Perhaps Paris is still the culinary capital of the world, but you’ll never know for sure until you check out these posh Parisian plates. Plus, if you have a thing for Michelin stars and thousands-of-euros-a-pop for every popped champagne bottle (like me), you’ll be right at home amongst the opulence.
It’s only fair to start things off with the dreamiest Paris restaurant in existence. Attached to the luxury hotel of the same name, Le Meurice has two Michelin stars, one of the best pastry chefs organizing their dessert menu and their afternoon tea (Cedric Grolet), and a truly gorgeous dining room emblematic of the Louvre. You know, that thing across the street. We’re talking marble walls, gold frilly trim, and delicate rococo paintings as far as the eye can see. The food is a posh multi-course affair, and again, the desserts are as close to divine as humanly possible. Is it expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. We’d expect noting less from Alain Ducasse…
ADDRESS: 228 Rue de Rivoli (1st arr.)
MÉTRO: Concorde (lines 1, 8, 12) or Palais-Royale-Musée du Louvre (lines 1, 7)
DEETS: weekend breakfast only, breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea, iconic, posh, in the Michelin Guide, classic French, old school cool, worth the flight, worth the bankruptcy, MOF, awards for days
Despite the delightful strawberries-and-cream dining room, the breathtakingly lush outdoor terrace, and the ritzy hotel locale close to all things Eiffel, Epicure is a restaurant all about the food. With three Michelin stars, Epicure has more than earned its hefty price tag and it serves a menu of passably familiar French fancy food. Like foie gras and veal, cooked with far less familiar ingredients and methods such as the Bresse farm hen poached in a bladder, or the blue lobster served with candied eggplant and coral dressing. There’s even a show-stopping dessert menu created by an in-house pastry chef considered one of the best in Paris that features items such as freshly-harvested honey served on pollen shortbread, or sugar-spun cherries filled with pistachio cream.
Dining at Epicure pretty much guarantees a swift kick outside your culinary comfort zone, and almost definitely a spot as the best-tasting meal of your trip, if not your life; well-worth the resulting bankruptcy.
ADDRESS: 112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (8th arr.)
Okay, stop scrolling. This is as good (and as expensive) as it’s going to get. The Restaurant Guy Savoy has three Michelin stars and was voted the best restaurant in the world (not Paris, world) by the French rating company La Liste in 2020. For starters, the locale is incredible: The Restaurant Guy Savoy is steps from the Seine and located up a red-carpet-laden grand staircase in the Monnaie de Paris (the old Paris mint that has been refurbished into a space with museums, shops, and restaurants). As for the supposed finest meal in the world (no pressure), prepare yourself for some breathtakingly presented, incredible tasting food including dishes such as artichoke and black truffle soup, dry-ice cooked salmon, caviar and wagyu beef aplenty, and a mysterious dessert dish simply called “apples…”.
At, quite realistically, upwards of €500 a pop (they verify your credit card information before you can even complete your reservation), dining at Guy Savoy is well worth, and possibly pricier than, the flight to Paris. But if you can’t quite make the trip, there’s always the Las Vegas location.
ADDRESS: Monnaie de Paris, 11 Quai de Conti (6th arr.)
MÉTRO: Pont Neuf (line 7) or Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame (line 4)
HOW TO BOOK: online (months and months in advance tbh)
NUMBER: +33 1 43 80 40 61
DEETS: lunch, dinner, Haute French, classic French, awards for days, MOF, in the Michelin Guide, worth the flight, worth the bankruptcy, closed Sundays, view of the Seine
Le Jules Verne
All things considered, the Jules Verne has a terrible view of the Eiffel Tower. It has a fantastic view of Paris though, and at a cool 400 feet in the air, it’s certainly the closest any gastronome in Paris will get to literal haute cuisine. Le Jules Verne is as expensive as it is close to the Eiffel Tower, but the swanky dining room and truly incomparable viewing experience more than make up for it.
ADDRESS: Avenue Gustave Eiffel (7th arr.)
MÉTRO:Bir-Hakeim (line 6) or Trocadero (lines 6, 9) if you don’t mind a longer walk with the most spectacular view in the world
Le Cinq has a dining room full to the brim with Louis XIV-era memorabilia and a wannabe Versailles vibe. The small tasting menu of meats, fish, and cheese is designed to be “ephemeral,” evoking seasonal tastes of the moment, and has possibly the best name for an appetizer in history; “a slightly cooked egg” (served with rare ham and black truffle oil of course). Located in the Four Seasons Hotel in the 8th arrondissement, Le Cinq also has a fairly impressive wine cellar that is available to tour.
With a 90€ three-course menu, Le Taillevent might be one of the least reckless restaurants on this list. The cheap (by Michelin star standards, of which this place has two) prices however, are misleading. It’s still a fantastic gourmet experience housed in a gorgeous wood-paneled and art-adorned dining room. The food offerings include irresistible French classics like roasted duck, cod, lamb, and veal, as well as prix-fixe menus of up to six courses.
ADDRESS: 15 Rue Lamennais (8th arr.)
MÉTRO: George V (line 1) or Charles de Gaulle (lines 1, 2, 6)
DEETS: Fine dining, lunch, dinner, 8th arrondissement, closed Saturday-Sunday
Pavillon Ledoyen, splendidly located along the Champs-Élysées, is considered one of the oldest restaurants in Paris. Today, this gourmet restaurant with three Michelin stars, focuses on extraction and fermentation techniques to produce sauces and vegetables prepared with extreme care. The absolutely stunning neoclassical building the restaurant calls home was built in the late 18th century and the restaurant itself has existed since1792. It also has a storied customer base from the revolutionary Robespierre to Napoleon and Josephine, who apparently met there — a history almost as delectable as the cuisine.
