The relationship between French people with their food is legendary. Eating is not just for sustenance and pleasure, it’s a main topic of conversation and, most importantly, the social glue that brings people together. So when these new restaurants piqued the interest of the highly discerning locals, we figured they would be worth checking out.
Award-winning chef Pierre Gagnaire, the twice elected Chef of the Year Gault & Millau, heads Gaya at the new Sofitel restaurant in Chatelaillon, in the Charente Maritime, offering quality “seashore cuisine” at prices that won’t break the bank.
In the always exciting Palais de Tokyo contemporary art space, the new restaurant Les Grands Verres is the perfect spot to get together with friends and share a special moment of conviviality and immersion in the arts.
Located on the imposing gates of the walled city of Langres, La Villa Vauban is set in an elegantly renovated mansion offering a panoramic terrace with a view of the plateau and the valley and lake beyond. The staff is friendly and the menu—focusing on fresh local and seasonal quality ingredients—incorporates eclectic touches from all over the world that wouldn’t otherwise meet, such as the chilled green-tomato soup with tandoori spices topped with a Langres cheese “cloud” drizzled with Lechey saffron syrup. Pure alchemy.
Is there anything more appetizing than high-quality fresh local ingredients prepared simply? The chefs at Maison Troisgros reinvent the classics by paring down the menus to their utmost simplicity.
Brothers Jean-Laurent and Alexanre Mazzia infuse a hint of their native Congo into the culinary scene of Aix-en-Provence. The menu and the contemporary setting combine the best of a tapas bar and a French bistro all rolled into one.
Chef Gérald Passedat heads Le Louison, a new fine-dining establishment at the stunning winery and art center Château La Coste conceived as an homage to French artist Louise Bourgeois. A delicate selection of fresh and natural dishes capture the spirit of Provence with a contemporary sensibility. The organic kitchen garden of the Domain produces most of the vegetables used in the kitchen.
This friendly traditional restaurant is located about a 45-minute drive south of Strasbourg. Le Hühnerstall offers authentic Alsatian cuisine with a twist: everything on the menu is based on poultry. Chicken, duck, turkey, you name it. The service is impeccable and the dishes are original, generous, and delicious.
Get ready for a date with an Italian in Paris. This place has only been open for a few months and it already has rave reviews. The concept? Great, authentic Italian food at affordable prices, in a rustic-chic setting and trendy atmosphere. To get a delicious pizza in the city for €5 is unheard of, and a restaurant that encourages sharing their braided mozzarella appetizer is even rarer. The thick and creamy risottos are also a huge hit. Pizzeria Popolare believes in sharing, caring, and making sure their guests keep coming back for more.
A restaurant in a swimming pool? This new address in Lyon has possibly the best riverside view in town, above the Piscine du Rhône, built for the 1968 Olympics. From breakfast to dinner the contemporary dining room in À la Piscine offers non-stop gourmet food, excellent wines, and a highly popular brunch. Menus start at €19 for lunch and €29 for dinner, while you can have breakfast and enjoy the great panorama on their terrasse for a modest €7.50. The cuisine varies with invited “chefs in residence” and culture is on the menu with live performance, DJs, and literary gatherings.
French-Brazilian fusion is the name of the game in OKA, one of the most imaginative new tables in Paris, in the 5th arrondissement. Following the success of Maloka Alma Brasileira and Fogo e Brasa, Carioca chef Raphaël Régo invites guests to a true gastronomic voyage to his native Brazil, with menus that start at €35 for lunch and €75 for dinner.
Among the vineyards and olive groves surrounding Aix-en-Provence and just ten minutes from town, Le Mas Bottero is an ode to the Provençal art of living. The refined menu by chef Nicolas Bottero is alive with seasonal, local produce in harmony with its terroir.
The new bistronomic Two D is located in the Village des Voiles business complex in a northern suburb of Lille, proposing a contemporary “bridge” between traditional bistrot fare and haute-cuisine. The polished industrial décor and lounge area invite guests to linger, whether for a business meal, a casual lunch, or to enjoy a cocktail and share a charcuterie board.