Top 10 Restaurant Recommendations near the Louvre
Well, you’ve got to start somewhere, so the Louvre it has to be – and for good reason, it’s the most-visited museum in the world! Renowned for being one of the trickiest of them all to navigate indoors, with over 380,000 objects on show, the experts say it would take about three full days to visit every single room, and that makes for hungry work.
It goes without saying that you’re also spoilt for choice with an overwhelming number of cafés and restaurants in easy walking distance of the museum for a pre-visit breakfast, brunch or lunch, or for a relaxing dinner to rest your aching pins after drinking in as many masterpieces as a single visit will allow. Personalised suggestions and recommendations are readily available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org, but to whet your appetites, here’s a countdown of our Top 10 restaurant recommendations near the Louvre, in preference-free reverse alphabetical order!
I’ve been fascinated by French chef Adeline Grattard since she was featured in the 2016 French version of “Chef’s Table” (Netflix, highly recommended), and it is always a thrill to catch a glimpse of her with her “brigade” staff at work in the early evening through the window of the open kitchen on rue Saint-Honoré. Only superlatives will do it when describing this exquisite Michelin-starred restaurant, which is truly a feast for the eyes.
The lovely Zen-inspired dining room sets the scene for ambrosial French-Asian dishes that have been heavily influenced and inspired by Grattard’s partnership with husband Chi Wah, and it’s even possible to substitute classic wine pairings with a series of tea combinations to wash down your exceptional dinner. Unfailingly creative, resolutely contemporary and qualitatively perfect, this address is in a league of its own. As client Vanessa enthusiastically wrote to me after her dining experience : “yam ‘Tcha exceeded all expectations! The service was wonderful and the food, every single course, was exquisite.”
yam ‘Tcha is open Wednesday-Saturday, reservation indispensable, bookings taken one month in advance.
Tucked away at the far end of the rue de Richelieu, around the corner from the magnificent Palais-Royal gardens, there is an unspoken air of confidentiality about Verjus as you are seated in this gorgeous restaurant. The fine dining experience begins even before you turn to the menu, thanks to the flickering candles lit at every table, while the large mirrors and picture windows all add to the nevertheless intimate atmosphere.
Chef Bradan’s tasting dishes offer a succession of small plates that are a surprising mix of tastes and textures. As we were able to taste for ourselves, vegetarians are well catered for, while I would say in general that the food is better suited to the more adventurous palate. Who knew octopus, bell pepper and raspberry could belong so well on a plate together? Who could resist a made-in-heaven blend of eggplant, caviar and almond milk? Excellent wine pairings are assured by the ever-vigilant expertise of sommelier Laura, for what is an experience that Len, a regular return visitor to Paris, confirmed as “the best dinner so far, Nicola. Even beyond what we remembered.” The proof is definitely in the pudding.
Verjus is open Monday-Friday for dinner only, advance reservation essential.
SALON PROUST, LE RITZ
You only live once, as the old adage goes, and treating yourself to tea at the Ritz at least one time is something that should figure on everyone’s Wish List. As your feet sink into the lavish carpets on your way to Proust’s second home, it seems only fitting that his portrait looks benignly down on you, as you are shown to your table and sweetly informed that there is nothing savoury about the pastries on today’s menu. From the sparkling white bespoke Limoges porcelain to the Madeleine-themed tiers of tuile biscuits, sponge fingers, Florentines and chocolate chip buns, the only difficult decision you’ll have to make is whether it will be a tee-total splash, or if you’ll indulge in a (highly recommended) glass of champagne during your Parisian teatime.
I have to say it was a suitably luxurious place to meet with Jill Colonna to discuss her inspiring cookbooks “Mad About Macarons” and “Teatime in Paris“, and there’s a beautifully literary touch when that suitably ritzy bill lands on your lap after the banquet, which you can read more about in Jill’s article on teatime. Feel free too to ask about a ‘doggy bag’ for taking the uneaten treats back to any canine-loving friends waiting at home: it’s unlikely you’ll manage to finish every last bite.
The Salon Proust at Le Ritz serves teatime every day of the week from 14:30 to 18:00, advance reservation highly recommended.
