My mother likes to say that the way you spend New Year’s Eve sets the tone for the year to come.
While that’s a matter of perspective, if you consider this from an epicurean point of view, you’ll want to choose your restaurants wisely. Will 2020 be full of candlelit meals, raucous group dinners with sharing plates or Michelin-starred tasting menus?
Regardless of how you want to ring in the new year, you can’t go wrong by spending the holiday in Paris. The only problem might be deciding where to eat.
The French tradition of Réveillion de la Saint Sylvestre, or New Year’s Eve, calls for celebratory feasting, with many restaurants planning a special set menu to mark the occasion. You won’t go hungry if you prefer to play things by ear. But if you’d like to have your pick for both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day dining without wandering from restaurant to restaurant looking for somewhere that’s both open and able to accommodate you, reservations are key. Call ahead to secure your table, or book online depending on the restaurant’s preference.
Where to Eat on New Year’s Eve in Paris
Verjus: A Modern Tasting Menu
Placing the emphasis on seasonal produce, organic wines and working directly with farms in Normandy, Verjus is an excellent option for indulging your inner gourmand. Specializing in modern French cuisine, Verjus offers two seatings for their celebratory tasting menu complete with wine pairings.
Located just around the corner from the Jardin du Palais Royale, you can even squeeze in a stroll through the stone colonnade before sitting down to your New Year’s Eve dinner.
Vaudeville: Ring in the 2020s
Infuse 2020 with the glamour of the 1920s by opting for New Year’s Eve dinner at Vaudeville. Opposite the Bourse and open since 1918, Vaudeville is as much a feast for your eyes as for your tastebuds. The streamlined Art Deco decor adds a certain touch of elegant nostalgia.
Their multi-course New Year’s Eve set menu includes a choice between seafood platters and steaks drizzled in foie gras sauce, and flutes of champagne.
Bouillon Julien: Art Nouveau Flair
Open since 1906 in the 10th arrondissement, Bouillon Julien still serves up simple French bistro fare in a beautifully restored Art Nouveau setting. Bouillion Julien was a former haunt of Edith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan, and it’s not hard to conjure up images of La Môme having a late supper with her lover.
The restaurant may be offering a set menu for the holiday, but you’ll still have plenty of options to choose from at an affordable price, including pâté en croûte with chestnuts, seafood risotto, and baba au rhum.
Where to Eat on New Year’s Day in Paris
Le Basilic: New Year’s Day à la Carte
Tired of rich set menus? Pop into Le Basilic for a range of choices off their menu. Specializing in French fare, this local Montmartre restaurant offers delicious plates in a more moderate price range.
Slide along the red banquette seating and open the menu to find staples like foie gras and saucisse de Lyon, magret de canard, and crème brûlée à la pistache. Luckily, its prime location on rue Lepic makes it easy to head for a romantic stroll through Montmartre’s winding cobblestone streets after dinner.
A Casaluna: Regional Tastes
Conveniently located in the 1st arrondissement, A Casaluna serves up gastronomic riffs on traditional Corsican cuisine. Offering a seasonal menu full of marinated aubergines, Corsican ham and seafood, sweet but tart tarte au citron and Corsican wines, A Casaluna offers a chance to get to know one of France’s proudest regions on New Year’s Day.
Le Mary Celeste: Small Plates, Big Flavor
The brainchild of the Quixotic Projects, the team behind Candelaria, Le Mary Celeste specializes in small plates, oysters for €2–5 and craft cocktails. Best of all, Le Mary Celeste is vegetarian-friendly, offering sophisticated plates where vegetables take center stage.
While the restaurant is petite, you’ll find yourself elbow-to-elbow with some of the Marais’ most interesting characters and maybe make a friend or two.