Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Where to Eat in Paris: Beyond Traditional French Food

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Paris has always been one of the world’s preeminent dining cities. It was the first to bring modern restaurants to life, birthing one of the most respected culinary repertoires in the world, and it is known across the globe for iconic dishes like boeuf bourguignon and steak frites.

But Paris is so much more than flaky croissants and perfect saucisse purée. It’s also a destination for an omakase featuring fresh pasta alongside tempura, Lao-style crispy shrimp, and tasting menus rooted in African flavors and traditions—all intersecting with the best French techniques and ingredients. All of this is as much the product of a long history of immigration as it is an emerging generation of chefs, bakers, and sommeliers who are expanding what French food can be through global flavors and forward-thinking styles.

These eight essential restaurants have their own bold points of view, but all play a role in shaping the current culinary landscape. Some are new, while some have a long history—but all prove how, after all these years, Paris remains the most compelling dining city of them all.

Lao Siam

Dish of Chinese cuisine on a wood table

Every table at Lao Siam needs pineapple fried rice, a couple of salads, spicy shrimp, and fried trout lacquered with a tamarind sauce.Photograph by Joann Pai

49 Rue de Belleville
Since 1985, Lao Siam is where Parisians in the know go for comforting Thai and Laotian cooking—and are more than happy to brave the line if they show up sans reservations. It’s now run by brothers Nicolas, Frédéric, and Alexandre Souk-Savanh, who took over the business from their parents. The dining rooms and lighting got a refresher, but the kitchen experienced the most significant change. The menu is now tighter and more focused, featuring pan-fried prawns swimming in a garlicky, spicy fish sauce; deep-fried trout with a punchy tamarind sauce and Thai basil; and crying tiger, a grilled beef brisket dish from northern Thailand served with a spicy house sauce.

Cheval d’Or

4 people standing outside of restaurant

Chefs Luis Andrade and Hanz Gueco and sommeliers Nadim Smair and Crislaine Medina in front of Cheval d’Or.Photograph by Joann Pai

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