The Food Destinations Ina Garten Visits When In France

If there's anyone to trust for food recommendations, it's the beloved celebrity chef and three-time James Beard award winner, Ina Garten. While the cooking show host and tastemaker is known for her Hamptons lifestyle, her recommendations for Parisian hotspots shouldn't be overlooked as she has been visiting Paris for more than 50 years and now has her own apartment there. In fact, she's so enamored by The City of Light that she wrote an entire cookbook dedicated to Paris, aptly named, "Barefoot in Paris" — which allows food enthusiasts to enjoy a taste of Paris the Barefoot Contessa way from anywhere in the world.

If you do find yourself lucky enough to be visiting Paris, consider visiting some of Ina's go-to. This guide not only shares Ina's most raved-about restaurants, but it's also a full foodieblog rundown of Paris' best destinations that includes everything from bakeries and cheese shops full of ingredients for an at-home meal fit for true a Parisian chef. 

Café de Flore

If you want to experience Paris like Ina, make your first stop in the city Café de Flore to enjoy chips and a refreshing glass of rosé on the patio. In a 2017 interview with Bon Appétit, she named this café as one of her top restaurants in the world stating, "I go for an omelet and a glass of Champagne. Perfect French dinner." She's not alone in her admiration either — the 1800s-era café has been a go-to for Parisian creatives for more than 100 years and has become well-known for its high-profile diners which include the likes of artist Pablo Picasso and philosopher Georges Bataille. 

Despite its popularity, Café de Flore still feels like a classic French café and is delicious enough to attract locals and tourists alike with its traditional French cuisine. If you don't opt for the omelet like Ina, there are plenty of other options — from salads to sandwiches and quiches, to name a few.

Poilane

Ina Garten first visited Paris back in the early 1970s, and even back then she had a talent for finding the best of the best foodieblog locations in the city, seeking out the original Poilâne location. Over the years Garten has visited the city, Poilâne has become her favorite bakery which she shared in a 2022 Instagram post about her first memories of the city with her husband Jeffery, stating, "Now my favorite bakery is a block from our apartment and I go there all the time." 

The classic French bakery serves up a variety of delectable baked treats — from biscuits to croissants and turnovers — but is best known for its artisan sourdough bread, which has helped make Poilâne a Parisienne mainstay for nearly 100 years. The iconic bakery was first founded in 1932 by Pierre Poilâne and remains a family-owned and operated bakery to this day, now led by third-generation baker, Apollonia Poilâne. 

Barthélémy

Not far from Poilane is Barthélémy — Ina's best-loved cheese shop and the perfect spot for grabbing gourmet cheese to spread on your fresh baguette. Like many of the other Barefoot Contessa's Paris favorites, it's an institution in the city that has been in business for more than 50 years. It's so renowned that it's even the official cheese supplier for Élysée Palace, the home of France's President Emmanuel Macron. 

The small boutique is bursting with cheese — from traditional French offerings such as Brie to more exotic varieties such as Mont d'Or, Reblochon, and Neufchatel. However, cheese novices don't need to be overwhelmed. The shop's owner Nicole Barthélemy is known for offering guidance and recommendations to help shoppers either perfect their recipes or complete an elaborate and impressive charcuterie board. For finishing touches, Barthélémy also stocks wines, breads, and jams. 

Le Bar 228

If you're an avid follower of Ina Garten on Instagram, chances are you're aware that one of her favorite places to indulge is within the sophisticated ambiance of Le Bar 228, the hotel bar located within the luxurious, 5-star Le Meurice Hotel. Le Meurice, located in the heart of Paris, is renowned for its opulent setting and impeccable service, so it's understandable that it would make it to Ina's list of top Parisian food destinations. 

The bar offers a comfortable environment, nightly live jazz, and a full menu of delicious cocktails as well as fine wines and Cognac. OIt's clear that Garten enjoys a bourbon sour at the bougie establishment, which she shared via an Instagram post. But, for those who don't want to follow Ina's lead, the extensive menu includes the fruit-forward Le 228 with champagne, pear, pear liqueur, lychee, and raspberry as well as the Peach Tiny with vodka, Earl Grey tea, peach liqueur, lemon juice, egg whites, and peach coulis. 

