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What It’s Like To Eat At Septime In Paris

Getting a reservation at Septime in Paris is a challenge that requires an equal combination of good timing and good luck. But is dining at Bertrand Grébaut’s popular neo-bistro worth the extra effort?

Last Bite of Beetroot Kebab at Septime in Paris

As soon as Septime releases reservations each day, they’re immediately snatched up and gone like front row tickets at a Springsteen concert.

We’re not far from the mark when we jokingly refer to Septime as the hottest ticket in town. Despite the neo-bistro’s compact size and streamlined Nordic decor, an enormous number of diners vie for the relatively small number of lunch and dinner reservations available for Septime’s weekday meals.

Septime Dining Room in Paris
Septime’s dining room has an urban chic design replete with reclaimed wood furniture, naked light fixtures and an open kitchen.

We understand the competition from personal experience – it took us three days of trying to get a reservation. You see, Septime may open tables 21 days in advance, but you can’t just wait until midnight to snag a table…

Instead, you have to jump on the website at just the right time of day to be ‘privileged enough’ to score a resy. After fortuitously visiting the website at the exact right moment, we scored a 1pm lunch reservation exactly three weeks before the last day of our Paris trip. Just five minutes later, there was nary a reservation to be found.

Brief History Of Septime In Paris

Septime in Paris
Septime’s simple blue exterior blends into its 11th arrondissement block. Some people even walk by the acclaimed restaurant without knowing that it’s there.

After more than a decade, Septime has transitioned from rebellious upstart to become a major player in the Paris restaurant scene. But, to be honest, despite its originally edgy location in the 11th arrondissement, Septime had culinary chops before both the restaurant and its neighborhood became trendy.

Betrand Grébaut wasn’t exactly a neophyte when he opened Septime with partner Théophile Pourriat in 2011. Originally a graffiti artist who trained to be a graphic artist, Grébaut paid his dues by attending culinary school, interning for Alain Passard at L’Arpège and helming the kitchen at L’Agapé.

Read about our mostly vegetarian lunch experience at L’Arpege.

Chef Working at Septime in Paris
Art and food converge in Septime’s open kitchen. Pictured here, one of the Septime chefs is rolling hot sliced beets for the restaurant’s Beets in XO Sauce dish.

Chef Grébaut brought all of those experiences to the table at Septime, a restaurant that seems to get more inspiration from Noma and other Copenhagen restaurants than it does from its Paris brethren. Beyond its simple decor, Septime sources more than 90% of its ingredients from within France with a focus on vegetables, whole animals and natural wine.

Septime earned a Michelin star in 2014 and has been a fixture on the 50 Best Restaurants list since 2013, earning the list’s sustainability award in 2017 and currently occupying the coveted 24th spot. Grébaut and Pourriat also operate Septime La Cave (one of our favorite Paris wine bars), Clamato (a raw seafood restaurant) and Tapisserie (one of our favorite Paris pastry shops) within steps of Septime. Like Paris restaurants Frenchie and Bistrot Paul Bert, Septime rules its block along Rue de Charonne.

Buy Septime, La Cave, Clamato, D’une île to learn more about the history of Septime and follow its recipes.

Our Lunch At Septime

Cuttlefish at Septime in Paris
Served with dan dan sauce and topped with crispy potato bits, this silky cuttlefish was a delight. Not surprisingly since we were in France, the sauce’s spice level wash’t particularly spicy.

We wanted to love Septime but, alas, that wasn’t the case.

Our multi-course lunch tasting menu was well executed and satisfying. We were even wowed by a couple of the dishes, especially the Beets in XO Sauce. The lunch was moderately priced at 65€ per person considering the restaurant’s stature and accolades. The spartan room was pleasant and our worn wood table was comfortable.

Our issue was with the service.

Jersey Beef at Septime in Paris
Prepared with Jersey beef procured from southwest France, our main dish at Septime glistened with a sauce made with kumquats and capers.

Promptly seated when we arrived, our meal flowed at a rapid pace that was more New York than Paris. Throughout the lunch, we barely put down our utensils before the next course arrived at our table. The speed was most apparent when it came to our wine pairing.

We don’t usually opt for wine pairings but we went for this one based on its mix of unique natural wines produced both within France and as far away as Georgia. However, considering the lightning speed of the meal’s pace, we would have been happier savoring a full bottle. Plus, a bottle would have been less expensive.

