Chez Benoit★ // 4ème // Paris

When you arrive at Chez Benoit, you’ll feel like you’ve entered an Empire. This brasserie, located in the very heart of Les Halles will transport you back 50 years as you pass-over the doorstep. You’ll be tempted in by the magic of its bistro style, with lavish wooden panelled walls, the superbly etched frosted glass which separates the various dining rooms and the elegant and stylish classical tables.

When he took over in 2011, Alain Ducasse made a great decision to take on this long established brand, founded in 1912.  The Les Halles location is now his worldwide flagship bistro location. Only after having been open for just one year, Benoit became the first and only Michelin star bistro in France.

At Benoit, you won’t find modern cuisine. What you will find is unpretentious brasserie fare of exceptional quality and taste served on kitsch plates decorated with flowers. The two-apple boudin noir is a good example of this – simply superb. You might want to try the chef’s signature dish, cooked in the famous Ducasse casserole dish. Succulent blue lobster from Brittany, with sea potatoes and a lavish amount of truffle. There’s certainly nothing for the chef to hide behind here. While a dish like this isn’t Manet or Van Gogh on a plate, it delivers magnificently on flavour and fills the room with the heavenly scent of truffle; a simple luxury.

You’ll also be treated to first class traditional brasserie service with attentive staff; no need to ask for bread or butter….it will be on the table before you realise you want it. The water flows and the dishes move almost by themselves; just perfection.

The desserts too are exceptional, such as the savarin, which is literally drowned in a sea of cognac and served with velvety and creamy crème fouettée.  Another outstanding option is the iced nougat, encrusted with pistachio nuts and exquisite glacé fruit and  layered rich ice cream and a passionfruit sauce; very chic.

Chez Benoit shows how to combine the excellence of impeccable service and the simplicity of its ingredients to create the highest level of brasserie in the true tradition. But even though this is just a bistro, be careful, as it’s still Ducasse, and that means that you’ll need deep pockets – but – it’s well worth it.