I’m a New Yorker who visits Paris every year. Here are 11 restaurants where I’ve had some of the best meals of my life.


Dining outside and watching the city pass by is a must when visiting Paris.

Robbie Lee for Insider

  • Paris is a gourmand’s dream with some of the best restaurants and culinary experiences in the world.
  • Keep reading for Insider’s list of the best restaurants in Paris, according to a travel writer.

Paris is synonymous with incredible food, and Parisians have a reputation for utilizing quality local ingredients and time-tested preparations. This often translates into rotating menus with seasonal produce and sumptuous presentation.

As a travel writer who visits frequently, some of the best meals in my life have been in Paris, both in upscale fine dining restaurants and — more often than not — in boisterous bistros.

During warmer months, Parisians take full advantage of patios and parks for long-lingering meals, though I’ve personally also enjoyed indoor dining in restaurants — even casual ones — with tiny tables that produce an intimate, cozy feeling. With great, relatively inexpensive wines available on almost all menus, each Parisian restaurant provides a sophisticated ambiance that will surely make your trip feel magical.

In Paris, you are almost always guaranteed to have exceptional food, especially if you do your research ahead of time, as I often do. Keep reading for my tips on where to find the best restaurants in Paris, including bakeries (boulangeries), pastry shops (pâtisseries), and chic eateries.

I'm a New Yorker who visits Paris every year. Here are 11 restaurants where I've had some of the best meals of my life.
Bellefeuille serves meals in the restaurant’s garden terrace as well as a whimsical dining room.Saint James Paris

Bellefeuille

Chef Julien Dumas was recently awarded a Michelin star for Bellefeuille, the new restaurant located at the dreamy Saint James Hotel in Paris, which has meticulously restored interiors and gardens. The restaurant concept is centered around seasonality and nature, with all of its products coming from highly-respected purveyors around France, as well as the hotel’s organic garden south of Paris, and honey harvested from hives directly on the property.

The lush, plant-filled terrace with a pergola is a nice spot in the summer, but I suggest sitting inside if you can; regardless of the season, it has a whimsical winter garden theme with nature-inspired wallpaper and fabrics, marble-topped tables, and other beautiful objects. Combined with the attentive service, the restaurant evokes French elegance at its finest.

Comptoir Poilâne

The Parisian tartine is an art form and Comptoir Poilâne, the restaurant attached to the Poilâne bakery, makes some of the best open-faced sandwiches in Paris, in my opinion. Comptoir Poilâne has used the same style of slow fermentation and locally grown and ground flours since its 1932 inception — it’s a marriage of the old and new worlds.

Bread is baked daily in the 6th arrondissement in wood-fired ovens and topped with creative pairings. Choose a classic preparation of crème fraîche with smoked salmon or melted Gruyère with crispy ham among other seasonal versions, including lacto-fermented vegetables.

I'm a New Yorker who visits Paris every year. Here are 11 restaurants where I've had some of the best meals of my life.
The Michelin-starred Epicure dazzles with regal chandeliers and draperies.

Epicure Paris

Le Bristol Paris

For many, visiting a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris is a must, and Le Bristol Paris houses two hot restaurants 114 Faubourg, with one Michelin star, takes its brasserie-deluxe title seriously. Executive chef Éric Fréchon’s menu focuses on impeccable French classics, including takes on hand-chopped steak tartare and duck pâté with foie gras.

Epicure, his space with three Michelin stars, is a feast for the eyes and the palate, setting the stage with Italian Botticino marble flooring and glittering chandeliers. Enjoy caviar de Sologne on bone-china plates and wine pairings poured into fine Baccarat crystal from sommelier Bernard Neveu. Part of the Oetker Collection, Le Bristol Paris upholds its reputation as the first to earn “palace” status in France, which allows all guests to feel like royalty.

