Best Museum Restaurants

Time was, eating in a museum was sort of a captive audience, no other choice experience. Their "kitchen" consisted of a  microwave and a coffee maker. Plastic forks? Paper napkins? Bus your own table?

Paris may have started the trend toward fine museum dining that could stand on its own. Restaurants that would become destinations in themselves.

Here are the best:The Musée d'Orsay actually has two: The Café Campana, near the Impressionist gallery was recently reopened with an Art Nouveau décor and a brasserie menu.   But the best feature is the glass window that is the back of one of the giant clocks on the exterior of the museum.

                        Café Campana
. The main dining room, called simply "The Restaurant" was built in 1900 as part of the hotel that was incorporated in the railroad station. It's Rococo ceiling could have come from Versailles. It serves traditional French Cuisine. 

The Restaurant at the Musée d'Orsay


Inside the Muse Guimet, the best collection of Asian art in Europe, is Le Salon des Porcelains, a pan Asian delight. Dim sum, noodles, sea bass with ginger, Thai style salmon, and jasmine tea. 

le Salon des Porcelaines

The Musée Jacquemart-André, built in 1868, is palatial home full of art. Its restaurant itself is a work of art. The onetime Louis XV ballroom of this elegant mansion is a perfect place for lunch. One does not need to buy a museum ticket to eat there, so it has a regular following. Get there before one o'clock to get a table.

The Musée Jacquemart-André Restaurant

The Musée du Vin is set in a residential neighborhood. It's made up of miles of tunnels carved into the hillside of the old village of Passy in the 13th century to mine limestone for the building of Paris. An order of monks who settled in the area 200 years later widened the vaulted ceilings and used them as wine cellars. In 1984 the long abandoned tunnels were bought by a wine tasting society and turned into a museum that celebrates the history of winemaking. Naturally, any restaurant in such a place had better be good. A recent munu featured roast pork and lamb stew, paired with a great red wine.                            

Musée du Vin Restaurant

Let me know if you find any other great museum restaurants.

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