Set in one of Paris’s most avant-garde areas, L’Agape Substance pushes the boundaries in both its décor and cuisine. To make the most of the bijoux space, diners are mainly gathered around a central counter with a prime view of the open kitchen. The menu is equally unusual, presented as a list of ingredients without any clues as to how they will be cooked or served; the creations change on a daily basis but broadly combine micro-gastronomy with Asian flair. Expect to find unique flavour combinations – cherries flavoured with pistachio and veal marinated in black olives are two typical mixtures.
L’Agape Substance, 66 rue Mazarine, 75006 Paris, +33 (0)1 4329 3383
With its austere grey-toned interior and menu of micro-gastronomic delights served on charcoal platters, Akrame is minimalist, modern and extremely stylish. Chef Akrame Benallal trained under Ferran Adrià and Pierre Gagnaire, and uses this experience, combined with his personal passion and flair for flavours, to create imaginative, delicious cuisine. The menu is set but changes regularly and diners are guaranteed to find intense flavours and a rich colour palette among the well-timed courses. Perfectly suited to wine connoisseurs, the gourmand menu pairs each course with an appropriate vintage; the crisp white Burgundy is particularly satisfying with oily fish dishes.
Akrame, 19 rue Lauriston, 75016 Paris, +33 (0)1 4067 1116
Styled like a typical Left Bank apartment, Derrière aims to provide a home from home for its diners; guests can choose to eat in any of its rooms from the sumptuous boudoir to the more traditional dining room. The food is similarly homely with a menu consisting of simply prepared French classics and tempting comfort food. Choose between roasted salmon with a rich horseradish sauce, roast beef in a satay jus or veal sweetbreads with a sprinkling of ginger, but be sure to make time for dessert: the salted butter caramel macaroons and decadent dark chocolate mousse are well worth waiting for.
Derrière, 69 rue des Gravilliers, 75003 Paris, +33 (0)1 4461 9195
Mori Venice Bar
Massimo Mori’s eye for style was honed when he opened the glamorous Emporio Armani Caffè and his second venture, the eponymous Mori bar, is equally style conscious, taking inspiration from the grandiose city of Venice. The sleek interior exudes extravagance; designed by Philippe Starck it combines contemporary furnishings with whimsical Venetian touches including Murano glass chandeliers and a carnival mask motif. The menu combines rustic Italian cuisine with luxurious ingredients. Truffles are a frequent accompaniment, added to potato gnocchi with lamb and chestnuts, and enriching spaghetti with lobster.
Mori Venice Bar, 27 rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, +33 (0)1 4455 5155
Le Restaurant at L’Hotel
Despite its Arabic styling, the cuisine served by head chef Julien Montbabut at Le Restaurant is classically French. Based on seasonal ingredients and executed with a light, modern touch, the menu veers from lamb in a peppermint jus to slow-roasted pigeon accompanied by hot and cold beetroot. Despite the simple menu, the interior is lavish: oversized sofa seating is bathed in light from the atrium ceiling and low-hanging Moroccan lamps while swaths of rich emerald fabric and baroque marble columns add grandeur to the otherwise intimate space.
Le Restaurant at L’Hotel, 13 rue des Beaux-Arts, 75006 Paris, +33 (0)1 4441 9900