Do You Know Come Of Paris' Best Restaurants Are Family-Run?
Image Credit: Comice/facebook

Paris is indubitably the world's most happening place when it comes to haute cuisine, with the city boasting over 37,000 restaurants that feature a myriad of cuisines. 118 of Paris’ restaurants carry the coveted Michelin Star, second only to Tokyo. The sheer number of options can be overwhelming at times, and the numerous "tourist traps" that line the city's arrondissements (administrative districts) only add to your annoyance.

Some of Paris’ best restaurants are family-run. They range from fine dining establishments that serve the city's best haute cuisine to quaint establishments that serve rich, inexpensive meals. The city of lights has something for everyone.

1. Juveniles

Established in 1987, the restaurant is still run by its founder Tim Johnston, along with his daughter Margeux, who helms the bar, and son-in-law Romain, the restaurant’s head chef. Juveniles is a quaint bistro that features no-nonsense French cuisine made from fresh, local produce. The foie gras and entrecôte are must-haves, with the restaurant's rabbit and octopus preparations also garnering rave reviews. In addition to regular fare, the restaurant features seasonal menus that are curated by Romain. The restaurant boasts of an incredible wine collection, something Johnston has always placed great emphasis on since the restaurant's inception. Johnston also carefully chooses the wines each season to pair with the many dishes the restaurant has to offer.

2. Comice

The one Michelin Star restaurant is a must-visit on your Parisian food trail. The restaurant, which opened its doors in 2017, is run by the husband-and-wife team of Noam Gedalof and Etheliya Hananova. Noam is the restaurant’s chef and Etheliya is the sommelier. They have over thirty years of combined experience working in various fine dining restaurants around the world. The restaurant features four- and five-course menus, both seasonal, as well as a selection of French cheeses and wines. The food served is centered around the best seasonal produce the country has to offer, with the dishes served being light and uncomplicated. The emphasis is on the techniques employed to make the dish. This mirrors Thomas Keller’s philosophy on food, which comes as no surprise given Gedalof’s long tenure at The French Laundry. The wine selection is predominantly French, with Hananova placing an emphasis on featuring natural wines, a category that has been increasingly popular since the restaurant's early days. Comice is also fairly economical as far as Michelin starred outlets go, with menus rarely exceeding 150 euros (wine and cheese pairings are billed separately).

3. Le Louvre Ripaille

This bistro is run by a warm old couple. The outlet serves several French classics, including beef tartare, escargot, and cote de boeuf among others. The restaurant is a must visit when near the Louvre. One can enjoy a relatively inexpensive meal that features heirloom recipes, complete with a long list of wines. The French onion soup served here is a must-try, and the house wine is also delicious. The restaurant is frequented by locals and tourists alike, given the economic pricing, with a whole meal costing only 30 euros.

4. Le Saint-Sebastien

This rustic outlet housed in the 11th arrondissement is renowned for its economic pricing, impeccable service, and contemporary menu with an emphasis on locally sourced vegetarian produce. The establishment was founded in 2018 by Daniela Lavadenz, who opened the restaurant with head chef Rob Mendoza. It makes its own charcuterie and is well-known for its wine selection. Le Saint-Sebastien has reference list of over 400 bottles with plenty of bottles to suit every taste. The restaurant also features craft beer from Deck and Donohue, which is owned by Lavandez's better half, Thomas Deck.

5. Robert et Louise

This traditional Parisian restaurant specializes in ‘Grillades fumées au feu de bois," i.e., food that is smoked and grilled over a wood fire. The restaurant’s entrance is rather unassuming, but patrons will have no trouble finding it, given the rich aroma of the wood smoke that surrounds the doors. The menu features several cuts of beef, lamb, veal, and duck, all with generous portion sizes. The house is a Parisian institution founded in 1958 by the couple Robert and Louise. The restaurant is now run by their daughter Pascal and her husband following the couple's passing 15 years ago. One can get a two-course lunch for as little as 12 euros, and each dish on the menu’s main course averages 20 euros.

When in Paris, do as the Parisians do. If you're looking for a bite to eat in the heart of the city, try a bistro or a "bouchon" (wine bar). If you have some time to spare, take a walk through the city's old town where you can find plenty of small, colorful eateries serving simple yet delicious fare.