Top Restaurants

A fusion between provincial flavors whipped up by famed chefs and affordable prices, the bistronomique-bistro trend is strong and rapidly spreading throughout France.

These “neo-bistros”, as locals call it, are a new breed of restaurants where casual dining marries gourmet cooking. Setting the international standard for fine cuisine, Parisian chefs manipulate fresh and local ingredients to fashion their innovative creations.

Paris restaurants are distinctly unique with their traditions, flavors and outlook on dining. Of these rituals, restaurants in the city typically serve either a plat du jour (dish of the day) or formule (fixed main course with a starter or dessert) for lunch and dinner. Also popular are menus. These are fixed priced meals usually including an entrée, main course, fromage (cheese) and dessert. Ordering one of these bountiful options allows diners to get the most for their money. Another tip for those wishing to experience classic French cooking on a budget, opt to eat out at lunch. This time of the day is ideal to savor delicious haute cuisine without the paying the gourmet price.

For Parisians, how food looks on a plate is just as important as how it tastes. Colors, textures, and garnishes are impeccably arranged, not only at haute cuisine establishments, but small, simple restaurants where even a humble hot chocolate is sometimes poured in a heart shape on the cup's inside edge.

To natives, having a meal is more than merely eating, but rather an intimate ceremony by the chef, waiter and patron. An unspoken etiquette pays homage to all those involved in the banqueting experience. Things like waiting for the check, talking loudly or requesting for a “leftover box”, are all insults to the restaurant staff and diners. Parisians take pride in the union of the eating experience and cuisine as an inseparable art form.

On that note, the aesthetic presentation is just as central to a dish as its taste in Paris. Chefs are not only meticulously trained in sautéing and knife-work, but skilled in flawlessly pairing vivid colors and textures together on a plate. Both quaint cafes and large brasseries pepper their dishes with creative flair and style.

Francophiles revel in each of the dining experience steps, from the prep, cooking, serving and savoring of the food. Paris is a city infused by both regional flavors and worldly tastes, making it the international spot for exquisite and imaginative gastronomy.