Versailles Restaurants

.article-cta-top

Versailles has recently emerged as a seriously good food town. Beyond being renowned for France’s most famous royal palace, it’s also an affluent bedroom community, along the lines of Greenwich, Connecticut. This means that beyond the tourist throngs, well-heeled residents sustain an increasingly inventive and diverse dining scene, which is making the town appealing to aspiring young chefs.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has a Michelin star for his underwhelming eponymous restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria Versailles - Trianon Palace. But the local culinary talent to discover is Jean-Baptiste Lavergne-Morazzani, a young chef who now has two excellent restaurants, the Michelin-starred and gastronomically ambitious La Table du 11 and a convivial and reasonably priced bistro, Le Bistrot du 11, along with a lively wine bar, La Cave du 11, that offers a menu of small-plate dishes.

La Table du 11


The first time we went to this stylish restaurant, the chef’s father, who’s also a restaurateur, was running the dining room and was rightly bursting with pride in the talent of his offspring.

“He’s a much better cook than I’ll ever be,” he movingly said of his son. Dad’s not around so much anymore, but he is doubtless hugely proud of the Michelin star awarded to La Table du 11 for the excellence of its admirable locavore cooking. Over 70 percent of the produce used in the kitchen comes from the restaurant’s own farm in nearby Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche, and other produce is carefully sourced from sustainable farms and producers with an emphasis on seasonality. On our most recent visit, a first course of lobster with carrots in lemon sauce was a sultry debut to a fine meal. Next, we shared veal sweetbreads with a sauce gribiche (finely chopped hard-boiled eggs mixed with mustard, oil, cornichons, capers and tarragon), sampled the delicious homemade beef tortellini and had the cheese course of Gorgonzola with Amarena cherry purée, a brilliant pairing. They pour excellent wines by the glass, and service is charming.

La Table du 11
La Cour des Senteurs. 8 Rue de la Chancellerie, Versailles. Tel. (33) 9-83-34-76-00

Le Bistrot du 11

This relaxed bistro with a handsome anthracite-gray façade, navy blue walls and tile floors is exactly the sort of place you might hope to find for lunch during a visit to Versailles. Why? It’s an easy walk from the château, service is prompt and friendly, and the regularly changing contemporary French bistro menu features light, healthy, flavorful starters like grilled mackerel with eggplant and coffee (sounds odd, but it’s quite good); mains such as cod with wilted cabbage and a sauce gribiche or duck with carrots in an orange jus; and desserts such as goat cheese with blueberry preserves and walnuts or a madeleine with vanilla-and-praline sauce. It also offers two good-value lunch menus, $34 for two courses and $44 for three. Not surprisingly, this restaurant is popular with locals, including many who work at the château, so reservations are essential.

Le Bistrot du 11
10 Rue de Satory, Versailles. Tel. (33) 1-75-45-63-70

La Cave du 11

Located next door to La Table du 11, this excellent wine bar serves a superb selection by the glass, notably several bottlings by legendary Corsican winemaker Antoine Arena. The restaurant also offers a simple menu of cheese and charcuterie plates, the latter sourced mostly from the famous charcutier Eric Ospital in Basque Country. There are also several Corsican offerings, a reference to the family origins of chef Lavergne-Morazzani. A perfect spot for a timeout during a visit to Versailles.

La Cave du 11
8 Rue de la Chancellerie, Versailles. Tel. (33) 1-72-24-23-25

Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle


The elegant dining rooms of this beautiful hotel are open to the public, with different menus by chef Alain Ducasse served at lunch and dinner. We highly recommend the latter, since it’s a candlelit feast served at elegantly dressed tables — Puiforcat cutlery, Baccarat glassware and Bernardaud porcelain — by staff dressed in period costume. Our sumptuous meal began royally, with a caviar-topped coddled egg in a mantle of whipped egg white, and continued with two superb starters: roasted pumpkin with wild mushrooms and hazelnuts and lobster in aspic with wild herbs. Next, a perfect fillet of turbot with sautéed ceps and roasted chicken with a truffle sauce and entremets — spiced quince, root vegetables and a pâté of the bird’s gizzards served on toast points. Honey water, made with nectar from the hives at Versailles, was served as a palate cleanser before desserts of roasted fig with fresh cheese and a chocolate-praline ganache. This tour de force of classical French cooking was beautifully served, and we were also impressed by the wines in the wine-pairing option we chose. Ultimately, this is such a memorable experience that we highly recommend that the evening end in one of the hotel’s magnificent rooms. Otherwise, with advance notice, the hotel can arrange a car and driver to bring you back to Paris. Dinner for two, $650.

Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle
12 Rue de l’Indépendance Américaine, Versailles. Tel. (33) 1-85-36-05-77

Le Pincemin

Midway between the Château de Versailles and the Versailles — Rive Droite train station, where trains arrive from the Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris, chef Xavier Pincemin’s vest-pocket restaurant has a chic modern décor of white walls, black-marble-topped tables and apricot-colored velvet banquettes. Pincemin has a love of citrus fruits, seafood and vegetables, which is apparent in his regularly changing menus.

Highlights of our most recent meal here included delicate lobster-stuffed ravioli, a perfectly cooked veal chop and a wonderfully perfumed and tangy deconstructed lemon tart. This small restaurant also has a surprisingly good and fairly priced wine list, and service is impeccable and friendly. Since this table is another local favorite, reservations are essential.

Le Pincemin
10 Boulevard du Roi, Versailles. Tel. (33) 9-83-50-29-64

Le Jardin des Plumes


Visiting Giverny from Versailles, as opposed to Paris, is an excellent idea, because you can be at the gates to the Fondation Claude Monet when they open and enjoy visiting the painter’s house and acclaimed gardens before they fill with tour bus crowds. For a memorable lunch during this excursion, book a table at talented chef David Gallienne’s good-looking one-star restaurant with a fanciful modern décor. Gallienne uses the best seasonal Norman produce in brilliantly inventive ways, including scallops with cannelloni, watercress and raw cream, a delicious starter we had here recently, and a succulent piece of turbot cooked on a hot stone with Jerusalem artichokes. His riffs on Camembert — in beignets, as a cream, and in a terrine — were outstanding, too.

Le Jardin des Plumes
1 Rue du Milieu, Giverny. Tel. (33) 2-32-54-26-35

Read more about our editor’s trip to the Versailles

By Andrew Harper Editor Andrew Harper editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
.article-cta-bottom

Keep Reading

Tagged: