adventurous and are looking for a quiet place to have a hearty meal, I recommend the Maison de la Truffe. There are a couple of locations and if you are a big fan of truffles as I am, look no further.

Pork Tenderloin with Mornay sauce, Ravioli with summer truffles and truffled cream & Baguette with the world's best Black Truffle Oil

If you have not made a reservation in any of the restaurants and you are not looking to walk or ride very far from your hotel, its a good idea to ask the Hotel concierge to recommend a good restaurant in the neighborhood. Their recommendations usually turn out good and they will be happy to make a reservation on your behalf as well.

From my personal experience, most of the restaurants I have walked into randomly for a meal have turned out rather disappointing. Especially on Champs-Elysees, if you have been out shopping all day and you are too tired to go looking for a restaurant, do not make the mistake of walking into one of the restaurants randomly. They may seem very crowded and popular but I think its full of tourists who are just looking to get a quick bite before calling it a day.

I hope my recommendations above help you in having a tasty and wonderful time in Paris, as I always do! Bon Appetite!