That France has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other country will not come as a shock to most people. Nor will the fact that Paris is home to almost a quarter of them. What might be surprising, however, is that a meal at any of the carefully chosen establishments on this list can be enjoyed for less than the price of a tank of gas.
Les Fables de la Fontaine
Restaurant, Seafood, French, Mediterranean, $$$
A fish dish at Les Fables de la Fontaine | © Edsel Little
David Bottreau took over Les Fables de la Fontaine from his mentor Christian Constant in 2005. Since then, Bottreau has brought in the young and talented Julia Sedefdjian as head chef and had architect Luis Aleluia completely redesign the place, creating lightness out of wood, natural stone, and wrought iron. The seafood dishes on offer are rediscovered classics from the kitchens of Nice and elsewhere on the French Riviera
. The weekday lunch menu at €28 is sensational and the Menu Carte Blanche at €75 is worth every penny.
Restaurant, Contemporary, French, $$$
Septime is the place to be (and be seen) on the Rue de Charonne. As such, getting a reservation, even for lunch, can be a challenge. But one well worth taking on as the food more than merits the buzz around the restaurant; it’s fresh, modern, and well-presented. In the past, standout dishes have included the raw venison with tarragon and Kalamata olives, whiting with endives and orange butter, and, for dessert, quince and verbena crumble.
Bistro, French, $$$
Profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce at Benoit | © Pierre Monetta, Courtesy of Benoit
There’s a lot of history at Benoit. Opened 1912, it remains the only Parisian bistro to feature in the Michelin Guide. It was owned for 93 years by the Petit family, who then passed it on to the Alain Ducasse team in 2005. The atmosphere is always warm and welcoming and the décor of red velvet and brass benches, carved glass panels and marble columns, as well as the famous bar, give off an air of reassuring permanence. The classics of French cuisine
can all be found here, tastefully and thoughtfully updated, and the €39 lunch menu is a particularly reasonable offering.
La Table d'Eugène
Restaurant, French, $$$
La Table d'Eugène | © S. BITEAU
The balance of tradition and modernity at La Table d’Eugène is assured by the strict observance of seasonality. The menu is updated every ten days and is inspired by the exceptional herbs, vegetables, and animals grown and raised by the restaurant’s network of small producers. Head chef Geoffroy Maillard and sous-chef François Vaudeschamps together create complex and complimentary dishes that attest to the Alain Chapel quote that “cooking is much more than recipes”. The five-course tasting menu is a treat at €89 but if you can stretch to the eight-course option at €120 then go for it.
La Table du 11
Restaurant, French, $$$
La Table du 11, an intimately proportioned restaurant with an open kitchen and cosy atmosphere, opened on Versaille’s Rue Saint-Honoré in February 2015. Within a year, its young head chef and owner, Jean-Baptiste Lavergne-Morazzani, had won his first Michelin star. With over a decade’s experience working under Gordon Ramsay at the Trianon Palace, Yannick Alléno at Le Meurice, and Philippe Bélissent at Cobéa, Lavergne-Morazzani was well placed to launch his first independent venture at just 25. The restaurant makes the perfect end (or middle) to a day trip visiting the Palace of Versailles