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An onslaught of new restaurants have opened in the city this season, making it even harder to choose where to eat in Paris. From a new chef at the Eiffel Tower to a centuries-old French caviar house restored to its former glory, and a young Colombian chef serving up plenty of Latin American spirit, I’ve got you covered with these new bites to try right now in Paris.
Vive, The Fish Restaurant That Puts A Spring In Your Step
If the bright, warm décor doesn’t add some cheer to your day, then the excellent, hearty fish dishes will. Headed up by David Le Quellec, and aided by his two-Michelin-star wife Stéphanie Le Quellec of La Scène and MAM, Vive is the power-couple’s latest venture.
Opened in the old spot of fish restaurant Rech, an institution with locals of this corner of the 17th arrondissement since 1925, it now has beautiful new interiors of soft mustard-hued banquettes, thick graphic patterned carpets that recall underwater gardens and fish-themed crockery by interior design firm Costa, as well as a work of art that’s a wave of sea shells adorning the walls by young artist Victoire Fontaine. On the menu, you’ll find catch of the day fish and seafood dropped off by the fisherman himself who drives over from Normandy.
Choose the praires clams served filled with garlicky goodness that’s baked till crunchy, soft silky sea bass ceviche, and tangy red tuna served raw with a pesto, mint and coriander sauce. Follow with white vive (weever fish), an unusual offering even by French standards, served spiraled on the plate and grilled in a flavorsome subtly spicy broth. Don’t leave without tasting the pecan cookie served soft and gooey in a pan topped with lashings of vanilla ice cream.
Vive, 62 avenue des Ternes, 75017 Paris
Sphere, Refined French Fare With Japanese Flair
When Japanese chefs, known for their precision and fastidious attention to detail, do French cooking, the result is usually mind-blowingly good. Proving the latter to be true, is Tetsuya Yoshida who left his home in Nagasaki, Kyushu, for the bright lights of Tokyo before working at a handful of Parisian restaurants and landing himself his own digs.
Super stylish inside with clean contemporary lines, copper tube lighting dropping down from the ceiling like upside down bamboo and a palette of greens that evokes nature, the spot is a breath of fresh air for the area’s scene of bistros catering to office types on their lunch breaks.
Every single bite of Yoshida’s cuisine procures pure joy and will quite possibly be commended by the clan at Michelin come award time in 2023. Follow the stellar staff’s advice and go for the surprise tasting menu to try a good cross-section of the chef’s dishes. Every one is brilliant, from the hors d’oeuvres (the mini madeleines are to die for), the fleshy monkfish cooked to perfection with leeks and a hazelnut butter emulsion, the beef that melts in the mouth served with gravy, carrot and potato purée, to the not-too-sweet chocolate cream, caramelized walnuts and crispy tile served with vanilla ice cream.
Sphere, 18 Rue La Boétie, 75008 Paris
Nellu, The Marais Gastro Wine Bar To Have On Your Radar
Steps from Ile Saint-Louis right in the heart of Paris in the Marais, Nellu is one little spot you’ll want to keep all to yourself. With just a handful of tables that look onto the tiny kitchen where Olivier Garcia — tapped by Clément Vergeat (behind Tamara) to man his second restaurant — rustles up pure magic.
Pushing the door here feels like happening upon a local secret. Diners settle in the slate-gray space for a menu of Garcia’s take on French brasserie classics, washed down with natural wines hailing from all over the world and handpicked by resident sommelier Riccardo.
For instance, one of the mains is saucisse au couteau (literally translated at knife sausage) which the chef, his kind eyes hidden behind thick round black rimmed glasses, jokes about initially imagining it was a sausage made with knives when it’s actually a sausage where the meat filling isn’t minced but cut by knife. Liking the play on words, he serves the sausage in a tangy razor clam (also called couteau in French) sauce — a perfect, however unlikely, combination.
Start with carbonara squash spaghetti, smoked eel, cured egg yoke, which tastes uncannily like the Italian pasta dish despite there being not a bucatini in sight, or the Brussel sprouts, chorizo bellota, and lard vinaigrette, which is perfectly balanced and surprisingly moreish. Continue with the saucisse aux couteaux and its fluffy potato purée, and don’t miss the star of the show, the trout pie with seabream and seaweed filling, butternut kimchi and fish roe with perfect puff pastry, doused in trout eggs. It’s hearty but to share it’s perfect.