It does seem faintly sacrilegious to include a recommendation of an Italian restaurant in a list of recommended restaurants near the Louvre, with so many great French venues in the vicinity, but there’s no denying that the owners of Monsieur Bleu have created a beautiful story at this eye-poppingly glorious address attached to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. From the start of the warmer months, the extensive terrace seating right in the midst of the Tuileries is virtually impossible to beat, while the view of the gardens from the first floor of the restaurant is quite mesmerising.
The prices on the menu definitely reflect the location, but the cuisine never fails to impress and it’s also a great address if you have the family in tow, as there is something to please everybody on the menu. As Wendy wrote after dining at Loulou on the back of an early evening tour of the Louvre : “AMAZING! Loulou was so good; it was my husband’s favorite meal. Everything was so fresh and in season. The atmosphere was so elegant and the food was just delicious. Thank you for the recommendation!”, while Ben reported back in September: “The Loulou restaurant for lunch was absolutely amazing, Nicola. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us so far”. Top tip on the menu front: the classic vitello tonnato and the thon mi-cuit seared tuna and veal dishes.
Loulou is open every day of the week for lunch and dinner, advance reservation essential.
Walking by Le Nemours en route for the Palais-Royal gardens always conjures up an instant vision of Angelina Jolie nonchalantly drinking her morning café on the terrace here, before eluding her pursuers and heading off to Venice in that scene from the 2010 film “The Tourist.”
It’s hard not to feel a residual sense of that same glamour every time at this great café, which is an institution on Place Colette, and remains to this day one of the best places for people-watching in Paris. Strangers at the next table gossip about seeing Nathalie Portman play with her son in the square during her former residency in Paris, while others can be heard earnestly discussing the latest exhibition showing across the road, and if you partly close your eyes, you can almost see actors from days of yore strolling by on their way to the famous Comédie Française just across the way. Very close by is the rendez-vous point for many of the walking tours of the Louvre, so this is also a fabulous place for a restorative snack or drink before heading into the museum – sunglasses strictly de rigueur!
Le Nemours is open every day of the week from 7:00, reservations not always necessary, but the terrace can get very busy at peak times of the day.
LE GRAND VÉFOUR
If I had to pick just one memorable address that represents everything quintessentially Parisian, this would be the one. Le Grand Véfour is a splendid sight to behold under the arcades of the Palais-Royal, and has to be one of the most stunning places to enjoy a moment of gastronomic bliss, while contemplating the fabulous frescoes, opulent 18th century mirrors and general gilt décor at every angle.
Established in 1784, this is the first and arguably best of the “grands restaurants” and head chef Guy Martin is keeping tight hold of his two Michelin stars, with no signs of any of the age-old attention to detail and high quality slipping. This is definitely a place to be reserved for a special occasion, and you can literally envisage rubbing shoulders with Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine or Victor Hugo in your mind’s eye. Nowadays, revel in the house specialties of ravioles de foie gras and the beef parmentier with truffles, not to mention the mango and passion fruit calisson – and the most extraordinary cheese board to be found in the whole city. It’s worth taking out a small mortgage to make a dinner reservation, which makes the lunch menu read like the bargain of the year.
Le Grand Véfour is open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner, advance reservation essential.
Parisians are big fans of Le Fumoir, because it is so many things to so many people. Open from 11:00 onward, it’s a great meeting point for locals and visitors alike, and has a very well-rounded menu that caters for a host of different tastes. You’ll spot business meetings taking place over a café crème and tartine, and friends chatting during a mid-morning break, or catching up after a hard day at work over an expertly mixed mojito cocktail on the spacious terrace. What’s great about Le Fumoir is that lunch and dinner can be dressed up or down according to your own agenda.
It’s the perfect place to rest your feet for lunch after a family Treasure Hunt of the Louvre, or to enjoy an early dinner following an After-Hours Early Evening Tour, while a copious brunch is served on Sunday afternoons. Chef Henrik Andersson’s Swedish-inspired seasonal menu includes an absolutely glorious velouté froid de courgettes et petits pois, for example, that is truly to die for. My favorite spot is the library at the far end of the restaurant – remember to specifically request to be seated here if you are calling ahead to reserve, as it is a very popular and somewhat easy-to-miss part of the restaurant if you don’t know it’s there.
