From Paris with Love: Benoit Tokyo

It was my first time to the city of lights, the city of love – the one and only Paris. It was the middle of winter, and it was so cold the city’s fountains were full of icicles and no matter how many layers I put on I was still freezing. I’d made plans with some new friends from the hostel I was staying at to have lunch at a nice restaurant. I’d heard about Benoit from my brother, a chef and lover of fine dining. This Michelin-star bistro run by Alain Ducasse opened its doors back in 1912 and is known for its nostalgic charm. Unfortunately, my friends bailed last minute but I was still keen to go – after all, how often do you have the chance to dine in a classic Parisian bistro?

Considering how busy it was, I was lucky to get a table. The waiter did a double take when he saw me on my own but immediately gave me the biggest smile. The food was excellent as expected, the interior was cosy, the plate designs were beautiful, but to this day what left the greatest impression was the service. The waiter was so good at making sure I was happy – constantly chatting with me and making jokes in between serving other customers. The cold outside was long forgotten, replaced by this bubble of warmth.

Benoit Paris
Benoit Paris
Benoit Paris
Benoit Paris

Fast forward two years, my brother is visiting Japan with a friend and discovers Ducasse has opened another Benoit right here in Tokyo. Naturally, we have to go. Tokyo’s Benoit branch is located in Aoyama, between Shibuya and Omotesando. The La Porte Aoyama building also houses the Elle cafe and a Pierre Hermé shop – macaron heaven! Benoit is up on the 10th floor, with huge glass windows offering beautiful views of the city.

We are seated at a window table and are greeted by one very charismatic waiter. His English is amazing as he has spent time overseas, and his demeanor is so different from the other waiters serving Japanese customers. As we make our way through the courses, he comes and chats to us often and all of my fond memories of the Parisian waiter flood back. It’s amazing that these two guys, on opposite sides of the world but working for the same establishment, are so alike!

Benoit Tokyo
Benoit Tokyo
Benoit Tokyo

My image of classic bistro cooking is none of those experimental dishes with dry ice steam or foam sauces, but something simple and hearty. Stews, sautés, soups. Seasonal ingredients. Decent servings. The Tokyo Benoit was exactly this. Between the three of us, we had braised pork, seared scallops and bouillabaisse, as well as entrées and desserts. The food was impeccable in both presentation and taste. And we were so full by the end we almost couldn’t finish dessert!

Benoit Tokyo
Entrées
Benoit Tokyo
Benoit Tokyo
Benoit Tokyo
Benoit Tokyo
Desserts

Being bright and spacious, the interior of the restaurant didn’t look exactly like the original but it did resemble a polished Parisian brasserie. All of the furniture and decor were sourced from France which gave an authentic feel to the space. Apparently Ducasse himself picked up a lot of the display items from flea markets in France. It’s all in the details! The main dining space had antique chandeliers and wall lamps, while an alcove to the side was covered in beautiful wallpaper and a stunning ceiling fresco fit for Versailles. I also loved the floor to ceiling windows in the bathroom along with the floral wallpaper, brick flooring and marble sink. I always think a bathroom says a lot about a restaurant! 

Benoit Tokyo
Vintage French products
Benoit Tokyo
A wooden Eiffel Tower; and a bathroom with a view
Benoit Tokyo
A cheerful farewell!

If you’re interested in visiting this restaurant, check out their website >  www.benoit-tokyo.com/en/

What has been a memorable dining experience you’ve had? Have you ever been to the same restaurant in different cities or countries?

22 thoughts on “From Paris with Love: Benoit Tokyo

  1. How cool to have a Tokyo Benoit! The closing waiter photo was a nice touch and your food photos are just so good!
    That bathroom does look amazing and I agree – the restrooms say a lot about a place and I would love to visit either one of the locations someday!
    In the meantime – when we need s touch of a French – a local place here is called the Can Can ( Richmond va) – mmm
    Wishing you a nice weekend ;)

    Like

    1. Thanks, Y! We asked the waiter to pose for a pic as we left, haha. He made it such a fun dining experience. That’s great you have a go-to French restaurant too. I’ve got a couple here in Tokyo. It’s the next best thing to actually being there! xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh and at first I thought you were going to say you had the same waiter (maybe he moved to help open the place up In Tokyo) – but then read they were similar (which is still cool) And you are right- it is nice to have a “go to” place for different culture foods! And recently had a taste of Japan at a local B & B (fish for breakfast was so good and of course all the tea….)

        Like

        1. Haha, now that would have been a bizarre coincidence!! And that’s cool you got to try a Japanese breakfast. Since moving to Japan I rarely drink anything aside from Japanese tea – genmaicha is my favourite :)

          Liked by 1 person

          1. the genmaicha sounds good – I hope I can try it sometime.
            My very favorite drink right now is kombucha – because my body loves it so much – I heard about it for years (and I guess it has been around since antiquity) but I did not drink it enough to feel the perks. Drinking it daily has been great….

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks sublime! Definitely a place to enjoy dining out. Sounds like you enjoyed the service. Both Paris and the Tokyo restaurants’ are now on the bucket list.

    Like

    1. Oh cool, so glad to hear you enjoyed it, too. Were you there for lunch or dinner? I would love to go back for dinner with the city night lights in the background!

      Like

      1. I was there for lunch. I was alone, but that didn’t seem to be an issue at all. Ooo, going back for dinner sound like it would be really pretty.

        Liked by 1 person

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.