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Paris

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French cuisine needs no introduction – it is almost universally excellent. Paris is also very well-known for its North African cuisine. Save some room to sample some of the city’s excellent crêpes and macarons as well. Many of the city’s most-charming and celebrated bistros and brasseries have limited seating, so ask your hotel’s concierge to call ahead for reservations, even before you get on the plane.

Top Restaurants in Paris

Aux Lyonnais

This terrific, white-tiled bistro in the 2nd touts ties to superstar chef Alain Ducasse, a zinc- and tin-covered counter, floral moldings and mirrors on the walls, and menus that feature superb market-fresh Lyonnais dishes, like fricassée of chicken with crayfish and spring vegetables or sautéed veal kidneys in a mustard sauce, served with home-made pasta au jus.

32 Rue St-Marc, 011-33-1-42-96-65-04, www.auxlyonnais.com
Tags: moderate | notable chef | great value | french

BE Boulangépicier

Perfect for budget diners with haute-cuisine taste, discover delicious sandwiches, pastries, and more at this bakery/grocery store in the 8th, jointly owned by Alain Ducasse and master baker Éric Kayser; the shop's ideal for gourmet lunches or picnic supplies (20-acre Parc Monceau is nearby), with both indoor and outdoor seating.

73 blvd. de Courcelles, 011-33-1-46-22-20-20, www.boulangepicier.com
Tags: family | budget

Café des Musées

This innovative restaurant serves up well-prepared French classics, many with a twist, like the delicious vegetarian cocotte (baked casserole). There is always a prix-fixe menu option, a fish of the day, and rustic meats. The décor is simple and the lighting too bright, but diners don't seem to mind.

49 Rue Turenne, 011-33-1-42-72-96-17
Tags: budget | great value | french

La Crêperie de Josselin

This is the place to sample delectable Breton crepes filled with everything from traditional eggs and ham to bananas and ice cream - snug environs are offset by the attentive service. For hearty fare, try the crêpe maraichère, stuffed with spinach, bacon, egg and cheese, and wash it down with a Breton hard cider. Cash only. No reservations.

67 Rue du Montparnasse, 011-33-1-43-20-93-50
Tags: family | budget | editor pick | great value | dessert

La Marine

A neighborhood favorite, this friendly bistro along the trendy Canal St. Martin serves up inexpensive dishes like duck confit and steak au poivre. The tables are elbow-to-elbow but the setting is as classic as the cuisine, with a vintage tiled floor and sculpted ceiling.

55 Quai de Valmy, 011-33-1-42-39-69-81
Tags: budget | great value | french

Le 404

Don't forgo Paris' stellar takes on North African cuisine, especially at this esteemed eatery where a Moroccan and Algerian menu of couscous and tagines is served in a dramatic casbah-worthy interior. Go for the scene, but stay for the food, including the Berber crêpes with honey for dessert.

69 Rue des Gravilliers, 011-33-1-42-74-57-81
Tags: moderate | trendy | african

Le Bar Ladurée

The sumptuous bar-restaurant at the back of the Ladurée tea salon on the Champs Elysées is an Art Nouveau jewel box with an eclectic menu for the champagne-and-caviar set featuring scallop carpaccio, eggs with truffles, and blinis with Iranian caviar.

13 Rue Lincoln, 011-33-1-40-75-08-75, www.laduree.fr
Tags: romance | expensive | trendy

Le Bistrot Paul Bert

Tucked away on a quiet street in the 11th, Le Bistrot Paul Bert serves food that's as complex as its walls are unadorned. The pigeon ravioli in ginger broth is somehow both delicate and as intense as marrow, and even a spring salad has the vivid flavors of vegetables harvested that same morning. The daily menu is based on market ingredients, but there are staples like coquille St. Jacques, lamb shanks with lemon confit, or an earthy entrecôte served with the tastiest frites in Paris. The best tables are up front, near the bar. Reserve a few days in advance; this gem is popular both with locals and visiting foodies. A must!

18 Rue Paul Bert, 011-33-1-43-72-24-01
Tags: moderate | local favorite | french

Le Chateaubriand

You never know what will be on the menu at Le Chateaubriand - and that's the fun part. Chef-of-the-moment Inaki Aizpitarte serves up an innovative prix-fixe meal - one selection nightly - in an unfussy room with white walls and unmatched chandeliers. Starters may include herring salad, followed by rack of lamb or tender steak with roasted potatoes.

129 Ave. Parmentier, 011-33-1-43-57-45-95
Tags: editor pick | smart splurge | trendy | french

Le Cinq

This long-time Parisian favorite in the Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris serves up culinary treats worthy of its two Michelin stars in an equally worthy setting, including custom-made tablecloths shimmering with candles and spilling with yellow rose petals. If the 50,000-bottle wine cellar gives you pause, so will entrées like net-fished blue lobster, with claws in artichoke and orange ravioli, or sage-roasted organic young pig from central France's Larzac region (where Roquefort is made), so tender that chewing seems like an afterthought. Start with abalone and scallops in seaweed butter, served with lemongrass broth, sea anemone tempura and caviar, and then finish with the maîtres fromagers cheese selection and a 1795 Madeira. Eric Briffard is the outstanding chef; outside his kitchen, service is impeccable.

31 Ave. George V, 011-33-1-49-52-70-00, www.fourseasons.com/paris
Tags: expensive | smart splurge | french

Le Coupe-Chou

Tucked away on an ancient street of the Latin Quarter, this gem, known for its well-prepared, well-priced French fare, radiates a medieval feel with its low ceilings with exposed beams, stone walls, and cozy fireplaces. The three-course lunchtime prix fixe for 18 euros is a steal. The beef bourguignon is just plain delicious.

9-11 Rue de Lanneau, 011-33-1-46-33-68-69, www.lecoupechou.com
Tags: romance | moderate | great value | french | prix-fixe

Taillevent

Set in a lavish 19th-century townhouse (formerly the home of the Duc de Morny - Napoleon III's half-brother - and then the Paraguayan Embassy), this perennially popular upscale eatery is famed for its exquisite interpretations of contemporary and traditional French haute cuisine (think venison medallions with quince in pepper sauce, or roasted duck with fruit and verbena) and white-glove service.

15 Rue Lamennais, 011-33-1-44-95-15-01, www.taillevent.com
Tags: expensive | notable chef | editor pick | historic | french

Yam'Tcha

Within a year of this 20-seat restaurant's opening in spring 2009, chef Adeline Grattard earned a Michelin star for her inventive and demure Franco-Pan Asian dishes. The menu is omakase - literally, "it's up to you" in Japanese - or, in this case, up to her. Adeline's husband, Chiwah Chan, is the tea sommelier, pairing floral oolong with pork wontons or a potent mix of black teas with a not-so-Asian cheese course. Both a lovely dining experience by itself, and a welcome respite from the city's classically French butter-driven cuisine. The restaurant's curious name means "drink tea."

4 Rue Sauval, 011-33-1-40-26-08-07
Tags: expensive | french | asian | tea

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