Some people visit the City of Light for the romance, some for the fashion, but for chefs it’s all about the food.
After all, traditional fine dining is based on French cuisine. To ensure you get an authentic taste of Paris, we asked leading French chefs in Australia where they go – and what they order.
French-born chef Guillaume Brahimi of Bistro Guillaume has adapted to the local lifestyle to such a degree that he searches out Australian-style coffee when he travels.”
“Cuillier has the best espresso,” he says.
“Everyone will tell you how hard it is to get good coffee in Paris, so I recommend Cuillier. There are three stores but the one in Rue de Grenelle is my favourite. It reminds me of Australia. The staff are passionate about coffee and the roasting process so you are sure to get your caffeine fix.”
Location: 68 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, France
Who visits Paris without eating at least one croissant a day?
“My favourite croissant in Paris has to be from Blé Sucré in the 12th arrondissement,” Guillaume says.
“Fabrice Le Bourdat, the former pastry chef at Le Bristol, opened this patisserie over 10 years ago and it is still a favourite of locals and pastry lovers. The croissant is the perfect blend of crispy and flaky.”
Location: 7 Rue Antoine Vollon, 75012 Paris, France
Phone: Phone: +33 1 43 40 77 73
Make like a Parisian and enjoy an aperitif before dinner, that delightful combination of a drink and small snack.
Guillaume can’t go past Le Comptoir. “One of my closest friends is French chef Yves Camdeborde, his Bistro Le Comptoir is where I go for the most delicious selection of meats,” he says.
“L’Avant Comptoir De La Mer specialises in seafood. Freshly shucked oysters and calamari are enjoyed with freshly baked bread and a mound of butter!”
Location: Le Comptoir Location: 9 Carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006 Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 44 27 07 97
Bistro Rex general manager Peter Curcuruto says Bistrot Paul Bert deserves its “huge reputation.”
“It’s a modern recreation of a traditional French bistro that feels like it has been there 150 years, welcoming a lovely mix of local and international guests,” he says.
“It’s a must for those seeking a true slice of classic Parisian dining.
“The wine list is exceptional and it’s difficult to choose between steak frites, souffle or tarte tartin as the best dish.
Location: 18 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 43 72 24 01
This is where to experience the new wave of French food, or bistronomy – bistro gastronomy.
It’s approachable, affordable dining in a bistro setting but dishes are a cut above. Think fine dining without the fine setting or price tag.
Bistro Rex co-head chef, Michelle Powell says the best version is at Clown Bar, by the team from Sauterne.
While everyone else is talking about its dish of veal brains so tender it’s like eating soft tofu, her standout is the salt and pink peppercorn tempura scampi.
“It’s French/Japanese dining in a beautifully original and dramatically tiled dining room,” she says.
“It’s a modern dining experience in a neo bistro space.”
Location: 14 Rue Amelot, 75011 Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 43 55 87 35
Felix head chef Nathan Johnson is a fan of seafood in Paris.
It seems counter-intuitive to head to the other side of the world for seafood when it’s so good here, but it’s about variety. Brittany, four hours west of Paris, is renowned for its oysters. Rather than Sydney Rock or Pacific, you’ll find the small huîtres creuses or the rarer huîtres plates, otherwise known as flat Belon oysters.
According to Nathan, L’Ecaillier du Bistrot is the place to get “the best Brittany oysters in Paris.”
He goes to Frenchie for “steamed pollack, zucchini and basil” and L’ami Jean for “roast turbot, girolles and shallots.”
Location: 22 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 43 72 76 77
Luc La Joye of Loluk Bistro was born in Provence and he is passionate about the “small and well executed restaurants” that abound in Paris.
Le Bon Georges is a “solid neighbourhood French restaurant” with an ever-changing menu and he points tourists in the direction of Le Taxi Jaune for “unpretentious, old-school style French cuisine.” He says you can’t go past the quiche of the day and would recommend the coq au vin as a main.
Seb’on is a cosy little bistro that only offers a set menu. He usually opts for the foie gras, tomato chutney and raspberry vinegar as a starter, a main of sea bream fillet, eggplant caviar, garlic spinach and pistachio sauce and “definitely the salted caramel tiramisu with a blood orange sorbet for dessert!”
Location: 45 Rue Saint-Georges, 75009 Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 48 78 40 30