Travel 4 minutes 29 February 2024

Pierre Gagnaire’s Paris – Cafés, Classics, Cocktails and More

The culinary titan with 13 MICHELIN Stars opens his address book and reveals his favourite spots in Paris

Having spent 60 years working in restaurant kitchens, Pierre Gagnaire hasn’t lost his appetite for taking on new projects. In 2023, he served as Culinary Director for the film The Taste of Things – winner of the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival. In the same year, he published Une Vie en Cuisine (Keribus Editions), a highly personal coffee-table book that looks back over his career as a chef. If you need more proof of his commitment to cooking, check out one of his three Paris-based restaurants (Gaya, Piero TT and his eponymous restaurant that’s held Three MICHELIN stars since 1996). Gagniere’s philosophy is one of giving and receiving, something he actively seeks out on his few days off. Below, the renowned chef breaks down his favourite spots.

For a classic French 'sausage and mash': Les Arlots
"I really like this place, with its convivial atmosphere and flawless bistro dishes from humble beginnings. The saucisse-purée is my favourite, hands down. This kind of establishment is an essential part of the sort of dining scene we have in Paris."

Located close to the Gare du Nord, Les Arlots has solidified its place among the elite ranks of bistros that are worth their salt in the capital. Its tightly packed tables and cosy interior make it the perfect place for a meal with friends. Replete with seasonal ingredients, the cooking does not cut corners, putting the focus squarely on the pleasure of a good meal. In addition to their renowned sausage and mashed potato, the matured meat is also delicious.

136 rue du Faubourg-Poissonnière, 75010 Paris

©Lucas Gurdjian/Les Arlots
©Lucas Gurdjian/Les Arlots

For an irresistible vol-au-vent: Le Café des Ministères
"This restaurant is definitely worth a visit, not least for its delicious vol-au-vent. But also because it’s run by a lovely couple of restaurateurs, who are as talented as they are likeable. That is something that’s important to me. If I don’t get the welcome I expect upon entering a restaurant, I automatically turn around and walk out."

At this restaurant, a stone’s throw from the Assemblée Nationale, guests are in the safe hands of a husband-and-wife team – Roxane Sévègne works front of house and Jean Sévègne, previously of Three MICHELIN Star L’Ambroisie, runs the kitchen – and can be sure of a good time. Although the vol-au-vent with sweetbreads has become the signature dish, it would be a shame to miss out on their stuffed Pontoise cabbage. The wine selection – successfully alternating between new classics and little-known gems – is as vast as it is appealing.

83 rue de l’Université, 75007 Paris

For roasts: Elmer
"Simon Horwitz used to work at Pierre Gagnaire. He’s now struck out on his own and is doing a great job. He’s an intelligent, sensitive man and his cuisine reflects his personality. Seeing as he’s overly modest, I’m very keen to promote his restaurant."

A few minutes from Place de la République, in a street teeming with trendy spots, this restaurant stands out from the crowd with its upscale interior and welcoming atmosphere. Here, the catch of the day and cuts of meat are roasted on the rotisserie or quickly seared on the hot embers of a wood fire, then served up with carefully prepared and sourced (organic or sustainably farmed) vegetables. The Chef – who has not only worked at Pierre Gagnaire but also at Three MICHELIN Star and Green Star L’Oustau de Beaumanière – offers a stimulating dining experience with precise and inspired dishes drawing on international influences.

30 rue Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth, 75003 Paris

© Gravelax de lieu jaune - condiment citron confit et capres/Elmer
© Gravelax de lieu jaune - condiment citron confit et capres/Elmer

For food that is proud of its roots: Origines
"Here, you will be able to sample a cuisine that’s full of depth and flavour; both rustic and elegant, it maintains a strong connection to the land. I also love this place on account of the charming chef, who hails from Aveyron and worked with me in Paris and Seoul."

