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Best Restaurants in Paris

Please submit your rank lists on what you think are the 10 best restaurants in Paris right now, based solely on food with cost, service, decor and cuisine as non factors.

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  1. OK, I'll bite - those that opened in or near 2013:
    8.7 Hugo Desnoyer
    8.5 Les Tablettes de JLN
    8.1 Lazare
    8.0 110 Taillevent, Sergent Recruteur
    7.9 Cantine de la Cigale
    7.8 Roca
    7.6 Les Enfants Rouges
    7.5 Petit Champarret, Premices, Terroir Parisien Bourse
    Is there a prize?

    101 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott

      The prize of contributing for free and at the very least without credit to a survey, blog post or magazine article for someone who won't even decline their purpose or identity. When I answer a question, I like to know why it's asked.

      1. re: Ptipois

        So, of course Pti, you are, as always, correct. As Pierre45 accuses me, I and we, act as an unpaid concierge service. Full disclosure, however, that list was already composed and took a few seconds to block and paste.

        1. re: John Talbott

          "that list was already composed and took a few seconds to block and paste."
          And the OP can't even find it.

          1. re: Parigi

            Thank you Mr. Talbott for being a good sport and playing along. I've always enjoyed your reviews and your website and have much respect for you.

            To the others, I love food and I love lists. I don't work for any publication nor am I interested in blogging. I'm surprised there hasn't been a top 10 this year for this board. I just wanted to know what each one's personal favorites are.

            1. re: Urgency

              So where did you go ? And what is your verdict ?

                1. re: Urgency

                  So where did you go ? And what is your verdict ? Where is your list ?

            2. re: Parigi

              Parigi can you please recommend me a Michelin lunch experience perhaps 2 starred? I want to get
              the experience of a starred restaurant at a lunch budget

              1. re: shortyepic

                What's wrong with the ones I recommended, down thread? I see you asked the same question on a couple of threads - can I ask what you think of the ones discussed on the board already?

                1. re: PhilD

                  I am leaning towards Guy Savoy set menu 110 euro seems like it would be a value! I'm also looking at JT top must go's how important are lunch/dinner resv?

                  1. re: shortyepic

                    If it's a two or three star they are essential. The Guy Savoy special price is a internet reservation only.

                    For all restaurants, apart from a few non-reservation places, it's always sensible to reserve - it's considered impolite not to. You can book many a quite short notice, even a few hours in advance, but the better ones do book up in advance.

                    Making a reservation is just the French way of doing things so always sensible to follow local customs - it's rumoured some places will turn away those without a reservation even if they have seats because the kitchen wasn't forewarned and prepared.

                    Other two stars that get good (yet infrequent) write-ups are Passage 53, Akrame, and Jean Francoise Piege. There are only fourteen in Paris (which is quite a lot) so easy to research them all.

        2. re: John Talbott

          John, is it fair to say none of these on your list show up on Paris By Mouth because these gems are too new and less touristy?

          1. re: shortyepic

            To some extent, although Terroir Parisien and Lazare, for instance, are.
            I also think PbM's editors rightly selectively choose what they think are most interesting whereas I go to almost anything new that sounds good or interesting or different.
            I'm no longer as involved as I was at its inception so really should not speak for Meg, Catherine or Alec and with the end of the Discussion Forum I have stopped going to the site every day so I'm probably less well informed than you are.
            As for "too new and less touristy," by definition, new places are less filled with visitors since it takes a while for the word to get out. Parnassien has given a nice account of the roll-out and sequence of reviews and reports elsewhere.
            I was at two places two weeks ago where it was striking that the clientele were either chefs-owners-critics sniffing the fireplug or locals who had clearly taken a shine quickly to the new kid on the block.

            1. re: John Talbott

              Makes perfect sense now thanks JT. Also I noticed you don't have must on your top 10's regarding Michelin starred spots, can you recommend me a Michelin lunch experience perhaps with 2 stars?

              1. re: shortyepic

                My lists are according to current or recent years, excepting one from 2006-almost the present.
                I think for starred places you might want to do a search CH where there have been rich discussions.

              2. re: John Talbott

                I would also think it's wise to remember that the PbM site is the "shop window" for their business i.e. their food walks. This the information and focus will reflect the demographic of the market. I think it's a great resource but like all you need to triangulate multiple inputs.

            2. re: John Talbott

              PLEASE JT can you give me a little more info about your list. I have come down to making resv and aren't certain which would be best for lunch and dinner. Can you please tell me the musts for a first timer in Paris out of these? I'm there for 5 nights

              8.5 Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos
              (High end)
              The Fork app
              Open daily lunch/dinner

              8.4 David Toutain
              (High end From 12:30pm to 2:30pm and from 8pm to 10pm. Closed Saturday and Sunday)

              8.1 Lazare

              (Bistro Everyday, nonstop from 7:30am to 11pm)

              8.0 110 Taillevent
              (High end)

              Sergent Recruiter
              Set menu lunch 12:30- 1:30
              The fork app resv

              A.T.
              Set lunch 12-2
              Set Dinner 7-9
              info@atsushitanaka.com

              7.9 Cantine de la Cigale
              Open Daily Except Sundays
              From 8am to 2am without interruption

              7.8 Roca
              reservation@rocaparis.com

              Kigawa
              Set lunch/dinner
              Reserve on website

              7.6 Les Enfants Rouges
              (Wine bar From noon to 2:30pm and from 7pm to 10:30pm. Closed Tuesday)

              Le BAT ***
              (Tapas From noon to 3pm (except Saturday) and from 5pm to 11pm (midnight Saturday). Closed Sunday.

              7.5 Le Petit Champerret

              Premices
              The Fork app resv (closed sat/sun)
              Lunch 12:30-2
              Dinner 8-10:30

              Terroir Parisien Bourse
              (Bistro)
              The fork app
              reservation-mutualite@terroirparisien.fr

              Le Servan ***
              (Bistro)
              From noon to 2:30pm and from 7:30pm to 10:30pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.

