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9 Quintessential Restaurants in Paris, According to a Chef

Paris’s food scene is constantly evolving, which is why chef Ken Oringer tries to return each year to keep his palette up to date. Here, the Boston- and NYC-based chef-restaurateur behind Clio, Uni, and Toro restaurants shares bites from his most recent visit.

Septime (food pictured above) + Clamato
“These are two, located right next to each other, are some of my favorite spots in Paris. They’re run by a young chef named Bertrand Grebaut who I’ve gotten to know really well over the years. The menu at Septime is super creative and a bit funky. It’s a great neighborhood spot and relatively reasonably priced for the quality. Next door is Grebaut’s seafood-centric joint Clamato, which I like to call the French version of Uni. You don’t see a lot of raw fish treatment in Paris, but this menu has a ton of it, but rather than sushi go for the ceviche, oysters, urchin, all done small plates style. The spot is high energy and just fun.”

Miznon
“This spot is in Le Marais, just a stones throw from Rue des Rosiers. Skip the long lines at the popular falafel stands and head here for lunch. It’s an Israeli spot that offers both sit-down and takeout meals. My favorite thing on the menu, which I believe is one of their signatures, is this whole-roasted cauliflower head cooked on an open fire. They also have these amazing sandwiches, which I would describe as French-Israeli, reminiscent of Ottolenghi. You’d probably walk past this place 1,000 times without ever noticing, but it’s the best spot for lunch.”

Marché des Enfants Rouges
“Located on the edge of Le Marais, this is the oldest covered market in Paris. It’s this great bustling collection of ethnic food stalls. They’ve got everything: Lebanese, Morroccan, Japanese, and even Jamaican. It’s street food, but very authentic and good quality. There are only a couple specials available each day, perfect for enjoying on the picnic tables. My kids always have a lot of fun when we go here. They love all the aromas and the action.”

Le Pantruche
“Located in Pigalle, this is one of my go-to new-style bistros in a neighborhood that’s a little off the beaten path but starting to be built up. I like exploring over there and seeing some of the funkier places. Franck Baranger is a super talented chef, turning out some uber French cooking. I love the charcuterie here.”

L’avant Comptoir
“This is a sort of ‘pop-up’ wine bar, with a Spanish/French bent. There are no seats; standing room only. ‘No frills’ aside, this place serves some of the best charcuterie in all of France. I love their tiny finger foods, like a crab, green apple geleee, served in a sardine tin that you eat with a spoon. I always come back for the phenomenal jamon, great bread and butter, and good selection of wines by the glass.”

Hotel Amour
“Located in the 9th just south of Pigalle, this is another one of those up-and-coming areas. The hotel is very cool, a bit edgy, co-owned by Thierry Costes and designed by Andre Saraiva (Le Baron, The Standard Hotel). It’s on a residential block, and inside there’s a gem of a restaurant with this beautiful courtyard. A funky, lighter-style bistro, this is one of my favorite spots to sneak away in the afternoon, a little hideaway. They’ve got great pommes frites, beef tartare, salads, cheese, red wine. Between the food and the ambience, it’s like a little oasis.”

Boulangerie
“I can’t remember the exact name of this great boulangerie but it’s on the corner of Rue Bourg Tibourg and Rue Roi de Sicilie in Le Marais. This spot is one of my family’s favorite nooks for breakfast. They make an awesome croissant aux amande, and also an almond-chocolate version (which is hard to find these days). The bread is phenomenal too; they make a great organic, old grain sourdough rye to live and die for.”

Frenchie Wine Bar
“Everyone talks about this spot, but for good reason. The restaurant is super fun, has a jovial atmosphere, and serves creative small plates like gnocchi with artichoke, hazelnut and mimolette cheese. You get amazing value for the quality. And the food is worth the wait. Alternatively, chef Gregory Marchand also offers Frenchie To Go, where you can get takeout. It’s great because he’s using American flavors with French products, like a ‘pastrami sandwich’ made with aged British beef and the famed pain des amis from the famous Paris bakery Du Pain et Des Idées.”

Photo by Kelly