Photo by Vincent Leroux
Photo by Vincent Leroux
The designer of Astair won Maison&Objet’s Designer of the Year award in 2017.
The best 2018 openings in Paris include everything from a refined Pierre Hermé tea salon on the Left Bank to a neon-colored Asian canteen in the 11th arrondissement.
If one thing is true in Paris, it’s that there is never a shortage of new places to eat. But what’s most exciting about the city’s newest openings is how they are contributing to its ever-evolving diversity in flavor and choice.
The dining landscape may have been dominated by neo-bistros and fast casual joints in the last several years, but 2018 has marked a return of the familiar—la cuisine bourgeoise and bistro classics updated for today’s tastes, award-winning chefs turning their attention to the ingredients of their childhoods abroad, and even pastry chefs doubling down on their signature talents.
Here are the eight of the newest restaurants in Paris that are not to be missed.
Editor’s Note: Over the past month, the “yellow vest” protests against the French government have turned violent in Paris. Currently, the riots have been restricted to Saturdays in the city center. For updates on the situation, read more here.
Opened in the fall inside the Passage des Panoramas, Astair is the latest food destination to revive the classic brasserie, with a contemporary twist. Beyond simply bringing back disappearing dishes with top-shelf ingredients—escargot, sole meuniere, roasted quail with figs and grapes, and deglazed calf’s liver with vinegar—it’s an elegant design by Maison&Objet’s 2017 Designer of the Year, Tristan Auer, that signals an exciting return of the quintessential Parisian dining idiom.
Jòia’s literal translation may be joyous in a dialect of the French southwest. But as the name of Michelin-starred chef Hélène Darroze’s newest restaurant, it means a welcome home for southwestern comforts. Opened in September, the two-story restaurant in the second arrondissement is relaxed and comfortable; an English-style salon on the upper floor with intimate tables and a bar opens daily at 5 p.m.
It’s perfect for the kind of cooking Darroze’s team serves up (which happens to be what she cooks for friends at home): shareable dishes that run from her native region to her favorite international destinations, like deconstructed guacamole, seasonal mushrooms with foie gras and egg yolk confit, roasted chicken from the Landes, and beef short rib. It all works with a wine list featuring women vintners from around the world.La Poule au Pot
Jean-Francois Piège is used to working from a blank slate, but when he reimagined the Les Halles institution La Poule au Pot last spring, it marked the first time the Michelin-starred chef would spin gold out of a bistro with its own storied culinary heritage. While the chef overhauled the kitchen and brought in some new tableware, much of the beloved 1950s aesthetic has been left beautifully intact. So has the focus on la cuisine bourgeoise (unpretentious, family-style cooking).
The menu features classics like onion soup, frogs legs en persillade, beef cheek hachis parmentier, and the namesake dish, served during colder months—bouillon-poached chicken with vegetables. No matter what you order, it will come served with shoestring fries, mashed potatoes, and green salad for the table to share.
Pierre Hermé at Beaupassage
After last year’s café-concept store collaboration with L’Occitane on the Champs-Elysées, pastry great Pierre Hermé has settled into his own space in the city’s new culinary village, Beaupassage. Opened in August, this first PH-only tea salon features a menu of sweet and savory dishes (club sandwiches, crab and avocado salads), coffees turned out by well-trained baristas, and a wide selection of his signature pastries, made to be savored at one of the plush banquettes in a space designed by sought-after Parisian interior architect Laura Gonzalez.
It was only a matter of time before the Levha sisters of the city’s much-loved neo-bistro Le Servan shifted their focus to their original dream: opening Double Dragon, an Asian canteen, full of the flavors and spices they loved growing up between the Philippines and Thailand. Katia and Tatiana opted for a playful space in the 11th arrondissement that opened in summer 2018, kitting out the interior with neon-colored accents, a custom-designed gold leaf ceiling, and a counter made entirely of dominoes.
It makes for a fun backdrop to a menu of deliriously good dishes, including from the Dynamite (extra-hot peppers stuffed with minced pork and cheese), sesame green beans with katsuobushi (bonito flakes), sweet and sour chicken, and spicy Thai salad with translucent sweet potato noodles and prawns.
Where Simone Tondo goes, the crowd follows and thankfully that’s straight to Racines, a historic bistro in the heart of the Passage des Panoramas. Nicknamed a bistrattoria when he took over in January, the Sardinian chef kept nearly all of the details locals loved about the place and tweaked what needed his own personal spin: the tableware, almost all flea market finds, and most importantly the food, equal parts Parisian and Sardinian. Expect a chalkboard menu that changes regularly and might include bonite, filet de barbue, boudin noir, and fresh pasta like tortelloni zucca.
If this matchbox-sized café in the 16th arrondissement has been packed morning, noon and night since it opened in the summer, it’s partially for its high nostalgia quotient: Locals remember Cravan fondly as the 70-year old Café Antoine with its sole dish of the day.
The spirit of the place has been preserved, along with its facade, porcelain tiles, windows, and original signage—all listed historic design elements—but the focus has changed. Look for specialty coffee and bar snacks like sautéed girolle mushrooms and croque madame served all day, cocktails by night (which won it the Best Bar d’Auteur prize for 2019 by Le Fooding), and a Sunday roast good enough to entice Parisians to cross town.
When it came time for Australian chef Peter Orr to open his own restaurant in Paris, he knew what he didn’t want: small plates. With Robert, which opened in February, he brought back the entrée-plat-dessert menu, a particular favorite among locals at lunch. While the menu features recognizably French dishes, from terrine de lapin et cochon (rabbit and pork terrine) to soups like Jerusalem artichoke with smoked egg yolk, hazelnut, and black truffle, it’s how they are prepared that puts Orr’s cooking in a class of its own.
He weaves in spices, pickled vegetables, and homemade condiments like nori and chutney, which he cooked with at home in Australia and in top kitchens in England, and always incorporates a fresh pasta of the day. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch him preparing it on the marble countertop of his open kitchen.
>> Next: Plan Your Trip with AFAR’s Guide to Paris
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