This blog post was originally posted on May 23, 2019 and was updated on August 26, 2020.
Boasting 119 Michelin star restaurants in 2020, Paris is second only to Tokyo on the list of cities with the most starred establishments.
Michelin-starred restaurants have earned their prestige for good reason, and you can’t really go wrong at any of them. But with so many to choose from here in Paris, not to mention long waiting lists and high prices, it can be hard to know where to splash out.
To make things easier, here we round up our top five favorite Michelin star restaurants in Paris for the most memorable meal of your trip.
1. Arpège | Three stars
Well ahead of the current focus on vegetarian and vegan dining, Alain Passard has made vegetables the star of his cuisine since the early 2000s at three-Michelin-star restaurant Arpège. The renowned chef, who favors cooking meat “on the flame” for the best results, also uses similar open-flame cooking methods for his vegetables, creating a range of interesting flavors, textures and colors.
To ensure access to the very best produce, Passard runs three of his own vegetable gardens in three different regions of France. These gardens use no pesticides or chemical fertilizers, welcome wildlife, and respect nature.
An evening at Arpège doesn’t come in cheap, with the Vegetable Tasting Menu a rather staggering €340 and the Earth and Sea Menu (for those who do eat meat and fish) priced at €450, but it’s worth noting that they do each include 11 courses of Passard’s famed cuisine. There is also the Gardener’s Lunch Menu priced at €185 for those looking for a more affordable, but still top-notch, dining experience.
2. Le George | One star
Located within the luxurious Four Seasons George V Hotel, Le George received its first Michelin star in 2017 for Chef Simone Zanoni’s modern Mediterranean-style cuisine. Designed for sharing and with a focus on light, healthy dishes, the menu uniquely offers plates that can also be split between two for more relaxed, tapas-style dining.
The à la carte menu is surprisingly well-priced, as is the full dégustation (tasting menu) priced at €125, and the more affordable lunch menu at €65. Whatever you choose, don’t leave without trying the unusual onion tarte tatin, one of Zanoni’s signature dishes, or one of the delicious desserts. And make sure to request a table by the window if you would like a view of the beautiful marble courtyard and the hotel’s famous flower arrangements.
Those who are looking for somewhere more sustainable will also be pleased to know that the Four Seasons Hotel George V has its own sustainable vegetable garden for Le George, which supplies the restaurant with fresh, organic, seasonal vegetables as well as limits food waste in the kitchen.
3. Palais Royal Restaurant | One star
The one-Michelin-star Palais Royal Restaurant is secreted away in the Jardins du Palais-Royal, where French writer Colette lived during her final years. Its secluded location in the gardens means that unlike many other Michelin star restaurants, it boasts a sunny outdoor terrace, making it a particularly lovely spot for leisurely lunches and balmy summer evenings.
Chef Phillip Chronopoulos impressively trained with the team of Alain Passard at Arpège and at the laboratories of famed chef Joël Robuchon before taking the helm at the Palais Royal Restaurant, where he serves up classic French dishes inspired by the seasons.
Guests can order à la carte or try the tasting menu for €162, although it’s worth noting this is only served when all guests at the table order it.
Wine lovers and connoisseurs might also be interested in the restaurant’s wine workshops, where you can enjoy a gastronomic dinner with an introduction to wine-tasting and pairing with the restaurant’s sommelier.
4. Frenchie | One star
Frenchie has been a long-time favorite address for Parisians looking for excellent food in stylish surroundings.
After chef Greg Marchand was awarded his first Michelin star at the restaurant in January 2019, the accolade has given diners another reasons to visit—it’s not often in Paris you can find a five-course Michelin star menu priced at just €88.
The unique menu changes every two weeks and is not listed anywhere on the website, making it a surprise every time you go. However, the lunch menu, starting at €50, is not so closely guarded, and classics such as grilled fish and pork belly, as well as more unusual combinations such as foie gras with carrot, tamarind, and macadamia nut, give you an idea of what to expect from Marchand’s modern French menu.
The menu can also be adapted for vegetarians, and guests are able to book in advance, but spots fill up fast.
5. Septime | One star
One of the city’s most difficult restaurants to reserve, you’ll have to plan your trip to Paris around an evening at the in-demand Septime, and not the other way around.
The one-Michelin-star restaurant aims to respect the heritage of French cuisine while moving on from traditional and more formal fine dining. This can be seen first of all in the price, with the seven-course tasting menu a surprisingly affordable €95, plus drinks, with a five-course menu available for lunch priced at €60.
The menu changes seasonally but expect innovative combinations such as smoked roasted cauliflower with onion and mustard jus (juice), pickle, and bacon; or duck, roasted shallot and fig and juniper juice.
If you don’t manage to snag a table then you can always head next door to sister address Clamato, which serves up fresh seafood delivered daily from the French coast to the restaurant. It’s reservation-free, so you just need to be prepared to wait in line, although getting there early (before the 7 p.m. opening) will help.