The place you want to go: Restaurant David Toutain
After having trained in some of the most popular kitchens in the city – Bernard Loiseau, Marc Veyrat and Alain Passard among them – and having collected laurels at Agapé Substance, chef David Toutain opened his own restaurant in 2013 – and since , it is always full. Toutain grew up on a Normandy farm and his cuisine favors vegetables and combinations of unusual flavors. Customers flock here for very creative, almost experimental cuisine, dishes like potato skin broth enriched with foie gras and black truffles, oysters with raw kiwi, or Jerusalem artichoke ice cream. The dining room is clean, modern, and small, making it one of the most competitive bookings in Paris.
29 rue Surcouf, 01 45 51 11 10, www.davidtoutain.com
The place to go instead: Pottoka
A few blocks away, this small restaurant offers modern French cuisine tinged with the warm flavors of southwestern Basque. A relaxed crowd huddle together to enjoy simple and hearty dishes like veal chop and peas, or roast cod with Basque ham. With its selection of cold meats, accessible wine list, and fresh flavors, this is an unpretentious place perfect for a laid back evening – a hidden gem where locals linger late into the night over good food served at reasonable prices. Although reservations are recommended (like most restaurants in Paris), it is possible to reserve the same day.
4 rue de l’Exposition, 01 45 51 88 38, www.pottoka.fr