Granted, we’re not fast drinkers but we would have liked to have finished our pricey glasses of wine before the next course arrived. And the way our final two glasses of dessert wine (Mémoire from the Jura) were whisked away before we could finish them was inexcusable. Yes. There were plenty of diners still in the dining room and after committing 90€ between the two of us for the wine pairings, we would have preferred to enjoy every last sip.

Chocolate Ganache at Septime in Paris
No simple chocolate ganache, our dessert featured pistachios sourced from Sicily and crunchy chocolate tuiles.

To be clear, we can’t fault any of the food we ate during our meal. While no dish was magnificent, a couple dishes reached great status, specifically the previously mentioned beetroot as well as cuttlefish served with dan dan sauce and crispy onion bits.

The service issues weren’t related to language since Septime’s servers all spoke better English than we speak French. We couldn’t help but hear more than a few American accents in the dining room as well as among the servers and in the kitchen.

The servers just weren’t interested in taking the time to explain the dishes or even tell us what they were without us asking multiple times. Perhaps they should have given us a list of dishes either before or after our meal since none of the food was listed or described in the menu.

Beyond the Food And Wine At Septime

Sourdough Flatbread at Septime in Paris
Septime’s menu is more international than French. Expect dishes like this sourdough flatbread served with labneh and za’atar.

Dining at Septime is a score for food travelers who want to experience an affordable meal at a Michelin starred restaurant in Paris. But, frankly, we’ve had better neo-bistro food at Le Chateaubriand and Pierre Sang without having to watch their reservation pages like we were waiting for a release of Hamilton tickets in 2015.

We understand why Americans want to eat at Septime. The neo-bistro has star power. Plus, speaking French is far from mandatory since the staff all speak English. But, considering the allure of wanting to eat someplace truly ‘Parisian’, we can’t quite embrace the attraction ourselves.

Pro Tip
If you score a lunch reservation and choose to dine at Septime, manage your expectations and save room for a pastry at Tapisserie. In retrospect, the fantastic Tartelette au Sirop l’Érable we shared at Septime’s sister patisserie was the best thing we ate in Paris that day.

Septime is located at 80 Rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris, France.
Clamato is located at 80 Rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris, France.
Septime La Cave is located at 3 Rue Basfroi, 75011 Paris, France.
Tapisserie is located at 65 Rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris, France.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best way to secure a reservation at Septime?

Contact Septime exactly 3 weeks before you want to dine at Septime. The restaurant releases reservations 21 days in advance (at varying times of the day) and they go quickly. While you can try calling the restaurant, we achieved success with Septime’s online booking system.

How much does lunch at Septime cost?

At the time of our visit, Septime’s five-course lunch was priced at 65€ per person and its lunch wine pairing was 45€ per person. The restaurant also offered an optional cheese course for 15€ per person which we chose not to order. As always, prices are subject to change.

What’s the dress code at Septime?

Septime doesn’t have a dress code. Most guests including us were dressed in a style best described as smart casual.

Is tipping necessary at Septime?

No. Tipping is optional in France.

What’s the best way to get to Septime?

Depending on where you’re located in Paris, you can walk or you can take a bus, car share, taxi or the metro.

How many courses does a meal at Septime include?

At the time of our visit, Septime’s lunch menu included five plates served over five courses.

Is dining at Septime worth the extra effort?

Only you can answer this question. However, one meal at Septime was more than enough for us considering the variety of wonderful restaurants in Paris ranging from classic to nouveau.

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About The Authors

About The Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.


Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

We self-funded our lunch at Septime.

Original Publication Date: March 14, 2022

Anton M

Saturday 16th of April 2022

Hello! At what exact time were you online to make the reservation? 12 midnight Paris time?

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Saturday 16th of April 2022

After two days of unsuccessfully trying at different times, we got the online reservation at around 2pm Lisbon time / 3pm Paris time / 9am NYC time. In our experience, there wasn't a set reservation release time and we simply got lucky with our timing. Good luck!

Shane Wood

Saturday 2nd of April 2022

How long did lunch at Septime take, curious how much time to carve out. Thanks!

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Tuesday 5th of April 2022

About two hours. Have a nice lunch and don't let them rush you through the wine pairing.

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