As one of the top food destinations in the world, there’s no shortage of famous restaurants in Paris.
From historic addresses to those made famous by celebrity diners, here we round up some of the most iconic Paris restaurants that are actually worth a visit.
1. Le Fouquet’s
Open since 1899, the historic Le Fouquet’s is a legendary spot in Paris, and famous for hosting the post-dinner celebrations of the César Awards ceremony for the last 40 years. It was also the restaurant of choice for ex-French President Nicolas Sarkozy—a well-known regular—to celebrate his election win back in 2007.
The menu was designed in collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire. It features the chef’s modern take on French classics, with perfectly cooked fish dishes, tender cuts of meat, and the freshest of vegetables. The traditional decor is the perfect setting for an elegant Parisian evening, with black and white photos of the many stars who have dined there as proof that you’re in good company.
2. Le Relais Plaza
Located within the iconic Hotel Plaza Athénée, Le Relais Plaza is famous in fashion circles and steeped in stylish history.
Open since 1936, the restaurant was a regular haunt of Yves Saint Laurent. Christian Dior would also send his models there to eat so they could show off his latest designs to the other diners. In fact, they visited so often they even had their own menu.
It now serves up a selection of well-executed French classics with excellent service and a dessert menu designed by the hotel’s master pastry chef, Angelo Musa.
Don’t miss a peek at the small “wall of fame” outside the restaurant on the way to the bathrooms, which showcases more of the fabulous stars who have passed through its doors.
3. Café de Flore
One of the most famous restaurants in Paris, Café de Flore was one of the most popular meeting points for Paris’ creatives during its heyday. Pablo Picasso, Jean-Paul Satre, Brigitte Bardo, Serge Gainsbourg and Karl Lagerfeld are just some of the names who have passed through its doors for intellectual conversation and endless coffee drinking—or in Gainsbourg’s case, a double Pastis 51.
As a result, yes, tourists flock here to soak up some of Paris’ literary and creative history. However, Café de Flore remains popular to this day with the well-heeled Parisians of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and the food is genuinely good. Even if you don’t go for dinner, the terrace makes the perfect spot for people-watching over a coffee or a glass of wine.
4. Tour d’Argent
A favorite of royalty back in the 16th century, it’s still fit for a royal visit now. This place serves up an indulgent menu under one-Michelin-star chef Philippe Labbé, and comes with an incredible view of Notre-Dame.
If you can’t make it to the restaurant, its bakery just opposite, Le Boulanger de la Tour—or the more affordable La Rôtisserie d’Argent next door—might not give you the historic setting, but will at least give you a taste of its famous food.
5. L’As du Fallafel
On the other end of the scale, for less than €10 you can eat at another of Paris’ most famous addresses, L’As du Fallafel. It’s located on rue des Rosiers, a street is known for its many falafel joints in the historic Jewish quarter of Le Marais.
Although Mi-Va-Mi opposite, with which L’As du Fallafel has a long-standing rivalry, and Chez Marianne around the corner are also extremely popular, L’As du Fallafel is still arguably the most famous. It regularly sees customers lining up down the street for a quick and cheap meal.
It’s not the most attractive place to eat in, but you can always take-away and instead eat in one of Le Marais’ pretty squares. It’s also worth noting that L’As du Fallafel is closed Friday night and Saturday during the day, as are many addresses on that street, due to Shabbat.