La Fontaine de Mars
129, rue St Dominique
75007 – Paris
Open 7 Days a Week
Founded in 1908, and hands down my favorite restaurant in Paris, La Fontaine de Mars offers a traditional French menu with a fresh and relaxed twist. Superb service, not “fancy” but the food and service are so good you feel sure it is an occasion when you eat there. Dishes can include Blanquette de Veau, Sole Meuniere, Cassoulet, not “lite” offerings, but beautifully prepared and a terrific wine list. There is seating downstairs and upstairs – I prefer downstairs within view of the kitchen, where you can watch the busy staff at work.
3 rue Sainte-Beuve
Closed Sundays & Mondays
Just off Blvd Montparnasse and not far from the Luxembourg Gardens is this very small postage stamp of a restaurant serving traditional French dishes but with a modern twist. Tiny, so do make reservations and know that it is run by the chef and one waitress -- but everything seems to arrive on time and run like clockwork.
36, rue Grégoire de Tour
TEL: 01 46 34 05 60
Near Metro Odeon, on a tiny side street, they are closed Sundays, but otherwise open for lunch and dinner. An informal but pretty setting, Italian food -- primarily pasta, salads, a terrific anti-pasti plate, and many varieties of carpaccio. This is a regular spot for us, and we love the straight forward, fresh, clean food. No heavy sauces.
15, rue des Petits-Champs
Located just north of the Palais Royal, this restaurant is just a few doors away from their other restaurant, Willi's Wine Bar. Macéo's is the only exception on this list regarding price and formality. This is perhaps my favorite place to go, at least once each visit. They are medium-to-expensively priced and they have a fantastic wine list. Their knowledgeable wine steward will help you order, if you like. One other convenient and interesting touch: they serve a full, delicious vegetarian menu every night in addition to their meat dishes. So, everyone's happy. They treat their vegetarian menu very seriously and you will be able to order things you never thought to find on a vegetarian menu. The atmosphere is relaxed but it is more formal, so it's a great place to go when dressed up. A special night out. Reservation a must.
34, rue Mazarine
TEL 01 43 25 01 11
Open for lunch and dinner, Mondays thru Saturdays, Il Vicolo offers very fresh pastas and antipasti. Meat and Seafood are also on their menu, with delicious risotto, as well. Comfortable modern setting, prices are mid range, not too expensive and food could not be better.
5 rue Villedo
Open 8:30AM – 6:30PM Mon – Fri & 9:30AM – 6:30PM on Sat – Closed Sunday.
This hole in the wall café right off the rue de Richelieu near the Palais Royal is a coffee lovers dream. They roast their own blend and take their coffee seriously and make it strong and yet not bitter. Paris suffers from possibly the worst coffee available and this will help you regain confidence in “café” culture. Small bites to eat (granola, toasts, banana bread, etc) and juices are also available. Wonderful place to stop in for a morning or after coffee.
20 rue Saint Victor,
Open every day breakfast – lunch – dinner
Opened by the chef Yannick Alléno (who also runs the restaurant at the swanky Meurice Hotel), this is a restaurant in a modern setting but with an eye towards all food sources that are traditional. Using local purveyors and growers of foods and produce, Alléno has created a restaurant that lists the provenance of its ingredients, allowing you to see the origins of the foods and their “local” proximity to Paris. Fresh ingredients to prepare traditional dishes with a modern twist. Prices are moderate and service excellent.
Mori Venice Bar & Restaurant
2, Rue du 4 Septembre
TEL 01 44 55 51 55
Opened by famed restaurateur Massimo Mori (who also opened the Armani Café in St Germain), this is a piece of heaven. Located just north of the Palais Royal where rue Vivienne hits the rue du 4 Septembre, this is an elegant setting (Philippe Starck designed) but not stuffy restaurant specializing in Venetian / Italian food. Inventive antipasti, pastas and seafood. Reminds me of the perfect meal I had at Harry's Bar in Venice. It is pricey, but very much worth it.
Les Deux Abeilles
189, rue de l'Universite
Technically called a "Salon de The" or Tea Room, this restaurant serves both lunches and tea-time fare. Great home made cakes and pies and selections of lighter lunch salads, with delicious vinaigrettes (citrus and ginger tossed in). Favorites include Tarte Tatin, lemon meringue pie, fruit crumbles. It is very close to the Eiffel Tower and also near the newer Musee Quai Branly, which is how we found this lovely spot.
Willi’s Wine Bar
13, rue des Petits-Champs
Located just next to Maceo’s and owned by the same person – Willi’s has recently expanded and has more table and is open continuously from lunch through dinner. Sophisticated but relaxed atmosphere and delicious food – and enough choices for any taste, along with excellent wine list.
Le Bon Saint Pourcain
10 bis rue Servandoni
TEL 01 43 54 93 63
We love this local (6th arrondissement) out of the way gem. It serves traditional hearty food (cassoulet, stewed beef, really good pates and terrines). Not expensive, quiet street. We've gone without reservation, but you never know. Small restaurant, very friendly service.
Kunitoraya Villedo 2
5 rue Villedo
Open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays thru Saturdays – TEL 0147030774/
In the old restaurant Chez Pauline, this Japanese wonder has taken over keeping the décor totally French and yet with Japanese food (and some very innovative and western influences).
Le Mini Palais
in the Grand Palais and accessible from the “seine” side
Open every day from 10AM – 2AM
with full menu – lighter dishes with nouvelle cuisine touch and the most delicious pop overs they serve you when you are seated. IN the summer it is nice to sit on the terrace overlooking the Petit Palais.