The Top 5 Places to Eat in Paris
8 July 2016
Don’t Miss a Treat with Our Guide to Fine Dining in the Gastronomic Capital of the World
Paris is the gastronomic capital of the world. The French are renowned for not just knowing their way around the kitchen, but doing it with such finesse that it’s become an art form. If you’re an aspiring chef, learning at a Parisian restaurant is a rite of passage, and you won’t be taken seriously until you’ve perfected a roux, twizzled a tuille and stacked a croquembouche. The French capital is home to the largest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants on the planet so there’s absolutely no excuse – or even much chance – of a disappointing meal when you’re in the city. Here’s our quick guide to five of the best options, all within easy distance of Amarante Beau Manoir.
Number 1: Pierre Gagnaire at Hotel Balzac
6 Rue Balzac, 75008 Paris, France
For classic French dining with a modern twist – and without the hefty prices of its neighbours - visitors have to sample the menu at Pierre Gagnaire. The chef’s mantra regarding food is ‘facing tomorrow but respectful of yesterday’ and it leads everything they create at the restaurant. Guests get an idea of what matters here from the moment they cross the threshold: innovation, passion, quality, modernity… but with plenty of nods to the traditional fare we have come to associate with France.
There’s a lunchtime menu, kept beautifully simple by only offering one or two options for each course. With food this outstanding though, there’s nothing to fear when it comes to unusual or unfamiliar flavourings – just go with it. A starter, fish course, main and dessert sound a lot for a lunchtime, but the food is always perfectly balanced, beautifully presented and never over-facing. Current examples of the lunchtime options are: Pascaline of whitefish, summer white truffles and slow-simmered sweet onions caramelized with Banyuls wine; Green pepper ice cream, gelified tarragon infusion, parmesan cheese and gnocchi vert; Farm veal brisket braised with mace; before finishing with a dessert of small baba made with aged rum, and served with a marmalade of dried fruits and fresh blackcurrants, alongside sorbet Noir. After lunch, you’ll certainly feel reenergised to head out for an afternoon of sightseeing in the city.
If you think these dishes sound exquisite, the dinner Carte menu steps up the celebration of flavour combinations and interesting textures once more. Examples include: Squid ring spiced with Timut pepper and Violine vegetables; Fillet of John Dory covered with jelly that’s been perfumed with star anise flowers from Vietnam and served with red tuna Rouge, cucumber, watermelon and galia melon flavoured with Campari; Lamb loin from the Aveyron region rubbed with oregano and served with a summer crumble that features shortbread covered garlic cloves, chorizo and cebette onion. While dessert options include crunchy millefeuille served with cream flavoured with holly berry brandy, caramelized almonds and hazelnuts, and garnished with nasturtium leaves. Pierre Gagnaire prides himself on sourcing local and national ingredients, supporting French producers and celebrating the native food of his homeland. This is the kind of dining you imagine when you picture Paris – white table cloths, an experienced French chef and delicious food, prepared with pride and passion.
The restaurant can be found at 6 Rue Balzac, less than a 20 minute journey by Metro from Amarante Beau Manoir. Afterwards, take a stroll along nearby Avenue des Champs-Élysées to window shop and take in the sights of the Arc de Triomphe.
Number 2: La Truffière
4 rue Blainville, 75005 Paris, France
Set in an ancient inn, this venue offers the perfect blend of rustic, historic charm and modern, clean lines with sparkling silverware. The converted cellars offer a beautiful, cosy alcove to guests dining downstairs, while upstairs, visitors can enjoy the creaking beams and red bricks of the original 17th century tavern. There’s nothing coarse about the dining here though; the local, seasonal dishes are cooked with integrity and love, presented just the way you’d hope French fine dining would be.
There are Lunchtime, Market and Inspiration menus available at La Truffière – the lunchtime menu is 32€ for two courses or 40€ for three, whilst the five-course Inspiration menu with wine included costs 135€. Some examples of the delectable dishes you can try here are: poached quail eggs with Parma ham, Broceliande snails and nettle cream; milk-fed and roasted half-pigeon, with confit leg, sweetbreads and an oyster; and fish of the day with chervil sauce, fish and saffron ravioli, mini ratatouille, beetroot and samphire. Of course, the restaurant’s namesake – truffles – feature in the menu and are even given their own exclusive menu on request – though guests must be prepared to pay a lot more for this treat.
This gorgeous, intimate restaurant is only 20 minutes travel from the hotel and in this lively district of the city there are many bars to have a final nightcap before wandering the streets or catching the Metro home after your meal.