              7.4 Sur le fil
              The Fork app

              Bistrot du Maquis ***
              The Fork app lunch/dinner
              Closed Tues

              Maison de l’Amerique Latine***

              7.2 Le Bon Georges ***
              benoit@lebongeorges.com

              Yard ***
              yard-resto@live.fr
              Bistro lunch/dinner
              From noon to 2:30pm and from 8pm to 10:30pm (except Monday). Closed Saturday and Sunday.
              No resv avail

              Huitrerie Regis ***
              contact@huitrerieregis.com
              Shellfish
              From noon to 3pm and from 6:30pm to 10:30pm. Closed Monday.
              No resv avail

              Le Clown Bar ***

                1. re: shortyepic

                  I'm supposedly on vacation in Tuscany. Will try to get to ASAP.
                  Sorry,
                  John
                  But family comes first.

                  1. re: shortyepic

                    If you read John's reviews on each of the restaurants you shortlisted, you will get all the info you want.

                    1. re: Parigi

                      Thank you. Think I did more than just ok?

                      DINNER RESV:
                      Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos
                      David Toutain
                      Les 110 de Taillevent
                      Le Sergent Recruiter
                      Restaurant A.T

                      LUNCH MUSTS:
                      La Cantine de la Cigale
                      Le BAT
                      Guy Savoy

                      POSSIBLE LUNCH:
                      Premices
                      Terroir Parisien Bourse
                      Le Servan
                      Sur le fil
                      Le Bistrot du Maquis

                      1. re: shortyepic

                        It looks divine! I think that what many of us have been saying is there is no right or wrong answer. I have dined out with a handful of my most respected Hounds and have learned that as much as I love and trust each one, we each have different palates and preferences in style. Until you tuck your knees under the table with someone, you can't really calibrate your tastes.

                        So go! Enjoy! And come back and tell us all about it. :)

                        1. re: mangeur

                          "Until you tuck your knees under the table with someone, you can't really calibrate your tastes."

                          So true and articulates a slight fear I have about shortyepics list of places which seems to be based on John's recent exploits. I think John is a marvellous source of great information but happens if you like different things? How different are these places in the evening. John's decibel count may show modest noise levels during the day but will the noise crank up with the after work crowd etc etc. What about last years places, or the ones he has not made it to?

                          Using only one source shows admirable faith.

                          1. re: PhilD

                            David Toutain claims they are fully booked this early out for July 9th. Does that seem likely? Where else can someone recommend to dine other than putting all my faith in JT's list

                            1. re: shortyepic

                              Seems very likely for a hot table.

                              Where else to put your faith in? What about the posts on this board?

                              1. re: PhilD

                                To be frank I'm so overwhelmed with research and even which research I should trust. I thought Paris by mouth was a good source but I just want the right guru to tell me what a must go place in Paris is for that Parisian experience that can only be found in Paris!

                                1. re: shortyepic

                                  One more time, Chorus. Hit it, guys!
                                  (Choose your melody)

                                  THERE ARE NO MUST GOs.

                              2. re: shortyepic

                                Our meal at David Toutain was actually one of the weaker meals we had.

                                July 9th is not that far away for booking a hot restaurant. Many restaurants I've booked are full unless you book 1 month in advance.

                                Meals we enjoyed:

                                Les 110 de Taillevent 1* -Seriously amazing food - same owners as 3* Taillevent. The vol-au-vent was more than perfect.

                                Sola
                                French Japanese. 1*
                                Most dishes we had were very flavourful and well though out.

                                Passage 53
                                Very clean, light delicate food. Service was very professional. It is a very small and very formal setting. The food was very Japanese with french cooking techniques.

                                Chez L'Ami Jean
                                Though no dish was particularly amazing, the meal overall was quite enjoyable with a lot of quirkiness. The chef, Jego, started shouting halfway through service. The entire restaurant was watching on as the open kitchen was in full view of everyone. Seating is literally elbow to elbow with tables having to be pulled out to get into your seat. Gluttonistic - he really does try to make you leave knowing you couldn't possibly eat any more. If you don't feel full after all the savoury courses, there is still *the* rice pudding that comes at the end.

                                Cheaper meals we really enjoyed:

                                Savoury and sweet crepes at Breizh Cafe

                                L'As du falafel

                                1. re: quddous

                                  "Our meal at David Toutain was actually one of the weaker meals we had. "

                                  I'm sorry to hear that... I was really impressed by David Toutain, I feel his food was not only very good but really personal. I've recently been to places like Semilla, Neva Cuisine and Blue Valentine, and although I enjoyed all those places for different reasons, and although I am not saying they are interchangeable, there is definitely a sense of a "similar type of food" between them... and I believe a lot of restaurants are riding the same boat these days (which is a good thing, because it is usually a fresh, in-season, vibrant and delightful boat...).
                                  David Toutain is his own sea captain.
                                  In fact, there are so many restaurants in Paris that I rarely go back to one (still so much to discover, even for a local), David Toutain is an exception, I will go back shortly.

                          2. re: shortyepic

                            I'm totally confused by this thread. And it's a great lesson of how easily how all of us can get our knickers in a twist by the "best" theme. Can we start all over ?

                            Shorty, this is your first trip to Paris, right ? where are you staying ? is your budget per meal 30 €, 50 € or 100 € or 500 € ? what kind of cuisine (cutting edge, modern French, traditional/ classic, ethnic) do you prefer ?

                            You ask for something uniquely French. But all your dinner choices are in the cutting edge and/ or modern French genre which is the sort of creative cuisine now found in every major city in the world ... in general, the versions in Paris are better than elsewhere but hardly unique. As a first-time visitor, perhaps you should start off with more or less classic/ traditional cuisine... downmarket fun examples like Les Pipos in the 5th or Au Dernier Métro in the 15th or mid-range to very expensive like Bistrot Paul Bert in the 11th or Au Vieux Chêne in the 11th or Auberge Pyrénées-Cévennes in the 11th or Le Stella in the 16th or Chez Denise in the 2nd, Chez Georges in the 2nd, Joséphine Chez Dumonet in the 7th, Lasserre (mega-bucks) in the 8th, etc etc. So many possibilities but your choice according to budget and convenience.

                            And then you can start to complete the mosaic by fitting in the modern French pieces that you have culled from John Talbott's list. Again, choice determined by budget and convenience.