Finish with a Jerusalem artichoke, caramel, chocolate and pear ganache, and topped with Jerusalem artichoke crips. The other dessert, chestnut cream, tea whipped cream, mulled wine jelly and gingerbread biscuit, is also divine and perfect for the season. Every single one of Garcia’s dishes are creative and made to perfection — the Michelin clan will want to keep an eye on this promising chef.
Nellu, 5 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004 Paris
Le Petit Rétro, A Taste Of French Classics In A 1900s Art Nouveau Bistro
If there’s nothing that you love more than a bistro with interiors that transport you to a time passed and French classics done well, then Le Petit Rétro’s the place to go. Originally opened in 1904, it has now been taken over by young French chef Irwin Durand who heads things up at the Michelin starred Chiberta close to the Champs-Elysées as part of triple starred chef Guy Savoy’s group of restaurants.
One of the city’s few surviving original bistros, stepping inside is like going back in time. There’s the original zinc-top bar, the off-white tiles with flower details running along the top, even the little wooden drawers where regulars would store their napkins remain.
A neighborhood institution, Durand, who loves nothing more than digging into a well cooked traditional French dish like ris de veau, is thrilled to be able to continue the legacy of such an establishment while injecting some of his more contemporary ideas like replacing the basement kitchen with an open kitchen in the back dining room.
The menu is a small one of well executed French staples like the meaty pâté en croûte starter and the blanquette de veau à l’ancienne, a heartwarming veal stew, and to finish, there are favorites like Paris-Brest and crème brûlée. Perfect for a cold winter’s evening.
Le Petit Rétro, 5 Rue Mesnil, 75116 Paris
Bloom, Plant-Based Sushi Like You’ve Never Tasted Before
This next spot is very special because it’s the only notable one of its kind in the city. Not only does it offer flavorsome meat- and fish-free sushi alternatives you would travel across town for, but the glowy all-wood interiors inspired by the Wabi Sabi current by Studio LouisMorgan are beautiful.
A concept drawn up by Mexican chef Christian Ventura who lives and works in Montreal, Canada, it was brought over by a trio of French entrepreneurs who fell in love with the idea. And it’s not surprising. Dishes are so tasty, thanks to well sourced products and tangy sauces the chef keeps secret, that they easily outdo some of the city’s restaurants offering more traditional sushi.
Order Dragon Eyes California “sushi” of sweet potato, tempura asparagus, grilled pepper and avocado with spicy pesto sauce or the Enoki mushroom, daïkon, apple, mango and ponzu sauce maki spring roll. Get a proper taste of Bloom’s array of creations in an Omakase menu of 16 sushis, all beautifully presented.
Bloom, 99 Rue Jouffroy d’Abbans 75017 Paris
Alfred, Putting A New Spin On French Brasserie Classics
An arty new bistro with interiors that evoke Mondrian’s works adapted by Yves Saint-Laurent for his cocktail dresses, on the menu you’ll find French staples like egg-mayo à la livèche and trout eggs and Croque Madame with reblochon cheese and Maison Montalet ham, but with a contemporary twist. Top Chef semi-finalist Alexia Duchêne who oversees things in the kitchen, has given French classics here a lighter edge.
Opened by four brothers who tapped the firm Necchi Architecture for the interiors, inspired by l’Etoile de Mer bistro designed by Eileen Gray, adjoining Le Corbusier’s iconic beach hut in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the South of France, Alfred was named after French dramatist Alfred Musset who lived close by, and is fast becoming the fashion crowd’s new hangout.
For more private parties, there is a small curtained alcove with a table for about 10 people that can be booked at lunchtime or in evenings.
Alfred, 8 Rue du Mont Thabor, 75001 Paris
Prunier, A New Chapter For The Decadent Art Deco Caviar House
Marking its 150th birthday, Prunier, the legendary French caviar house’s flagship restaurant reemerges onto the Parisian dining scene with jazzed up interiors and a new menu by a three-star chef.