Let’s start with the obvious attraction, the stunning, sprawling garden terrace. If the weather does not cooperate however, fear not. The indoor restaurant is pretty snazzy too, with a simple, if kooky, elegance (translation; chandeliers and leopard print chairs). Named after an ancient Roman cook, and owner of one Michelin star, Apicius features a small menu primarily consisting of fish and pigeon. For a cool 95€, an appetizer of foie gras, an entrée of marinated cod, and a rhubarb dessert could be yours. If you’re feeling some à la carte adventure though, you could always try the 155€ golden caviar. The lovely, peaceful, outdoor dining experience will easily erase your wallet woes.
ADDRESS: 20 Rue d’Artois (8th arr.)
MÉTRO: Saint-Philippe-du-Roule (line 9) or George V (line 1)
Vegetarianism and French haute cuisine tend to not mix well. If one is lucky, a restaurant may have a dish consisting of some cooked vegetables placed gingerly on an unflavored grain, which is perfectly edible, but lacks the ingenuity afforded to dishes for meat eaters. Arpège, with its wonderfully creative and almost entirely vegetarian gourmet menu, seeks to change all that. Minimalist, steps from the Rodin museum, and awarded two Michelin stars, Arpège has a seasonally changing, vegetable-forward menu that features inventive dishes like cabbage lasagna, green asparagus with pink pomelo goat curd, and many more. This is the perfect venture for epicurious vegetarians (or picky eaters) that’s just as fancy (and pricey) as anything else.
DEETS: haute French, vegetarian friendly, closed Saturday-Sunday, 7th arrondissement
Supremely located between the Seine and the Champs-Elysees and graced with one Michelin star, Lasserre is a wallpapered neoclassical dream. The dining room, with its stunning white columns, pastel color scheme, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman-approved yellow wallpaper, gets only that much better when you realize the roof opens. If you love the theory of outdoor dining much more than the practice, this is the place for you. Said dining includes several multi-course prix fixe meal options all averaging under 200€, or menu offerings like macaroni stuffed with foie gras and truffles, veal filet mignon, or orange-glazed duck. Classy food for a classy, classic venue.
ADDRESS: 17 Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt (8th arr.)
MÉTRO: Franklin D. Roosevelt (lines 1, 9) or Champs-Elysées-Clémenceau (lines 1, 13)
Located in the chic Champs-Elysees Hotel Balzac, Pierre Gagnaire (named after its founder with about 20 restaurants to his name) is a three-Michelin-star experience in cutting-edge French cuisine. Unconventionally decorated with walls covered in torn out pages of books, Pierre Gagnaire features several prix-fixe options running up to 335€, as well as several à la carte options averaging at about 160€ each. These decadent options of homard, veal, and other meats and fish include jaw-dropping novelty garnishes like oyster ice cream, crystalized currants, fennel consommé, coral-coated potatoes, and other bizarre foods only attainable and at home at a place like this. The creativity alone, let alone how it may taste, makes the experience worth the exorbitant prices.
I would love to tell you what the food at Astrance will be like when you visit, but because their menu changes daily, there really isn’t a way of knowing. Given the restaurant’s two Michelin stars, whatever meals are on tap for the day will inevitably consist of interesting and unexpected pairings and flavors, a highly skilled level of preparation, and a luxurious atmosphere with which to enjoy them. This is the high-end experience for adventure junkies, mystery readers, and anyone else who enjoys a thin thread of suspense in everything they do. The only certainty here is that the food will taste amazing (and will cost a fortune).
Sublimely located next to the Place des Vosges, L’Ambroisie (Ambrosia) is a three-Michelin-star affair that, despite the Greek-inspired name, is a purely French ode to haute cuisine (the epigraph “Food of Civilization” rests over their online menu). L’Ambroisie has clung to their Michelin stars for more than thirty years and, with menu items like Lobster served with pumpkin, or sea bass escalopines served with golden caviar, it’s easy to see why. Their blend of top-tier ingredients, interesting flavors, beautiful plating, and decades of expertise can be enjoyed in their glitzy and classy dining room best described as art-deco-renaissance-hybrid chic.
ADDRESS: 9 Place des Vosges (4th arr.)
MÉTRO: Saint-Paul (line 1) or Chemin Vert (line 8)
If you’re a lover of sprawling, curated estate gardens, you’ve probably considered the hour-long drive to Giverny. It’s a beautiful place and well worth the drive, but much closer to your home-away-from home is Bagatelle Park: a botanical garden constructed in the 18th century complete with a mini-château. At the center of the garden is Le Pré Catelan, a stellar three Michelin star restaurant that’s a castle in its own right, which evokes its setting with a stunning white marble dining room accented with lush emerald green velvet. The restaurant offers a visually striking 10 or 12 course meal that can consist of anything from eggplant stuffed with caviar to cod cooked with seaweed. Between the plating, the restaurant, and the garden itself, the whole experience is an incredible feast for the eyes.
Back in the familiar luxury restaurant playground of the 8th arrondissement, Le Gabriel offers modern French cuisine in a gorgeously taupe mid-19th century dining room. The restaurant has two Michelin stars and three prix-fixe menus, one for each meal, each with its own theme (seasons, Breton cuisine, and global flavors, at the moment). Offerings include items like white asparagus with wasabi for breakfast, Mackerel in white wine for lunch, blinis with haddock for dinner, and miso vanilla sorbet for dessert. With its delicious rigidity, Le Gabriel is the ideal fine dining experience for the adventurous yet indecisive, but it’s sure to be great for everyone involved (except the dogs: no dogs allowed).