                            1. re: Parnassien

                              Thank you for the reply. My budget is according the value. I don't mind spending if the experience is everlasting. I have seen Paul Bert on Anthony Bourdain's layover Paris and will look into his restaurant. Out of your list can you pick 3 not to miss?

                                1. re: shortyepic

                                  I will only hazard one pick: Chez Denise because it's good and probably convenient (but closed on Saturday and Sunday and annual holiday for a month ... probably mid-July to mid-August). For others, give me some idea of where you will be staying in Paris ? What's the use of frantically crisscrossing Paris when there might be a place as good just around the corner ?

                                  I'm French so I don't really know Anthony Bourdain. Mangeur did provide a link (below) and the restaurants he visited were a mixed bag so I wouldn't rely on his choices. Septime, yes !... but Le Dôme ?!! credibility destroyed.

                                  1. re: Parnassien

                                    My hotel is actually in the 18th so I plan on just being there to sleep. Perhaps something in a great part of town (i.e. Le Marais). I have always dreamed of a chance to eat in Paris and I want to meet those expectations. Example: I live in Las Vegas and know the food scene VERY well. So well that when people tell me what places they have planned or read trip advisor's highest rated I actually feel bad for the real gems I know they are missing. The places I would recommend in Vegas most locals don't even know about because they aren't nearly as involved or interested. I am similar to JT in which I enjoy the newest/best when it comes to dish inspiration, decor, cocktail list. I find these new places seem to have an edge even on the trusty old school restaurants that are heavily well known. Is Chez Denise a place you know I will report back to you and say wow thank you so much that place really gets it! Or will I perhaps be underwhelmed by high expectation of dining in Paris.

                                    1. re: shortyepic

                                      The Marais/ the 4th is very touristy. The Haut Marais/ upper part of the 3rd is more real-life and has some excellent restaurants like Les Enfants Rouges (modern French) and Pramil (updated trad).

                                      Cocktails are a relatively recent phemonenon in Paris so don't expect to find good (if any) cocktails in every restaurant. If cocktails are an important part of your evening out, try Clown Bar in the 11th or Mary Celeste in the 3rd... both also have excellent food. Chez Denise is very trad and serves traditional "apéritifs", not cocktails. But, in general, it's better to leave your Las Vegas habits in Las Vegas because they cannot be re-created in Paris.

                                      1. re: shortyepic

                                        If you are in the 18th take a look at La Table d'Eugène. It's french, fairly modern, although not as cutting edge as some other places mentioned. But if it is close to you, it's definitely a must try.

                                      2. re: Parnassien

                                        Les pipos was awesome. Exactly what were looking for. The girl keeps talking about coq au vin. How will les cocettes treat us?

                                        1. re: shortyepic

                                          Shorty, thanks to trial and error we at last have a better idea of your food style preferences. You and your family like trad French comfort food. It is a preference that does not necessarily fit into your original quest for "the best" which will include lots of restaurants with more creative cuisine. You've scattered your requests over half a dozen threads so I'm not sure what's on your restaurant to-do list. Can you re-cap ?

                                          This blustery almost autumnal weather that has gripped most of France and England is supposed to be replaced by better weather this weekend and even a possible mini heat-wave next week. That will also affect restaurant choices.

                                          1. re: Parnassien

                                            I leave Monday for Venice. Also looking for coq au vin. So far my lists or ideas include:
                                            **Au Dernier Metro
                                            Bistro Paul Bert
                                            Au Vieux Chene
                                            *Auberge Pyrenees Cevennes
                                            Le Stella
                                            *Chez Denise (late)
                                            *Chez Georges (in the 2nd)
                                            Les Cocottes de Christian Constan

                                            1. re: shortyepic

                                              Shorty, I guess tonight (Fri) is your last chance to try Chez Denise... normally closed on Sat + Sun and now about to close for a month for summer hols.

                                              What about your mussels feast ?

                                              I suspect that a little food fatigue may begin to set in. A constant diet of trad cuisine leads to a certain boredom.

                                              1. re: Parnassien

                                                Thank you. I am going to make it there today. Also down the street from l'as du fallafal might as well try it while here

                                            2. re: Parnassien

                                              Parn it's interesting that both Shorty and Quddous (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9604...) like the traditional over the modern. Both seemed keen to have a "best" list but their experiences illustrate that the best for one us not the best for others.

                                              As we know Paris does old school traditional well, but it's not a museum and lots of chefs push the boundaries as much as their counterparts in NYC, London or Spain. Without posters really knowing their palettes and being honest with themselves about their tastes selecting restaurants will be a lottery.

                                              Many have FOMO and so want to eat at the hot tables, but as with all cities the hot tables are the modern ones, the innovative chefs, the hipster crowd etc etc. Tradition and the comforts of the old school French cuisine are available but won't be top of many lists or feature in the hip and happening blogs.

                                              So "best' for one person misses the mark for others - and I suspect few cities have diners that bifurcate into the two camps so cleanly.

                                              1. re: PhilD

                                                This is one of the most misleading thread titles on this board. We are no longer talking about the best, but the most conventional within the traditional cuisine.

                                                1. re: Parigi

                                                  Lucky for you since your unmentionable one fits both best and trad.

                                                2. re: PhilD

                                                  Phil, so true. I think we often fail first-time visitors by not pinning down their cuisine and style preferences right away. Unfortunately, Paris virgins are just too unfamiliar with the abundance of styles and choices and rarely have any idea of what really turns them on until they actually get here. The problem is compounded by our tendency to give them shotgun blasts of recommendation without really having a clear view of the target. Occasionally an OP, like Shorty, keeps up a running commentary after they arrive and allows us to suss out what they really like. Unfortunately so many visitors get hung up on planning, reservations, and checklists that they are unable to improvise once they have a taste of reality.

                                                  1. re: Parnassien

                                                    I will confess to a mild interest in what happens when these plan-driven visitors collide with reality and decide to chuck the plan with all its prior reservations ... do they then become the dreaded no-shows?

                                                    More specifically: Shorty, please tell us you are doing the right thing by your reservations at AT, Tablettes & co !!

