Matthew Lake, chef of Salt Lake City restaurant ZY Food Wine & Cheese recently traveled to Paris with his wife and 4-year-old son. His itinerary included stops at bistros, Michelin-starred restaurants, and corner markets. “The French are so proud of their products, and it’s showcased on every menu. I returned inspired to be like the French and showcase the best wines and cheeses found in the United States on my menu at ZY Food Wine & Cheese,” he says. Here, he shares highlights from his trip.

La Coupole
“This place is classic Paris with a storied history. Everyone has their favorite bistro and this would have to be one of mine. I enjoyed a perfect asparagus soup, one of the best things I ate on the trip. You could taste not only wonderful ingredients, but also the culinary heritage of the dish. It was served perfectly chilled, garnished with sheep’s-milk cheese quenelles and blanched asparagus tips.” 102 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 33/01-43-20-1420,

Citrus Étoile
“I met chef Gilles Epié years ago in Aspen, Colorado. He was the youngest chef in France to receive a Michelin star—he was just 22. I wasn’t sure if he would remember me but I had heard wonderful things about his restaurant and it truly was a stunning meal. Citrus Étoile is set right on the Champs-Élysées and has a huge wine cellar. His tasting menus are very luxurious, with dishes like foie gras tempura caramelized with a port wine reduction and lobster, and potato salad. I missed him that night in the restaurant but left a note, and he sent me a kind tweet the following day. (He truly is a Twitter master, with more than 42,000 followers at @gillesepie!) 6 rue Arsène Houssaye, 33/01-42-89-1551,  

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Ze Kitchen Galerie
“After many days and nights dining on classic French fare in bistros, I knew I would, at some point, need a change. Ze Kitchen Galerie is just fun. The food is inventive, with international flavors and spices, particularly Asian. For example, the chef puts together a pork ravioli with Thai jus and pistou—France meets Southeast Asia. The restaurant has a gorgeous glass-enclosed kitchen, much like my restaurant in Salt Lake City.” 4 rue des Grands-Augustins, 33/01-44-32-0032,

La Terrasse du Laurier
“We rented an apartment in the 5th arrondissement and found this spot around the corner. It was simply the best bistro we ate in. The food is classic French, perfectly and simply prepared, like a bistro steak with a little foie gras. They had an excellent cheese and charcuterie plate. We returned the next morning for breakfast and the lovely manager was there again and remembered us.” 145 Boulevard Saint-Michel, 33/01-43-29-4081