Our Three Favorite Restaurants in Paris
During an entire week in the city of Paris, we had the opportunity to dine at a multitude of restaurants and embrace this culinary mecca fully: for most meals we had appetizers, entrees, drinks, and dessert and left the table satiated. Three restaurants stood out for different reasons and are places we would go back to in a heartbeat when we return to the city.
Here are our top three favorites Parisian restaurants and what set them apart. All three are on the Left Bank near where we stayed, though we had several meals on the Right Bank as well. Further down in this post, you will find a map that places these restaurants in the city. If you would like food and dining tips for your trip to Paris, check out a blog on that topic here.
Without further ado and in no particular order:
Le coupe chou
Buried on a street a little out of the way, we would never have found Le Coupe Chou on our own. This spot was recommended to us by my father-in-law’s father, who had lived in Paris and visited many times.
Le Coupe Chou had delicious food and the most original restaurant space I think I have ever eaten in. The building was built in the 17th century as a townhouse. The rooms were small and intimate, ours had an old fireplace, the lighting was dim as if lit by candles entirely, and each space and room that we passed on the way to our table looked like its own quaint room with visible ceiling beams and stone walls throughout. This restaurant is the ultimate spot for a romantic dinner. The restaurant has some interior photos of their space on their site that you can view here.
For our meals, Dustin ordered a trout fillet with almonds, zucchini, and peas, and I had a sea bream fillet with mango butter on fennel bed (sea bream is a type of fish that was new to me). For dessert, we had the amazing Chocolate Liégeois (similar to chocolate mousse). Our in-laws loved this place so much that they actually returned the following night while we tried somewhere new. Let’s just say that they made the better choice! Reservations recommended.
On our fifth night in Paris, we dined at Le Procope, in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, on the recommendation of a friend. The restaurant is situated on the a quaint street and has the amazing belle epoque atmosphere for which Paris is known. Because of the popularity of this restaurant, I would recommend you make a reservation. We did not and had our only wait for a table during our visit - maybe 20-30 minutes.
Le Procope bills itself as the oldest restaurant in the city, dating to 1686. This is true if you exclude the 50 years or so it shuttered its doors before reopening in the 1920s. I’m willing to give that one to them. What is a measly 50 years out of 350? Le Procope isn’t only known for its age but for its famous diners throughout history. Known as a spot for intellectuals to gather, it was frequented by people such as Rousseau, Voltaire, visited by Americans in Paris such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. The restaurant has Napoleon’s hat on display, which they say he left to show he’d make good on a bill due. I’m not sure what it says that the restaurant still has the hat. According to the history provided in the menu by the restaurant, they assert that their wallpaper is the original from the 1830s.
The history, myriad rooms, decor, and ambiance of Le Procope all came together for a wonderful evening. This was easily our best meal in Paris. Dustin and I both ordered the sole meunière, which is a specialty there. For dessert, we split a crêpe flambé with Grand Marnier.
la rotisserie d’argent
La Rotisserie d’Argent became our local neighborhood go-to spot. Situated right near the Seine, the restaurant is in a prime spot for easy access and to stop by on your way to or from other spots in the city. We ate both lunch and dinner at this restaurant. While we never made reservations, it definitely fills up even in the off-season of our visit. I’d recommend others make reservations during peak season or prime dining hours.
La Rotisserie d’Argent is a quintessential Paris bistro with red and white checkered tablecloths and owned by the same people as the Michelin-starred Tour d’Argent down the street. Next to La Rotisserie d’Argent is their bakery, La Boulanger de la Tour, which provides bread and pastries to both restaurants and is where we got breakfast several mornings, too.
The waitstaff were very friendly and personable, joked with us, and helped those in our party attempting French pick up a few new words as well. The service helped contribute to an atmosphere of comfort - the restaurant immediately felt like home. It was here that we had our first bottle of Bordeaux on our first day of the trip and decided that would be our wine of choice in Paris. Their house Bordeaux is amazing, by the way.
The food is both simple and expertly prepared and presented with the confidence of a chef who doesn’t need to go over-the-top to impress. Over the course of our meals here, our group ate steaks, fresh fish, and duck, all of which were hits.
David Lebovitz, well-known chef and food writer who now lives in Paris, wrote a fairly extensive review of La Rotisserie d’Argent that is worth a read and is accompanied by fantastic photos. Not wanting to be ‘those’ people, we (mostly) avoided taking photos in restaurants on the trip.