Many of you already have plans for dining on Christmas Day or New Year's Eve, but if you're looking for somewhere nice to eat in between the holidays, this is a short list of restaurants I checked earlier this week (some are also be open on the 31st and 1st, but do call to confirm)...
Around the Champs Elysées
Le 110 Taillevent
195 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 8th, M° George V, tel 01 40 74 20 20
This is the newly opened brasserie that belongs to the legendary Michelin-starred restaurant Taillevent. The €39 menu is considered a steal, so you shuold reserve ASAP if you’re interested!
Relais de L’Entrecote
15 rue Marbeuf, 8th, M° Franklin D. Roosevelt, open daily, no reservations.
This is one of the classic French “steak-frites” addresses, where for years everyone has been trying to guess the secret sauce on the steaks. As there are no reservations, you may have to wait, but it goes fast. Get there before 8pm to avoid the longest lines.
12 Rue Marbeuf, 8th, Tel 01 47 20 59 57, M° Franklin D. Roosevelt
A traditional French bistro open since 1937. The atmosphere is formal but not stuffy. There are two small rooms, tables are packed in tight. The menu includes all of the traditional French favorites: scallops, foie gras, snails, oysters, veal kidneys, rack of lamb, and Bouillabaisse on Fridays. Reservations a must.
99 ave des Champs Elysées, 8th, M° Georges V
One of the most famous restaurants in Paris, a classic French establishment that hosts the annual Césars (French cinema awards). Great people watching. Can be pricey, but there is a good selection of sandwiches, salads, pasta, chicken, etc. Usually easy enough to pop in without a reservation to the less formal brasserie section.
Le Mini Palais
Grand Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill (southern entrance, closest to Seine River), 8th, M° Champs Elysées Clemenceau ; tel 01 42 56 42 42.
Contemporary food, trendy atmosphere, in the Grand Palais, excellent setting. If you’re feeling in the mood for winter sports, you can instead go to the Grand Palais des Glaces, where they’ve created the largest indoor skating rink in France under the historic Art Nouveau atrium. In the evenings (Thurs-Fri-Sat) from 8pm-2am there’s skating, a bar, DJ, restaurant, etc. Entrance is €20 (includes skate rental).
Don’t forget the Marchés de Noël on the Champs Elysées and around Paris, which have tons of regional foods; I’m a big fan of the saucissons (sausages served on a bun like a hot dog) and the vin chaud (mulled wine). This is the cheapest place to eat on the Avenue!
Le Grand Colbert
2 rue Vivienne, 75002 M° Bourse or Palais Royal. Tel 01 42 86 87 88
A traditional Parisian brasserie with everything from salads and pasta to steak and seafood. Also afternoon tea with pastries and old-fashioned chocolate. Dress casual to semi-formal. Was featured in film “Something’s Gotta Give”. Popular with the local theatre crowd. Reserve 4-5 days in advance.
14 rue des Capucines, 2nd, M° Opéra. Tel 01 42 61 66 71.
This April the owners of the neighboring Bistro Volnay opened this chic, open-every-day bistro with an elegant Art Deco décor. The classic French dishes with a twist are excellent. Lunch tends to attract the banking/business crowd, nights are more romantic.
109 rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd, M° Hôtel de Ville or St Paul, tel 01 42 72 13 77.
Always packed wall to wood-panelled wall, this authentic Brittany crêpe restaurant in the Marais is known for using the freshest ingredients in their traditional and innovative crêpes. Leave room for the salted butter caramel dessert crêpes and a bowl of organic cider. Open daily for lunch and dinner, reservations usually necessary, or call if you’re in the area to see if there’s a spot open.
28 rue Vielle du Temple, 4th, Tel 01 48 04 99 89, M° St-Paul
This popular Marais café is known by one and all for its duck confit (cuisse de canard confit) and amazing tomato tart (tarte tatin à la tomate). There are also hearty salads, steaks, baguette sandwiches and omelets. Get a table by the window, where people watching is among the best in Paris. Good for lunch or dinner. La Chaise au Plafond around the corner also good, same menu, less of a view. Usually not hard to get a table without reservations, on weekends you might have to wait a few minutes.
25 Place des Vosges, 4th, M° St-Paul Tel 01 48 8794 07.
This is a real authentic Parisian tearoom, very chic (the original is on the posh « ladies who lunch » #4 Place du Trocadéro, good for when you’re at the Eiffel Tower). Come here for gourmet quiches, salads and club sandwiches. The macarons are also excellent here. A very chic place for Sunday brunch (best to reserve for that; otherwise usually okay without reservations for lunch).
Closerie des Lilas
171 Blvd Montparnasse, 6th tel 01 40 51 34 50
You have three options at this historic Montparnasse establishment: have drinks and bar snacks at the piano bar where plaques mark the favourite seats of Hemingway, Beckett, and other famous patrons over the last century (note: vin chaud is €14, cocktails €16, wine from €7/glass); have an informal meal of fresh oysters or steaks in the low-lit brasserie next to the bar; or sit down to a proper French feast in the formal dining room. Open every day. Reserve for the formal dining; bar and brasserie are first-come, first-serve.
Un Dimanche à Paris
4 Passage Cour de Commerce St André, 6th, M° Odéon. Tel 01 56 81 18 18.
In the heart of St-Germain-des-Prés, a chocolate concept store (you can watch them make their chocolates right there in the kitchen) with a tea room and restaurant in a contemporary setting built around an enormous stone pillar that was once part of the 12th century city ramparts. Brunch on Sunday and lunch and afternoon tea in the ground floor tearoom; gourmet dining in the more intimate restaurant upstairs. You can also just pop in to the shop for a cup of hot chocolate to go!
21, Rue Bonaparte, 6th, metro St Germain des Près, tel 01 44 07 64 87
In the front is the famous macaron pastry shop, in the back is a hidden tearoom with colonial décor, excellent hot chocolate and also club sandwiches, omelets, huge salads, etc. Service can be a bit slow, but worth it. Do reserve if you want to eat lunch there on the weekend (open 10am-7:30pm). Next door is the little gift boutique with their branded souvenirs and beauty products. Another tearoom on the Champs Elysées (#75) but that one is more crowded and touristy.
25 rue Saint Victor, 5th, tel 01 44 31 54 54, M° Maubert-Mutualité.
This is the new contemporary bistro opened by the chef from Le Meurice. It features a menu of all local Ile-de-France (the region that includes Paris) specialties. I had the best boudin noir of my life here! Prices are very reasonable for this level of cooking. Spacious dining room in Art Deco building, open-kitchen to see the chefs at work. (Note: closed at lunch on the 30th.)
Again, this list was correct based on calls I made this week, but please do call ahead to make sure they are open and have space before heading across town to eat!