                                                    1. re: shakti2

                                                      Unfortunately I missed AT tho I really was looking forward but definitely glad I did Toutain. Tonight is les tablettes but going to have to trade it for chez Denise that I've heard so much about. Plus Parnassien has been SPOT on

                                                      1. re: shortyepic

                                                        I think shakti2 was asking if you do call to cancel your reservations when you can't go... Did you call AT ? Are you planning on calling les Tablettes ?

                                                        1. re: Rio Yeti

                                                          Thank you for clarifying. Yes I do

                                                           
                                                          1. re: shortyepic

                                                            Under 2 hours before the reserved time ?

                                                            Classy.

                                                            1. re: shakti2

                                                              All of us who have shared with shorty the restaurant addresses that we frequent, like and will return to should bear in mind his habit of "trading" these restaurants and canceling at the last minute.

                                                              1. re: Parigi

                                                                Again I need to clarify I cancelled all of my reservations yesterday first thing in the morning however I never received a reply from AT and sent an email once again

                                                                1. re: shortyepic

                                                                  Yesterday does not make it much better.

                                                                  1. re: Ptipois

                                                                    All of us who know how restaurants work here know and respect the chef/resto's budget.
                                                                    We were talking with a chef today about the solutions to this issue which include:
                                                                    a failsafe reservation system
                                                                    overbooking and
                                                                    taking charge card numbers.
                                                                    No one likes any of them.
                                                                    I think like those upthread we have to keep urging visitors to reserve sensibly, cancel promptly and not overload the system with multiple reservations.
                                                                    End of sermon.

                                                                    1. re: Ptipois

                                                                      As someone who rarely books very far in advance, I'm kinda grateful for someone else's late cancellation... but no-shows don't do anybody any good.

                                                                      1. re: Parnassien

                                                                        Unscientific data (N=1): Chef told me today his most common are on same-day reservations. Go figure!

                                                                  2. re: Parigi

                                                                    Parigi I stopped by chez Denise and it looks great. However anywhere in the area to get coq au vin? (La jacovine?) id like to try both tonight

                                                                     
                                                                      1. re: Parigi

                                                                        "l let others answer" Chicken!,
                                                                        Ah but he's asking about chicken.
                                                                        Not Chez Rene any more but Le Coq de la Maison Blanche in St-Ouen (Metro: #12).

                                                                        1. re: John Talbott

                                                                          About to get on the metro anywhere in town for this damn coq au vin that my girl won't shush about being traditional French yet obviously not common in most places. Thinking a la biche?

                                                                          1. re: shortyepic

                                                                            Go. At least you will shut her up.

                                                                            1. re: shortyepic

                                                                              I have coq au vin once or twice a year (in the winter) when my gran makes it... not something I would order at a restaurant in summer. But if she liked it at Les Pipos, return there.

                                                                              1. re: Parnassien

                                                                                They didn't have coq au vin there. The owner actually laughed when she asked for it. On our way to biche? Heading to metro

                                                                                  1. re: shortyepic

                                                                                    Has your girl friend ever had coq au vin?

                                                                                    My one experience was disappointing. Dry, stringy bird that you kind of ate around, relying on bread and the sauce to make a meal. This was in a place that should have turned out the best in France.

                                                                                    1. re: mangeur

                                                                                      Never that's why she's so exited. Will let you know if it's solid shortly or if she has a placebo effect. Thinking clamato for oysters next. Would love to try some that we never get in the US

                                                                                      1. re: shortyepic

                                                                                        It has at least the merit of shutting her up.

                                                                                    2. re: shortyepic

                                                                                      By the way, " biche" = doe as in female deer. And "ma petite biche"/ "ma biche" is a term of endearment .... so, at least your coq au vin safari has turned up a new name for your gf... but make sure you pronounce it right.

                                                                                      1. re: Parnassien

                                                                                        Nothing great to report. I just ordered the foie which was nice. Saving room for chez Denise

                                                                                         
                                                                                      2. re: Parnassien

                                                                                        The more I hear about her the more I think once I get Colette out of town, I'll bum a meal.

                                                                                    3. re: John Talbott

                                                                                      I don't think they make coq au vin (anymore) there.
                                                                                      Besides, sending unwarned visitors to the North 'burbs might be a bit too much of a stretch, especially since we have some here who think they'll be mugged at any ATM.

                                                                                      1. re: Ptipois

                                                                                        You do get mugged at ATMs. I mug ATMs. They call me the ATM Atila.

                                                                                        1. re: Parigi

                                                                                          Ah so that was you the other night!

                                                            2. re: shortyepic

                                                              Shorty, Paul Bert is a classic, which means it had stature some time in the past and has a reputation that people respect. What it is today is something in question. Moreover, part of the question is when and for whom.

                                                              If you are French and a regular, it will be one kind of experience. If you are something else on your first visit, it will be something entirely different.

                                                              Neither of us are Anthony Bourdain or John Talbott or ... and so we will not have the same experience that they or others have written about.

                                                              LOOK TO THE FOOD! Is it something you lust over?
                                                              If not, throw a dart at your other options. Who at home is going to understand even a fraction of what you are going through for these memories, and even fewer will recognize the names.

                                                            3. re: Parnassien

                                                              You were absolutely right. The modern thing is nice but can't be done every night. My gf is already bored and wants classic staples from rustic long time traditional places. We will be in La Marais and Latin quarter today. Anything to add this this list: Les Pipos in the 5th or Au Dernier Métro in the 15th or mid-range to very expensive like Bistrot Paul Bert in the 11th or Au Vieux Chêne in the 11th or Auberge Pyrénées-Cévennes in the 11th or Le Stella in the 16th or Chez Denise in the 2nd, Chez Georges in the 2nd, Joséphine Chez Dumonet in the 7th, Lasserre (mega-bucks)

                                                              1. re: shortyepic

                                                                Le Belisaire in the 15e is traditional and not too pricy. I think it's worth checking out.

                                                        2. re: shortyepic

                                                          There are no bests among your list. They are all excellent (as are a few hundred others not on your list) so it doesn't really matter which ones you choose. Maybe you can decide by not looking at the the comparative merits of each restaurant (impossible to judge when all are so good) but how easily they fit into your schedule. Location, quartier, opening hours, etc. And there may be be a sort of natural selection: some might be closed for annual holidays for all or some of your time in Paris and some might be closed on the day you want to go.

