Travel Spotlight

Paris’s Restaurant Branchés

For decades, Paris has had les restaurants branchés, fashionable, of-the-moment places that attract stylish Parisians, celebrities, artists, politicos and in-the-know visitors. The food at les restaurants branchés is often secondary to the vibrant atmosphere and fabulous décor. Still, in many cases, and in many of the restaurants recommended below, the cuisine is also excellent.

The history of branchés—“plugged in” or “trendy” in English—deeply intertwines Paris’s culinary and cultural evolution. Long renowned for its gastronomic traditions and innovative chefs, branchés restaurants emerged in the latter half of the 20th century. When Maxim’s, likely the original restaurant branché, opened in 1893, it immediately became the center of Parisian elegance and society, catering to the likes of Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin, Jean Cocteau, Jackie Onassis, Edith Piaf and Man Ray. What followed was a host of branchés openings throughout Paris. In the mid-1980s, the Costes brothers opened the Philippe Starck-designed Café Costes (which led to many of their other branchés, Café Marly, Georges and Café de la Musique, to name a few), and more recently, Paris Society followed suit with the introduction of such now-iconic eateries as Monsieur Bleu and Girafe. Subsequently, a slew of sleek watering holes popped up throughout Paris. Today, many branchés are undergoing significant rejuvenations and adapting to changing tastes and lifestyles to continue to thrive.

Thanks to an influx of international influences shaping the Paris restaurant scene, some have embraced diverse culinary traditions, offering fusion cuisine with flavors from around the world (Lafayette’s, Oktobre).

Many of the branchés are owned or have been bought by either of Paris’s two hospitality giants, Paris Society and Moma, who are restoring and reinventing many of these beloved haunts. One of the best post-Covid outcomes was the 2019 renaissance of the historic Lapérouse on the Left Bank. Once relegated to irrelevance, Maxim’s, too, has been given a makeover, its sensational Belle Époque interior restored in time to celebrate its 130th birthday. Other branchés—many with old bones and new menus—deserve a visit or a revisit.

Here is a list of some of our favorites:

Anna

This Greek restaurant in the heart of the Golden Triangle brings a sense of Aegean warmth to even the grayest Paris day. Thanks to Athenian chef Yiannis Kioroglou, the menu comprises traditional Greek comfort food with a light touch. Note: The service can be spotty and the portion sizes can be small.

Café Lapérouse

Opposite Mimosa, in the same courtyard of Hôtel de La Marine, is Café Lapérouse, from Benjamin Patou, founder of the Moma Group. It has gorgeous voyage-inspired interiors by Cordelia de Castellane, Paris Society artistic director and the designer behind Baby Dior and Dior Maison. Led by chef Jean Pierre Vigato, Café Lapérouse’s menu emphasizes modern French comfort food, with dishes like lobster salad, smoked salmon, sole meunière and chateaubriand, as well as a smashburger. There are two dining rooms and two outdoor terraces, and though there are high ceilings, the vibe remains cozy.

CoCo Restaurant Palais Garnier

Another scene-stealing restaurant from Paris Society is CoCo, which is on the rooftop of the Palais Garnier. The vibe is festive, often with live music and a great weekend brunch.

Forest

On the terrace of the Paris Museum of Modern Art, Forest has gorgeous views and an innovative menu from chef Julien Sebbag. Later in the evening, DJs transform the fashionable restaurant into a joyful party.

Gallopin

Off the beaten path in the Bourse neighborhood and overlooking the French stock market, [Gallopin] is a quintessential Parisian brasserie featuring seafood and French classics—escargot, entrecôte, steak tartare and chocolate mousse. Nearly 150 years old, the gorgeous, buzzy Bella Epoque dining room is full of beautiful people. Gallopin is also a place to have fun (ask for the terrace)—from Wednesday to Sunday, the restaurant's inner section transforms into a boite (club) with fantastic music and lots of drinking and dancing.

Gigi

A sexy, sceney Italian restaurant from the Moma Group (behind Girafe and Monsieur Bleu), Gigi is on Avenue Montaigne in the space formerly occupied by La Maison Blanche. Its top-floor location and outdoor terraces offer Eiffel Tower views, and the interior design is light and airy with rattan touches. The menu is Italian and there is nightly music and celebrations frequented by a stylish crowd crown of Parisians.