After a full refurbishment by Alexandra Saguet who teamed up with les Studios Gohard and L’Atelier du Mur, to bring the space’s dazzling original Art Deco interiors back to life, the group called upon Yannick Alléno and executive chef Fabien François to give the menu the edge it lacked.
A remarkable location with a lofty ground-floor dining room of black marble and gold incrusted detail that evokes champagne bubbles, pointing to the restaurant’s new champagne bar offering the widest selection of bubbly in the country. The upstairs dining room wrapped in spectacular Japanese inspired hand painted wood panels depicting swimming carp fish, is worth a peek too, as is the old phone booth, Prunier’s most photographed corner with the likes of Coco Chanel seen posing holding the receiver of the old cable phone in archive snaps.
On the menu, Alléno has revamped the iconic Dior egg, famously invented after a picnic of eggs and Prunier caviar Yves Saint-Laurent, his partner and right-hand man Pierre Bergé (also the former owner of Prunier), and Christian Dior enjoyed in the countryside. A mollet egg with Paris ham in the bottom and doused in Alléno’s “badaboum” sauce (versigny cream and caviar), it’s a must.
The egg comes as part of the Emile menu. Start with fleshy Norwegian balik salmon brought out on enormous wooden platters and served with blinis and cream by the very likeable Zakaridja or Hakeem who’ll be only too happy to impart their knowledge of the maison. Follow with line-caught sea bass, celery and caviar, and the beef with Stroganoff paprika sticks potatoes. It’s also possible to go à la carte and taste a number of Prunier’s caviars.
A French heritage brand, Prunier caviar is all from Bordeaux in France, and the restaurant is a real marvel. Book Pierre Bergé’s table in the corner for the best view of the incredible decor and other diners, a mix of locals and well-heeled visitors.
Prunier, 16 Av. Victor Hugo, 75116 Paris
Carmona, Mediterranean Fare Infused With South American Flavor
Just across from the River Seine, steps from the Eiffel Tower, the newest kid on the block is serving up lashings of sunny Mediterranean-meets-Latin-American vibes to put a sunny spring in your step this winter.
Headed up by Colombian chef Estéban Salazar, whose focus is on an eco-conscious cuisine, tuck into royal seabream crudo rolled back in its skin, seasoned with citrus fruit for a kick. Try the fleshy padron peppers, barbecued oyster mushrooms doused in egg cured yoke with garlic oil and don’t miss the melt-in-the-mouth red seared tuna, the chef’s off-the-menu pride and joy. Finish with warm crunchy churros dipped in creamy Colombian chocolate sauce with cool ice cream.
The glowy salmon-pink interiors come with a stone fountain backed by seashell-speckled arches and colorful fruit tree mosaics by firm Beau Bow by Alexis Mabille, which took its cues from Andalusia, and accentuate the much-needed, laid-back joie de vivre Salazar is injecting into this quiet corner of the city.
Carmona, 10 Av. de New York, 75116 Paris
Arboré, French Food With An Updated Focus On Veggies
Emerging onto the dining scene with her picture-perfect dishes presented like gardens of plants and flowers freshly plucked from a Normandy meadow, Pauline Séné’s first restaurant Fripon, in the 20th district of Paris, was an overnight success. So much so that the Paris foodie crowd was up in arms when she didn’t get a Michelin star come award time.
Shaking up the neighborhood, she turned diners from across town into regulars. They couldn’t get enough of the soothing muted tones of the transformed bistro and Séné’s hearty dishes where well-sourced vegetables stole the show.
A 2021 Top Chef contender, when Séné left Fripon, she was tapped by Hotel Royal Madeleine, steps from shopping street Boulevard Haussmann, to create a menu for their new upbeat dining spot Arboré. And, she’s done it again with her executive chef who heads things up in the kitchen, and made this spot a local go-to.
