We Huffingtons are asked on a regular basis to recommend our favorite Paris restaurants. And this year, my bosses told me that I had to update the list so that we could provide our friends and clients with an easy reference. But oh mon dieu, zis is tres difficile, since we love so many restaurants!
After much discussion (over many delicious meals!), we decided that the most helpful way to approach this arduous task is to assume you’re in Paris for a week. You wouldn’t want to eat a 3-star michelin meal every day and night but you would want to sample different types of restaurants. So we’ve put together our own wish list of restaurants if we had only ten meals in Paris. Oh and just a little caveat: Because we usually stay in “7th Heaven” (the lovely 7th Arrondissement), and because we are creatures of habit who love to walk home after a delicious meal, you may find this list to be a little seventh-centric. We have branched out un peu, but why go too far, when we have some of the best restaurants in the world in our very own ‘hood?
So here goes:
#10: Cafe Constant: Admittedly the most casual of the group, this is an old stand-by for anyone in the 7th. It’s the local restaurant that is packed day and night, and that offers fabulous fare at fantastic prices. Everything we’ve ever eaten here was “lick your plate” yummy comfort food. A rich reward after a hard day of walking and shopping!
9. Le Relais de l’Entrecote: All I have to do is look at the picture of the steak frites at L’Entrecote, and the rest is history. There’s nothing like this sassy, crowded restaurant, where your only decision is how to cook your steak. The sauce is remarkable, the frites are the best you’ve ever tasted, and we’ve even discovered a delicious flourless chocolate cake that makes the entire experience divine. Tip: Line up on the street at 6:45 to get in to the 7 p.m. seating. And there are several versions of this restaurant around town. Our fave is on the rue Marbeuf.
8. Le Grand Colbert. For the quintessential Parisian experience, you need the uber bistrot experience. And Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves had it right at Le Grand Coldbert! The food is fine, but the ambiance is what sets this place apart. Go with the most traditional fare, and revel in the surroundings. It’s a real Parisian treat!
# 7: Le Violon d’Ingres: This is chef Christian Constant’s flagship restaurant, from which all the mini Constant’s have evolved. A dear friend took us to le Violin d’Ingres over twelve years ago, and although the restaurant has gone through many renovations and facelifts since then, it has stayed true to its core of offering superb food and service in a quietly elegant setting. Our friends at Paris Perfect have written a nice blog about Christian Constant, here.
# 6: Il Vino: Last year, I was given another tough assignment: To pick a new birthday-worthy restaurant in Paris. After weeks of late night research, I came up with a great new concept restaurant that paired wines with food. Actually, the whole restaurant is based around wine and called, Il Vino, and although wine is the hero here, all the restaurant’s ratings were equally complimentary about the food. By the way, I had trouble opening the restaurant’s website, so I linked to the Michelin star site. Note that a one star Michelin (out of 3) is actually an excellent rating … but that’s the subject of a whole other blog!
We had a fabulous meal here and particularly loved the black glass which masked the color of the wine. Who knew? We found it impossible to tell if it was white, red or pink! Here is a well written and cute blog (called a Good Forking!) about this restaurant: .
#5: Spring: I’ve been thrilled with the recent trend of seeing American chefs take over the helm of French restaurants. I love our two cultures and I love that by combining them, we get the best of the best. (I’ve often said that Americans do French decor better than the French, but where would they be if the French hadn’t been there first to influence them?) Daniel Rose’s Spring has a huge following for a tiny restaurant, and I can see why. The Chicago-born chef cooks out in the open in the most well managed, clean and organized kitchen and creates superb contrasts of flavors and tastes. This could easily be #1 on my list and sometimes it is. It’s just that there are so many others to choose from ….!
#4: L’Ami Jean. Our next choice has been a longtime favorite, so much so that we’ve actually devoted an entire blog at one time to its magnificent rice pudding dessert:
We love this boisterous, friendly, rough around the edges, knocking elbows with your neighbors and being bff’s by the end of the meal kind of restaurant! And that’s because the food here, which is simple bistrot fare with a Basque influence is absolutely divine. The decor is eclectic and very informal, and it may take a little adjusting to the menu and the surroundings. But watch out: You will be seduced and enraptured after the very first bite!
OK, so now what? With my self-inflicted 10 limit rule, I’m down to my top three slots for all of our favorite restaurants in Paris. And that’s a tough job! Tough enough for another blog!
PS Visit our top 3 Paris Restaurants, right here.