Finding a special pleasure in Parisian restaurants

To say I love the food would be a gross understatement. When I travel the world, in addition to enjoying the happy discovery of established and new restaurants, I can often be found wandering the aisles of markets, both formal indoor markets and outdoor farmers’ markets, even when I don’t really buy food. But simply to partake in the glorious gestalt of food and tantalizing sustenance possibilities.

While there are certainly countless excellent restaurants in every major city and many more around the world, dining in the French capital always seems to evoke a special allure. Part of that is because Paris, a city I’ve lived in and loved, happens to be one of the most beautiful in the world. Although the geography and architecture are delightful, they are not enough to satisfy physical hunger. For this, I spent a week eating through the city of lights. Here is a small list of my new favorites.

Alliance Restaurant: Fantastically French with a twist

In a small street of the gourmet district 5and arrondissement, not far from rue Mouffetard and place de la Contrescarpe, is Alliance Restaurant. Michelin starred and three Gault & Millau toques, Alliance is modest on the outside, which for me is always a good sign. Inside, a modern, minimalist and elegantly soothing off-white interior with understated artwork allows guests to focus on true artisanal and serious culinary art. Under the direction of Osaka-born chef Toshitaka Omiya and French owner Shawn Joyeux, these self-proclaimed “brothers from another mother” together deliver a truly magical dining experience in an enchanting setting.

The chef’s Resonance inspired menu that night included 10 courses after a mushroom and tarragon amuse-bouche in a folded rice paper envelope, followed by light and crispy gougères. Every dish that followed was plated, delectable art. The microscopically cut steak tartare on a bed of caviar-smoked potatoes was divine, while the baked oyster in lemon jelly almost made me cry with pleasure. The dreamy potato gnocchi with white wine sauce had just enough caviar to tickle my taste buds. When I reached the lamb dish served with a frothy cappuccino broth, I was already plotting my return.

Once I learned it was a little pre-dessert dish – apple, almond, Greek yogurt mix – I fell head over heels in love with these self-proclaimed brothers. Men who understand that dessert should be two courses are definitely my people. The pear dessert with sweet clover seeds and some of the best cheeses in France was a perfect end to a magnificent meal. It was enough to profess my undying love. However, the deal was completely sealed when initially Happy sent me off with a small cellophane bag containing a pair of financial – almond bites with brown butter – to savor with coffee the next morning and relive the beautiful evening before. 5, rue de Poissy 75005

When Asia calls you, come to the Shang Palace at the Shangri-La Hotel Paris

If you’re in Paris on a Sunday night, as any Seinfeld fan knows, you have to eat Chinese. Sure, Seinfeld and friends would forgive you if you were craving Chinese food any other day of the week.

The backdrop of the Shangri-La Hotel Paris is the iconic Eiffel Tower, appearing even more magnificent at night with twinkling lights. The hotel offers guests and visitors a bygone era of glamor and panache that includes its remarkable marble staircase in the lobby, museum-quality artwork, and intimate public spaces. Inside is the Shang Palace, probably the most elegant Chinese-inspired dining room in France, with luxurious oriental rugs, delicately painted screens and unique chandeliers containing hundreds of teardrop-shaped light bulbs. Opened in 2011, Shang Palace became the only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant in France in 2012, a star that has been retained for 10 years, and has also acquired three Gault & Millau toques.

Lulled into a relaxed state with the delicate sounds of live Guzheng background music and a glass of champagne, the seven-course tasting menu with paired wines showcased the skills of Executive Chef Samuel Lee and his team of four masters. who together bring the best Cantonese cuisine. in France. Highlights were the beautifully presented salmon sashimi, roast Peking duck and blue lobster with spring onions and ginger. The meal ended with sweet rice flour dumplings served with mango salad.

With impeccable Shangri-La service paired with perfectly prepared Chinese specialties amidst European splendour, dining at Shang Palace is a pleasure. 10, Avenue d’Iéna, 75116.

A melodic Parisian institution

Naturally, cabaret life is an essential aspect of Parisian nightlife and perhaps nowhere is this more true than at the Moulin Rouge in the Paris district of Pigalle. The fact that it is touristy does not detract from the fantastic architecture of the building and that it is end of century romance, nor the fantastic dinner show. According to the “better late than never” chronicles, even though I had lived in Paris for many moons, this was my first visit to the Moulin Rouge. It was such a great experience that I’m grateful that I didn’t wait another minute.

While the Moulin Rouge is credited with the birth of modern Can-Can dance, it also led to the genesis of cabarets across the continent, and over the years has been the epicenter of famous talented French artists as well as those around the world.

When one of the original co-founders, Charles Zidler, died in 1897, Belle Époque singer, dancer and Legion of Honor recipient Yvette Guilbert paid tribute to Zidler, saying, “You have the gift of to create popular pleasure, in the finest sense of the term. , to entertain the crowds with subtlety, according to the status of those to be entertained. Fortunately, Guilbert’s tribute still rings true at the Moulin Rouge today.

Did I mention the dinner show is, in a word, wonderful? Sitting at 7 p.m. for the Toulouse-Lautrec Evening in such beautiful surroundings with a bottle of chilled champagne – it could only end well – it was as if the clock had gone back to an earlier time when entertainment was crucial for social construction and shameless culture flourished. Chef Arnaud Demerville’s red tuna tataki, wasabi broccoli cream, was tangy and tender, and the squash fillet with chorizo ​​emulsion was filling. The chocolate and caramel pie made me very happy as the lights went down for the start of the show.

The costumes are breathtaking not only for their stunning beauty and detail, but also for the shocking speed with which the uniformly gorgeous dancers and singers transformed into completely different and complicated costumes, complete with some of the most remarkably intricate headpieces. Many dances defied physics, especially the roller dance duo that performed on a small raised ring in the main stage. The audience gasped, myself included, when a dancer jumped into an aquarium with huge live snakes and completed a long aquatic dance routine. The Can-Can dancers were fantastic, surpassed only by the park bench acrobat performers and the mesmerizing male handstand acrobats who received three standing ovations. 82 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018.

Channeling freshness at Mimosa restaurant

At the emblematic Hôtel de la Marine, near Place de la Concorde, this fully restored 18and century palace once housed the navy ministry. At Le Mimosa, converted into a restaurant area by the architect/interior designer Dorothée Delaye, its high ceilings and its warmth breathe a bobo chic but warm atmosphere that allows you to fantasize about the south of France. Chef Jean-François Piège brings his sensitivity to the southern sun to his menu.

The terrine of grilled duck foie gras served with quinces was delicious, and the endive salad with eel over a wood fire made me imagine the sunny skies of the Côte d’Azur to counter the chilly evenings in Paris. . The tasty Angus steak barely needed a knife. 2 rue Royale 75008.

If one had some spare time, I suppose one could enroll in the famous French cooking school Ferrandi near Montparnasse and maybe learn how to prepare some of these wonderful dishes. However, knowing my strengths and weaknesses, I will instead continue to enjoy the fruits of the wonderfully artistic and delicious efforts of these chefs.

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