Paris offers a veritable feast for the senses, from beautiful gardens, museums and historical sights to some of the world’s finest luxury hotels, offering elegant and stylish rooms and suites, pools with underwater music, intuitive service, and stunning flowers and decor that change with the season. But in a very literal sense, Paris is an edible feast, from Michelin star dining to humbler yet also scrumptious casual eats. Here are five of my favorites.
1. Le Cinq, Four Seasons Paris
We’ve splurged at Le Cinq three times for lunch over the years, and it just keeps getting better and better. It recently was honored with a highly deserved third Michelin star, under its new chef, Christian Le Squer. While many restaurants’ menus sound incredible on paper, while the dishes themselves leave one underwhelmed, Le Cinq is the opposite–some of the dish are rather plainly described and of humble ingredients, such as “Gratinated Onions,” yet the dish itself is poetry on a plate. You wouldn’t believe what onions can taste like, until you dine here. Naturally, there are also lavish ingredients such as foie gras, lobster, sea urchin and other delicacies, and these too are sublime. If you really want to treat yourself and a loved one, Le Cinq is not to be missed.
2. David Toutain
Just a week ago I dined at David Toutain, a 1 Michelin star restaurant in the 7th arrondissement. Chef David Toutain has worked with Alain Passard (Arpege), Bernard Pacaud, Pierre Gagnaire, to name a few–but has his own inimitable flair. The restaurant itself is quite spare, even spartan, and food is very much the star. Only a 110 EUR tasting menu is available (add 70 EUR for wine pairings), so this is probably not the place for you if you have dietary restrictions. But otherwise, this is a must for true foodies. Be sure to reserve well in advance since the restaurant only has a handful of tables, and there’s just one seating each evening.
3. La Cuisine de Philippe
If Michelin star restaurants are out of your budget, Paris has plenty of affordable options. One of my favorites, which specializes in classic French souffles, is La Cuisine de Philippe. Whether you prefer a cheese souffle, lobster souffle, or one of the dessert souffles, the perfectly light souffle is sure to delight. Accompany it with a fresh salad and the crusty baguette and it’s a very satisfying lunch or dinner. And if cherry clafoutis is offered as a dessert, don’t miss it–La Cuisine de Philippe serves one of the best versions I’ve tasted (just note that as is traditionally done, the clafoutis is made with unpitted cherries).
4. Pierre Herme
Pierre Herme is justly well known worldwide for his macarons, which can be found not only in Paris and London but even in boutiques in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul and Dubai, to name a few. There are always new seasonal flavors, although some of my favorites remain his Mogador (Passion Fruit and Chocolate), Infiniment Carmel (Salted Butter Caramel) and Infiniment Citron Noir (Black Lemon). But in Paris, I highly recommend a visit to his store at 72 rue Bonaparte so as to be able to buy some of Pierre Herme’s amazing pastries, my favorite of which is his 2000 Feuilles, flaky caramelized puff pastry with crispy praline made of Piedmont hazelnuts and creamy praline mousseline cream.
If you’re visiting Paris in the spring, summer or early fall and you like ice cream or sorbet, you owe it to yourself to visit Berthillon, on Ile Saint-Louis. Many of the better Paris restaurants serve Berthillon ice creams and sorbets, and you’ll understand why after tasting Berthillon. Their sorbets in particular are intensely flavored, and capture the very essence of the fruit. My personal favorites are Fraise des Bois (Wild Strawberry), Cassis (Black Currant) and Peche de Vigne (Blood Peach).
What are your favorite foodie haunts in Paris?
Hilary Stockton is the CEO at TravelSort.
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