Parisians and visitors to the French capital love a good steak frites (steak and fries) and confit de canard (duck confit) but that barely scratches the surface of the smorgasbord that this culinary capital has to offer. Beyond the classics, there’s a dazzling array of fusion fine dining to be found.
Back in 2013, French-Filipino chef Tatiana Levha created a buzz with her bi-continental flavours at Le Servan. Ten years on, a new wave of chefs – some from Mexico, Senegal and South Korea – are melding their rich heritage with French cooking techniques to create memorable fine dining experiences. Here are six you shouldn’t miss on your next trip to the City of Light:
A soulful journey to West Africa via Provence
It doesn’t get classier than the iconic Ritz Paris hotel, and the airy rooms of L’Espadon are likewise the epitome of elegance with their crisp white tablecloths, blue velvet armchairs, antique mirrors and floor-to-ceiling windows. Add to this chef Eugénie Béziat’s menu, which she has imbued with tastes of African and Provençal cuisines, and even the Ritz’s long-time resident Coco Chanel might have been a patron.
“I searched for memories of my childhood in Africa to create my gastronomic French cuisine,” shares Béziat, whose personal culture is evident in every plate. Béziat’s Mediterranean roots, stretching from Spain to Italy and France, also play a big role in her nouvelle cuisine.
Star dishes: The impeccably orchestrated five- and eight-sequence meal reveals a few signature plates, including a flavourful grilled oyster prepared with watercress and brousse cheese from the Provençe region . An onion cooked to perfection stars in the poultry course inspired by a traditional Senegalese yassa (a spicy dish prepared with onions and marinated meat). The lobster dish flavoured with cassava and bissap (a type of hibiscus) – two specialties from West Africa – honours her childhood memories.
African and Japanese influences with a French savoir-faire
Diners heading for a meal at MoSuke, Senegal-born chef Mory Sacko’s restaurant in Montparnasse, can expect an intimate experience that starts with Sacko greeting them as soon as they enter the warm and understated stylish room. Bedecked with bare walnut tables and an exotic fresco, Sacko wants “customers to concentrate on the plate and the experience, without being distracted.”
Expect the unexpected during this gastronomic journey that combines the complexity of French cuisine, the flavours of West Africa and hints of Japan. As the chef says, “It’s important to me to surprise, in different ways. I design my menu by alternating reassuring and impactful dishes, comfort and surprise.”
MoSuke earned one Michelin star just months after it opened in 2020. A former Top Chef contestant, Sacko also clinched the Michelin Guide’s Young Chef Award and his stardom continues with the weekly show Cuisine Ouvert on France 3.
Star dishes: One of the most emblematic plates at MoSuke, boeuf mafé (beef stew with peanut sauce), is a reinterpretation of the traditional West African dish often found simmering on his mother’s stove. The lobster and passion fruit combo is also high on the list.
Eastern European tradition meets French whimsy
Enter what feels like the inviting home of your Eastern European grandmother, complete with tchotchkes collected from Parisian flea markets, tile mosaics and a painted wood ceiling. This cosy bistro in central Marais thrums with creative energy, with its walls bedecked with murals and whimsical terrace chandeliers.
Boubalé is housed in Le Grand Mazarin, one of the most fashionable new hotels in the French capital. Here, chef Assaf Granit pays tribute to Eastern Europe and Israel through his modern Jerusalem cuisine.
“I combine influences from my heritage with global discoveries to create a unique style of cooking,” shares Granit, who also helms Shabour, the first Paris-based Israeli restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star. “At Boubalé, I want to pay tribute to my Polish and German grandmothers and bring warmth to modest ethnic dishes.”
Star dishes: The signature Gravlaks, served with olive oil, crème fraîche and dill is a crowd-pleaser. Don’t leave without tasting the succulent beef and lamb dumplings, also known as “our little pockets”.
Korean classics with a French twist
Spice, fermentation, cream and cheese is the name of the game at OMA by Korean chef Ji-Hye Park, located in the modern new hotel Château des Fleurs. In this playful yet elegant joint neighbouring the Champs-Élysées, you’ll find the self-taught chef serving up comforting Korean recipes using French and Italian ingredients.
Park says, “I want my guests to feel like they are at home, with family, sharing a good moment.” This is why her menu is uncomplicated, tasty and generous. Oma means “mother” in Korean, though ironically, it’s Park’s father who influenced her love for cooking and culture by expanding her palate.
Star dishes: Forget the bibimbap. The OMA rice dish is as delightfully comforting as Korean food comes, blending white rice with shredded beef chuck, poached eggs, crispy seaweed, sesame and pickled radish. The Korean fish cake with wasabi mayonnaise and octopus with kimchi chutney also leaves a strong impression.
When Japanese roots meet French cuisine
Chef Ryuya Ono creates his own rules when it comes to blending Japanese tastes with French cuisine, and they are as fluid as the restaurant’s namesake, Magma. His seasonal set menu changes daily, and he’s notorious for not writing down his recipes.
One thing’s for sure, though: his style is inimitable, born from his training in Osaka and Lyon, plus his passion for French cuisine. Peek into the semi-open kitchen from the convivial family-style table to watch the chef hand-craft each course.
The décor at Magma is cool and convivial, highlighted by soft lighting, crisp wood panelling to match the tables, and an olive-green banquette.
Star dishes: In case the horseradish granita with caviar doesn’t impress you, the lobster cooked in hay certainly will. It would not be an overstatement to say that every dish is visual poetry.
6. Hôtel Dame des Arts
A tri-continental gastronomic affair
Chef Othoniel Álvarez Castaneda’s menu changes more frequently than the seasons. Whether it’s beef tataki, marinated pork ribs wrapped in a lettuce leaf or his version of bouillabaisse, depends on local producers. What’s constant is that his Mexican upbringing blends seamlessly with his passion for Japanese and French cuisine.
In tribute to the cultured Latin Quarter, framed artwork and timeworn tomes decorate the velvet-clad space that spreads into a leafy outdoor terrace. A weekend DJ adds to a nightclub scene where a signature cocktail provides the perfect nightcap.
Feast on the finest Franco-Mexican-Japanese cuisine in town, then stay for the Eiffel Tower views from many of the 109 rooms in the newly revamped Hotel Dame Des Arts. Dazzling rooftop sightings from Notre Dame de Paris to Sacré-Cœur Basilica are the cherry on the churros.
Star dishes: The avocado served with fresh herbs, flowers, and homemade corn chips is a step above traditional guacamole. If red tuna tostada with chipotle mayo and fried leeks is on the menu, order two servings.
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