There are so many good restaurants, cafes, bistros and brasseries in Paris that it can be hard to pick which one to go to. For us, we went with the flow and a lot of the times just stumbled upon places as we were exploring. It was the best way to experience Paris; by being adventurous and willing to try anything. That and Yelp helps too!
Here are a few of the restaurants we visited during our one-week vacation in Paris that I would highly recommend to anyone, whether its your first time in Paris or you’re a frequent traveler there.
Oh how I wish our vacation was longer!
We stumbled upon this quaint French restaurant walking through the streets of Paris near our hotel. It was our first night, we were tired, jet lagged and hungry and this place definitely hit the spot. Their menu is quintessential classic French cooking and we ordered escargots as an appetizer, “Chez Monsieur” style veal stew and rumpsteak with roasted potatoes for our entree, and profiteroles for desert. Everything was so good! The veal stew was perfect for a cold night and truly hit the spot! This meal makes it on the top 5 of the best meals I’ve ever had in life.
Le Jardin D’Hiver (Pop Up restaurant at the Westin Vendome)
Our second day in Paris, we woke up super late! Like almost 1pm late! We shot out of bed and got ready quick so we didn’t waste more of the day but first we needed food! Our hotel, the Westin had a pop up restaurant that we wanted to try and it did not disappoint. We were surprised at how fancy it was and the menu was high end. We both opted for the salmon and I’m not lying when I say this was the best salmon I’ve ever had in my life. It was a good meal to get us energized for a day of site seeing.
If you want a good Italian meal, definitely hit this place up! Their portions are very generous and have a lot to choose from on their menu. I highly recommend the bruschetta. It is not our typical bruschetta but is loaded with pesto sauce, prosciutto and yummy and huge hunk of burrata cheese. Get this!!! We also ordered the risotto (best we’ve ever had) and the squid ink pasta with scallops (this dish is for the adventurous). The restaurant had a great vibe too. It was loud, bustling with tourists and locals just getting off work. The servers were funny and very accommodating to what seemed like a lot of non-French speaking patrons.
This is a must if you visit Paris. We ordered their signature old-fashioned hot chocolate “L’Africain”, chocolate croissants and their signature pastry Le Mont-Blanc. The hot chocolate is chocolate heaven. It is so smooth and thick and has just the right amount of sweetness. The whipped cream balances the sweetness out and it is just perfection. Their classic pastry Mont-Blanc is made of meringue, whipped cream and chestnut cream vermicelli. It is simply devine! Their chocolate croissants were so buttery and flaky and everything I have hoped and dreamed about. This place made my pastry dreams come true.
You can take your food to go and avoid the long line but I recommend getting a table inside and having the full experience. Because that’s what this place is…..an experience. I do have to warn you thought the wait can be pretty long. We only waited about 15 minutes when we went but I’ve heard people wait up to an hour for a table. The prettiness of the interior is worth the wait in my opinion.
This place made me sooooo happy!!! I wish I could be transported there tomorrow! Such a tiny, quaint French bistro and our server was the nicest, friendliest French person we encountered our entire trip! It’s located near the Musee D’Orsay so its a great spot to eat dinner or have drinks after a day at the museum.
Our steak frites were done to perfection and we were savoring each and every bite. For desert our waiter recommended the french toast and OMG it was amazing!!!!!! Here’s a tip, ask your server what they would order and get that! We also got the creme brûlée which was also amazing. I mean, I can’t say enough good things about this place. Just so good and so French and so Parisian and so perfect! Oh man, I love this place so much!!!
St. James Hotel Restaurant 1 Michelin Star Restaurant
This Michelin star restaurant was quite an experience that it warrants a blog post of its own but until then I will say that from the minute you step foot into this hotel, you are given the 5 star experience.
It’s a splurge and definitely for special occasions so not your everyday dining experience but it was the perfect place to celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary. We arrived 30 minutes early for our reservation but it was perfect because it allowed us time to have drinks at their “library” bar. I had the best French martini ever in my life!
Once we were seated in the dining room, we were just in awe at how beautiful it was. We opted for the discovery menu with wine pairing and so glad we did! It was a 7-course dinner and the somelier picks the wine for you. He along with the server explicitly explain each dish and wine and it was so amazing. Every dish was so delicious and well thought out…we just didn’t want the night to end. It was the best dining experience of my life!
Stay tuned for a separate blog post that goes over our experience at St. James Hotel Restaurant in more detail.
Cafe de L’Empire
Located near Musee D’Orsay this little French Brasserie was such a good find. We were cold, tired and needed to rest our feet from walking in Versailles all day and wanted simple comfort food for dinner and that’s what we got. We ordered the duck confit which came with round flat potatoes (similar texture to french fries) and roast chicken with mashed potatoes. The chicken was so juicy and tender and the mashed potatoes was the creamiest I’ve ever had. We had to end our meal with creme brûlée because why wouldn’t we? This meal hit the spot after a long day of site seeing. I recommend going here after a day at the Musee D’Orsay as it is a short walking distance from the museum. Our server was extremely friendly and accommodating to us non-French speaking Americans.
Can you say caviar and fois gras flavored macaroons??? And guess what, they actually tasted like caviar and fois gras and yet it was sooooo good. It’s hard to describe how amazing these macaroons are. You’ll pay a pretty penny for them, but hey you’re not in Paris everyday and these are definitely worth the splurge. This place is a must if you’re in Paris. I also had the truffle macaroon (at 6 euros a pop) and maaaaan was it amazing!
Le Comtois de la Gastronomie
We met up with a couple of my childhood friends from Canada who now live in Paris and they took us to this restaurant for our last meal and OMG it was perfection! Almost every single dish has foie gras in it. We started with the foie gras carpaccio with honey sauce and sea salt and it was such a good balance of flavors. The foie gras wasn’t overwhelming at all. Actually on all the dishes, the foie gras wasn’t overpowering to the other flavors. We also had the escargots as a starter and they were delish. For our main courses, the three of us had the foie gras ravioli with truffle sauce and holy cow this literally was melt-in-your-mouth good but the star of the show was my friends cassoulet “gratine” du comptoir. It was perfect for the cold rainy day and I wish I ordered that also because we all ended up digging into my friends cassoulet! I love this place. It is so homey and half of the establishment is a store where you can purchase wine, cheese, delicacies, meats and you guessed it, foie gras!
Overall, the food in Paris fulfilled all my foodie dreams and then some. The best part of it all was the price wasn’t too bad (compared to the SF Bay Area) and the service was good everywhere we went. We didn’t have one bad meal or one bad service our entire trip. We were so appreciative of all the people who work in hospitality in Paris because they really take their jobs seriously and is truly an art form to them. You can tell they are proud of the work they do and of their city.
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