                                                          And don't get hung up on the numerical ratings. John's reviews are based on lunch only, never dinner. A 5.5 for lunch might actually turn out to be an 8 for dinner and an 8 for lunch might prove to be a 5 for dinner. And the majority of the restos that you have pulled from the latest Talbott list are recent openings. It doesn't mean they are better or worse than restos that he reviewed years ago.

                                                          It's obvious that you are desperate for clear-cut answers. There are none. The superabundance of excellent choices in Paris is a reality that you must deal with. I'm not John Talbott but I'm sure his response would be very similar.

                                                          1. re: Parnassien

                                                            Wow thank you so much for your elaboration. I booked dinner resv while in Paris and going to play my lunch list by ear depending on location. 2 questions: do you think playing lunch by ear is safe where I don't need a resv? And I'm weighing two thoughts... JT reviews latest so are they really the greatest with cutting edge menu/chefs? Or do they fall short of restaurants that have been staples in Paris that even more people are familiar with?

                                                            How did I do?..
                                                            DINNER RESERVATIONS:
                                                            Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos
                                                            David Toutain
                                                            Les 110 de Taillevent
                                                            Le Sergent Recruiter
                                                            Restaurant A.T

                                                            LUNCH MUSTS:
                                                            La Cantine de la Cigale
                                                            Le BAT
                                                            Guy Savoy

                                                            POSSIBLE LUNCH:
                                                            Premices
                                                            Terroir Parisien Bourse
                                                            Le Servan
                                                            Sur le fil
                                                            Le Bistrot du Maquis

                                                            1. re: shortyepic

                                                              "JT reviews latest so are they really the greatest with cutting edge menu/chefs? Or do they fall short of restaurants that have been staples in Paris that even more people are familiar with?"

                                                              Smiling, as I remember the words of a top-notch surgeon who told me that every procedure he does is practice for more brilliant ones he does down the line.

                                                              Cutting edge has its advantages and its drawbacks.

                                                            2. re: Parnassien

                                                              That's strange, you sound a lot like him.
                                                              A couple of points:
                                                              I never trust just one source
                                                              I eat only at lunch
                                                              My "lists" only go to 2006 thus miss Bocuse, Giradet, Point, etc etc etc.
                                                              I'm fallible
                                                              I have rotten wifi service in darkest Tuscany so see y'all in two weeks.

                                                              1. re: John Talbott

                                                                JT I can't wait 2 weeks... And neither can you ;) how about some florence suggestions I'll have only 2 dinner resv to make there which is coming after Paris' 5 nights

                                                                1. re: shortyepic

                                                                  Breathe in... breathe out... breathe in... breathe out... everything will be ok...

                                                                  1. re: Rio Yeti

                                                                    "JT I can't wait 2 weeks..."
                                                                    "Breathe in... breathe out... breathe in... breathe out... everything will be ok..."
                                                                    John Talbott, aka Dr T, JT and some unpublishable names announces that he is back at his concierge desk in Paris offering free advice.
                                                                    shortyepic you may resume normal breathing (every meal in Tuscany has been chronicled).
                                                                    John

                                                                    1. re: John Talbott

                                                                      Thanks JT. I'll be there tues and have resv set up with all your favorites. But I need just one reply of places I must hit for my once in a lifetime trip. I'm basically going for the food!
                                                                      Best mussels?
                                                                      Best croissants?
                                                                      Escargot?

                                                                      I'm still considering changing my Sunday resv from 110 Taillevent to somewhere you the guru says. My reservations include:
                                                                      David Toutain
                                                                      Restaurant A.T
                                                                      Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos
                                                                      Le Sergent Recruiter

                                                                      Paris LUNCH:
                                                                      Le BAT
                                                                      Guy Savoy

                                                                      And please anyone coming to Vegas esp JT let me know. I am immersed in the culinary scene here

                                                                      1. re: shortyepic

                                                                        If you only want John's personal advice why don't you email him? It seems odd to post such personal requests on a forum where people share advice if you only want advice from one person.

                                                                        You do realise he only eats at restaurants at lunchtime and many places are quite different in the evening - sometimes even different menus and price points.

                                                                        1. re: PhilD

                                                                          I am aware and also of his best lunch lists. He prefers to respond on here to contribute to others. I would like you to chime in as well

                                                                          1. re: PhilD

                                                                            "If you only want John's personal advice why don't you email him?"
                                                                            Good idea; shorty email me with your final question?
                                                                            Thanks

                                                                              1. re: shortyepic

                                                                                I'll bet you all are dying to see my response.
                                                                                Sorry, the concierge desk is closed.
                                                                                John

                                                                                1. re: John Talbott

                                                                                  OK, John, I get it. So please submit your rank lists on what you think are the 10 best restaurants in Paris right now, based solely on food with cost, service, decor and cuisine as non factors.
                                                                                  Hello, John, I mean John T.a.l.b.o.t.t., holiday, schomoliday ?

                                                                                  1. re: Parigi

                                                                                    Red card here Parigi.
                                                                                    I only promised to give shorty dude one answer to one question.
                                                                                    (And you've not included vegetarian and Yankee-infested places)?

                                                                                    1. re: John Talbott

                                                                                      Thanks again sir. You've been awesome

                                                                                      1. re: John Talbott

                                                                                        It's the answer to the BEST croissant in Paris riddle.

                                                                                    2. re: John Talbott

                                                                                      We all know the answer... it's "42".

                                                                        2. re: shortyepic

                                                                          Please let John enjoy his holiday. He has contributed a lot of info for which you must, must, be grateful, right ? Do you want to do your part ? Then leave him alone during his holiday with his family.

                                                                          1. re: Parigi

                                                                            I think John should charge for such a personalised service. At this rate of questioning he could pay for the family holiday in Italy.

                                                                            1. re: PhilD

                                                                              Holiday paid for. Time lost with loved ones. Sounds like a winner to you?

                                                                              1. re: Parigi

                                                                                Of course not it's an ironic comment: I was illustrating that time has value by crudely monetising it.

                                                                2. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant...

                                                                  http://www.theguardian.com/travel/201...