Number 3: Boutique Yam’Tcha
4 Rue Sauval, 75001 Paris, France
Less than 20 minutes from Amarante Beau Manoir, by public transport and a short walk, is Chinese teahouse, Boutique Yam’Tcha. While a Chinese meal might not appear at the top of diners’ typical eatery lists on a visit to Paris, this restaurant offers fresh, fragrant and modern cuisine that must not be missed.
This eatery regularly comes out on the top of restaurant lists in Paris and whilst the food is undeniably inspired by the Far-East, the love and craftsmanship, as well as some flavour combinations, are distinctively French. The South-East Asian aspects of the menu recognise the French occupation of countries like China, Laos and Vietnam in the 18th century, and celebrate the fusion dining that resulted. Specialising in the Chinese and Taiwanese dish, bao buns, there is nowhere better in central Paris to get your fix of delicious, authentic and comforting cuisine.
The steamed buns – bao – come in authentic flavours, such as sticky pork, but the chef is also experimental, using local, European produce. You might try the stilton cheese and amarena cherries bun, the potato with bergamot, or the minced pork with aubergine and chilli – Sichuan style. Other than buns, however, there are plenty of delicious fusion dishes to sample, such as fresh appetizers of samphire, wild asparagus and smoked bottarga. You can follow it with an incredible plate of morel mushrooms dusted with dahlia petals, given a touch of acidity from the fuyu (fermented soybean paste) and creaminess from the warm and extremely tender poached foie gras. There’s also Périgord pork filet mignon and bok choy, livened by a black rice vinegar sauce. To finish, there are sweet brioche buns combining exotic, eastern flavours such as stewed pineapple with passion fruit or French rhubarb and raspberry.
Attached to the restaurant is the original tea house, run by the husband of the chef – there are more teas here than you could possibly try so perhaps request to try something totally different – asking him which teas you aren’t likely to get your hands on elsewhere.
Number 4: La Poule au Pot
9 Rue Vauvilliers, 75001 Paris, France
Since it opened in 1935, La Poule au Pot – or Chicken in the Pot – has been home to some of the most delicious cuisine in Paris. A converted market hall in Les Halles, the restaurant is part of the proud culinary history of Paris. This district was once the hub of French food, boasting a labyrinth of fresh fish, meat and vegetable stalls since the 12th century. The markets have since moved to Forum des Halles but some of the city’s most popular eateries have remained in these parts.
Some of the most authentic, rustic French dishes can be found at La Poule au Pot – not the delicate or pretty dishes you might find at the most upmarket venues around the city, but delicious and wholesome nonetheless. This menu is comfort food of the most delicious kind: goats cheese on toast, baked eggs with fois gras, fried Camembert with cherry jam, steak tartare, duck confit, salmon with Champagne beurre blanc and, of course, the original poule au pot recipe. To finish – if there’s room after those rich flavours – diners can enjoy crème brûlée, tarte tatin with cream and calvados or prunes stewed in wine and tea.
Just a 20 minute Metro ride from Amarante Beau Manoir, this restaurant is not to be missed by those in search of genuine, hearty French cuisine. Take a wander around the Nelson Mandela gardens after dinner or find one of the many trendy bars in the Les Halles district for some live music or a few drinks before calling it a night.
Number 5: Penati al Baretto
9-11 Rue Balzac, 75008 Paris, France
If it’s Michelin-starred, Italian fare you fancy on a night out in Paris, there’s only one place to head: Penati al Baretto. Just 20 minutes from Amarante Beau Manoir, Penati al Baretto is a stunning restaurant, which is all at once chic and homely; the tablecloths are white, the flowers fresh and the décor warm toned. Service is excellent, with bar and waiting staff friendly and knowledgeable about the dishes they serve – recommending what they think you might like if requested. Headed by renowned chef Alberico Penati, the kitchen prides itself on the clean, understated and flavoursome cuisine championed by the Italians but with incredible, unexpected twists and flair.
Guests can enjoy dishes such as John Dory fish served Venetian style with glasswort and speck; stuffed courgette flowers, fried and served with sweet and sour sauce; sardine spaghetti; asparagus risotto; braised cuttlefish or veal piccata with asparagus, broad beans and rocket. For a sweet finish, diners can enjoy fresh white peaches with Moscato and Amoretto; toasted hazelnuts with chocolate Gianduiotto or Sgroppino Veneziano – lemon sorbet with vodka and prosecco… a boozy end to a delectable dinner.
Close to the Avenue Champs-Élysées, this spot is sophisticated, distinguished and always surprising. After dinner, wander the famous boulevard, and enjoy sightseeing before you turn homeward. Paris offers a wealth of exquisite dining experiences, but hopefully this guide offers useful insight to some of the best…
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