French dining is often seen as some of the most exclusive dining in the world, with Parisian dining topping the rest of the country. If you have never been to Paris, you probably have not had an opportunity to experience dining like they do dining in Paris. If you have been to Paris, you may not have been given an opportunity to fully experience and appreciate Parisian dining at its finest.
This list of the top 20 exclusive Parisian dining establishments will give you some insight into what dining in Paris is truly like. The catch is: these places are so exclusive that you will probably have a hard time getting into them for a meal.
Whether you are looking for traditional French food, or contemporary Parisian eats, this list will give you some ideas. The restaurants on this list are the best of the best, places with three Michelin stars and places with world renowned chefs. The white linen tablecloths are barely noticeable in the restaurants on this list, because these Parisian restaurants are more than a pretty picture.
These restaurants combine the best food with the best atmosphere in all of Paris to create the most exclusive dining experiences in all of the world.
20 Le Jules Verne
Located in the Eiffel Tower, Le Jules Verne offers contemporary cuisine with regionally sourced local ingredients. During the day, diners are able to enjoy views of the Parisian skyline, and at night the dining becomes quite intimate as the lights in the restaurant are supplemented by the lights of Paris. For lunch, the 190 or 230 Euro "Experience Menu" is recommended, with five or six courses and wine pairings. However, if you want the full experience of Le Jules Verne, you are going to want to make a reservation for dinner - if you can get one - and be sure to wear appropriate formal dinner attire.
Comice is owned by a husband and wife team, making it a special and unique place for celebrating in Paris. The restaurant offers contemporary French and Parisian cuisine paired well with wines made by local artisan winemakers. Comice may not be at the top of every foodie's list, but it is definitely a place that many of Paris' elite seek out when they are looking for an inviting place for a meal. The restaurant is Michelin starred, so you know it is a good place to eat. When you are looking for that perfect place for a meal that will help you escape, then Comice should be near the top of that list.
18 Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenée
Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenée takes a different approach to dining than most restaurants. Each meal is carefully designed and constructed, as though by an engineer rather than a chef. The dishes at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenée are designed to take full advantage of each ingredient, with those ingredients being carefully selected to provide the diner with the utmost dining experience.
That is what it is about: a dining experience unlike any other. You will not find the gastronomical ideas of Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenée anywhere else in Paris, or the world, and for that reason this restaurant is high on the list of many top food aficionados.
Located in the Bristol Hotel, Epicure is a three Michelin star restaurant that offers a seasonal menu. If you are looking for an eclectic take on classics, then this is the place to go. With items on the menu to choose from such as truffle stuffed macaroni, you can hardly go wrong when making a delectable food choice at Epicure. This restaurant is set up to serve only 40 people for lunch and 40 people for dinner, making it one of the most difficult restaurants in Paris to get into. So, if you are planning a trip to Paris, be sure to plan well in advance if you want to sit for a meal at Epicure.
16 Au Bon Accueil
Au Bon Accueil may be a chic and cozy bistro, but it also has a lot to offer anyone looking for a romantic or exclusive dining experience. Yes, you will be able to enjoy views of the Eiffel Tower from the sidewalk tables, but the dining room is where the true experience at Au Bon Accueil lies. The six course tasting menu features local and market fare that is completely transformed into a cuisine that you will only find in Paris. The house made desserts are also something that should be sampled, so be sure to take your appetite with you.
15 Restaurant Guy Savoy
Restaurant Guy Savoy wants to keep dining simple. In 90 minutes, you can experience the seven course lunch menu, with or without wine. Now, that may not sound simple, but with Guy Savoy, the chef and owner of Restaurant Guy Savoy, even the most complex can become simple. With rotating and set menus, diners are sure to be treated to an extravagant dining experience each time they visit this restaurant where the cuisine is art as much as it is something to enjoy tasting. The exclusivity of Restaurant Guy Savoy is evident from the moment you walk through the doors; that is, if you can get a reservation.
14 Le Meurice
As a two star Michelin restaurant, Le Meurice has a lot to offer diners. Serving world class cuisine of a European style, such as blue lobster with champagne, one could get lost in the menu at Le Meurice. While an extravagant affair, this restaurant is the type of place that people put their name down on a reservation well in advance.
Le Meurice may be known for its classic dishes, but it is the capability of the chef to create a culinary experience that keeps diners coming back again and again (when they can get a reservation!). This is extraordinary dining at its most extraordinary.
13 Pavillon Ledoyen
Pavillon Ledoyen is one of the oldest restaurants in Paris, having opened its doors in 1792. The restaurant serves French haute cuisine, some of the finest in the world, and has three Michelin stars to show for it. Chef Yannick Alléno has the experience and skill to put together a plethora of fine dishes that demonstrate his capability not just as a chef, but also as a culinary mastermind. Pavillon Ledoyen is the type of fine dining restaurant that people will wait months to get into, and the experience is well worth the wait. The menu is unlike anything else you will find, and the atmosphere is positively outstanding.
12 Au Trou Gascon
While many people may look for a modern or contemporary setting for their Parisian meal, those that seek a more intimate and "Bourgeois" setting are likely to gravitate to a place like Au Trou Gascon. While they still provide gourmet French cuisine that may be considered "contemporary," they do it in an intimate environment that is anything but modern. With Michelin stars to back them up, they are collaborating with small producers and transforming ingredients into gourmet seasonal dishes that will leave you hoping for more. The warm setting of Au Trou Gascon may be 21st century, but it is designed to mimic a bygone era of culinary wonders.