                                                                  http://travel.cnn.com/best-french-res...

                                                                  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/des...

                                                                  I provide these lists to point out that your question is not definitively answerable since any list is necessarily a judgment call. Note that the last list places Gagnaire first, while you voiced dissatisfaction with him in a previous post. Beauty is in the eye etc. etc.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: mangeur

                                                                    Unanswerable indeed. I suppose I could come up with a top 10 list one day but depending on mood, direction of the wind, etc it would be a totally different list the next week. I might have less fluid list by quartier but for Paris as a whole, no way.

                                                                    Like I've said again and again and again, the huge depth and breadth of the Paris restaurant scene creates an embarras du choix. Compiling a top 100 is difficult enough. A top 10 is impossible.

                                                                    But I do have an infallible method for choosing the best and the unmissable: "Am stram gram, pic et pic colégram...". Guarantees a great meal every time.

                                                                  2. Hello! It is a weird way to ask indeed -- as with any request, explaining the purpose and the context would probably make for both a better response and a more friendly exchange.

                                                                    I also suspect our Pti has post traumatic stress disorder from an old food blogger/forum moderator/entrepreneur who did take to abuse free contributions from fellow bloggers.

                                                                    Still, it's a game, and I love games. Here's my top ten for food, unfiltered, uncriticized, radically spontaneous.

                                                                    1. Ledoyen
                                                                    2. Le Cinq
                                                                    3. L'Auberge du 15
                                                                    4. Chez l'Ami Jean
                                                                    5. Chen Soleil d'Est
                                                                    6. Le Duc
                                                                    7. Pasta e Basta
                                                                    8. Pierre Gagnaire
                                                                    9. L'Ami Louis (based solely on food, remember. They're ahs, but(t)... )
                                                                    10. Le Pétrelle

                                                                    As Parnassien, I'll probably have a different list if you ask next week. But I'd probably have had a similar list if you asked me a couple of years back.

                                                                    43 Replies
                                                                    1. re: souphie

                                                                      "Unanswerable indeed."
                                                                      Of course but look who jumped out of the pond after the metal lure?
                                                                      We cannot resist the temptation to leap up at the question, can we?
                                                                      But I want to urge Urgency urgently to ignore all polls, as he/she would those silly "Best Doctors in..., Best Universities, Best World Restaurants...."
                                                                      Would you get your tummy tuck from the Best Doc in Omaha? Your financial advice maybe.

                                                                      1. re: souphie

                                                                        OK, I'll play.

                                                                        This is my 10-best list AT THE MOMENT. It is perfectly likely to change tomorrow and be totally different next week. I mean, not that quickly, but since I never think in "best" anything, my mind shifts quite frequently on that matter.

                                                                        Please note that the list is not sorted by order of preference but some places do come to mind first.

                                                                        1. Spring
                                                                        2. Septime & Clamato (same house really)
                                                                        3. Caïus
                                                                        4. Chez l'Ami Jean
                                                                        5. Chez Hamadi
                                                                        6. Youpi et Voilà !!!
                                                                        7. Carnet de Voyage
                                                                        8. Dans les Landes
                                                                        9. Pierre-Sang in Oberkampf
                                                                        10. Terroir Parisien Rive Droite

                                                                          1. re: John Talbott

                                                                            And after superior Chinese nosh for lunch at Carnet de Voyage near Saint-Lazare, you can install yourself in Les Cartes Postales on the rue Gomboust in the 1st for a franco-nippon dinner.

                                                                            1. re: Parnassien

                                                                              "Les Cartes Postales"
                                                                              You're too young to remember but it was the first venture here of an Asian chef breaking into the solidly French-French world.
                                                                              Since then, of course, we've seen the dike broken, and a good thing too, but Les Cartes Postales was the pioneer. (I don't count the Viet Namese places around the Sorbonne in the '50's and '60's.) That was genuine Viet Namese food, real stuff, not what shows up in the vitrines now.

                                                                              1. re: John Talbott

                                                                                And it was cheap, too, even in the 70s. I could occasionally splurge on a 5F Vietnamese meal, rather than a student meal at a Resto U for 1F60.

                                                                                1. re: John Talbott

                                                                                  "Les Cartes Postales"
                                                                                  I Figaroscope last Weds, there was an article on places that serve "small plates" in town and it was one of them so i wonder if they're changed their approach. I'll drift by and see.

                                                                          2. re: souphie

                                                                            And I have a list n°2 for places where I haven't been in a while but do like a lot.

                                                                            Le Pétrelle
                                                                            Fifa
                                                                            Frédéric Simonin
                                                                            Claude Colliot
                                                                            L'Auberge du 15
                                                                            Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos
                                                                            La Grande Cascade
                                                                            Yam t'cha
                                                                            L'Hédoniste
                                                                            Bofinger (the choucroute is perfect)
                                                                            Le Sergent Recruteur
                                                                            Itinéraires
                                                                            Joséphine-Chez Dumonet

                                                                            To be continued...

                                                                            Oh and I went to Ze Kitchen Galerie two days ago for lunch and it was admirable, which I have to mention since I had never been a big fan of the place. William Ledeuil is, at last, through with fiddling with Eastern ingredients and stuff, and has begun to master them and use them as colors in a palette instead of gimmicks to asianize his cooking. Now the fusion is perfect because there are no visible seams. Incredible delicateness and balance of tastes.

                                                                            1. re: Ptipois

                                                                              "Ze Kitchen Galerie....since I had never been a big fan of the place"
                                                                              Silly girl, all those missed meals/years. Sigh.
                                                                              But thanks for playing.

                                                                              1. re: John Talbott

                                                                                No, silly you. I went quite a few times and never liked it very much until that day before yesterday. Before that, I always felt there was something immature and incomplete about that food.

                                                                                Now I don't know how long ago he reached maturity. The last time I had been there must have been a year or two ago.

                                                                                1. re: Ptipois

                                                                                  Pti - totally agree on ZKG always was an outlier for me for the very same reasons. Interesting to hear it's evolved. My other bugbear was the dinner price point (I understood lunch was a veritable bargain) versus the spartan nature of the room.

