The best way to keep warm in these wintry months is with a good meal, non? Nicola Leigh Stewart picks out the hottest Parisian restaurants to try right now – we promise they are worth heading out in the cold for
10 Rue Mandar, 75002
After spending my summer holiday this year in Corsica, and falling completely in love with the food, I was excited to learn that new Corsican restaurant ALMA had opened its doors to tie in with my return to Paris. The sharing-style menu offers a taste of the country’s classic dishes and ingredients − think beignets de courgettes, charcuterie plates of coppa and prisuttu, and icecreams swirled with clementine, fiore di latte, and canistrelli − along with an extensive wine menu which celebrates the best of Corsican terroir. In fact, some of the plates are even tastier than the dishes I sampled en vacances, and they’re all served up by a super-friendly team clearly passionate about Corsican cuisine.
FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD
80 Rue des Tournelles, 75003
One of the most unique food concepts to recently hit Paris is For the Love of Food, a pop-up style restaurant dreamed up Canadians Todd Hartwell and Olivier Nizet. The duo have spent the last few months searching out the hottest new young chefs to invite to their Le Marais space for a one-month residency. During this time, each chef will dream up their own menu with a focus on high-quality, seasonal ingredients, which will be served every Thursday to Sunday. To add a little healthy competition to the project, chefs will be rated by diners using a star system, and the three highest ranked chefs at the end of a six-month period will win a cash prize to help them push their career to the next level. For the Love of Food also has an antigaspi (anti-waste) policy, and guests must reserve a table in advance so the chefs know how many to prepare for, with any leftovers donated to a worthy cause.
22 Rue de Vaugirard, 75006
A recent launch from the daughter of chocolate guru Jean-Paul Hévin, Café Pavane is a chic little lunch spot just across from the gorgeous Jardin du Luxembourg. Manon Hévin has put together a light and tasty menu which is an interesting mix of classic French and international lunch dishes (quiche and croque monsieur sit alongside salmon koulibiak and homemade blinis) with a good selection of delicious and generously sized salads. And of course, when your father holds the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) for his pâtisserie, you also have some delectable desserts on the menu. Also make sure not to miss Jean-Paul Hévin’s hot chocolate; it’s usually only available to take away from his boutiques, making this one of the very few places you can sit and enjoy it in Paris.
80 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011
I’m happy to see The Hood is back in action after closing its doors for a summer refurb. It’s sadly no longer open in the evening, but you can still get your coffee fix during the day (except Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and tuck into the newly expanded Vietnamese and Singaporean breakfast and brunch menu. New additions include The Hood’s take on Singapore’s national dish, Hainanese chicken rice, along with a vegan curry with seasonal vegetables for the non-meat eaters, while returning regulars will be happy to see that well-loved signature dishes like the Pandan chiffon cake still hold pride of place on the menu.
116 Rue du Temple, 75003
Possibly the hottest spot in town right now is Sinner, a new five-star hotel in the heart of Le Marais which was causing a buzz months before it even opened. If you can’t check in to one of the hotel’s seductive suites then a night at the restaurant is the next best way to soak up Sinner’s rather sexy atmosphere. Dark wood, gothic chandeliers, and candlelight set the mood for a clandestine evening of drinking and dining, with Chef Adam Bentalha serving up an excellent modern fusion menu of Mediterranean cuisine and international dishes, complemented by desserts from Meilleur Ouvrier de France Yann Brys.
1 bis Rue de Paradis, 75010
I’m not vegan, or even vegetarian, but the Kapunka Group’s collection of vegan-friendly restaurants are my go-to place in Paris when I’m dining with veggie friends. Kapunka Paradis is the latest opening from the group, boasting a great location on rue de Paradis along with stylish décor and Kapunka’s now signature Thai-based menu. The tom yam and tom kha soups are the perfect winter warmers and so rich in flavour you can forego the meat, while the prettily presented panna cotta is packed with fruit and a delicious vegan-friendly take on the classic dessert.