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ALAIN DUCASSE AU PLAZA ATHÉNÉE
25 Avenue Montaigne, 8th arr.
The magic begins when you manage to nab a table at this Michelin three-star restaurant. (Reserve months ahead.) It heightens when you’re seated beneath a cloud of 10,000 dangling crystals in the grand, columned space, anticipating the meal of a lifetime. All the rich grace notes of haute cuisine are here—osciètra caviar topping langoustines accompanied by lemony crème fraîche; showers of Alba truffles over carrot-stuffed Bresse chicken—but so are the updated, seasonal takes on tradition, such as turbot in red-wine sauce with mushrooms, bacon, smoked eel and pearl onions. Despite the luxe surroundings, with the expert servers smartly dressed in black jackets and charcoal-gray trousers to match the felt screens scattered about the room, the atmosphere isn’t hush-hush, and the conversation flows as freely as the impeccably chosen wine.
Hôtel de Crillon
10 Place de la Concorde, 8th arr.
You’ll get a heavy dose of romance along with impressive cuisine in what many consider the city’s most beautiful dining room (in an over-the-top, belle époque sort of way). This gilded warhorse looking out onto the Place de la Concorde was reborn with the arrival of its current chef, Jean-François Piège, a former lieutenant of Alain Ducasse. Since then, Piège has been celebrated for his inventive twists on classic French cuisine and fanciful, sometimes even theatrical presentations, such as egg Florentine, here a truffle-laced yolk swimming inside a crunchy edible shell. Don’t miss his signature langoustine fritter in langoustine essence with caviar or the spectacular sphere of black truffle slices encasing a salad of baby leaves and herbs. You can’t miss the jaw-dropping check.
4 Rue Beethoven, 16th arr.
It may be a bit out of the way, over in the 16th near the Eiffel Tower, but after eight years, Pascal Barbot’s sleek silver-gray boîte still has a fair claim on this town’s "most-coveted table" crown—there’s room for just 26 people—especially now that it’s earned a third Michelin star. It’s all about the food as you tuck into the cool creations on the surprise tasting menu, the only menu offered. Just let the waiter know beforehand what foods and seasoning you won’t eat and you’re off. With dishes such as "ravioli," thin slices of avocado wrapped around crabmeat or foie gras marinated in verjus (a sour fruit juice) and layered with raw button-mushroom shavings and lemon purée, you couldn’t have chosen better yourself.