Le Tresor

Le Tresor is the quintessential Parisian bistro with an elevated twist. It’s where I like to go to satisfy my craving for the classics, like their deliciously prepared oysters, langoustine, beef tartare, and foie gras. The decor inside is a little kitschy with clunky red and cow print chairs, so I opt for the lovely outdoor seating area instead, which is tucked away in a quieter pedestrian walkway for times when the weather is better.

I'm a New Yorker who visits Paris every year. Here are 11 restaurants where I've had some of the best meals of my life.
Trees, topiaries, and ivy climb the walls of the courtyard within La Cour Jardin.

Robbie Lee for Insider

La Cour Jardin

Another lovely and distinctly French dining experience is La Cour Jardin, where dishes such as grilled octopus, foie gras, and beef tartare are served in a gorgeous interior courtyard. It’s best enjoyed on a warm spring or summer day when you can see the space in all its glory with dotted red umbrellas as well as trees, topiaries, and ivy that climb the walls of a building constructed in the early 1900s.

Loulou

No visit to Paris is complete without a meal en plein air, or, outside. At Loulou, the restaurant is housed within the outdoor terrace of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and surrounds the Palais du Louvre. It’s the epitome of urban enchantment, and there isn’t a lusher location in Paris.

Loulou is known for its sensational Mediterranean menu featuring salads and simple pizzas, and the views aren’t so bad either.

I'm a New Yorker who visits Paris every year. Here are 11 restaurants where I've had some of the best meals of my life.
The magnificent dining room inside Le Train Bleu is actually housed within a former train station.

Robbie Lee for Insider

Le Train Bleu and Andia

Le Train Bleu and Andia are two glamorous Parisian restaurants set in former train stations. They offer a festive feel whether you’re a history buff or just seeking something unique.

Le Train Bleu offers exquisite surroundings, including decorative plaster ceilings, chandeliers, and large, light-filled windows that celebrate the space’s history. A variety of fishes (lobster macaroni gratin, cod, and monkfish preparations) and meats (lamb, beef tartare, sirloin steak) rotate into the menu, but I suggest saving room for the cheese board or desserts, like Rum baba, crepes Suzette and a lemon soufflé, which are the most memorable.

What was previously known as La Gare is now called Andia, and it offers what can sometimes be harder to find in Paris — an Andean Latin American concept. Serving guacamole, wagyu tataki, and octopus, Andia is a great alternative to French fare, as is the sushi bar that shares the space, Deepfish.

Macéo

I’m not a vegan, but I have been trying to eat more plant-based meals and reduce my meat intake. Macéo is a great option for anyone like me, but especially vegetarians and vegans, with lots of options, and where the plating on dishes like the ceviche and the vegetable tart is as inventive and mesmerizing as the taste. Try to sit in the cozy red room separated by a few steps, where a half wall is painted and accented by a bookshelf, and enjoy a bottle of wine off the impressive list.

I'm a New Yorker who visits Paris every year. Here are 11 restaurants where I've had some of the best meals of my life.
Enjoy a chic dining experience at Liza.Joann Pai

Liza

For a dinner that marries the best of Paris ingredients with modern Lebanese cuisine, Liza in the 2nd arrondissement is not to be missed. Owned and operated by chef Liza Asseily, the restaurant is a testament to Asseily’s Lebanese heritage in a chic, glamorous space.

Dishes are ideal for sharing and diners are encouraged to taste everything, including classic falafel and lamb kébbé, grilled Halloumi with sesame tomato marmalade, black lemon hummus, and imported Arak. Order the riz au lait dessert with orange water and rose petals and watch it vanish quickly bite by delicious bite.

Semilla

Sometimes in Paris, restaurants can feel a little stuffy. But Semilla does a good job of combining a great atmosphere with contemporary cuisine. A long red-hued marble bar and open kitchen initially draw the eye to the open kitchen, which turns out a great tasting menu option, with the veal filet, salt-crusted sea bass, and smoked duck tartar as standout dishes. For dessert, they serve a very pretty choux pastry-filled Paris-Brest.

View Insider’s comprehensive guide to visiting Paris.



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