Hollywood Savoy

Once the epicenter of 80s Parisian nightlife, the iconic Hollywood Savoy received a makeover from the Fitz Group, reviving its festive spirit and reputation as a wildly glamorous late-night spot in the bustling Bourse district. The sophisticated decor, with gilded details and luxurious banquettes, evokes bygone elegance, as do the retro cocktails. The menu comprises dishes meant to be shared, including lobster rolls, prime rib and a selection of caviars and lighter fare. The restaurant becomes more lively as the evening progresses, with live music and dancing in the basement club until 2:00 a.m.

Hôtel Costes Restaurant

Stylish visitors adore this hip eatery with a gorgeous courtyard. Recently renovated, the ambiance retains its signature blend of beauty and elitism—the service can be a touch spotty, and a table can be tough to book, but Costes is one of the best places to see and be seen in the city. The revamped lounges exude sultry sophistication, with each dining room offering its own cozy charm.Favorites of the diverse menu include foie gras for two and a quintessential niçoise salad. The terrace, now an Italian-style patio, has solidified its status as a must-visit spot in Paris.

Il Bambini Club

Another restaurant branché from Paris Society, Bambini is a sexy, hip eatery on the Palais de Tokyo. The Italian menu has pastas, pizza, and an excellent burrata and cherry tomato salad. The interior is playful and bright, with floral patterns, colorful wicker chandeliers, and a Mediterranean vibe. This is a great place to come for a Spritz and a snack on the terrace and to enjoy a beautiful view of Paris.

Lapérouse

The self-proclaimed “House of Pleasure since 1766,” Lapérouse is a Paris institution beloved for its rich history and elegant, intimate dining rooms. For centuries, Lapérouse has welcomed notable artists, politicians, and celebrities from Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac and Ernest Hemingway to Kate Moss and George Clooney. Purchased in 2019 by the Moma Group, the restaurant has been impeccably restored, with plush fabrics, antique artwork and low-lit cozy boudoir spaces. Also known for its exquisite French cuisine—it was one of the first Paris restaurants to receive three Michelin stars—the menu offers classics like croque monsieur, escargot, sole meunière and Chateaubriand and decadent desserts like crème brûlée and tarte Tatin.

Laurent

A Paris landmark and former royal hunting lodge off of the Champs Elysée, Laurent has received a jolt of new life thanks to the team behind Paris Society, who have built an empire of Parisian hot spots with restaurants like Girafe and Gigi. To reboot this grande dame, they enlisted Cordelia de Castellane, the design wizard behind Christian Dior’s housewares line. She played up the greenhouse atmosphere with potted palms and cane furniture in the ground floor dining rooms, while the second floor comprises a series of private dining rooms of various sizes and styles, ideal for intimate celebrations. While the longtime loyalists may not appreciate the evening music, they will be glad that the menu harkens back to more traditional French dining, with dishes like terrines and foie gras. Paris Society has kept Laurent classics like lobster salad, spider crab with fennel jelly, sole meuniere and roast Bresse chicken for two. Desserts, like tartes or flambés, are displayed in the good old “chariot” or cart and wheeled table to table.

Lafayette’s

Once a venue for the most popular soirées in Paris hosted by American-French war hero Marquis de La Fayette, this 18th-century mansion is now home to Lafayette’s. Part of the Moma Group hospitality empire (Lapérouse, L'Arc, Mimosa, Andia, Manko), Lafayette's replaces the group's Ran restaurant. Inside this enormous Parisian hôtel particulier landmark, Michelin-adored chef and wunderkind Mory Sacko infuses French and American staples with his Senegalese heritage and flair. Sweet potato curry, sea bass in a banana leaf, and foie gras with mango and hibiscus chutney sit alongside Entrecôte with béarnaise and fried chicken. As you would expect from the location, Lafayette’s interior exudes opulence and sophistication as you would expect from the location. Renowned interior architect Lázaro Rosa-Violán has breathed new life into the mansion's historic salons, blending modern style with 19th-century charm through a rich color palette and carefully curated décor.

Le Petit Lutetia

For those imagining the classic Parisian brasserie with sidewalk seating and people-watching, Le Petit Lutetia fits the bill perfectly. While retaining vintage charm, it is a great choice for a sceney cafe experience on the Left Bank. Menu highlights are the beef tartare and foie gras. It is also well known for espresso martinis.

