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In the hopes that you’ll have a memorable meal the next time you’re visiting the City of Light, France-based TPG Contributor Lane Nieset shares her go-to list of restaurants where reservations are just a click away.
Scoring a seat at the best table in Paris is no easy feat. Sometimes it takes having a connection with the right maître d’ or a concierge who’s in the know, or calling up your friendly American Express The Platinum card concierge. It’s time to skip calling the places you want to eat at months ahead and map out your Paris dining plans the 21st century way — online. From three Michelin-starred fine dining hotspots to minimalist chic French bistros — and a few funky favorites in between — here are 10 restaurants to reserve online during your next trip to the City of Light, presented below in no particular order since they’re all incredible in their own way.
1. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée
One of two new Michelin three-star restaurants this year, Alain Ducasse’s restaurant at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée takes the farm-to-table notion to heart, a trend that’s still slow to rise in France’s gastronomic capital. The Monégasque chef partnered up with the head gardener of Le Trianon and Grand Parc de Versailles, Alain Baraton, to grow fruits and vegetables just for the eatery that are picked in the morning and delivered later that day. Additionally, chef Romain Meder teams up with farmers to secure a series of organic grains and seeds that are scattered throughout the menu, making dishes like quinoa and lentils appear as gourmet dishes thanks to the addition of more decadent ingredients like black truffles and caviar. Click here to book now.
Chef Sven Chartier and sommelier Ewen Lemoigne — the team behind Clown Bar — earned their first Michelin star this year for their minimalist chic restaurant, Saturne. Dinner spans a six-course carte blanche menu — available from 75 euros or about $85 per person — of fresh seafood, greens and other items like sweetbreads that may be more of an acquired taste. For 140 euros (about $158) per person, your six-course dinner includes wine pairings with the eatery’s selection of locally sourced wines. Click here to book now.
3. Le Grand Véfour
If you’re looking for the quintessential Parisian moment, dinner at Le Grand Véfour is it. Sitting at the edge of the Palais Royal Gardens, this elegant restaurant looks just like it did more than 200 years ago, featuring mirrored walls with glass-covered paintings and 18th-century Italian-inspired ceilings. One of the oldest restaurants in town, Le Grand Véfour counts everyone from writer Victor Hugo to explorer Humboldt as one-time regulars, with some of the tables named after the famous guests who frequented them. Michelin-starred chef Guy Martin is the man behind the legendary spot’s cuisine, whipping up a menu of French classics like pigeon and frogs’ legs, as well as some of his more modern favorites like the duck liver ravioli. Click here to book now.
Also in the Palais Royal neighborhood, Verjus is the brick-and-mortar spot that spun off from American duo Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian’s Hidden Kitchen Supper Club. Open for reservations Monday through Friday, the restaurant runs on a simple concept: market-fresh fare served up in the form of a daily seasonal tasting menu. For something just as enticing but not as elaborate — but does not actually take reservations, online or by phone — head downstairs for a glass of vino at the Wine Bar that offers bottles by boutique French winemakers and exquisite small plates like foie gras ganache and pork belly charcuterie. Click here to book now.
Fans of the craft cocktails at Le Mary Celeste and Candelaria will love the list of libations at the Korean street food-inspired hotspot, Hero. Unfortunately drinks only come with dinner and since the small space fills up fast, reservations are your best best for scoring cocktails like “Nice Legs,” a blend of Aperol, Prosecco, soju, pink peppercorn and lychee. The menu is classic Korean fried chicken served alongside a series of sauces and sides like kimchi of the day, and are designed to be mixed, matched and shared with the rest of the table. Click here to book now.
6. L’Oiseau Blanc
Named after the plane that disappeared attempting to cross the Atlantic in 1927, The Peninsula Paris’ L’Oiseau Blanc — which is pictured at the top of this post — plays on this aviation theme throughout its decor, even featuring a model of the aircraft jetting off from the side of the rooftop. One of the highlights here is the restaurant’s rooftop perch, which offers amazing views of Montmartre, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Chef Sidney Redel’s twist on French favorites is another reason to book a seat far in advance as he crafts a surprise seasonal menu daily revolving around the “bistronomique” concept. Click here to book now.
Chef Bertrand Grebaut’s buzzy Michelin one-star restaurant is already five years old, but it’s still one of the toughest tables in town to snag for a reservation. The appeal here is all about the casual vibes that start in the rustic-style dining room and seep into delicious dishes that promote quality and seasonal ingredients — they’re also served up in a stylish fashion that’s not too over the top. Click here to book now.
8. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
The original L’Atelier outpost (now found in cities from Las Vegas to London) is a Michelin two-starred spot that offers Asian-fueled French fare in Saint Germain and is run by executive chef Axel Manes. If you want to go all-out one evening and splurge on a Parisian feast, this is the place to do it. Stock up on small plates like fried scampi, gyoza dumplings and miso-marinated cod — don’t leave without trying the burgers stuffed with foie gras. Click here to book now.
9. Lazare Paris
Part of the charm of being in Paris is settling in at a typical French brasserie and indulging in classic bistro fare the city is known for — at Lazare, you can do just that. This wood-lined brasserie sits behind the Gare Saint-Lazare train station and serves a menu of dishes that can be ordered any time of the day, as well as a dinner menu of escargot, steak tartare, salmon with truffle vinaigrette and, of course, a selection of French cheeses straight from the fromagerie. Click here to book now.
10. Pierre Sang
The Top Chef finalist now runs two namesake restaurants in Oberkampf: His original, “In Oberkampf,” and the newer “On Gambey,” set in a former printing shop just around the corner. Both are quite tiny and always packed, so reserve far in advance or keep your fingers crossed for an open spot if you’re a walk-in. The menus mix French and Korean flavors for a surprise six-course dinner tasting that throws in everything from kimchi to Japanese yuzu for modernized small plates that aren’t the typical gourmet fare you’ll find at other spots around town. Click here to book now.
A Final Tip
Credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred (which also gives you 2x points on dining), Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, Citi Prestige and Citi Premier Card don’t charge foreign transaction fees, making them ideal to use during a vacation to Paris — especially at restaurants where credit cards are accepted. For more fee-free credit card options, check out this post.
What are some of your favorite restaurants in Paris? Tell us about them, below.
Featured image courtesy of The Peninsula Paris.
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