A Paris trip is incomplete unless it includes discovering neighborhood restaurants. I generally prefer low-key cozy bistros like Restaurant Allard, Chez L'Ami Louis and Voltaire. However, every so often I'll find myself in a restaurant with a spectacular interior design sensibility like Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée.
Alain Ducasse is one of my favorite chefs and I'm continually awed by the breadth and depth of his mastery of French cuisine. With this restaurant Ducasse "tells a personal and radical story, continuing the work he began 25 years ago. He represents the naturalness cuisine, inspired by the fish-vegetables-cereals trilogy, with the help of his chef Romain Meter..." excerpt from the restaurant's website.
We had Sunday lunch at a second Alain Ducasse bistro, Restaurant Allard. Founded in 1832 by Marthe Allard who arrived in Paris from Burgundy, Allard is one of the few remaining gourmet bistros. Alain Ducasse has been running the restaurant since 2005 serving dishes with a more rustic quality. The classic decor and scale makes this the perfect spot for a relaxing extended lunch alongside families who live locally.
Chez L'Ami Louis is a restaurant we've been to several times and we love it, although I'm always struck by the decor, or lack of it. Because it’s really difficult to get a reservation especially on short notice, we have our hotel make it for us. Serving classic French cuisine it's widely acknowledged by foodies to be the best restaurant in Paris!
Patricia Wells's review from 2012 sums up the restaurant perfectly, so I'm just going to quote the whole thing...“For sure, the décor at this 1930’s bistro — which has been a worldwide icon since the 1950’s — rates as among the most dilapidated in Paris. Dingy, dark, faded, ramshackle. But, OH that roast chicken. The L’Ami Louis secret, of course, is kitchen’s oak-wood fired oven, offering a sweet, soft, and yet intense heat, making for a succulent bird that is up there with the best – if not THE best – in Paris… A place that every Paris Food Lover should experience, at least once."