Michelin starred restaurants in Paris
Head to these fancy restaurants for the best fine dining in Paris...
Paris currently boasts over 70 Michelin-starred restaurants, making it one of most foodie-friendly capitals in the world. Sieving through the list can be daunting (especially when you see the menu prices, which frequently ride over the €150 mark), so here's our list of the best Michelin eateries, whether you fancy food that has been awarded one, two or three (very dramatic) stars...
Tip: It is usually cheaper to eat in Michelin-starred restaurants at lunchtime, so if you're on a budget, make an afternoon of it.
3 Michelin stars
The sheer glamour factor would be enough to recommend this restaurant, Alain Ducasse's most lofty Paris undertaking. The dining room ceiling drips with 10,000 crystals. An amuse-bouche of a single langoustine in a lemon cream with a touch of Iranian caviar starts the meal off beautifully, but other dishes can be inconsistent: a part-raw/part-cooked salad of autumn fruit and veg in a red, Chinese-style sweet-and-sour dressing, or Breton lobster in an overwhelming sauce of apple, quince and spiced wine. Cheese is predictably delicious, as is the rum baba comme à Monte-Carlo.
- Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Hôtel Plaza Athénée, 25 av Montaigne, 8th
Assuming you can swallow an exceptionally high bill - it's €42 for a potato starter, for example - chances are you'll have a spectacular time at chef Alain Passard's Left Bank establishment. His attempt to plane down and simplify the haute experience - the chrome-armed chairs look like something from the former DDR - seems a misstep; but then something edible comes to the table, such as tiny smoked potatoes served with a horseradish mousseline. A main course of sautéed free-range chicken with a roasted shallot, an onion, potato mousseline and pan juices is the apotheosis of comfort food. Desserts are elegant.
- 84 rue de Varenne, 7e
With its extravagant Louis XVI decor, mosaic tiled floors and modish restyling by Philippe Starck, Le Meurice is looking grander than ever. All 160 rooms (kitted out with iPod-ready radio alarms) are done up in distinct historical styles; the Belle Etoile suite on the seventh floor provides panoramic views of Paris from its terrace and you can relax in the Winter Garden to the strains of regular jazz performances. For more intensive intervention, head over to the lavishly appointed spa with treatments by Valmont; or give your taste buds a whirl on chef Yannick Alléno's refined 3-star Michelin cuisine.
- Hôtel Meurice, 228 rue de Rivoli
Set on the exclusive rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, near luxury boutiques such as Christian Lacroix, Azzaro, Salvatore Ferragamo, Givenchy and Dolce & Gabbana, the Bristol is a supremely luxurious 'palace' hotel with a loyal following of fashionistas and millionaires drawn by the location, impeccable service, larger than average rooms and a three Michelin-starred restaurant with Eric Fréchon at the helm. The Bristol's new seven-storey wing opened in late 2009, with 22 new rooms and four suites, all with views of the Eiffel Tower.
- 112 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, 8e
At Pierre Gagnaire most starters alone cost over €90, which seems to be the price of culinary experimentation. The €90 lunch menu is far from the experience of the carte: the former is presented in three courses, whereas the latter involves four or five plates for each course. Even the amuse-bouches fill the table: an egg 'raviole', ricotta with apple, fish in a cauliflower jelly, and glazed monkfish. The best thing about the lunch menu is that it includes four very indulgent desserts: clementine, raspberry and vanilla, chocolate, and passion fruit.
- 6 rue Balzac, 8e
2 Michelin stars
Lasserre’s rich history is definitely a part of the dining experience: notables like Audrey Hepburn, André Malraux and Salvador Dali were regulars; it harboured Resistance fighters during the war; and it was while dining with Malraux that Marc Chagall decided to paint the ceiling for the Opera Garnier. But its illustrious past is nothing next to the food: chef Christophe Moret (ex-Plaza Athénée) and his pastry chef Claire Heitzler (ex-Ritz) create lip-smacking delicacies to die for. The upstairs dining room, accessed by a bellboy-operated lift, is a sumptuous affair in taupe and white, with solid silver table decorations, and a retracting roof, which at night opens just enough for you to see the stars.
- 17 avenue Franklin-Roosevelt, 8e
Alain Senderens reinvented his art nouveau institution (formerly Lucas Carton) a few years ago with a Star Trek interior and a mind-boggling fusion menu. Now, you might find dishes such as roast duck foie gras with a warm salad of black figs and liquorice powder, or monkfish steak with Spanish mussels and green curry sauce. Each dish comes with a suggested wine, whisky, sherry or punch (to match a rum-doused savarin with slivers of ten-flavour pear), and although these are perfectly chosen, the mix of flavours and alcohols can prove overwhelming at times.
- 9 Place de la Madeleine, 75008
1 Michelin star
This Paris institution is regaining its lustre following the death of aged owner Claude Terrail in 2006. In the kitchen, Breton-born Stéphane Haissant has brought a welcome creative touch to the menu, bringing in unique dishes such as a giant langoustine dabbed with kumquat purée and surrounded by lightly scented coffee foam. But he also shows restraint, as in duck (the house speciality) with cherry sauce and a broad bean flan. Following in his father's footsteps, Terrail's soft-spoken son André now does the rounds, making sure that the diners are happy.
- 15 quai de la Tournelle, 5e
On the edge of the Seine, with tall bay windows overlooking the Eiffel Tower, and chic grey and mauve décor, Antoine is a shrine to the sea – albeit a posh one! Moneyed crowds from the nearby Triangle d’Or gather day and night to sample chef Mickaël Feval’s perfect-every-time oysters and extravagant dishes like whole roasted lobster served with winter vegetable en cocotte, plump St-Jacques scallops, and thick, fish-rich Bouillabaisse (fish soup) served with saffron tinted rouille (garlicky mayonnaise). Dessert wise, expect all sorts of chocolate creations and a delicious vanilla mille-feuille with crispy layers that crunch into lashings of vanilla cream. If you’re not out for the whole splurge, try the more reasonable fixed-price lunch menu. At night the price tag rides over €100 per person but you won’t be disappointed – especially when the Eiffel tower sparkles just beyond your dinner plate.
- 10 avenue de New York, 16e
Cobéa is a slick new restaurant by friends Jerome Cobou and Philippe Bellissent, who won a Michelin star when he cooked at the L'Hôtel. It opened in Montparnasse in the Paris’s 14th district to excellent reviews. Cobéa epitomises contemporary French fine dining - a kind of casual chic that celebrates gastronomy without the snobbery. Set in a renovated 1920s house with big windows overlooking a green space, it feels peaceful and cosy, while the muted décor and little touches like silverware and Bernardaud porcelain are very much luxury. Cobéa’s menus are a treasure chest of reworked classics featuring a new and popular ‘chef’s surprise’ every day. Each dish is accompanied by a recommendation by Jerome from hundreds of well-priced fine wines made up of classics and new discoveries.
- 11 Rue Raymond Losserand, 75014
Superchef Pierre Gagnaire runs this comparatively affordable fish restaurant. The menu enumerates ingredients without much clue as to how they are put together, though the helpful waiters will explain if you don't like a surprise. But then surprises are what Gagnaire is famous for. The Fats Waller, for instance, turns out to be a soup of grilled red peppers with a bloody mary sorbet in the centre and daubs of quinoa, basmati rice and Chinese spinach. For the mains, diners are treated like sophisticated children - everything has been detached from the bone or carapace. Light desserts complete the successful formula.
- 44 rue du Bac, 7e