Casual Michelin restaurants in Paris?
October 21, 2016 12:41 PM   Subscribe

After a truly horrendous day of travel (missed flights, extra fees to switch tickets, navigating Chatelet- Les Halles at rush hour, then locking ourselves out of the apartment), I'd like to treat my dear, patient, flustered husband to a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant. He's expressed an interest, but unfortunately forgot to bring anything but jeans and (nice enough) collared plaid shirts. A couple of other qualifications inside...

We are happy to travel anywhere in Paris, and more than happy to take the 'formule' at lunch if it is less formal. The key is that my husband not feel too out of place. He can be very self-conscious and anxious, and I'm worried if he's not comfortable it would keep him from enjoying the food.

So are there any Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris that will make welcome two flustered, foodie, anxious Canadians?

We're also travelling to Normandie and the Dordogne region, if you have any recommendations there.
posted by deadtrouble to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
This restaurant is featured in the Michelin Guide but not Michelin-starred, but as a fellow self-conscious diner, I highly recommend it: Le Gorille Blanc (near Place de la Bastille). I ate there recently with a group of casually-dressed Texans and the staff were very welcoming, and the food was amazing.
posted by neushoorn at 1:06 PM on October 21, 2016

Anyplace in the guide with the graphic of Bibendum licking his lips is recommended.
posted by brujita at 1:23 PM on October 21, 2016

This is another suggestion along the same lines as neushoorn's, ie not Michelin-starred, but fine and not fussy: Le Fumoir. Recommended.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 1:30 PM on October 21, 2016

Consider L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, which has two stars. Unless things have changed since I was there, they take reservations only for the first evening seating, which is (absurdly) early by Parisian standards (6 pm, IIRC). It's Michelin-star cooking in a fancy diner-style setting. They don't rush you but it is a bit less leisurely than a white-tablecloth restaurant. On the other hand, it's somewhat less expensive than a two-star white-tablecloth experience.
posted by brianogilvie at 1:47 PM on October 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just to add: after the first seating, there's a queue.
posted by brianogilvie at 1:48 PM on October 21, 2016

Totally different, and not Michelin starred by any means, but good food prepared by an up-and-coming chef in an informal setting: Cotte Roti, in the rue de Cotte, in the 12th arrondissement near the marché d'Aligre. The two of you can eat very well there for half of one prix-fixe menu at the Atelier de JR.
posted by brianogilvie at 1:51 PM on October 21, 2016

For a less formal but good meal, a couple other possibilities: Au Bascou, in the 3rd; Enoteca, in the 4th. One of my old stand-bys is Macéo, in the 1st (in the rue des Petits-Champs, just behind the Palais Royal). It's a bit fancier than the first two or Cotte Roti, but they get a lot of travelers and I think they would handle a less formally dressed guest graciously. Plus they have a range of vegetarian choices if that interests you. The classic bistrots are also good possibilities for a decent meal without seeming out of place: Bofinger near the Bastille, Chez Jenny at République, Brasserie Flo in the 10th....
posted by brianogilvie at 1:56 PM on October 21, 2016

Is there a particular reason you couldn't buy him some trousers? There are a few Uniqlos in Paris, very reasonable and dapper enough for a restaurant that it would help his anxiety, no matter which you end up choosing. It can be pretty nice to change between jeans and trousers just for walking around too, a few days of traipsing in jeans and you start to realize how much they can chafe. Uniqlo Saint-Lazare is in a particularly pretty part of the city (Opéra - Haussmann).
posted by fraula at 3:44 PM on October 21, 2016 [5 favorites]

It can be pretty nice to change between jeans and trousers just for walking around too, a few days of traipsing in jeans and you start to realize how much they can chafe.

YYMV, but I've traipsed around in jeans for almost a decade straight now and haven't had any issues.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:21 PM on October 21, 2016

Goust (by the opera, in the 2nd) has low lighting and a younger crowd, one star and very good. I do see people in Paris in jeans and sneakers very commonly, which is a big change from even ten years ago. Do you really have your heart set on a star, though? They're very fancy. There are a million great places in Paris that don't require any specific dress. What neighborhood are you in or Metro stop nearby?
posted by wnissen at 5:00 PM on October 21, 2016


1 star. Reasonable at 100€ pp and fancy but not judgy. Make a reservation. Enjoy!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 5:40 PM on October 21, 2016

Response by poster: Thank you for these recommendations! To be honest, they all sound delicious and I think we'll have fun just gazing longingly at the menus to make a final choice...

To answer some questions - we're in the 19th right now, right next to the Metro Jourdain, but will be in the 15th by Vaugirard later in our trip. Also, we are both plus-size people so finding pants can be a challenging and frustrating experience, which is the last thing I want to suggest (and he is not a fan of shopping on a good day).
posted by deadtrouble at 10:32 PM on October 21, 2016

there's a lovely place very close to star but delicious and popular...Mensae in rue Melingue, halfway between Jourdain and Pyrenees.
posted by bwonder2 at 11:41 PM on October 21, 2016

Maybe you can find some inspiration at the David Lebovitz blog. In my experience, a restaurant doesn't really need to have stars to be amazing fine dining in Paris, but there are also many tourist traps, so it's a bit of a maze. Lebovitz is always up-to-date and in my opinion has an excellent taste.
I am so bad at keeping notes, so I can't offer my own finds. When I am exploring, I look at the clientele, the lines waiting for a table and obviously the menu. It's probably good as a rule to avoid places with menus in English, but not always.
Paris is becoming much more casual, so I wouldn't worry too much about the dress-code.
posted by mumimor at 3:49 PM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

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