It’s a big call trying to name just a handful of restaurants in Paris where I like to dine, but I’m jumping in.
I first went to Paris at 23, when I was swept off my feet in a whirlwind romance, and I’ve been going back regularly ever since, mostly solo.
It’s my version of an adult Disneyland – whether it’s cycling the streets, walking, shopping, dining, drinking coffee or just hanging out, Paris has it all for me.
And if you are single, French men know how to court the modern way, and LOVE to date foreign women. Just wear long skirts.
Here, I’ve listed my diverse but favourite pick of places to eat during a trip to Paris. From a cheap bistro to one of the trendiest places in Paris to a new Italian diner, this is where I ate in Paris last month.
- L’Avenue – One of the most touristy spots I know,but this place still does it for me. From the stunning, fashionable (and strikingly thin) waitresses to the outside seating area, the bevy of fashionistas who eat ( lettuce) there and the slightly gaudy but very French upstairs area, this is celebrity central, but still authentic Paris. The menu has all of the typical French dishes from Frois Gras to smoked salmon, and they do a great steak. Plenty of gorgeous bottles of wine and wines by the glass. Brilliant martinis. The best thing about this spot is the people watching, and knowing how many famous people have sat in your seat.
- Le Train Bleu – If this is your first trip to Paris, this place will blow you away. You dine feeling like you’re in the middle of an old, French film. It is traditionally, classically and authentically French both in setting and food. Located in the unusual location of a train station, Gare De Lyon, it is as glamorous as they come. The palatial setting is more like a grand French Chateau, with rich, over-sized ornate furniture, incredible hand crafted antique ceilings and hand painted artwork. Old fashioned waiters buzz around full of French style and menu suggestions . Think gold and more gold. Menu items include lobster, beef tartare, veal cutlet and divine desserts. All very French and irresistible. A great spot to dine before catching the Eurostar to London or overnight train to the South of France. Bursting with romance.
- Mon Viel Ami: This little known bistro is located on the Isle St Louis, a gorgeous little island near The Notre Dame in Paris. A great date spot, the atmosphere is buzzy, and super intimate as the tables are so close together. The menu features northern French food which means you see a little more cream in some dishes, but nothing too rich. The food is always super fresh, and there are a lot of non-meat options. I always feel calm and happy when I dine here. Sometimes the simplest places in France are a reminder of the joys of good, well cooked food. The famous Berthillon ice-cream shop is on the island, a great way to end the meal with an ice-cream and romantic stroll home.
- Lou Lou – This gorgeous, super stylish, newish Parisian hot spot has classic modern interiors, and has the Louvre as a backdrop. They serve divine Italian food – case in point: the raspberry pastry dessert tart will live with me forever. The food is very, very good Italian. Fresh, a diverse menu with pasta, seafood, meats and great wines, and gorgeous wait staff. We wondered if this is where models work on their days off, they are that striking. The best tables are in front of the windows in summer where you can look out onto the court yard and dream. Romantic, fun, glamorous. Great scene, great food, sexy.
- Ralph Lauren: I know this one might earn me some criticism, yes, Ralph Lauren is an American brand, but this venue is simply gorgeous and feels like France meets America, in all of the best ways. Located on the left bank, French waiters (dressed in Ralph Lauren) move around a gorgeous flower filled courtyard serving a menu which is probably a bit more American than French, but still superb, and includes salads, meat and poultry dishes, a great salmon fillet and plenty more. Wine and cocktails are high end, but the whole setting is a bit like a movie set, just stunning. The food, waiters, even the crockery feel designer – probably because they are! You cannot get in without an advanced booking, and kids over 4 are ok here. The basement toilets are even full of Ralph Lauren. Fashion and Food at their designer best.
- Monsieur Bleu: This upmarket restaurant in the Trocadero is another favourite local place to eat. Super slick, with views of the Eiffel Tower, this is glamorous French dining at is best, and it is worth going just to eye off the French fashion on the stunning local women. It is eye popping. The bar is always buzzing with locals & tourists and a great place to start or finish your night, but a dinner here is impressive at every turn. Lots of modern French/European light dishes like carpaccio and calamari, ceviche and gazpacho, but the French staples are all there too. A great place to go when you’ve had enough of Fois Gras and want something more international, but still French. Hot, fun, French.
- Marco Polo: A fabulously famous bistro, this is a favourite of Parisian locals as well as celebrities, and has been for decades. One of my Parisian friends in finance brought me here years ago, and I loved it then and I love it now. I enjoy sitting street-side in summer in Paris, and this is the classic place to do that. Ok, so it is Italian, but there are reflections of dishes from Southern France as well. Flavour filled risottos, pastas and seafood dishes are gorgeous, and there is a list of daily specials which are always amazing. Waiters are fast – unlike a lot of Paris, so you can go here for a quick – or slow meal. Great wines, and some really economical ones too. Just a great all-round Parisian style bistro with no tourist bullshit going on and plenty of celebs to spot.