Good food in an historic context: In the beautiful capital of France you respire the breath of philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre while enjoying a „grand crème“.
Of course Paris is the world capital of culinary good taste. The best-known chefs, the most chic restaurants and the most powerful backdrops. At least, that’s the way they see it in the wonderful city on the Seine. And have done for centuries. We don’t really care about their puffery because do we really want to argue the toss? What if the best restaurant in the world happens to be in Copenhagen, the most innovative chefs come from Spain and “fusion” is fast becoming a new word for Asian style? We don’t care. But as we just happen to be in Paris right now. And have four completely unique restaurants on our personal to-do lists – let’s cut the crap and get down to business.
Le Train Bleu
Just roll the credits and drop the curtain! Le Train Bleu at the Gare du Lyon was and remains the finest train station eating establishment in the world. Take the name alone: Le Train Bleu. Called after the first express train that was to ferry the “happy few” along their exotic route down to the French Riviera. Historically, it‘s clear-cut thing. Whoever it was from the upper echelons of British society that wanted to go to the Cote d´Azur had to change in Paris. So “before one retired to the sleeping car for a quick night‘s run down south, it was appropriate for one to have an appropriate supper in an equally-appropriate ambiance.” What remains of all that today? A lovingly-restored gem from the “Belle Epoque”, with gleaming chandeliers and imposing frescoes on the ceiling.
You can always complain about the colossal refinery aesthetics of the Centre Pompidou museum, but you don‘t need to. Especially when you are seated in the Restaurant Georges up on the top floor, either on the terrace or inside looking out of the windows that run from floor to ceiling. The view of the roofs of Paris is nothing short of sensational. There is virtually nothing that you cannot see. The Restaurant Georges is there to take your breath away with its futurist minimalistic style. Incidentally, you can dine here as well. King crab on marinated avocados, duck in caramel sauce with coconut, tuna with coriander and vegetarian spring rolls indicate the direction. Reservation is necessary - otherwise you won´t even get into the elevator.
Café de Flore
They are seldom and therefore so delightful. Places where an entire epoch is still reflected in the atmosphere. The Café de Flore with its red seats is such a place. This is where the Parisian avant-garde of the Twentieth century would meet. Intellectuals and writers, artists and poets, actors and film-makers. Then of course the famous pair who would sit there together enjoying a “petit noir” or a “grand crème”: the French couple of the century in the shape of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. Reading the papers, in deep discussion, writing and discussing again. Existentialism in “statu nascendi”. Try skipping your hotel continental breakfast and go for one of the wonderful buttery croissants with a grand crème at the Café de Flore.
This is for sure: It‘s at the Kong where you‘ll find the King! The giant glass dome alone can best be described as “real starlight dining” and that‘s to say nothing of the view of the Pont Neuf and Seine. Wild stuff! The hot-spot Restaurant Kong is in the top floor of the building where the HQ and flagship store of fashion label Kenzo are situated. Good stuff, but maybe not enough to sate your appetite, and that‘s when the kitchen kicks in. Cuisine that features sablefish in miso and vegetables from the wok or grilled makis prawns. Needless to say, Kong is also a listed building when you are talking about Parisian bars. From Thursdays to Saturday is seethes when the DJ run their hottest livesets and that‘s when the Kong is no longer just the location of the king.