Paris: 8 Eateries With Amazing Ambience
We’ve found 8 restaurants that not only serve good French cuisine, but their eclectic atmosphere are equally important in creating some of Paris’ most unique dining experiences.
Bistro Les Petits Carreaux
This traditional French restaurant serves a variety of food, including duck confit, grilled sausage and seared salmon. Large-portion salads are also on the menu for patrons looking for a healthier option. But it’s not just the food that takes center stage when visiting this quaint bistro, which is located in the touristy but pedestrian-friendly Montorgueil neighborhood. In addition to patio seating, the Bistro Les Petits Carreaux has a friendly staff that serves food while Motown classics and music by ’70s bands such as Earth, Wind and Fire keep you entertained. This eatery’s ambience is sure to catch a few American customers off-guard.
Chez Robert et Louise
From the outside, Chez Robert et Louise looks like a quaint country bistro, and what you get inside is an experience to be remembered. The family-owned restaurant serves a variety of dishes with meat, so it’s probably not a good choice for vegetarians. Far from fine dining, the restaurant has rustic décor, a wood-burning fire (a great furnace in the winter) and home-cooked, farm-to-table meals that set it apart from other dining spots in Paris. Step outside your comfort zone and try the black blood sausage (which is not for everyone), veal kidneys and pork potted meat, or go for a more familiar dish such as the rib-eye steak, lamb chops or tiger prawns.
Take a break from shopping at Printemps — a chain of popular, high-end department stores — and grab a bite to eat at the Brasserie Printemps, located on the sixth floor of Printemps Haussmann. Since 1923, this sophisticated restaurant has served traditional French cuisine with a twist, but the captivating décor is what will probably draw you in once you walk through the entrance. You don’t need to eat a big meal to get the experience. Sip on a glass of wine and order the foie gras with cherry chutney, or sample other menu items prepared by chef Pierre Alain Garnier. The food will command your palate’s attention, but your eyes will be fixed on the beautiful stained-glass dome above.
Get amazing views of Paris from Le Georges, a restaurant located on the top floor the Centre Georges Pompidou. At night, the restaurant transforms into a trendy spot where, similar to Hotel Costes, a DJ spins mellow world and electronic music. The romantic ambience is great for couples who will want to sample the delicious dishes on the menu, such as sea bass tartare, spicy lobster linguini, chicken breast with curry and mango chutney, and bourbon vanilla ice cream.
In addition to the restaurant, the Centre Georges Pompidou is also home to the Public Information Library, the National Museum of Modern Art (the largest modern-art museum in Europe) and the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique. Even if you don’t go inside, the building’s exterior is something to behold. The architect team of Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano is responsible for the intricate, unique design.
When customers walk into Loup Paris, they’ll instantly notice the country-chic décor with a splash of cobalt blue among eccentric accent pieces such as a rotisserie oven, a moose head, antlers and a wooden owl. In addition to the restaurant’s “homey” ambience, the owners carefully select locally grown, organic ingredients to make their homemade dishes and spirits, including their mocktails and 16 types of organic wines. There are also a few gluten-free items listed on the menu. After eating, you can walk off your meal by heading to Les Halles to shop or visiting the Louvre and the Royal Palace’s garden — all just a short walk away from this trendy eatery.
Experience the trendy, gay-friendly Le Marais neighborhood in Paris. Two gay bars, Open Café and Cox, are located down the street from Les Marronniers, so it’s not surprising that there is usually a crowd of men congregating in this popular local hangout, especially during the weekends. It is best experienced during the spring or summer at the outdoor tables. The friendly vibe and tight seating inside and out make it easy to meet new people while gazing at the interesting foot traffic just a few feet in front of you. At Les Marronniers, the social atmosphere is just as important — if not more important — than the food. It’s common to see customers grabbing just a small bite to eat and ordering espresso, wine or beer while socializing with friends. Menu items range from simple sandwiches to light entrees to decadent desserts.
Le Tokyo Eat
Just a short walk from the Eiffel Tower, Le Tokyo Eat’s cavernous space resembles a large, stark parking ramp. Designed by Stephane Maupin, the restaurant is located inside the Palais de Tokyo, which is home to the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris. Art is a major part of the ambience here. In fact, the tables, chairs and wall paintings were all created by artists such as Ivan Fayard, Marcus Kreiss, Olivier Babin and Bernard Brunon. It’s the perfect place to check out their work from your artsy chair while eating a decadent French-Asian fusion meal. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that first-time visitors should make a casual trip to the restaurant’s bathrooms. The climb up the spiral staircase is worth it to see the huge, floor-to-ceiling, swiveling bathroom doors. Half the fun is just watching confused patrons try to figure out how the doors work to get into or out of the bathroom.
Experience the art nouveau and art deco style of Terminus Nord. Since 1925, this high-end restaurant has served famous dignitaries, businessmen and families. Patrons walk through the entrance, and the atmosphere almost makes them feel as though they’ve been transported back in time. Large mirrors, chandeliers, mosaics, glass features and copper fixtures are just a few ways the owners create the eatery’s opulent décor. Chef Jean-Philippe Bourgueil’s menu includes a variety of seafood platters, frozen pea soup with goat cheese and mint, roasted filet of cod, grilled Angus rib steak, and crepes suzette flambéed with Grand Marnier. A reservation is recommended. Prepare for an expensive fine-dining experience that you will never forget.