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The Return of Fancy French Food


A flock of recent openings signals that the serious white-­tablecloth restaurant is making a big comeback, after almost twenty years during which time the preferred path for ambitious young chefs was the modern bistro. That trend took off when Yves Camdeborde opened La Régalade in 1992, and it became a hit; following suit, many other young chefs dumped the costly Michelin-prescribed route (formal restaurants with expensive flowers and tableware and menus that pay homage to Escoffier). But now chefs like Jean-François Piège, who just won two Michelin stars for his Restaurant de Jean-François Piège at the Hotel Thoumieux in the 7th (79, rue Sainte-Dominique; 33-1-47-05-79-79), have rebooted the grown-up Paris restaurant with hip décor (India ­Mahdavi did Piège’s nouveau “Rat Pack” dining room), formal but friendly service, and menus that showcase their very personal take on highbrow French cooking. Piège, for example, ­deconstructs paella and serves Chilean beef with a ginger ­vinaigrette. —Alexander Lobrano

For a full review of Thoumieux and four other restaurants that exemplify the return of the white tablecloth—Frederic Simonin, Kei, Les Tablettes, and 39V—go to hungryforparis.com.


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