Like many of its European counterparts, the ‘city of love’ is known for its food. Take a stroll down any given street or avenue and you will easily find an authentic brasserie serving up delicious French classics or stumble across a quaint café baking fresh croissants and mouth-watering patisseries. But for those of you who would rather not leave your Parisian foodie adventure up to fate, we’ve pulled together our favourite spots – some chic, some more shabby-chic, but all delectably delicious.
Nestled between two boutiques in the 1st arrondissement, this pint-sized restaurant packs a ton of flavour. Monday through Sunday Ferdi has become a staple hotspot for the Paris scene whilst remaining a very casual affair. The menu (which is more book-like than menu) will take your senses south of the equator, on the same journey the owner took while travelling the world acquiring many of Ferdi’s recipes as well as the eclectic objects that decorate the restaurant. To define Ferdi by one type of cuisine would be limiting it, however there is a definite South American influence weaving through the menu. The crowd is just like the restaurant, eclectic – artists, socialites, celebrities and everyone in between. You are made to feel comfortable, well taken care of, and do not expect to leave hungry.
Must taste: The McFerdi burger, the meatballs, the corn on the cob, the ceviche, the walnut salad.
Must drink: Mango Margarita, Bloody Mary
Address: 32 Rue du Mont Thabor, 75001
Hours: Ferdi is open for dinner Monday through Sunday (you may want to reserve ahead), and lunch on Saturday (starts at 1:15pm) for which no reservations are taken, walk-ins only.
This tapas/wine bar at the heart of the Latin Quarter requires you to enjoy the food while standing. Be that as it may, once you catch a glimpse of the hanging flash cards from the ceiling, offering you a wide array of options for your quick bite or your full on gob-fest, any reservations you had (about standing or at another restaurant) will be forgotten. As you order a glass of wine and start an in-depth debate with yourself about what to order you realize you are going to have to come back for more. The menu offers a selection of different styles of cuisine, French, Spanish, as well as vegetarian options. Once you have enjoyed a balanced meal or snack you are required to exit the hustling and bustling place through their unavoidable crêpe station, so indulge. The crowd is comprised of suits, foodies, and bohemians mostly.
Must taste: Duck confit hot dog, chocolate banana waffle
Address: 3 Carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006
Hours: Open every day, 12pm-11pm
Reservations: No reservations; it is best to avoid peek hours.
L’Avenue is the quintessential people-watching restaurant. Part of the Hotel Costes collection, the uber-chic Avenue Montaigne location makes this particular restaurant a great place for lunch or dinner. The heated terrace will keep you toasty while you order from the signature menu. If you have been to Costes restaurants before do not expect any surprises. The menu is, except for one or two items, identical year-round. The fact of the matter is that you come to L’Avenue for the setting. At the corner of Avenue Montaigne and Rue Francois 1er you find yourself at the center of the Parisian Golden Triangle. A stone’s throw from the Champs-Elysées and the Plaza Athénée, surrounded by designer label boutiques, sit down and enjoy. Have one of their signature dishes or try their seasonal ones for a change. Though be warned, you may be discouraged from eating your portion of fries once you spot the gaggle of models regularly sauntering in and out.
Must taste: Lobster & French Fries, Tigre qui pleure, Nems
Address: 41 Avenue Montaigne, 75008
Hours: 8am – 2am
Shang Palace is as good as it gets in terms of Chinese cuisine in Paris, or rather Cantonese cuisine to be exact. The restaurant boasts one Michelin star and is located in the Shangri-La Hotel. The hotel itself is a feat of architecture dating back to the early 19th century when it was built as a palace for Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandnephew Prince Roland Bonaparte. Right off Place d’Iéna, the hotel offers incredible views of the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, the Louvre, and Montmartre. Shang Palace may be seen to be taking a slightly different approach to Chinese food for anyone who has not had Cantonese cuisine before. However each dish is tastier than the next and the menu only leaves you not knowing which dish to choose. Fear not, your meal can be served “Cantonese” style where all the dishes are shared between guests. The setting is quite luxurious with gold ornaments and crystal chandeliers; the service is impeccable and right in line with the hotel’s reputation for excellence. The crowd is a mix of hotel guests, countrymen, elegant tourists, and aficionados of fine Asian cuisine.
Must taste: Bacon rolled cucumber with chilli sauce and fried onion, Roasted Peking duck, Hot and sour soup.
Must drink: Shangri-La’s own vineyard produces an amazing white wine, Hospice des Beaunes.
Address: 10 Avenue d’Iéna, 75116
Hours: Thursday to Monday; 12pm – 2pm (Dim Sum Lunch), 7pm – 10pm (Dinner)
Reservation: Yes (mandatory for dinner)
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
This casually chic restaurant will have you wondering how you could have missed the chance of enjoying the artistic dishes of this top-notch chef until now. The red and black tones with mirrored accents will keep your gaze busy within this trendy hotspot. Guests sit at a bar that wraps around the kitchen, therefore enjoying the visual aspect of the cooking itself as well as the delicate smells the position offers. Sit down tables are also available. The mouth-watering menu of modern French cuisine will certainly breed some food envy, so expect a bit of dish sharing. You will not want to feel like you missed out on anything. Enjoy familiar ingredients you know and love such as rack of lamb, asparagus, and quail but always with a flavour combination and intensity you have never experienced before. Be sure not to bypass the dessert menu because you might very well regret it. L’Atelier has been featured in numerous publications as one of the best places to satisfy your appetite. Its popularity has inevitably forced it to spread, seeing locations open in Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Singapore, and Tokyo.
Must taste: Truffle pizza, Asparagus and cheese, rack of lamb
Address: 5 rue Montalembert, 75007
Hours: Lunch, 11:30am – 3:30pm; Dinner, 6:30pm – 12:00am
Reservation: Yes (mandatory)
John-Christian Moquette is a Partner at IAVRA.