11 Le Cinq
Le Cinq serves traditional French cuisine, except that they are doing it with a contemporary flair. To prove that they know what they have been doing, they have had three Michelin stars for twelve years. The restaurant is located in the Four Seasons Hotel in Paris, and offers seasonal menus that change with lunch and dinner. The lunch menu consists of four or six courses, and the dinner menu is nine courses.
The staff of Le Cinq exists solely to serve you, the diner, and they are renowned for their exceptional service. Le Cinq truly is an extravagant dining experience that is only for those who have the right access.
At Apicius, guests are given a number of choices, and not just on the menu. There are a number of options for where to dine at the restaurant, with each individual room offering its own charm and unique experience. The food at Apicius is modern French, but with throwbacks to traditional classic dishes. The dining experience at Apicius is one that is light and elegant, something to be enjoyed by everyone who has the privilege of being able to dine at the restaurant. If you are so inclined to dine here, then be sure to make your reservation well in advance.
When looking for a place to dine in Paris, a place that is exclusive and above the rest, L’Arpège is a restaurant whose cuisine harmonizes in such a way that the dining experience is unlike just about any other in Paris. Each piece of each dish is selected in such a way so as to ensure that the entire meal, not just the dish, is a cohesive experience. Also, since 2000, L’Arpège has been supplying its own produce from kitchen gardens. The dining room is small, only accommodating 14 diners, which adds to the elegance of the dining experience at L’Arpège.
For a creative take on French and Parisian cuisine, consider L’Espadon, located in the Ritz Carlton of Paris. This restaurant may not be the most exclusive restaurant in all of Paris, but it certainly has a lot to offer anyone looking for a dining experience that goes above and beyond the expectations of anyone. L’Espadon is the kind of establishment that puts guests first, and the classy atmosphere is what you would expect at a place inside the Ritz Carlton and especially in Paris.
For a refined take on French cuisine, this is the restaurant that you are going to want to try and secure a reservation for.
For a different twist on dining in Paris, try Hiramatsu. This is a Japanese inspired dining establishment that is near the top of the list when it comes to cultural dining experiences in Paris and France. The ingredients at Hiramatsu are carefully selected to make the most of them, and this results in luxurious dishes that pair well with any of the 1,000 bottles of wine on the wine list. While they are not serving up traditional French or Parisian cuisine, the chefs at Hiramatsu really know how to advance the flavor profile of the ingredients that they are working with.
Septime is exquisite and focused on plants and vegetables, something that is unique in French and Parisian cuisine. Also, the menu changes every two weeks, so if you are lucky enough to get a reservation, you are likely to be in for a surprise when the menu is placed before you. This is fine dining without everything that you would expect from fine dining. There is no ceremony to the way your food is presented to you: you are there to eat the food, and enjoy it without a lot of other distractions. Septime is fine French dining done in a totally different, but just as effective way.
Allard has been open for over 80 years, making it one of the last remaining gourmet French bistros in Paris, and it features local specialties such as snails and frog legs. This is legitimate French and Parisian cuisine, and should be at the top of any fine dining wish list when visiting Paris. The food is inspired by local flavors, just the way the French culinary artists have been preparing food for centuries.
There is very little about Allard that defines it as a modern eatery, and that is the way they like it. They prefer to stick to classic cooking and design of the meals that are intended to inspire the diners.
For ultra fine dining in Paris, Lasserre is the place that many seek out. Their ideal is to provide discreet service that epitomizes the field of French culinary design. Here, you will find a refined experience that is also quite charming, making you feel welcome at your table, if you can get a table. The menu at Lasserre features local specialties, such as roasted pigeon or spiced duck. In good weather, diners are treated to a retractable roof that reveals the beautiful sky of Paris. Lasserre is a great Parisian dining establishment that seeks to provide a unique experience for diners.
If you are in Paris and looking for an exclusive dining experience that is not French, consider a visit to Kifune, an authentic Japanese restaurant that opened its doors in 1989. This is a restaurant that is serving traditional family Japanese dishes, like sushi sashimi, along with a selection of sake. Kifune is also a restaurant where you will need to figure out how to get a reservation, because without one you are unlikely to get service. Dinner can be pricey, but the lunch menu is just as delectable, for those trying to save a little money. Kifune is truly one of Paris' finest Japanese restaurants.
For a unique combination of traditional French dishes and contemporary cuisine, Taillevent will be the place you want to go. This Parisian restaurant is working to transform the art of fine dining from something that is inaccessible to something for everyone. However, it is still an exclusive restaurant that is serving a la carte dishes and over 100 bottles of wine. Taillevent seeks to provide an atmosphere where diners are immersed in a sensory experience that is more than just their taste.
From the smells of the kitchen to the way the food is presented, Taillevent is truly a remarkable dining experience.
Benoit has an atmosphere of the early twentieth century and Michelin stars to back up the chef who is delivering Parisian cuisine that tops the list of exclusivity. Benoit is serving both classic and contemporary French dishes in a way unlike most other Parisian eateries.
They may not be offering the best atmosphere or the best dishes, but the way the two are combined puts Benoit above several other restaurants which may have high marks in one or the other. This is the kind of restaurant where you are going to be treated like you are the only patron, and because of that your experience will be that much more enjoyable.