Ever since arriving in Paris, there’s one restaurant I’ve wanted to visit more than any other and that is that of Paris Septime. Situated in the 11th arrondissement neighbourhood of the city, the One Michelin Star Restaurant is the kind of place you’ll struggle to get a reservation at but is oh-so-worth-it if you do manage to snag a coveted spot. Here’s my restaurant review of Paris Septime, as well as a few top tips you should know before visiting!
Septime Paris | 80, rue de Charonne, 75011
A brief history of Septime
Founded by graphic-designer-turned-chef Bertrand Grébaut in 2011 and has since been awarded one Michelin Star. In 2017, Septime even won a Sustainable Restaurant Award. The restaurant has a laid back non-fussy atmosphere and serves layered, vegetable-focused seasonal food (though meat and fish are both on the menu) which focuses on textured multi-level flavours. As of 2020, Septime Paris is #15 on the list of the top 50 restaurants in the world.
Food at Septime
There is little choice when it comes to the menu at Septime. Instead, you’re presented with a price and the number of courses you’ll receive. Lunch-time is a surprisingly affordable five-course tasting menu (for such a luxurious establishment) priced at €60, while dinner is a seven-course tasting menu priced at €95. If you wish to enjoy a cheese course, then this can be added for an extra fee.
If you’d also like to add a wine tasting (whereby a glass of vin is matched to each course of the menu), then this is an extra €45 at lunch and €60 for dinner. Alternatively, there is an extensive by the wine or bottle wine menu whereby you can select wine by the glass. On the menu, there are natural whites, reds, rosés, and even an orange wine. There is also a selection of non-alcoholic beverages and the possibility of coffee post dessert.
‘In French cuisine, it’s all about the sauces,’ my friend announced to me as we handed over our coats and took our seats on a beautifully presented wooden table where sunlight was streaming through the nearby full-sized windows. The restaurant is understated and chic.
Outside, there’s no sign saying ‘Septime,’ and the interior is relaxed Nordic style; all exposed wood, no tablecloths, distressed walls, and streamlined tableware: the focus truly is on the food. Upon ordering a glass of wine, we were soon handed a ‘creamy soup’ to ‘warm us up’. This was a welcome extra to the five courses which were soon to arrive.
Septime is a Michelin Star Restaurant and the menu is changed every three weeks, meaning that no two visits will ever be the same. Though I personally have a rather sweet tooth, truth be told, that I wasn’t really blown away by the dessert at the end of the meal and instead preferred the creativity of the started courses and initial ‘warm up soup’. Nevertheless, if you do manage to make a reservation (more on that below), then a luxury lunch at Septime is one you certainly won’t be forgetting any time soon!
How to visit & make a reservation at Septime
Located in the 11th arrondissement of the city, unlike many other restaurants in Paris, Septime is rather curious in that it’s only open during the week! Indeed, on Mondays, the restaurant is only open for dinner reservations. The rest of the week (Tuesday through to Friday), there are both dinner and lunchtime reservations.
I visited Septime on a Friday lunchtime with a friend as she had actually been given a Septime reservation by a friend who could no longer make it. Though I can’t attest to this, I’ve read a series of reviews and recommendations online that if you truly want to snag a seat at the famed restaurant, then you’ll have more luck with a mid-week lunch reservation.
Otherwise, the best way to get a reservation is to call up exactly three weeks before your desired reservation date and hope for the best. You can’t book Septime more than three weeks ahead of time. Reservations are taken both online and over the phone.
If you don’t manage to get a booking, then no fear: next door Clamato is a sister reservation and walk-in only, making it an easier to visit option (albeit with a focus on seafood as opposed to what is truly seasonal and ‘du moment’). Otherwise, another Septime sister establishment is that of Septime La Café, which is a walk-in only wine bar.
Septime for vegetarians: can you visit with a dietary restriction?
Before visiting Septime, my friend and I looked at reviews online as to whether you could visit Septime as a vegetarian and I found them to be pretty mixed! Whereas some non meat-eaters had frequented the French restaurant and loved their experience, others had said the fare was ‘too healthy’ and there were ‘too many vegetables’.
Nevertheless, I simply turned up on the day and let our friendly waiter know that I was vegetarian. ‘No problem,’ I was told and so for each dish my friend received, I received an equally tasty vegetarian option. For example, whereas the ‘main’ course was pork belly, I received a delightfully flavoured cauliflower concoction with plenty of creamy sauce.