It’s no secret that French cuisine is considered the most elegant, refined food in the world. Considered culinary masters, French chefs have established restaurants where people have traveled far from home just to get a table. Succulent roast duck, creamy foie gras, fluffy mousse – from regional dishes to classic French dishes, a whole rainbow, thoughtfully crafted dishes that look as beautiful as they taste can be experienced in elegant, ornately designed settings. Bedecked in chandeliers and adorned with flowers, these restaurants don’t just offer meals – they offer unforgettable, life-changing experiences that embody the glamor of Paris. If there’s any city in the world that understands fine dining, it’s Paris – so expect decadent meals at Paris restaurants that are worth the splurge (Not ready to break the bank? We have tips on how save money at restaurants in France, too).
Essential Paris restaurants
1. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Classic French cuisine is paired with a modern open concept kitchen, where diners can watch the chefs work, at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. The colorful, creative dishes here – which focus just as much on plating and presentation as taste – have earned the restaurant two Michelin stars. This is the height of fine dining in Paris, so expect to pay for the experience, and make sure to dress for the occasion.
Where: Hôtel du Pont Royal, 5 Rue de Montalembert, 75007 Paris, France
Located inside a chic townhouse in Place des Vosges, the first thing to catch your eye about this restaurant won’t be food but the interior design: Tapestry hang from the walls, the floors are polished black and white marble, and elegant chandeliers give the dining room the feeling of a palace. The food might be simple – think scallops, potatoes, and chocolate mousse – but it’s all created with a master’s touch. No wonder L’Ambroisie was awarded three Michelin stars.
Where: 9 Pl. des Vosges, 75004 Paris, France
3. Le Cinq
Located inside the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel Georges V, ornate carpets, vases of red flowers, and chandeliers decorate Le Cinq. The menu is for the refined palate only, and includes dishes like caviar on a bed of sea water foam, grilled deer, and sea urchin. Each dish is paired with a rare wine from the restaurant’s on site wine cellar.
Where: 31 Av. George V, 75008 Paris, France
4. La Grande Cascade
La Grande Cascade is located in Paris’ Bois de Boulogne gardens, this restaurant was once a refuge for Napoléon III. Today, the restaurant retains its opulent 19th century design. Especially alluring for its romantic setting, couples celebrating a special occasion will enjoy a lingering, intimate dinner here. Except French classics like foie gras and black truffle on the menu.
Where: Carr de Longchamp, 75016 Paris, France
5. Brasserie Lipp
This bistro has been a Paris institution for around 130 years. The restaurant was once a haven for the French literary set – Marcel Proust and Jean Paul Starte were regulars. Today, the iconic yellow awning welcomes guests to a charming space with mirrored walls and colorful tiled depictions of flowers. Escargot, choucroute, and Terrine de Champagne (a plate of pickles and pates, including chicken liver) are among the classic French dishes on the menu.
Where: 151 Bd Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France
6. Chez Janou
Chez Janou is a cozy little bistro located in Paris’ trendy Le Marais district, with a casual atmosphere. The Provençal-style menu includes dishes like frog legs, roast duck, and bouillabaisse (seafood soup). Other elements that make this bistro stand out are the nostalgic 1950s movie posters that line the walls, and the extensive pastis (anise-flavored aperitif) selection, which can be ordered by the glass.
Where: 2 Rue Roger Verlomme, 75003 Paris, France
7. La Fontaine de Mars
La Fontaine de Mars is a charming little bistro located just steps from the Eiffel Tower. The red and white design of the awnings and tablecloths will catch the attention of newcomers, but it’s the reliably delicious food that keeps people coming back to this restaurant: eggs baked in red wine, cassoulet, and the strawberry ice cream are all worth trying.
Where: 129 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris, France