In a city that practically wrote the book on gastronomy, Paris is a foodie’s paradise. In true Parisian fashion, each season brings a new fad — in this case, new restaurants luring those who are suckers for a great menu. We’ve rounded up five hot eateries that are worth penciling into your itinerary.
In the place of an old butcher shop (one where I even once ordered six roasted chickens for my first Thanksgiving in Paris) is a new restaurant by Franck Aboudarham called Encore — and yes, we want more. Located in the heart of the 9th arrondissement, this street is home to an abundance of great foodie spots, such as L’Office, Vivant Table and its sister wine bar, Vivant Cave. The décor inside is clean and simple, keeping the food as the centerpiece. Encore’s team has selected from the best producers in Paris and beyond — Hugo Desnoyer for the meat; Fromagerie Quatrehomme for the cheese; and fourth-generation market farmer Joël Thiébault for the produce. These top-notch products are put on a pedestal at the hands of chef Yoshi Morie, previously of Le Petit Verdot in Saint Germain, where he effortlessly works in his Japanese influence to create a unique Franco-Japanese cuisine. With a well-edited wine list focusing on natural French wines, Encore has all of the bases covered. Be sure to reserve in advance, as this restaurant has quickly become a favorite of locals and visitors alike. 43 rue Richer, 75009
You may know of La Buvette, the natural wine bar in the 11th arrondissement of Paris — well, this place has nothing to do with it. Think more Buvette on Grove Street in New York City, as this is its newest sister outpost across the Atlantic. Founded by Manhattan native Jody Williams, Buvette has a distinctly New York feel with a menu that has been tailored to the Franco-American palate. The rustic wrap-around bar, the huge hand-drawn chalkboard depicting a map of France and the well-edited wine list gives Buvette instant appeal from the street. Inside, the atmosphere is warm, inviting and casual, making you feel right at home.
Buvette is located in the trendy neighborhood lovingly known as SoPi, for the fact that it is south of the metro Pigalle. The menu is full of amazing goodies such as a hearty croque forestier (a vegetarian croque monsieur) made on bread from the bakery Arnaud Delmontel, topped with a creamy béchamel sauce, Gruyère, wild mushrooms and thyme. Buvette also serves delicious crêpes and waffles, and tasty egg dishes for breakfast. There’s also a great Brussels sprout salad, and a killer walnut pesto tartine. All of the sodas are homemade, like their ginger ale and lemonade. At happy hour, the bartenders are mixing up some creative cocktails such as the Paris-Manhattan, a mix of cognac, Carpano “Antica Formula” vermouth, bitters and a cherry, and the classics such as a dirty martini. 28 rue Henry Monnier, 75009
It has been quite some time since Paris saw the opening of a restaurant in a train station with that classic brasserie ambience like the famous Le Train Bleu in the Gare de Lyon. Now, Eric Fréchon, the award-winning chef of Le Bristol Paris and Le Mini Palais, has changed that with the highly anticipated opening of Lazare inside of the Gare Saint-Lazare. A train station known for its fast food and mall atmosphere, Lazare is a breath of fresh air for those looking for a bit more sustenance while passing through. Thanks to its classy and modern interior design, menu full of French gastronomic favorites and the weight of chef Fréchon’s clout, Lazare has quickly become one of the most buzzed-about restaurants of the season. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7:30 a.m. to midnight every day, and light snacks available at the bar in between, Lazare is the perfect place for a business meeting, a date night or a quick bite before your train leaves the station.
The menu is full of tender fish dishes accompanied by fresh vegetables (think grilled salmon with sautéed vegetables), as well as heartier dishes such as the roasted lamb shoulder that spent seven hours getting friendly with some duck fat. Sides such as the mac ’n cheese infused with bits of ham, black truffle and Emmental are sure crowd pleasers. With any luck, this new-style brasserie will be a catalyst for others to start replacing the tired menus of the traditional Parisian brasserie set. Gare Saint-Lazare, 15-17 rue Intérieure 75008
Opened this September by the cocktail guy, Frédéric Le Bordays behind La Maison Mère, a brunch favorite in Paris, is the newest cocktail and small plates spot, Artisan. The atmosphere here in the evening is everything — romantic, lively and cozy, as candlelight illuminates the back wall of the bar where beautifully labeled bottles are displayed. Diners better get comfortable because the restaurant is quite small, but try to arrive early to snag a seat at the bar or in the back dining room, as Artisan doesn’t take reservations.
On the menu are a handful of artisanal cocktails (hence the name) such as the Negroni served in a little glass bottle to be poured over ice. The restaurant also has a handful of wines by the glass and Brooklyn Brewery beer in the bottle. Chef Vanessa Krycève, at 26 years old, has already learned from some of the best in Paris (including Pierre Hermé and Guy Savoy), which explains why she excels in both the savory and the sweet. Menu items such as the fried button mushrooms with Parmesan, burrata with beet purée and strawberries, and little marinated gray shrimp are a few of the crowd-pleasers. Artisan also has full-sized dishes such as the slow-cooked lamb shoulder served with eggplant, a fresh steak tartare and mussels cooked in a chorizo broth.
But don’t get too attached to these menu items — chef Krycève is dedicated to changing the menu every two weeks, keeping the element of surprise for both regulars and first-time diners. 14 rue Bochart de Saron, 75009
This cozy restaurant on the left bank in the posh neighborhood of Saint Germain is giving the rue du Cherche-Midi a bit of a new life, thanks to its lively atmosphere and updated take on classic French dishes. Owners Marion Trama and Paul Hayat chose the holy trinity when it comes to foodie favorites: natural wines by Franck Carré of La Cave des Papilles, meat by famed butcher Hugo Desnoyer and bread from Boulangerie Poujauran. Of course, there are many other aspects of this café that make it one of the new hot spots in Paris this season, such as its mouth-watering truffled croque monsieur, its classic ’50s style décor and vintage Scandinavian-meets-French feel. Finally, a new corner café that’s offering up a little more than the generic local French bistro, while keeping true to the roots of the classic dishes. 83 rue du Cherche-Midi 75006
Photos Courtesy of Lazare and Buvette