Maxim’s

Thanks to a revitalization from hospitality giant Paris Society, the legendary Maxim’s has been restored in all of its Art Nouveau glory and is back on Paris’s hot list after a 14-year hiatus. The storied French restaurant on the Rue Royale was the center of Parisian society almost immediately after opening in 1893. Nearly everyone of note has dined and danced there—including Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Edith Piaf, Jean Cocteau and King Edward VIII.

The menu has been updated in favor of lighter fare, but many original items remain, like the soup VGE—so named for 1970s French President Valéry Giscard d’Éstaing. A-listers can enjoy French classics like Frog’s legs, foie gras and Crêpes Suzette, as well as American-style lobster and Beluga caviar. Much of the original decor remains intact but has been refreshed by Paris Society artistic director Cordelia de Castellane. There’s still the signature scarlet and gold, Art Deco lamps and gilded mirrors grace the walls; the fabulous Belle Époque interior is reason enough for a visit.

Mimosa

Located in the Hôtel de la Marine, facing its sister restaurant Café Lapérouse, Mimosa (by the Moma Group) is helmed by the great chef Jean Francois Piége. The playful and summery interiors evoke the Riviera spirit of the 60s, and the menu is a celebration of French-Mediterranean cuisine, including a wealth of seafood and showcasing a variety of oeufs mimosa, or deviled eggs. There is ample outdoor seating if you find yourself here on a warm and sunny day.

Monsieur Bleu

This restaurant in the Palais de Tokyo, a contemporary exhibition space, serves trendy nouvelle cuisine (burgers, lobster rolls, small plates) to a chic and arty crowd. With a lovely terrace and one of the best views of the Eiffel tower, this is a great spot for a dinner or cocktails in fine weather. When the weather turns colder, the décor inside features Art Deco-style green velvet banquettes and Eero Saarinen chairs for a modern swanky vibe. Reservations are a must and can only be made a week in advance.

Oktobre

Located on the Rue des Grands Augustins, a quiet street in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Oktobre is a node to the changing seasons and seasonal ingredients. Formerly restaurant Kitchen Galerie Bis (KGB), its co-chef Martin Maumet has taken over (leaving the K as a tribute to KGB) and, drawing from his traveler’s spirit, infuses French dishes with Asian accents. The minimalist space, too, has been transformed by the design studio Bateaumagne into an autumnal oasis, evoking warmth with Fall hues and botanical paper panels, beautiful oak tables and benches, and banquettes covered in bold stripes.

Oktober offers a royal lunch—a multi-course meal—and a choice between à la carte or a full tasting menu for dinner, including vegetarian options. If you’ve got the time, go for the tasting to sample the best of the chef’s seasonal hits, like onion soup topped with Jerusalem artichoke or the excellent butternut squash ice cream with chestnut cream for dessert.

Perruche

Perruche, also from Paris Society, feels like a beach club in the sky (it’s on the rooftop of the nine-story Printemps Haussmann, which makes it perfect for a pre- or post-shopping lunch with birds-eye views of the Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Coeur and Palais Garnier). There is a glassed-in dining room, but try to get an outdoor seat surrounded by lush flower boxes and trees. The food itself is simple, though delicious, and pairs ideally with summery cocktails and chilled rosé.

Riviera Fuga

This restaurant feels like a slice of the Riviera on the Seine. Boarding the barge-turned-buzzy-bar and restaurant on the Left Bank below the Pont Alexandre III, diners are greeted with a summery atmosphere year round. Bright yellow and white awning stripes decorate the walls and cushions, and painted fish adorn the plates. It’s a beautiful spot that attracts a beautiful crowd for food that blends Italian and Japanese influences, from the same team behind Francette—the Seine’s other seriously stylish watering hole on the water.

Siena

On Place Saint-Honoré, this Italian restaurant is lively, decorated in warm palettes and has a charm that evokes Siena. Choose from the elegant large main dining room, the outdoor terrace or cozy and chic piano bar. There is often live music or a DJ. Standout dishes are the fantastic vitello tonnato and pasta with pecorino.

Explore the Paris Dining Guide

Discover all of Indagare’s restaurant recommendations in Paris.

Published onMay 14, 2024

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