5 Paris restaurants for 5 different styles

Lately on this blog I talked to you about the top 4 brasseries in Paris. Today I would like to introduce five more restaurants I really do appreciate. The five of them have five different cooking styles. Therefore, if you are a veggie, if you prefer meat, if you are looking for luxury gastronomy or for something simpler you should find what suits you best in this list.

Les Crocs de l’Ogre

Vegetarian friends, don’t read any further! Les Crocs de l’Ogre in Paris’s 7th arrondissement is a meat lover’s paradise, an authentic carnivorous restaurant. This annex to the “L’Ogre” restaurant (opened in 2009 on Avenue de Versailles by Nicolas Bérenger, Maxime and Henry Bauche, three former wine merchants) has been thriving since 2011.

Les Crocs de l'Ogre

For around €40 à la carte (menus from €20) a very wide choice of meats is offered: suckling pig from Brittany, prime rib of beef for any number of diners, rib steak, foie gras marbled with artichokes, kidneys, steak tartare cut with a knife, etc. You can also choose your preferred meat by weight. The Aveyron saucisson which is offered to visitors will help bide your time until your order arrives. The extensive wine list is an undisputed asset: more than 170 wines have been chosen by the restaurant owners. It would be easy to get lost were a sommelier not on hand in the dining room to advise you on the best wine possible to go with your meal. If you stay long enough, a large number of desserts are also on offer.

The décor is warm, the restaurant is skilfully decorated with small mosaics on the floor, industrial lighting and small wooden tables. The glass bar showcases large sausages, (sometimes impressive) veal heads, and even suckling pigs just waiting to be cooked. A maturing room features large pieces of meat to make guests salivate. To finish your meal in the ideal conditions, a cosy smoking room is available in the basement with a choice of seven Armagnac vintages. This is a venue to be recommended to anyone with an appetite to rival Perrault’s ogres.

Gastronomic gem: Vegetal Symphony

For some the restaurant L’Arpège (3 Michelin stars) is almost a ‘laboratory’ of French gastronomy. Its chef, the gifted Alain Passard, combines technical prowess, originality, a taste for a challenge and a sense of paradox. His ambition is clearly to attain the summits of harmony between cuisine and creation. He has a passion for freshly grown produce and has his own vegetable patches and herb gardens. Alain Passard is welcoming and elegant and greets his guests himself. In a simple and pleasant way, he takes an interest in what you are eating, wishing to know whether it is to your taste. Alain Passard also adapts to your requests so, even if the menu is more than perfect, he will not be offended if you ask him to work with a product like caviar (provided you give him a bit of warning beforehand of course). He moves from table to table in a minimalist décor of precious wood, musical curves and crystalline transparencies. Everything is in place for a great culinary moment with its pure jewels and marvels of precision. Nevertheless some may say that there are a few impostures in all this and that ‘home-grown’ vegetables don’t justify such a fuss.

L'Aperge

But I won’t change my mind. For me Alain Passard is unique. I would even say that he is 4 times unique, because he reinvents his cuisine according to what his vegetable patch offers him. And it is not any old vegetable patch… he cultivates at least 6 hectares of land throughout France. His hot and cold egg, sherry vinegar and maple syrup symbolise all the master strokes and explosions of flavour that will follow: ravioli of vegetables, platter of vegetables in multicoloured Harlequin skins, semolina in argan oil and pan-fried foie gras, Challans Duckling with hibiscus… And for dessert, the incredible curls and curves of his rosebud apple tart. Alain Passard takes his guests into the unreal, the unexpected and on a tailor-made journey of discovery… And I cannot even begin to describe his pasture-raised poultry, his shellfish and crustaceans from Brittany or his wild fish. This man is a magician of cooking times and a tireless composer of unexplored flavours based on fresh seasonal produce. You think that I am exaggerating? Alright then I will keep it simple: magnificent cuisine. You will be surprised.

Restaurant Alfred

This restaurant is not just about food, it is about a host: Alfred, a remarkable personality who delivers simple flavours in good taste. The ambiance of ‘an old bistro brought up to date’, undoubtedly inherited from his grandfather who founded the Crazy Horse, is so quintessentially Parisian that you won’t want to leave his restaurant at the end of your meal. The chef, Jean Marie Vetier, proposes ‘elegant but unpretentious’ French cuisine.

The Roland Garros

The French Open tennis tournament, commonly known as the Roland Garros and one of the most keenly followed sporting events on the planet, is held every years “Porte d’Auteuil”.

Beyond the sporting event, though, the Roland Garros site is a rich world in its own right: shops, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) museum and more bring this temple of clay to life. Over thirty-three stands are open year-round in keeping with Roland Garros’ values. One of the most famous places there is the restaurant « Le Roland Garros ».

Located in an exceptional spot just a moment’s walk from the fabled Court Philippe Chatrier (previously known as the Court Central), it offers its customers dishes that blend tradition and modernity at relatively affordable prices. In a setting reminiscent of a cottage in Normandy, you can choose to dine amidst the brick and wood décor under the glass roofs, or on the flowery terrace, which is especially lovely in summer.

Le Roland Garros also offers a brunch menu from 19 euros as well as its famous Brunch & Champagne deal, which includes free entry to the FFT museum.

A gastronomic revelation: Les Ambassadeurs

It is the very least I can do to tell you a little bit about Les Ambassadeurs, the Hotel de Crillon’s gastronomic restaurant. It is an ultimate symbol of luxury and elegance offering a taste of the French Art of Living and situated opposite the Place de la Concorde, one of the most beautiful squares in the world, let’s not be afraid to say it, and as often as necessary!

This top class Michelin starred gastronomic restaurant has taken up residence in the immensely majestic former ballroom of the Counts of Crillon with its Louis XV decoration featuring 6 different varieties of marble and sumptuous chandeliers suspended beneath the magnificent frescos on the ceiling. In the past, Les Ambassadeurs – Le Crillon proposed what it called a ‘traditional permissive’ cuisine. Hidden behind this very restrained and very bourgeois description was one of the best tables in Paris in one of the most stunning decors recently updated by the interior designer Sybille de Margerie. At the time the famous French chef Jean-François Piège was in command of this illustrious address… not exactly suited to modest wallets since you had to fork out around 250 Euros for a single dish. So, the restaurant has reopened this year with a new chef, Christopher Hache, in charge. This young 28-year old chef has just taken over the reins of this famous restaurant with a new team and a new menu. He proposes a new, more modest ‘lunch menu’ and a ‘6-course lunch and dinner discovery menu’. It is slightly less expensive than before and you will definitely eat well, without being disturbed by the neighbouring tables since the maximum number of clients is limited to 40. I noticed, a while ago, that the menu, which respects the rhythm of the seasons in terms of its products, proposed game pie accompanied by a truffle coulis, and blue lobster roasted in its bisque, with nettle and walnut tortellini. As for the desserts, they will make you sigh with desire… fig tart, fruit minestrone and frosted sandra, or chocolate biscuit and banana ice cream, crunchy hazelnut and Jivara mousse… But no going over the top, this is not the style of this restaurant which generally limits its gastronomic opuses to a restricted number of suggestions. That’s it really. So, bon appétit, if you have been convinced.

Didier Moinel Delalande is a Director at Hotel Mathurin.

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