This elegant restaurant just off the Champs-Élysées may boast décor in keeping with the prestige of the neighbourhood, but its cooking is not what you would expect. Each dish is the brainchild of Julien Boscus, son of a pork butcher and a restaurateur, who has worked with some of the world’s greatest chefs (including Yannick Alléno and of course Pierre Gagnaire). An obsessive when it comes to good produce, Boscus has christened his first restaurant 'Origines'. You will be hard pressed to resist his Audierne crab, his free-range chicken from Le Gars Daudet or his soufflé tart made with Lucifèves d’Aubrac chocolate.

6 rue de Ponthieu, 75008 Paris

atelier sesame intérieur/origines
atelier sesame intérieur/origines

For an exceptional take on fine dining: David Toutain
“With his creative and surprising cuisine, David Toutain really fits the bill of a Michelin-Starred chef. He is entirely devoted to his art, and his success is richly deserved. He inhabits his very own culinary world – to be explored at the earliest opportunity.”

Having worked at Three MICHELIN Star and Green Star L’Arpège, among other prestigious establishments, the Two MICHELIN Starred David Toutain is considered to be one of the most promising chefs of his generation. His cuisine is as original as it is personal and wins diners over with its refined flavours and carefully considered visual appeal. Awarded a MICHELIN Green Star, his restaurant in the 7th arrondissement, near Les Invalides, draws some of its inspiration from his permaculture vegetable garden in Normandy.

29 rue Surcouf, 75007 Paris

PorKGnocchiPepperMill/Pierre Toutain
PorKGnocchiPepperMill/Pierre Toutain

For a theatrical dinner: La Scène
"I have a profound respect for Stéphanie Le Quellec and the work she is doing at La Scène. She’s a model for the industry, and has a huge amount of talent and a remarkable sense of creativity. Her refined and highly personal cuisine reveals a feminine touch and some truly original ideas. On top of that, she really wears her heart on her sleeve."

Set in the heart of the capital’s ‘Golden Triangle’, La Scène – a Two MICHELIN Star spot – has a flair for the spectacular. The director of the performance is Chef Stéphanie Le Quellec, who has successfully (re)opened several restaurants in recent years, among them Vive. The show unfolds in several acts: watercress velouté, escargot tartlet, Pompadour potato with caviar, abalone millefeuille. However, save room for dessert as Pastry Chef Pierre Chirac ups the ante with a delectable grand finale.

32 avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris

© Benoit Linero/La Scène
© Benoit Linero/La Scène

For a hybrid cocktail: Andy Wahloo
"I really like the Andy Wahloo, which I try to go to when I have time. It belongs to Mourad Mazouz, with whom I founded Sketch in London 20 years ago. It’s a fun, quirky place to drink good cocktails in an inviting atmosphere."

Hidden away in the courtyard of a private mansion in the Arts et Métiers neighbourhood, the Andy Wahloo has been a fixture of the Paris nightlife scene for over 30 years. Slightly spruced up after a recent revamp, the bar still plays host to some excellent mixologists, who delight in putting a spin on the great cocktail classics. In short, it’s always worth coming.

69 rue des Gravilliers, 75003 Paris

For a rural atmosphere: Issy Guinguette
“During the summer months, I love spending time on the terrace of this restaurant tucked away amid the vineyards in the hills above Issy-les-Moulineaux. You feel like you’re far from Paris and its suburbs; it’s really lovely and relaxing, and a total change of scenery. They also offer a few tasty little dishes if you're peckish.”

Created by a member of the Legrand family – owners of the famous wine merchant in the Galerie Vivienne in Paris – this charming guinguette is surrounded by vineyards, with the establishment owning 500 vines on the slopes of Issy. Planted more than 30 years ago, the vines produce an excellent white wine that’s perfect for sipping in the summer on the gorgeous terrace. In the winter, warm up by the fire with a drink or a rustic-style meal for a truly indulgent experience.

113-bis avenue de Verdun, 92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux

© Terrasse Issy Guinguette/Issy Guinguette
© Terrasse Issy Guinguette/Issy Guinguette

Hero Image: © Benoit Linero/La Scène


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