After the closing of his eponymous fish restaurant in 2002, Paul Minchelli has made a quiet comeback at 21 in Saint-Germain. There is no sign or menu in the window, just the number 21 on a black awning. Inside, opposite the black leather booths and wooden café tables, are shelves of goods you can’t buy: jars of Marmite, cans of Heinz baked beans. But what you can order from the blackboard menu is extraordinary: fresh herring sprinkled with spring onions, or seared pollack served with crispy potatoes and soppressata. Details 21 rue Mazarine, 6th Arr.; 011-33- 1-46-33-76-90.
Le Saut du Loup
The Musée des Arts Décoratifs, which recently reopened after a 10-year renovation, now serves lunch and dinner in this groovy new restaurant. The place to sit is by the window, with a view of the Tuileries Gardens. The dish to order is the homage to the Big Mac—three mini burgers layered between toasted sandwich bread with melted Cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes and sweet Russian dressing. The wonderful desserts include a faux tiramisu with rhubarb and crumbled butter cookies, served in a mason jar. Details 107 rue de Rivoli, 1st Arr.; 011-33- 1-42-25-49-55.
Unlike many young French chefs who trained in Michelin-starred restaurants and then opened casual bistros, Georges Blanc-mentored Samuel Cavagnis chose to open an elegant place with fine china and a salon for drinking Champagne before dinner. The well-traveled Cavagnis likes to use spices and herbs (there are potted herbs on every table); for instance, he uses dill and pink peppercorns to flavor his salmon rillettes spooned into large pasta shells. Even dessert has a nice bite: Cavagnis adds pink almond praline, the French equivalent of Cracker Jacks, to his île flottante, a meringue in licorice-spiked custard sauce. Details 16 rue Feydeau, 2nd Arr.; 011-33-1-45-08-00-08.