Adjoining one of Paris’ hidden arcades, the Passage Puteaux, diners pour out onto tables in the lively arcade in the evenings. Order leaks doused in trout eggs, grapefruit, chives and walnuts, follow with the grilled cauliflower and chorizo or for a hearty North African twist, order the lamb shoulder that falls off the bone and is cooked in lemon and harissa with taboulé and yoghurt. Finish with hay-infused cream, roasted figs and hibiscus.
Arboré, 29 Rue de l’Arcade, 75008 Paris
Bonnie, French Mediterranean Classics With Killer Views
The next spot to have on your list is Bonnie, hospitality group Paris Society’s latest addition to their growing empire of fun, stylish restaurants (Mun, Maison Russe, Gigi, Coco, etc). Tucked on the 15th floor of the glass-clad SO/ Hotel on the banks of the River Seine in the heart of the city, views don’t just span the whole of Paris, but thanks to the unique location right on the river and across from the beautiful Ile Saint Louis, they are second to none.
Admire the elegant bridges straddling the two islands in the middle of the river to the mainland from tables lined up along the wrap-around terrace in the warmer months or from inside in colder weather, thanks to glass walls that run the entire length of the restaurant, and ingenious mirror ceilings by artist Olafur Eliasson that reflect the Seine below as boats glide across the water.
The interiors by Jordane Arrivetz are also spectacularly cozy with thick retro motif carpets giving the space a hushed private club atmosphere. On the menu, dishes like the sea bream ceviche and perfectly cooked turbot fish with a splash of Chassagne-Montrachet wine will warm any blustery winter’s day or evening. There’s also a club underneath where you can mingle with those views into the early hours.
Bonnie, 10 Rue Agrippa d’Aubigné, 75004 Paris
Madame Brasserie, Sky-High French Fare At The Eiffel Tower
No matter how much Paris changes, updates, extends, its number-one landmark remains the Eiffel Tower. It’s a dream for many travelers to see it at least once, and for many locals, the iron lady hasn’t lost a bit of its shimmer, no matter how many times they’ve glimpsed it.
So, spending an entire lunch or dinner with her, remains unique, especially now that the first-floor bistro’s got shiny new interiors and a Mediterranean menu that’s been completely revamped by French two-star chef Thierry Marx.
Unlike the top-floor fine dining restaurant Le Jules Verne, Madame Brasserie’s more laid-back and more affordable. A table with a “Paris view” and three-course menu including champagne and wine at lunch costs 95 euros per person or 175 euros for a more elaborate menu at dinner, and you still get the thrill of climbing up into the most iconic monument in the world.
Madame Brasserie, Eiffel Tower, 1er, 75007 Paris
Hando, The Left-Bank Hand-Rolled Sushi Bar To Know
The area around the upmarket Left-Bank Bon Marché department store was crying out for a laid-back eatery catering to lighter appetites.
At pocket-sized Hando, diners settle around a blonde wood counter for soft warm hand rolled temaki sushi of rice and fillings like raw salmon wrapped in a crispy nori leaf to be eaten with your hands and enjoyed with a cup of saké or refreshing light Asahi beer while chatting to the extremely personable staff.
As well as hand-rolled sushi, there’s also toro, yellow tail amberjack, salmon and seabream sashimi, there’s also a tasty seaweed salad and iced mochis to finish. It’s simple, tasty and hits the spot when you need a break from French food. You’ll leave feeling delightfully full and energized to go back to work or continue sightseeing. They don’t take bookings so make sure to get there early.
Hando, 89 Rue de Sèvres, 75006 Paris
Noto, An Institution For Post-Dinner Parties Gets A New Chef
Noto might not be a new spot but it has just got a new chef. Sardinian Emilio Giagnioni is spicing up the menu with Mediterranean spirit, adding dishes to the menu like tomato carpaccio, vitello tonnato and mullet roe linguini to be shared, staying true to Italian tradition.
The candle-lit space, a spectacular Art Deco setting of thick flower-motif carpets and marble top bar, is slotted in above the beautiful Pleyel concert hall, a short walk from the Champs-Elysées.
Book a table early for a quiet, intimate dinner, but come 10pm, tables are moved back, a DJ sets up, and the restaurant morphs into a raucous but chic club where diners let loose and get up to dance on tables.
Noto, 252 bis Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris