I moved to Paris in 2005, and as a former chef, caterer, and pastry maker when I lived in New York, friends, clients, and colleagues always ask me what my favorite restaurants and cafes are. Rather than send a splintered list, I decided to categorize them in a fun way.
Top Restaurant for Celeb Sightings and History: Le Fouquet’s
The iconic Le Fouquet’s Café on the eponymous Champs Elysees has attracted stars and celebrities from the film world since 1899. In the 1960s it was the watering hole for the directors Francois Truffaut, Jean Luc Godard, and Claude Chabrol, and movie stars Jeanne Moreau and Brigitte Bardot during the Nouvelle Vague film movement. Today on the sidewalk of the café, stars have made their mark, similar to the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, and inside the café are dozens of autographed celebrity photos lining the walls. The most star-studded night every year at Les Fouquet’s is at the end of February when the stars come in droves for the after party of the Cesar Awards, the French equivalent of the Oscars.
99 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008
Best Restaurant with Killer View of the Eiffel Tower: Les Ombres
On the fifth floor of the Quai Branly Museum, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, is the restaurant Les Ombres. Enclosed in the floor-to-ceiling windows, the view of the Eiffel Tower is so close it feels you could touch it. The inventive menu offered by chef Rui Martins, who focuses on the top 100 best French dishes according to season, is just as good as the view.
37 Quai Jacques Chirac, 75007
Top Restaurant for Crêpe Suzette : La Grande Cascade
Throw caution to the wind when you order the Crepe Suzette at one of the most beautiful restaurants in Paris, La Grande Cascade, located in the woods of the Bois de Boulogne Park in Paris. The waitperson rolls a cart covered with a perfect, white tablecloth and prepares the divine crepe from scratch in a copper pan, and at the very end, he adds a dash of Remy Martin and sets it aflame. Other delectable delights on the menu include macaroni and cheese with foie gras and truffles, blue lobster from Madagascar, and Brittany crab.
Bois de Boulogne
Carr de Longchamp, 75016
Top Dive Bar/Cafe: La Perle
Hipsters, Gen Z’s, and Millennials gather in droves, spilling out onto the streets for cheap, good red wine at the popular bar and café La Perle in the Marais quarter for five bucks a glass. House-made foie gras, a smoked salmon club sandwich, a charcuterie board with Iberian dried ham, and home-baked tarte Tatin are some of the extra goodies to help soak up all that wine.
78 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003
Top Pizza Restaurant: Oxymore
As an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, I am still a die-hard pizza snob and have yet to find a pizza to live up to the dollar-slices in the Big Apple up until now. Oxymore, in the trending 11th arrondissement of Paris, serves thin-crusted pizzas with the most divine toppings, all sourced in France, including smoked Savoie cheese, 18-month aged ham, white ham from Paris, fresh tomatoes, crème Fraiche, Saint Maur goat cheese with ash, and pistachio pesto. Oxymore has a phenomenal deal at lunchtime: an individual pizza and dessert for only €15.
60 Rue Saint-Maur, 75011
Top All French Restaurant in Paris: Le Joy
Clément Le Norcy, head chef at Le Joy restaurant at the Hotel Barriere Fouquet, is so passionate about his native cuisine he exclusively sources only ingredients made in France. Sea scallops with ginger and mushrooms, filet of beef from Normandy with golden potatoes, foie gras with smoked beets, and French caviar are just a few of the tempting specialties available at Le Joy. Jacques Garcia, one of the top interior designers in France, designed the chic interior.
99 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008
Top Authentic Crepe/Gluten-Free Restaurant: Breizh
Wheat intolerant people rejoice! You can now indulge in one of France’s favorite dishes without worry. Breizh is the top crepe restaurant in Paris and offers authentic Brittany-style crepes made with buckwheat flour, so you can eat as many you desire. Yummy savory stuffings include smoked herring and potatoes, mozzarella, tomato, basil, and smoked salmon with dill and crème Fraiche. Leave room for a sweet crepe of either poached peaches with raspberry sauce and fresh mint, topped with vanilla ice cream, or apple with Calvados and brown sugar. Wash your delicious crepe down with a selection of over 60 apple ciders made in Brittany.
109 rue Vieille du Temple, 75003