                                                                                2. re: John Talbott

                                                                                  "Ze Kitchen Galerie."
                                                                                  I was never a big fan. the different dishes had the same dialed-in Asian notes. Ginger-soy sauce. Ginger-soy sauce. More ginger-soy sauce.
                                                                                  Repeatedly the waiters scampered away after putting the dish on the table, without saying what the dish was, and this was a dégustation menu. I succeeded in physically catching them, and twice they said they would find someone who knew what it was. This is cantine-service. The dinner price was surely not cantine price.

                                                                                  1. re: Parigi

                                                                                    Well, maybe an update is in order, my latest meal there was delicious. Maybe some special effort was made for the Korean officials and ubiquitous ex-mayor of Issy-les-Moulineaux that were included in the party?

                                                                                    But I can reassure you, the service is as terrible as ever, and God knows that the poor guys mean well. It's not their fault, they're organized like a mess. Several times we had to pull them back by the sleeve as they were running away after putting the plate on the table, to ask them what they were serving us. They are stiff and uncommunicative, always look a little anxious, and I think it's part of the staff training.

                                                                                    1. re: Ptipois

                                                                                      "Several times we had to pull them back by the sleeve as they were running away after putting the plate on the table, to ask them what they were serving us."
                                                                                      Exactly what we had to do !

                                                                                      1. re: Parigi

                                                                                        I actually liked the food at ZKG the only time I went. I felt like the fusion aspect of it was well balanced and subtle (except maybe for the desserts... wasabi ice-cream, ok we get it...).

                                                                                        I have to say I really don't remember the service, but I remember the striking colors, the contemporary crap... er... I mean art on the walls, and the loud noise (not in a good lively atmosphere kind of way, more like "say what ?!" "WHAT ?!"...).

                                                                                        As is often said on this board, the whole experience is important, and although I could hardly find a fault in the food, everything else was not really to my liking...

                                                                                        I'm curious about KGB though.

                                                                                      2. re: Ptipois

                                                                                        "the service is as terrible as ever"
                                                                                        Not my experience but I'm (too well perhaps) known to the house.

                                                                                      1. re: Ptipois

                                                                                        The Hummm
                                                                                        Ah Pti, it's Crosby, Stills, Nash and sometimes Neil Young laying on the third or fourth harmony, which to go back OT is like your newly found friend Ledeui's, putting lemon grass on fresh fish in a plain bouillon.
                                                                                        Simple but contextual; as Humphrey Bogart said in Casablanca, to your uncle Captain Renault, "Welcome to the cause."

                                                                                        1. re: John Talbott

                                                                                          Ledeuil is not a newfound friend, he's been a friend for years. But now his cooking is also a buddy to me ;)

                                                                                    1. re: Ptipois

                                                                                      I am at home, having just finished an early dinner of that wonderful Bofinger choucroute. It is 16% cheaper to take out than the restaurant price, and no complaints or dirty looks when you have one (generous) choucroute for 2 people.

                                                                                    2. re: souphie

                                                                                      Fine...

                                                                                      1. Septime
                                                                                      2. Ledoyen
                                                                                      3. Pierre Gagnaire
                                                                                      4. Chez L'Ami Jean
                                                                                      5. Pierre Sang
                                                                                      6. Le Cinq
                                                                                      7. Taillevent
                                                                                      8. Spring
                                                                                      9. Rino
                                                                                      10. Le Villaret

                                                                                      ...same as everyone else...

                                                                                        1. re: John Talbott

                                                                                          You've seen my list. Give me your best rec for my next dinner out, and I'll hit it, but I can't do Hugo as my dining companion won't go for a 100% red meat place.

                                                                                          1. re: Busk

                                                                                            You're kidding right?
                                                                                            Your list is fabulous for 2011-2012;
                                                                                            but I'm an old fart waiting on death's door, why not venture out to Hugo's, Les Tablettes, Lazare, 100 Taillevent or Sergent Recruteur?
                                                                                            Come on man, yesterday was great; today is even better,

                                                                                            1. re: John Talbott

                                                                                              It takes longer and longer for yesterday to become today.

                                                                                              Solid....

                                                                                              1. re: John Talbott

                                                                                                Non. Yesterday is dead, but yesterday was way better. Today was when human cooking meant something, and those days are going away fast. Today was when there wa Jamin and Lucas-Carton and when l'Ambroisie was good and Au Bon Accueil was wonderful and Tante Jeanne... Those new places fun, but better they are not, except for mental health purpose.

                                                                                                1. re: souphie

                                                                                                  O Lucas-Carton ! Daudin Bouffant ! Chez Les Anges ! (Raymond Oliver's) Grand Véfour !

                                                                                                  1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                    You mean Jacques Maniere's Dodin Bouffant? and his Le Pactole. And before Lucas-Carton was L'Archestrate. That would be a fun list.

                                                                                                      1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                        I am very old school and would suggest Lapeyrouse, Grand Vefour, Tour d'Argent (what a view!), I also like Alain Ducasse's place in the Eiffel Tower. I know these are considered touristy but I like them!

                                                                                                        1. re: bronwen

                                                                                                          Of your list, I like Lapeyrouse and Grand Vefour primarily for sentimental reasons and secondarily for the food.

                                                                                                          1. re: bronwen

                                                                                                            If Lapeyrouse is the historic restaurant on the Quai des Grands Augustins with private chambers on the second floor, it is spelled Lapèrouse.

                                                                                                        2. re: souphie

                                                                                                          Hey l'Ambroisie is still good. On the basis of three lunches there, I can say it is solid. Better than Ledoyen, I'm not completely sure, but I like l'Ambroisie better overall. Bernard Pacaud is apparently still in the kitchen, if that matters.

                                                                                                          Maybe it's not as divine as it used to be. I don't know, I've only been recently, so it does not matter (too much) to me. And anyway, what are the other options? (yes, maybe Ledoyen)

                                                                                                          1. re: olivierb

                                                                                                            Solid I'm sure it is, but 500€ good?

                                                                                                            There are few options in that department indeed (really top ingredients and perfect cooking and aiming for mind blowing by natural means) -- in Paris, I can only think of Ledoyen indeed; outside of Paris, Hedone in London, Pont de Brent in Montreux, Louis XV are the ones I know.

