The gastronomic excellence in Paris is unrivalled, renowned for its elegance and sophistication. From Michelin-starred palaces to Parisian barges, here’s our hand-picked selection of the 10 best restaurants in Paris, where meals become artistic masterpieces almost too impressive to eat.
It would be a crime not to place Guy Savoy’s restaurant at the top of this list, especially since it’s been recently hailed as the “best in the world” for the second year running. The chef, who trained superstar chef Gordon Ramsay, owns the Guy Savoy restaurant located on the Left Bank of the River Seine. One of his key principles is that “man is wholly connected to his physical surroundings”, and so should only ever savour what is seasonally available. Make sure to try their oysters ‘Huîtres en nage glacée’. The main reason this restaurant has been picked as one of the best comes down to the breathtaking presentation that points to an unquestioned mastery of technique.
Le Meurice is one of the most elegant hotels in the world, oozing 18th-century opulence, with their Salvador Dalí restaurant a pure luxury. It was named in his honour as he once demanded a herd of sheep be brought to his room, believe it or not. Another time, he settled on a single horse. Most hilariously of all, he once asked the staff to capture flies for him from the Tuileries next door, paying them five francs (around one euro) per fly. Le Meurice’s two Michelin-starred restaurant is keen on conserving this humorous legacy through its dining experience.
Le George restaurant | Courtesy of Le George restaurant / Gregoire Gardette
Tucked away on the Champs-Elysées is the gorgeous Four Seasons Hotel George V, reigning with luxury since 1928. Its Michelin-starred restaurant, Le George*, offers a light Mediterranean-style cuisine, whisking away guests on a journey from the French Riviera to northern Italy. Gazing over the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and the Grand Palais, these delicate dishes are designed for sharing, bursting with flavour and freshness. Simone Zanoni, the chef who’s worked for Gordon Ramsay, says a dish is made memorable “when you have put your heart into it and created a journey of flavours”. You’ll be swooning not only over his food, but also over the 12,000 fresh flowers that brighten the palatial building each week.
If you’re a fan of dining in the most delightful art deco elegance, then dinner at L’Orangerie should definitely be on your cards. Its reputation is unrivalled, having won a Michelin star just eight months after its opening. The meals are artistic masterpieces in themselves, and the restaurant overlooks the famous Marble Courtyard for an awe-inspiring experience. The dishes draw inspiration from nature and strive to bring the best out of seasonal and local garden produce. Chef David Bizet’s menu proudly complements the changing seasons, offering what he likes to describe as “a traditional French contemporary cuisine of elegance, refinement and femininity”.
Le Cinq***, headed by chef Christian Le Squer, boasts no fewer than three Michelin stars. This restaurant is swathed in gold, but there’s a unique twist that makes this venue stand out. Le Cinq is proudly pioneering a shift towards sustainable eco-friendly approaches, a first in the world of luxury food. The head chef, Christian Le Squer, is particularly committed to protecting the oceans, and has developed approaches to minimising food waste. This is in addition to his commitment to sourcing locally and seasonality, working with the seasons for inspiration rather than against them. Thus, promising a plate bursting with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
ASPIC is the gastronomic adventure of talented chef Quentin Giroud. There are only a handful of tables in his cosy restaurant, serving dishes made of hand-picked seasonal products from local sources. What makes this restaurant so special is that they only serve a fixed seven-course menu. Whilst it might set you back €65, this “no choice” menu strives to guarantee that the ingredients are absolutely fresh and perfectly prepared for a unique cooking and dining experience. The restaurant itself is hugely convivial, letting you observe from the comfort of your own chair as the cooks whip up a treat.
Of course, you don’t just have to dine in Michelin-starred restaurants to discover the fine pleasures of dining in Paris, and La Nouvelle Seine is a perfect example. The reason why this restaurant is so renowned need not necessarily stem from the mouth-watering seafood it serves – although it does offer delightful roasted king prawns or fresh salmon topped with mango and chive. Rather, this barge-restaurant is a long-held favourite as it boasts a brilliant location beneath the dramatic architecture of Notre Dame. Not many venues can offer such a unique view of the city. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a hugely varied program of theatre that ranges from comedy to cabaret to keep you entertained.
If the idea of dining on a Parisian barge, and gazing up at the stars from the river Seine as you do so, has sparked your imagination, then you simply must spend an evening at Le Galion Restaurant. This incredible barge-restaurant was built in Amfreville in Normandy in 1910, and when you dine there, it really makes you feel like you’re re-living history. The nautical design consists of stylish wood-beams, polished up to glean a sophisticated aura. The chef and his ‘Galoubiers’ are particularly praised for their delicious selection of desserts, from traditional treats like vanilla macaroons to mille feuilles with strawberries and mascarpone.
Surely originality of dining experience must factor into consideration of the best restaurants in Paris as well? If so, it doesn’t get any more quirky than dining in absolute darkness. Dans le Noir? was founded and financed in Paris in 2004 by Edouard de Broglie, helped by the Paul Guinot Association for the Visually Impaired. The idea is that you can reconnect with your taste buds without the distractions of your surroundings and daily life, and the concept is so quirky it’s been copied throughout the world. Most recently, the founders have been developing other innovative concepts dealing with deafness, such as Café Silence.
Paris is steeped in literary history as a city that conjures up countless names of famous writers. And so it only makes sense for at least one venue to make this list because of its link to literature. Café de Flore is a must-visit for anyone with a love for culture. The café used to serve the cultural elite, including writers, philosophers, and artists such as Pablo Picasso, but most famously, Simone de Beauvoir penned her novel, The Blood of Others, at one of its tables over her regular breakfast. When dining here within its lavish interiors, you never know which literary legends might be sitting on the table opposite yours.