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The best Paris brasseries run by Michelin-starred chefs
French brasseries were originally small, informal restaurants where predominately working class guests could enjoy a drink and some simple food to eat. Over the years, however, the French brasserie has become a cultural institution with a wide culinary impact. Michelin-starred chefs have even integrated in this particular restaurant sphere, taking over some of Paris’s most beloved, historic brasseries and reviving their traditional cuisine. Read on to discover which Michelin-starred chefs are where, and what exactly they’re serving up!
Located on the bottom floor of the Thoumieux Hotel, founded in 1923 by the Thoumieux family, this brasserie is now under the direction of the very talented Sylvestre Wahid. After having worked alongside Thierry Marx and Alain Ducasse, winning two Michelin stars at L’Oustau de Maumanière and at Le Strato, Wahid took over this historic brasserie in 2015. On the menu guests can find grilled lobster, roast leg of suckling lamb, beef ribs, beef tartar, braised beef cheek in wine sauce, and big desserts to share. Wahid is also in charge of the hotel’s room service, its breakfasts, and its eponymous Michelin-starred restaurant on the first floor.
Le Thoumieux: 79, rue Saint-Dominique, Paris VII.
Éric Frechon, triple-starred chef of Le Bristol, was the first Michelin-starred chef who dared to open a restaurant of prestige in a train station. Located inside Gare Saint-Lazare, Lazare mixes modernity and tradition, serving up classic brasserie fare in a twenty-first century train station. Guests can enjoy homemade chicken liver terrine, deviled eggs, leeks with vinaigrette, mackerel, mussels, and sausages & mashed potatoes, with crêpes suzette or clafoutis for dessert. Diners can even order a simple ham and butter sandwich, a French classic for those on-the-go, for a quick bite before departure.
Lazare: Le parvis de la Gare Saint-Lazare, Paris VIII. Open for breakfast at 7:30 AM. Afternoon and evening service from noon to 11 PM.
This brasserie was opened in 1908 by the Chardenoux family and is now a registered historic monument. Taken over by Cyril Lignac in 2008, the space was completely renovated ten years later, finally reopening its doors last year in 2018. Reviving the brasserie seafood tradition, Lignac has dedicated his entire menu to this speciality. Guests enjoy classic fish, shellfish, and seafood plates as well as some creative signature dishes: sea bass, slow cooked in a crust of salt from Guérande; lobster rolls with smoked sweet pepper; broths, soups, and sauces of all kinds; and of course, gourmet desserts like French toast with pears and vanilla mille-feuille. For drinks, guests can choose from sophisticated cocktails or peruse the wine menu, dedicated solely to whites.
Le Chardenoux: 1, rue Jules Vallès Paris XI.
Since 1912, Benoit is a must for those craving generous, even gargantuan, portions of hearty, Michelin-star-quality food. After all, the restaurant’s slogan « Chez toi Benoit, on boit, on festoie en roi » literally means, “At Benoit’s we drink and feast like a king.” Under the guidance of Alain Ducasse, this brasserie received one Michelin star, and since 2015, Fabienne Eymard is at the helm keeping the tradition alive. On the menu, classic brasserie dishes like pâté en croûte, beef tongue, crayfish soup, snails, sole from Nantua, and veal head are served. The warm chocolate profiteroles are a decadent favorite for dessert, and of course, last but not least, a good nap is a must after a meal at Benoit.
Benoit: 20, rue Saint-Martin, Paris IV.
Le Lutetia first opened its doors in 1910, built on the remains of an abbey where monks once produced wine. Throughout the 1900s, it was the place to be for all things art and literature in Paris. After years of construction, the hotel and its eponymous restaurant reopened in April 2019 under the creative direction of architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. The decor of the new restaurant is somewhere between Art Nouveau and Art Déco, inspired by the great Transatlantic voyages that took place in the early 1900s, when the hotel was first founded. Michelin-starred chef Gérald Passedat continues in this transatlantic vein, serving refined seafood dishes like octopus Parmentier, shellfish quenelle, flambéed sea bream with pastis, and the unmistakable bouille abaisse.
Le Lutetia: 45, boulevard Raspail, Paris VI. Open every day from 8 AM to 10:45 PM.
Brasserie du Louvre Bocuse
The Brasserie du Louvre Bocuse is sheltered under the covered passageways of the place du Palais-Royal, beneath the Hôtel du Louvre. After two years of construction and a grand re-opening in September, the brasserie is now part of the “Bocuse” family of restaurants, founded by triple-Michelin starred Paul Bocuse. Although this “chef of the century” is no longer with us, Eric Pansu, one of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, continues on in his tradition at the Brasserie du Louvre, serving refined French brasserie dishes. Guests enjoy traditional onion soup, sausage brioche, duck foie gras, Burgundy snails, and pike quenelle. For dessert, take your pick from a made-to-order Madeleine for two, a crème brûlée, or a rum baba. What’s more, the restaurant’s terrace is the perfect place to dine on nice days, offering a lovely view of the Louvre under the shelter of the covered passageway.
Brasserie du Louvre Bocuse: Place André Malraux, Paris I.
La Poule au Pot
La Poule au pot is a Parisian nightlife institution. Since it’s opening in 1935, the brasserie has welcomed everyone from artists, who met there after their shows, to the vendors of Les Halles, who would stop by at all hours of the day for a bite to eat. Celebrities even frequented the establishment, their names engraved onto copper plates that now decorate the vintage booths. Taken over in 2018 by Michelin-starred chef Jean-François Piège, the 1930’s décor has been restored to its former glory with a menu following suite. Guests enjoy traditional French specialties like bone marrow, frog legs, and savory veal sweetbreads pastry.
La Poule au Pot: 9, rue Vauvilliers, Paris I. Open every day for lunch and dinner.
Le Train Bleu
Le Train Bleu was founded in 1901 by railroad management higher ups, who hoped to create a lively dining institution as prestigious as the trains coming and going from the station. Located on the first floor of gare de Lyon, this iconic brasserie has kept its traditional décor, and is even listed as a historic monument. Double Michelin-starred chef Michel Rostnag, who took over in 2018, draws inspiration for his menu from the main route from the Mediterranean coast, through Lyon, and all the way to Paris, serving dishes like Dauphiné ravioli, Lyonnaise pike quenelles, and rum baba with homemade punch. Part of the grandeur of the restaurant also lies in the service, with waiters bringing meats to the table for slicing, and bellboys keeping diners abreast of train schedules and helping them stow their baggage. Travelers can even benefit from a special menu, allowing them to be in and out in 45 minutes.
Le Train Bleu: Place Louis Armand, Paris XII. Hopen everyday from 7:30 AM to 10 PM.
Founded by designer Jean Bouquin, this bistrot and soon to be jazz club is located just next door to the historic Beauregard cinema in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Mathieu Pacaud, Michelin-starred chef of Le Divellec, L’Ambroisie, and Apicius, has completely reimagined the brasserie’s menu, offering something for everyone from breakfast to the last toast of the night, including oysters, soft-boiled eggs and haddock, black radish tourte, chocolate soufflé, and pavlova with berries. The decor has been completely redone as well, under the creative direction of the very talented Studio KO, the same team behind the Yves Saint Laurent museum in Marrakech.
Beau Regard: 22 Rue Guillaume Apollinaire, 75006 Paris. Open every day.
Cover Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Gryffindor [CC BY-SA 4.0]