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 the cost of the dishes.
Home to almost a quarter of all Michelin-starred restaurants in the country, Paris has established itself as gastronomy heaven. But while Michelin-starred cuisine is known to be pricey, a meal at any of the carefully chosen establishments on this list can actually be enjoyed for less than the price of a tank of gas.
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 is sensational and the Menu Carte Blanche is worth every penny.
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 it’s 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.
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 lunch menu is a particularly reasonable offering.
The balance of tradition and modernity at La Table d’Eugène is assured by the strict observance of seasonality. The menu is updated every 10 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 but if you have the chance to stretch to the eight-course option then go for it.
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 midday break) to a day trip visiting the Palace of Versailles.
La Truffière welcomed its new head chef, Christophe Poard, in February 2016. Before his arrival at this Parisian institution, he had worked in the celebrated kitchens of the Casino de Deauville, the three-starred Schwarzwaldstube restaurant in Antwerp, the Carlsbad Plaza in the Czech Republic, and the Château d’Hassonville in Belgium. Since his arrival, he has made his mark on the menu, adding to its reputation as a premier destination for lovers of wine (it has the second-largest number of references in the city), seafood, and cheese. The restaurant’s three-course signature menu can be tasted at an affordable price.
The duo behind Saturne, Sven Chartier and Ewen Le Moigne, value simplicity and quality above all else. The products they use are all artisanal and organic, their menu reflects the best of what’s on offer on any given day, and their kitchen and the dishes prepared therein are without unnecessary pomp or artifice. The restaurant is particularly popular with the business crowd given its weekend closure. The three-course lunch menu is excellent and guests are encouraged to try the Menu Carte Blanche lunch or dinner if you have a little more of a budget to splurge.
Garance, located not too far from Les Invalides on the left bank, is the project of head chef Guillaume Iskandar and sommelier and director Guillaume Muller, who formerly worked alongside Alain Passard at his three-star Parisian restaurant, Arpège. Together they have created a dining experience that is all about cool design, clean flavours, and the delights of an intelligently stocked cellar. If you aren’t drinking, lunch menus start at affordable prices and dinner begins at €70 (£61).