Le Voltaire

In 2015, Ina Garten dubbed Le Voltaire (via Instagram) a traditional French restaurant situated in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, "heaven on Earth," making it an instant must-visit for Barefoot Contessa fans and French culinary enthusiasts alike. The elegant eatery's menu boasts an array of French delicacies including classic steak frites and indulgent escargots, which align with Ina's well-documented love of French cuisine. However, based on Ina's filet au poivre hashtag she used in the post, it's safe to assume she ordered the filet mignon the evening she sang the restaurant's praises on Instagram. 

Not only is the restaurant known for its great food, but it has a fun and unique history as well. Le Voltaire first opened as a restaurant in the 19th century after being converted from stables. Even today, some of the tables are divided with wooden panels which are reminiscent of the building's time as a stable. 

La Grande Épicerie de Paris

If anyone can be trusted to recommend a fantastic specialty food store, it undoubtedly is Ina Garten. If you're a fan of Ina you'll know she began her illustrious culinary career in 1978 by purchasing and running a specialty food store in Westhampton, New York called the Barefoot Contessa.  

However, La Grande Épicerie de Paris located inside the high-end Bon Marché department store isn't your typical food shop. In fact, it spans 30,000 square feet – spanning a full city block, and offering a luxurious assortment of everything a food enthusiast could want including a wall of butter, wine, a fishmonger, a pastry counter, and much more. Whether you're looking to make your own gourmet meal while visiting France, want to sample some of the best foods Paris has to offer, or are in the market for an edible souvenir, take Ina's recommendation and visit La Grande Épicerie de Paris.

Twenty-Two Club Paris

One of the perhaps more exclusive and intimate Parisienne restaurants that Ina Garten has raved about is the Twenty-Two Club Paris which only seats, you guessed it, 22 people across two tables. But, it isn't really a restaurant at all. In fact, it's housed within a private apartment that overlooks the stately Palais Royal — adding to its unique and exclusive atmosphere. It also allows guests to interact with each other in the communal environment — making it feel more like a dinner party than a typical night out at a restaurant. 

During Ina's visit, the dining aficionado called out one of her favorite dishes — the hot smoked trout salad. While you might be tempted to order the same dish, at Twenty-Two Club Paris there's no ordering required. Instead, the restaurant creates a new tasting menu each week that's largely dictated by the vegetables growing from the eatery's farm an hour outside Paris. The meal includes wines paired with each course on the tasting menu. 

Café Varenne

Want to experience Paris' best restaurants like Ina Garten but not fully committed to spending all your hard-earned cash on artisan cheeses and luxury dinners? Look no further than this refreshingly affordable quintessential Parisian bistro that's beloved by Paris locals and tourists alike — making it a must-try that all travelers should add to their Paris itinerary. 

To dine like the Barefoot Contessa, opt for the warm goat cheese salad and frites, which she called out on her Instagram for being a "lunch of champions" (via Instagram). The satisfying duo not only embodies the essence of French cuisine it also offers a balance of elegance and approachability — much like Ina herself. If you're feeling adventurous and want to order something different, the café is also well known for its tomato tartare with crayfish and roasted chicken. For the perfect ending to the meal, be sure to order the popular lemon meringue tart. 

Maison Verot

Maison Verot might be best known for its charcuterie, but it has plenty of other French delicacies to offer from deli salads to quiches. Ina Garten featured a variety of the store's treats on her Instagram, showcasing the perfectly caramelized crème brûlées pots, house-made pâtés, salamis, and more. 

Like many of the Barefoot Contessa's other picks, Maison Verot has stood the test of time and boasts a long history in Paris having been founded nearly a century ago in 1930. Over the years, the shop has garnered international attention having won a medal of Agricultural Merit in 2001, and was crowned vice-champion of the world for its pâté en croûte in 2011. It remains a favorite, having expanded to five locations throughout Paris, and one in the southern city of Lyon, all offering an authentic French culinary experience that's perfect for both chefs and foodieblogs. 

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