Paris’ best steakhouses

Alexander Lobrano grew up in Connecticut, and lived in New York and London before he moved to his current home city of Paris in 1986. He writes about food and travel for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian and Conde Nast Traveller, and has written a book, Hungry for France

Parisians have always been committed carnivores, but the new stylish steakhouses in the French capital are converting them into connoisseurs. Mais sacre bleue! The meat on the menu at many of these places isn’t coming from Normandy or the Limousin, but Argentina, Germany, the UK and the US.

Fortunately for Parisian blood pressure, Gaul remains supreme as the chicest place to eat meat in Paris — the butcher-block-topped tables in star butcher Hugo Desnoyer’s new shop in a quiet residential corner of the classy 16th arrondissement (Boucherie Hugo Desnoyer Table d’Hotes, 28 rue du Docteur-Blanche; phone + 33 1 46 47 83 00; closed Sunday and Monday). Desnoyer, who supplies such Michelin three-star restaurants as L’Astrance and Pierre Gagnaire, sources his meat from farms he knows personally in the Limousin and other traditional beef-producing regions of France, and these gorgeous steaks are served up with vegetables such as baby potatoes, and radishes sautéed in salted butter. There’s a superb wine list, and the oddball fun of eating in a shop has made this one of the hottest reservations in Paris.

Want to know where the wild things are? Head to The Beef Club in the old market quarter of Les Halles in the heart of Paris, where they mix good cocktails and serve well-aged beef from Desnoyer’s main rival, butcher Yves-Marie Le Boudonnec (Le Beef Club, 58 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1st arrondissement; + 33 1 54 37 13 65; dinner only). Low lighting in this white-tiled dining room creates a louche atmosphere, and the ambience suits fashionable parties of younger Parisians.

Restaurateur Caroline Rostang, the daughter of chef Michel Rostang, has a hit with her just-opened Café des Abattoirs near the Place du Marche Saint Honore (Le Café des Abattoirs, 10 rue Gomboust, 1st arrondissement;  + 33 1 76 21 77 60). Sit at the counter for a prix-fixe feed that starts with hors d’oeuvres of devilled eggs and charcuterie, then a juicy bavette (skirt steak) with a homemade sauces; the best one is the tomato-horseradish relish, but the tangy barbecue sauce is good, and they even make their own mustard.

Chef Akrame Benallal, one of the young stars of Paris, is pleasing a crowd of power brokers at his latest address, a steakhouse (Atelier Vivanda, 18 rue Lauriston, 16th arrondissement; + 33 1 40 67 10 00; closed Saturday and Sunday) just across the street from his Restaurant Akrame. Here you’ll find great Black Angus beef, much of it American-sourced, served with five different comfort-food potato garnishes — grilled, crushed, Dauphine, galette or au gratin. The regulars who frequent this let-your-hair-down place love the chocolate tart for dessert, too. Wherever you go in Paris, there’s a lot to sink your teeth into these days.

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