Where to eat in Paris

The spiritual home of gourmet traditionalists, Paris is a city where you can always be sure of a good meal. Bakeries churn out fresh bread at every street corner, bistros do a brisk trade in well-aged steak and golden frites, and every Parisian, it seems, takes pride in their local neighbourhood gem. That’s not to say the city’s culinary scene isn’t moving with the times: street-food vans, small-plates restaurants and sustainable bars are just as likely here as in London or New York

Classic fare with a twist

For classic fare with a twist

There’s no stopping the brasserie renaissance: thanks to inventive chefs and a soupçon of nostalgia, the once-stuffy all-day eateries are becoming cool again. Chicago native Daniel Rose has been making waves on both sides of the Atlantic; drop by his Chez La Vieille bistro for perfectly executed rabbit kidneys on toast and warm chocolate cake. Venerable institution La Poule au Pot has been given a reboot by chef Jean-François Piège; expect star turns on old-school classics such as egg mimosa or poached turbot. Upscale deli Maison Plisson now serves dinner in its Saint-Honoré branch: start with pistachio-flecked asparagus, then turn your full attention to the crispy pork belly.

Triangular cake at the Mandarin Cake Shop at Mandarin Oriental, Paris

For sweet cravings

From buttery pains au chocolat for breakfast to late-night baba au rhum, Paris has always known how to indulge a sweet tooth. Thankfully, plucky patissiers are keeping things fresh with an ever-changing roster of sugared delights. Instagram darling Bontemps keeps the Marais crowds happy with delicate fruit tartlets and crumbly sablé biscuits. Japanese pastry-whizz Sadaharu Aoki supplies many an haute couture house; opt for bittersweet matcha numbers, or a sultry black sesame éclair. Closer to home, Adrien Bozzolo turns heads in Mandarin Oriental, Paris’s Cake Shop with his playful confections: look out for the architectural Saint-Honoré and jasmine-infused pear choux. If you’re in the mood for something a little more rustic, Breizh Café’s salted caramel crêpes always hit the spot.

For a health kick

For a health kick

With cold-pressed juice joints and veg-packed bowls cropping up all over town, green eating is having a bit of a moment. An airy café in the heights of Montmartre, Abattoir Végétal leads the charge with pretty flower-strewn vegan plates. Elegant Café Pinson has bags of grown-up charm, courtesy of interior designer Dorothée Meilichzon; its smoked tofu skewers could seduce the most entrenched of carnivores. Chef Thierry Marx lightens Mandarin Oriental’s menus with signature foams and seasonal produce: stop by L’Honoré for detox-friendly poké bowls and gourmet vegan burgers.

For the setting

For the setting

Substance, gourmets will agree, should never be sacrificed for style – but a little eye candy rarely goes amiss. Step through teal velvet curtains for a retro-chic dinner at Virtus, recently anointed with a Michelin star. British restaurateur John Whelan has restored Art Deco gem Bouillon Julien to its former sea-green glory. Feast, as Edith Piaf once did, on expertly executed French classics: a creamy veal blanquette, say, or a moreish ham and endive gratin. Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx’s striking minimalist pods let Marx’s haute cuisine do the talking. For unbeatable views, snag a table at Girafe, a sprawling velvet-and-marble space with an elegant 1930s vibe and front-row seats to the Eiffel Tower light show.

Mandarin Oriental Paris
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Mandarin Oriental Paris

251 Rue Saint-Honoré , Paris , France

+33 (0)1 70 98 78 88

One city, five ways: Paris

Trad-loving Paris isn’t just about checked tablecloths, quaint bookshops and elegant boutiques: a scratch beneath its timeless surface quickly reveals a city that’s constantly reinventing itself