Back in the day, when the galleries of the Palais Royal were known for drinking, gambling, and revolutionary plotting, what was then called the Café de Chartres was the place to see and be seen. Napoleon, Hugo, Colette, and Cocteau all dined in this magnificently preserved 18th-century dining room. Today, eating here is still a memorable event. Guy Martin, chef and owner for the past decade, offers up rightly celebrated signature dishes—like Prince Rainier III pigeon and truffled oxtail parmentier—alongside sublime new creations that feature more contemporary flavors like sumac and star anise. All of the desserts are superb, but I have a special fondness for the palet, a thick biscuit with milk chocolate and hazelnuts, served with caramel and sea-salt ice cream. Reserve at least 2 weeks in advance. Tip: The lunch fixed-price menu is a third of the price of dinner (and just as good).
- Margie Rynn