Among the most dense and affluent districts in Paris, the 16th arrondissement has long been considered a sleepy, stuffy, gastronomic desert on the French capital’s vast culinary landscape. François-Régis Gaudry, the 44-year-old food critic, radio and television host, and best-selling author of Let’s Eat France!, knows the area’s limitations firsthand: Every week for the last decade, he has recorded his wildly popular radio show, “On Va Déguster,” at La Maison de la Radio, the 16th arrondissement headquarters for Radio France broadcasting. But now there are compelling reasons to direct appetites here on the city’s western edge.
“There’s been a real desire among chefs and restaurateurs to move away from the saturated 9th, 10th and 11th arrondissements to where they can have more space and reach a clientele that’s hungry for more choice,” he says. Here, he shares five of his favorite places to eat in the neighborhood.
“It’s a foreign take on French cuisine that is refreshing,” Mr. Gaudry says of this two-year-old contemporary restaurant. Its Canadian owners, Etheliya Hananova, the sommelier, and Noam Gedalof, the chef, earned a Michelin star for what Mr. Gaudry calls the whole package: an inviting interior, full of antique furnishings and stunning fresh flowers; their expertise and neo-Classical approach to French cooking; and an artisan-driven wine program. “It was so unexpected, in part because of its location and unassuming design,” he says.
31, Avenue de Versailles; comice.paris
“In some ways, the spot doesn’t feel like Paris,” Mr. Gaudry says of this Le Fooding award-winning cocktail bar. He loves the bar as much for the building’s carefully preserved Art Nouveau architecture by Hector Guimard (who famously designed Paris metro entrances) and historic design elements — from the facade to the porcelain tiles and original signage — as for its expert drinks menu. Cravan is run by Franck Audoux, formerly the co-owner of the highly-regarded restaurant Le Chateaubriand. “Franck has elevated the cocktail to the level of high liquid gastronomy and does so with elegance and simplicity.” Mr. Gaudry likes to sit beneath the plane trees on the terrace and sip one of the barman’s Bloody Marys made from a passata of Italian tomatoes, or the Trocadéro, a delicate drink mixed with vermouth, Picon and Curaçao.
17, rue Jean de La Fontaine; instagram.com/cravanparis
Named in part as a nod to a top-end Champagne, this modern bistro brings an oenocentric focus and casual spirit to the rue de Chaillot. While the restaurant has become a popular dining destination among the city’s political and media elite, Mr. Gaudry insists it’s a place for food purists: “The cooking is elegant and refined and pairs beautifully with the sharp selection of more than 180 cuvées from big Champagne houses and small growers.” The wine list is by Anselme Selosse, a fourth-generation Champagne producer. On top of that, there’s a three-course lunch offer for 36 euros (about $40) that he insists is worth an advance booking.
18, rue de Chaillot; substance.paris
4. Les Grands Verres
“It’s modern Paris from the viewpoint of the foreigners who revived the city’s bar scene,” Mr. Gaudry says of this Mediterranean restaurant inside the Palais de Tokyo. The foreigners he’s referring to are Carina Soto (Colombian), Adam Tsou and Josh Fontaine (American), a trio whose popular destination cocktail bars in Paris include Candelaria and Le Mary Celeste. “Their Italian chef has a wide vision of Mediterranean cooking which might include dishes like a Fattoush salad dressed with pomegranate molasses and slow-braised lamb ragout with fresh paccheri pasta. It reflects the way locals want to be eating today.”
13, avenue du Président Wilson; quixotic-projects.com/les-grands-verres
5. Les Marches
From the red-checkered tablecloth to the generous portions of classic bistro dishes like oeufs mayonnaise and entrecôte in béarnaise sauce served with crispy fries, the nostalgia of this affordable Relais Routier, traditional roadside restaurant, is part of the draw for Mr. Gaudry. The owners, brothers Jérôme and Stéphane Dumant, have revived an old dining format that has attracted both foreigners and locals across the socioeconomic spectrum. “It’s a feel-good place for everyone,” he says.
5, rue de la Manutention; lesmarches-restaurant.com