                                                                                                            1. re: souphie

                                                                                                              As for 500EUR good, well you know you can eat there for half that, but I understand.
                                                                                                              So the real question is: is it as good as it should given the price? Yes and no. It is excellent but not flawless as it should be. I'd say they cater more to people who want to eat, rather than to people who want to have a transcendental, life-changing, meal. But once again, where do you find those with any kind of consistency, and is there any other place where you can have such a meal?

                                                                                                              Pont de Brent is not in the same league. Rabaey is not cooking there anymore... never went during his time unfortunately.
                                                                                                              Never went to Louis XV, and narrow-minded as I am, never had any desire to go.
                                                                                                              Hedone: yes please!
                                                                                                              But all of those are not in Paris anyway (cf. OP).
                                                                                                              Ledoyen: it's more precise, maybe less of a rip-off, uhm less expensive I mean, so yes... but I enjoy it less than l'Ambroisie for some reason.

                                                                                                              Then there are Gagnaire, l'Arpège, etc. but this is more like gambling than dining. And of course all the ones I haven't tried.

                                                                                                              In the end you may be right about the past being better. Too bad I never experienced it!

                                                                                                          2. re: souphie

                                                                                                            RE: John Talbott
                                                                                                            souphie 12/15/13 4:26AM

                                                                                                            "Non. Yesterday is dead, but yesterday was way better. "
                                                                                                            Okay, not directed at Souphie, but I like his line as a set up to my question. Sargent Recruiter? Is everything old really new again? I confess I haven't been since '89, but though fun, it was a tourist trap even then. Have things really changed?!? Can't believe it would make a top 10. Then again, what the heck do I know with a week or less each year. Fill me in please!

                                                                                                            1. re: DaTulip

                                                                                                              A new chef (Antonin Bonnet) and team arrived at the Sergent Recruteur around October 2012 and I was there in March 2013 and since I'd never been before judged it as it was not as it had been. No tourists spotted the day I was there. For more
                                                                                                              http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

                                                                                                              1. re: DaTulip

                                                                                                                Yeah, le Sergent Recruiteur is nothing like it used to be, one Michelin star, creative cuisine and setting. Check out their website.

                                                                                                                1. re: souphie

                                                                                                                  Thanks guys! Interesting indeed.

                                                                                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                        Just reviewed Julien's list. Would like to hear more description from him re Le Pétrelle.

                                                                                                        Aha... also more comment from DCM.

                                                                                                        1. re: mangeur

                                                                                                          Le Pétrelle cooks the food I love: really top ingredients, made in a very simple, but perfect way. Like l'Ambroisie, you'd say, only there's a cat, it's dark, it's messy, it's bohème. I suppose you could say it's very expensive at 100€ pp (though there is a menu that is 40-ish or something but who cares?), but I'd much rater spend these on one meal there than two at decent bistros like there are so many in these columns.

                                                                                                          There are some pics there: https://picasaweb.google.com/11007814...

                                                                                                          The creme de citron is just wonderful. Fish or offal are perfectly cooked, vegetables as fresh and as perfectly cooked as they should be (and it's not that common, even among those who claim to be veg champs).

                                                                                                          Also, their wine list is from auctions, a mess with some true treasures -- 40 year old wines for less than 100€ -- again, let's think of it as l'Ambroisie du pauvre.

                                                                                                          One final word: it's Kerstin's favorite. Need I say more?

                                                                                                    1. I see Pétrelle on some of the lists - haven't been in a couple of years, but loved it. Still good?

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: jim.luyten

                                                                                                        Was there about 13 months ago and enjoyed it greatly.

                                                                                                      2. Totally self-servingly, putting my neck out on the chopping block, here are my "bests of 2013" at year's close of 7/10 and up:
                                                                                                        8.7 Hugo Desnoyer
                                                                                                        8.5 Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos
                                                                                                        8.4 David Toutain
                                                                                                        8.1 Lazare
                                                                                                        8.0 110 Taillevent
                                                                                                        Sergent Recruiter
                                                                                                        7.9 Cantine de la Cigale
                                                                                                        7.8 Roca
                                                                                                        7.6 Les Enfants Rouges
                                                                                                        7.5 Petit Champarret
                                                                                                        Premices
                                                                                                        Terroir Parisien Bourse
                                                                                                        Clamato
                                                                                                        7.4 Belhara
                                                                                                        Plantxa
                                                                                                        Pollop
                                                                                                        7.2 Felicity Lemon
                                                                                                        7.1 Dans Les Landes (new menu)
                                                                                                        7.0 6 Paul Bert

                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: John Talbott

                                                                                                          Huh. Haven't been to any of them and hesitate to say that none are on the dockets for upcoming visits.

                                                                                                          (Out of the loop! Out of the loop!)

                                                                                                          But then we tend to add to our list slowly as we return to favorite chefs again and again.

                                                                                                          1. re: John Talbott

                                                                                                            John, is Hugo Desnoyer a charcuterie? I looked it up and will be visiting their butcher shop but couldn't tell if they were any more than that.

                                                                                                            Mangeur, I agree. John's list is the most progressive and rebellious of any I've seen in my browsing recently. I've only read reviews on a handful of that list (just shows I need to read more).

                                                                                                            1. re: quddous

                                                                                                              It is, and is also a new resto. John was referring to the resto.

                                                                                                              1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                Hugo Desnoyer in the 16th is both a butcher shop (left side down) and a restaurant (right side up). It's much more than a charcuterie and is clearly a hot shop for the 1%'ers in the area. It's at 28, rue du Docteur-Blanche in the 16th, 01.46.47.83.00 (Bus = PC1) is open weekdays non-stop between 9 AM and 6 PM and starts taking orders for lunch at 10 AM. Photos of the layout and menu are at http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

                                                                                                                1. re: John Talbott

                                                                                                                  When l went on JT's recommendation, Desnoyer could have not been more gracious.
                                                                                                                  Having spoken to him outside the restaurant about his cotes de boeuf l had been purchasing at L'Ami Louis for years, he came to the table and told me to order a special cotes de boeuf not on the menu that was the one he sends to Louis. It was awesome, if pricey.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                    Had it at Louis yesterday, and awesome and pricey it was.