Over the past 15 years, talented chef Jean-Marc Notelet has made Caïus one of the most popular restaurants in western Paris with his superb market-driven contemporary bistro cooking.
Now he’s renovated the restaurant with a stylish new décor by interior architects Nicolas Adnet and Marc Hertrich of the design studio MHNA. Adnet and Hertrich have redesigned the restaurant to offer a variety of different seating options – including a 12-person table d’hôtes – and a warm colour scheme of aubergine, curry-powder orange and red. The new look has succeeded in giving this lively restaurant with excellent service a rather less formal and more relaxed atmosphere.
Chef Notelet has a passion for spices and he uses them brilliantly on the dishes that figure on his chalkboard menu. He trained with Marc Meneau at his eponymous, now-closed restaurant in Burgundy , and with Gérard Boyer, who won three Michelin stars as chef at Les Crayères in Reims , and he has a gift for creating stylish comfort-food dishes that are fresh, healthy and deeply satisfying.
The highlights of a recent meal here included a satiny pumpkin velouté that had been inventively seasoned with star anise, and a tartare of sea bream and oysters with organic sesame oil and rice vinegar (both starters); then cod with lemongrass and combawa (the Japanese citrus fruit), and duck breast cooked a la plancha with sumac, a pleasantly pungent and slightly fruity Middle Eastern spice rarely seen in Parisian kitchens. Desserts were outstanding, too, including a custard-filled pastilla with green-tea granité and stewed rhubarb with streusel biscuit and whipped mascarpone cheese.
Notelet works with the best seasonal produce, and his cooking is precise, generous and consistently original. Prices for food and wine are reasonable for this well-heeled neighbourhood.
6 rue d’Armaille, Paris 17th. Tel. +33 (0)1 42 27 19 20. Average €45. www.caius-restaurant.fr 
From France Today magazine