Destinations

Chef’s guide: where to eat and drink in Paris, France

From a speakeasy behind a taco shop to oysters by the river, French chef Simon Horwitz reveals all.
Bird's eye biew of wooden table displaying wine glasses and plates of terrine, pickles and bread

Elmer

Simon Horwitz and his restaurant Elmer are emblematic of Paris’s new-wave of dining: French in spirit but influenced by the food of the world. After cutting his teeth in Parisian restaurants including time with Pierre Gagnaire and helping his friend Bertrand Grébaut open Septime, Horwitz worked at high-powered international kitchens including Attica in Melbourne and Central in Lima. His well-travelled palate isn’t just obvious in his cooking, but also in his hit list for where to dine in the French capital.

Chef Simon Horwitz

The Septime Connection

For fine-dining style, perfectly done with creativity I like Septime. Every time you go it’s interesting, full of flavour and very smartly done. There is nothing put without any sense in the plate. On Sunday, my day off, I love to go to Clamato; the small restaurant from Septime. Every single Sunday, this place will be full of Parisian chefs.

A Tiny Canteen

Le Servan is a restaurant opened by a friend of mine, Tatiana Levha (formerly at L’Arpège and L’Astrance) and her sister Katia. It’s quite smart, it’s not expensive, and you eat very good food and drink natural wine. It’s quite small, like a canteen where you’re almost eating with the people around you; the atmosphere is quite nice.

Paris’s Melting Pot

Le Grand Bol is a Chinese restaurant in my neighbourhood so I’m going there quite a lot. They do really nice dim sum, and I love their Peking duck; the skin is super crisp, and the roasted breast is delicious. For good cocktails there is La Candelaria near Rue de Bretagne; they’re quite famous for their cocktails and for using interesting alcohols and sake, and they do it really well. It’s a speakeasy. So, you find a little taco shop, and then you have to find and push on this door which will take you into the bar.

French dish

French Classics, Done Right

Aux Artistes is a really small restaurant in the 15th district – it’s not well known at all, but it’s always full. The menu is around 15 years old by now. It’s really simple food, but when people are looking for traditional French food – like steak frites, really well cooked – this is what I recommend. It’s just delicious.

Oysters And Cocktails

If you love oysters and cocktails, then you have to go to ISTR; an oyster bar on the same street as Elmer. There are not many places where you can find such a good and big selection of oysters. And the bartender trained with some of the best mixologists in Paris, so his list of cocktails are really, really good. If I’ve had a big lunch, and feel like having something small to eat and a drink at around 7pm, this is where I’m going.

Bistro By Day, Wine Bar By Night

I’ve recently been going to Café du Coin, a neighbourhood bistro that becomes a wine bar at night. It opened about a couple of years ago in an old café, but they kept everything just as it is, and just put some small tables inside. The dishes are very simple, but perfectly done; like their famous pizzetta. They always use the freshest products, and it’s not expensive at all. It’s a good place for a weekday lunch.

Interior at Elmer

A Bistro From A Former Septime Sous Chef

There is a place that I love called Gare au Gorille which is from a good friend of mine, Marc Cordonnier (formerly the sous-chef at Septime), and it’s quite amazing. They have a wine list (mainly natural), and you can find some really good wines from within and outside of France – they’re looking for different wines; it’s definitely interesting. Regarding the food, they have a three-course menu for lunch that’s only around 25 euros and, for dinner, they propose a list of mostly small and a few big plates that are perfect to share with a bottle of wine. It’s a great place to go with friends.

Say Cheese. And Wine.

La Vache dans les Vignes (The Cow in the Vines) is a small wine bar and shop by the canal that sells amazing cheese. It’s really interesting. Surprisingly there are few wine bars in Paris where you find wines that you didn’t know before, but the owner here is really passionate about wine (and cheese!) and the wine list changes all the time.

As told to Jessica Rigg from the Local Tongue. For more chef’s guides around the world, see thelocaltongue.com.

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