Haute cuisine, which means ‘high cooking’, is a style of cooking characterized by a meticulous eye for detail in the preparation and presentation of dishes. It came to prominence in 17th century France, growing out of the social divisions that existed at the time. Being able to afford to eat food prepared at great cost (due to the technical skill involved in its preparation and the rare and exotic ingredients that were often used) set the elite and wealthy apart from the unwashed masses.

Classic haute cuisine was always opulent, involving velvety and decadent butter and cream-based sauces, the finest and freshest natural produce, and epic cooking times.  But haute cuisine has changed and developed in the intervening years. New generations of chefs have come along and shaken things up, adding international influences and wild flights of imagination to classic techniques and recipes. Modern haute cuisine kitchens are often hotbeds of experimentation.

Today, minimalism and mold-breaking are usually given precedence over extravagance and tradition. But crucially, the dedication to sky-high quality and perfection of detail always remains.

Paris is the home of haute cuisine. The city has many wonderful restaurants serving classic, timeless dishes, as well as a wealth of establishments serving more experimental and unique interpretations of haute cuisine cooking. And Michelin stars abound!

So, without any further ado, let us present to you our BUCKiTDREAM list of 6 of Paris’s finest haute cuisine restaurants. Don’t forget to make a note of the establishments that particularly excite you in your BUCKiTDREAM planner. Oh, and book early! Bon appétit!

Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen Super-chef Yannick Alléno took over the kitchen at Pavillon Ledoyen in July 2014. With three Michelin stars, he is bringing a modern and imaginative approach to classical French haute cuisine. The Ledoyen building itself has been one of Paris’ most famous dining spaces for centuries. It is an elegant, neoclassical structure with long bay windows in every direction that allow copious sunlight to wash over diners as they “ooh” and “aah” at the uniquely delicate and delicious plates of pristine food. And it’s all delivered by crisply dressed waiters who deftly lay the food down before them. Ledoyen is Parisian haute cuisine at its best!

Address: 8 Avenue Dutuit, 75008 Paris, France

L’Arpège This exceptional kitchen, run by head chef Alain Passard, has been the proud earner of three Michelin stars for over 20 years running. That is consistency! L’Arpège serves vegetable-inspired dishes based on fresh, organic produce grown in the chef’s three personal vegetable gardens and one orchard! At last, the tables have turned – the vegetarian or vegan in your group will not need to eat some plain, after-thought of a vegetarian option at this phenomenal restaurant. At L’Arpège, the vegetable is king!

Address: 84 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris, France 

Astrance Innovative culinary mastermind Pascal Barbot, who learned his trade in London, Sydney, and under L’Arpège master chef Alain Passard, is in charge at Astrance – yet another three Michelin starred restaurant in the French capital. This restaurant is more difficult to get into than almost any other restaurant in the city because it has a capacity of only 25 seats, and on top of that, is only open four days a week, from Tuesday to Friday. They have a two-month reservation policy, so plan accordingly. The food here is magically inventive and never compromises on flavor. It is an eating experience you will not forget, so it’s well worth fighting for a booking!

Address: 4 Rue Beethoven, 75016 Paris, France

Restaurant David Toutain Renowned for its sublimely imaginative tasting menu, Restaurant David Toutain is a stark, minimalist fine-dining restaurant where the surroundings are elegant and clean, and the food is allowed to flourish and (deservedly) take center stage. Chef David Toutain is a new titan of the Paris haute cuisine scene. He cut his teeth at much-loved and Michelin-starred restaurants L’Arpège and Agapé Substance, and now the young chef has a Michelin star all of his own. This up-and-coming restaurant is touted by many Parisian foodies to be the best in the city.

Address: 29 Rue Surcouf, 75007 Paris, France

Pierre Gagnaire The high art that comes from the kitchen of Pierre Gagnaire is well-worthy of the three glittering Michelin stars that this famous establishment is endowed with. The restaurant interior is chic and simple, but the food is complex, amazingly inventive and genuinely unique. Science, art, imagination and deep knowledge combine to create an haute cuisine that is awe-inspiring and impossible to forget. 

Address: 6 Rue Balzac, 75008 Paris, France 

Le Meurice The dining room at Le Meurice hotel is dripping in gold-trimmed, chandeliered opulence. Dining in this two Michelin starred palace is like going back in time to the court of Louis XIV at Versailles. It is one of the world’s most beautiful dining rooms. Resident master chef Alain Ducasse oversees the kitchen, and the food is classic French haute cuisine of the highest standard. Le Meurice is yet another once-in-a-lifetime Parisian dining experience for you to fantasize about!

Address: 228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France

We bet you’re hungry now! Whether you are marinating in the richly historic atmosphere of Ledoyen or enjoying the ‘vegetarian option’ (hehe) at L’Arpège, make sure to share your Parisian haute cuisine restaurant experiences on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and use the hashtag #BUCKiTDREAM! Then, why not check out the 10 Most Instagrammable Spots in Paris or The Top 10 Things to Do in Paris.