With the arrival of cooler temperatures in Paris I have to admit I’ve been daydreaming a bit about fall and winter menu changes and some of my favorite dishes. I thought it would be the perfect time to share my top five classic French restaurants in Paris (it’s hard for me to limit my picks, I could easily make a list of 50). The restaurants within all hit the marks for excellent food, service, and atmosphere.
Restaurant Le Voltaire
If you follow me on Instagram I’m sure this pick won’t come as a shock, but really, Le Voltaire is awesome. You won’t find better service in Paris and there are so many beautiful details but it doesn’t feel fussy. My perfect (shared) meal would include foie gras and house smoked salmon to start, a steak with mustard sauce (or the côte de boeuf for two), matchstick frites and the silkiest mashed potatoes. This is a place to save room for dessert – I love either the profiteroles or chocolate mousse. As a bonus they make margaritas just like I like them and have a great cocktail list.
Le Voltaire, 27 Quai Voltaire 75007, +33 1 42 61 17 49
Josephine Chez Dumonet
Josephine Chez Dumonet is a place where I like to come hungry and with a group of people so we can order almost one of everything and share. It’s exactly how you’d expect an old-school French restaurant to look, so of course it’s warm and cozy. It’s known as being one of the best restaurants on the Left Bank so the crowd is a mix between tourists and regulars, and the service is great whether it’s your first or your 500th visit. I wasn’t kidding when I said I liked to order one of everything, and luckily half-portions are available for some items. Definitely don’t miss the foie gras, smoked salmon, beef tartare (prepared tableside), beef bourguignon, and mashed and crispy potatoes. Finish with the mille-feuille and maybe a little eau de vie served with a smile from a jumbo bottle.
Josephine Chez Dumonet, 117 Rue du Cherche-Midi 75006, +33 1 45 48 52 40
Chez Georges – Rue du Mail
When I go to Chez Georges I get the exact same thing every time, the Pavé du Mail with extra crispy frites. The mustard/butter/cream/cognac sauce is one of the best things you’ll ever taste and you need the fries to be extra crispy to hold up against the sauce. I know there are other excellent dishes on the menu because I’ve tried bites of other people’s food, but the Pavé du Mail will always be number one in my heart and belly. It’s no wonder that Chez Georges was also one of Julia Child’s favorite classic French restaurants in Paris.
Chez Georges, 1 Rue du Mail 75002, +33 1 42 60 07 11
L’Assiette kind of feels like a secret, probably because it’s off the typical tourist’s path in the 14th. It’s worth a special trip, especially when you need to warm up from the cold and rain. The food is hearty and some of my favorites include the escargot, the truffle boudin blanc sliders, and of course the cassoulet, which unfortunately isn’t the most beautiful thing to photograph but it is so tasty.
L’Assiette, 181 Rue du Château 75014, +33 1 43 22 64 86
Bistrot de Paris
Last but certainly not least is Bistrot de Paris. The decor is straight from a classic Paris restaurant dream complete with mirrors, gorgeous light fixtures, a chalkboard menu, dark woods, and red banquettes. Portions are very generous, so again bring your appetite. I love the artichoke salad, the steak with béarnaise sauce, and the mashed potatoes. No matter how much you eat you have to save room for one of their homemade desserts (get the profiteroles).
Bistrot de Paris, 33 Rue de Lille 75007, +33 1 42 61 16 83
All of these spots will be on heavy rotation for me this fall and winter, and I can’t wait. Be sure to try one (or all) on a future trip to Paris. If you need help fitting them perfectly into your itinerary, contact me for bespoke travel planning services. If you have a favorite classic French restaurant in Paris that I need to try please leave me a comment!