John Brunton tries out a quartet of restaurants in the French capital.
Founded in 1864 and situated by the Bastille, Bofinger is one of the oldest and most beautiful brasseries in Paris. A meal in this venerable institution is always memorable, from its sumptuous art nouveau décor and buzzing ambience – with waiters yelling “chaud devant” to clear a path as they balance a gigantic seafood platter – to its hearty, reasonably priced and delicious food. Ask for a table in the main dining room beneath the opulent glass coupole, and when ordering, stick to the classics rather than complex gourmet dishes. The choucroute is amazing – a steaming plate of sauerkraut heaped with smoky sausages and pork cuts, while the plateau de fruits de mer is a seafood extravaganza, with oysters, crab, prawns, shrimps, mussels, clams and whelks.
- Open daily 12pm-3pm, 6.30pm-12am; 5-7 Rue de la Bastille; tel +33 142 728 782; bofingerparis.com
La Dame de Pic
Anne-Sophie Pic is the Queen of Spades (La Dame de Pic), and her new gourmet restaurant, open since September, is the hottest place to dine right now. Based in Valence, Pic is France’s only female chef with three Michelin stars, and this is her much-awaited entrance in the capital. Located near the Louvre, the restaurant is elegant with minimalist pastel design and an open kitchen overseen by Pic’s hometown chefs. The three-course lunch menu is €49, while at night, diners are presented with three perfume-inspired tasting menus featuring tender Bresse chicken served with crunchy spinach, razor clams and fleur d’oranger, and rum baba with passion fruit, ginger and vanilla.
- Open Mon-Sat 12.30pm-2pm, 7pm-10pm; 20 Rue du Louvre; tel +33 142 604 040; ladamedepic.fr
France has a long history of close links with Lebanon, with a large diaspora community and scores of restaurants. But restaurateur Liza Soughayeur stands out for reinterpreting traditional Lebanese cuisine in a modern, surprising manner. Strategically placed by the Stock Exchange, Liza is perfect for a quick business lunch or relaxed midweek dinner but is also a fun address for Sunday brunch. The interiors combine avant-garde photography and exotic Middle Eastern touches, and the mezze starters include lamb tartare and smoky aubergine purée topped with tangy pomegranate seeds. Leave space for the irresistibly sticky baklava, paired with delicate rosehip and pistachio ice cream. At lunchtime all mains are €19, while at night they’re €22-€34.
- Open Mon-Fri 12pm-2.15pm, 8pm-10.30pm, Sat 8pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-3.30pm; 14 Rue de la Banque; tel +33 155 350 066; restaurant-liza.com
Forget the Eiffel Tower – the best views of Paris are actually to be had from the swish Le Georges atop the Pompidou Centre. Perfectly situated in the centre of town, diners are treated to a dazzling panorama stretching from Montmartre to the Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame and Les Invalides. Le Georges has an impressive mix of hip, futurist design and cuisine that offers both reassuring comfort food and inventive fusion dishes. Choose between classics including duck foie gras, grilled turbot or juicy veal chops, or gourmet temptations such as carpaccio of artichokes and black truffle or le tigre qui pleure, tender grilled beef strips in a spicy Asian marinade. The open-air terrace is also a great rendezvous for a sunset cocktail. Mains cost €30-€35.
- Open Wed-Mon 12pm-1am; 19 Rue Beaubourg; tel +33 144 784 799; maisonthierrycostes.com
Bullfrog - 17/02/2013 17:50
Ate recently at Fontaine De Mars .. dreadful meal.
PierreAntoine - 18/02/2013 19:25
An excellent address is: Restaurant du Palais Royal under the arcades of the Palais Royal, behind the Comedie Francaise. Booking definitely advised.
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