Today’s culinary scene in Paris is like many of the world’s big cities – filled with an abundance of cuisines, a range of prices and a host of hip restaurants. Perfect for those who want to experience modern French food in the capitol of French dining, many of Paris’s newer restaurants have embraced the tenets of traditional French cooking while demonstrating that the evolution of these techniques is not only possible, but also quite tasty.
While the days of classic French fare served on pressed linens with a touch of formal service can still be found for those who crave it, the trend here has turned towards something far more approachable. Restaurants in Paris have managed to become casual in the best of ways, while maintaining the elegance and beauty that the French are so rightly known for. Simply walking into one of these modern showcases of French cooking, you’re instantly put at ease.
For starters, the service is often warmer and more relaxed than expected. And at least some English is usually a requirement for getting a job in one of these restaurants – lest you fear getting trapped with a French menu and no friendly translator at your side.
The food has also evolved with the times. Many of the dishes are lighter than what you’re used to finding at traditional French restaurants. Plates are carefully balanced to consider the melding of flavors and textures in the overall composition. Acids, though still not as prominent as I would sometimes like, are used more these days to complement food and to offer a satisfying dish without the heft of so much cream and butter.
While meat is still a fixture of French dining, it is becoming easier and easier to eat only fish or vegetable dishes for those who prefer it. That being said, dining for vegans can still prove to be a challenge, and for which I recommend seeking out the restaurants in Paris that cater specifically to vegetarians and vegans (yes, these do exist!).
Finally, for those of you intrigued by the idea of also trying some non-French food while you’re visiting in Paris, you’re in luck. It’s nearly impossible to find a type of cuisine that’s not well-represented in Paris these days. Mexican food is one of several that has recently taken the city by storm (much to the joy of so many expats living here), with a variety of taquerías and sit-down restaurants around the city.
All-in-all, the food scene in Paris just keeps getting better and better. And what's even more exciting is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get some of the city’s best food. You just have to know where to look.