Le Fumoir is open every day of the week from 11:00 for coffee, lunch, tea, cocktails and dinner. Advance reservation recommended but not always necessary.
Fried chicken with pickles, buttermilk and slaw… marinated courgette with stracciatella and rib-eye with fennel…Ellsworth is one of my absolute favourite restaurants near the Louvre and just re–reading the dinner menu after dining there a few months ago brings back a flood of appetising memories. This small, elongated dining area has a casual and cozy feel to it, and the un-embroidered and carefully chosen menu is awash with great flavours. Affectionately named after American owner Bradan Perkin’s grandfather, he and his wife and partner Laura opened the restaurant two years ago to offer a vegetable-driven (but not vegetarian) successor to their successful Verjus around the corner.
There is much to love about the small plates concept. I confess to being completely won over to the idea of choosing a selection of dishes and sharing them with my dining partner, alongside a delicious bottle of paired wine. What was already a great evening became an even more memorable one when we spotted a celebrated and much-loved USA cookbook author sitting down to enjoy a quiet dinner with her husband right across the way. What better accolade could you wish for?
Ellsworth is open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, advance reservation highly recommended to avoid disappointment.
“Every time I come to Paris I look forward to waking up on the first morning and heading over to Claus. As soon as I sit down, I know I’ve arrived.” Nicole visits Paris very regularly and, if you’ll excuse the tasteless pun, knows exactly which side her French toast is buttered on. It’s well worth planning ahead if you want to be sure to get a table here before a mid-morning visit to the Louvre, as the queues can be half way down the street, with only the Christian Louboutin boutique to window shop at by way of compensation while waiting if you haven’t reserved during peak times.
You can look forward to perfectly cooked poached eggs with the yolk oozing onto crunchy multigrain bread; crisp röstis layered with smoked salmon; soft still-slightly–warm-from-the-oven scones with figs; bread baskets piled sky-high with freshly baked brioches and French bread…the list is endless. Gluten-free options and brunch variations for the health-conscious are naturally offered in such abundance that it’s easy to see why a return visit seems the only route to go. Top tip : if you are also planning to spend some time in the Odéon area, Claus have recently opened up on rue Clement in the 6th arrondissement, so that could be a great alternative – but beware, advance booking is the way to go here too.
Claus is open every day from 8:00 Tuesday-Friday and 9:30 Saturday-Monday. Closes at 17:00. Reservations recommended.
Standing in line after a long walk on a freezing December day for a well-earned and piping chocolat chaud, with the spoon standing virtually straight up in the midst of the unctuous chocolate, or queuing for a signature meringue Mont Blanc pastry in the middle of summer is all part of the charm of visiting the one-and-only Angelina restaurant and boutique on the rue de Rivoli. If time is of the essence and your hours are numbered during your stay, it’s well worth reserving a table for lunch or breakfast rather than opting for the afternoon tea slot.
If you’re not is such a rush, however, the infamously decadent chocolat chaud is indeed well worth any waiting you have to do. Incomparably rich and velvety, served up in a pitcher and almost a meal in itself, it’s easy to see why Coco Chanel reportedly used to come by for her daily fix and to watch the world go by in the vast Belle Époque mirrors that have been hanging since the early 1900s. Ask the staff and they’ll be happy to point out her favoured table on the right hand side – and don’t be disappointed if you are offered a table upstairs: it’s perhaps less atmospheric, but there is a decided aura of times gone by, and you can take a lingering walk through the noisier downstairs salon on your mandatory visit to the powder room…
Angelina is open every day. Possible to reserve breakfast, brunch and lunch; reservations taken between 7:30 and 14:00. No advance bookings for afternoon tea, served from 15:00. Closes at 19:00 (Fri-Sat-Sun 19:30).
This is but the tip of the iceberg on the restaurant front and, as always, choosing a place to eat is so very subjective, with a host of alternatives to choose from in the vicinity of the Louvre depending on what else you are planning to do on a given day. For assistance with planning your itinerary and fully personalised restaurant recommendations and reservations during your stay in Paris, read more here and email [email protected] for specific details – we’ll be happy to be of service.
Please note that some parts of this article were first published in September 2018 for Paris Perfect, with thanks. All photos by Nicola Collarile unless otherwise indicated.