Our caviar-topped baked potato arrives, just in time. With the slimmest of windows between Dior and the Giambattista Valli shows, we’ve just dashed over to Caviar Kaspia at Place de la Madeleine - known as the fashion professionals' canteen - for a taste of what has become the restaurant’s cult classic. But as we take our first bite of caviar and fluffy potato, we notice several well-known fashion editors finishing up. How did they manage that? Did they miss Dior? Unlikely, but the industry's unfailing allegiance to this little bit of Russia in the heart of Paris is intriguing. In honor of the spring/summer 2016 Haute Couture shows that started in Paris this week, we examine why this niche restaurant has us returning.
First opened in 1927 by Russian émigré Arcady Fixon, this discreet but prominent fixture on the Paris scene has been situated in its current spot since 1953. And although we love its old world elegance – it instantly appealed to the city’s Russian aristocracy and members of Paris’ privileged society – the restaurant attracts a decidedly more contemporary, Céline-clad crowd today.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé can be found among members of the Parisian style set, including everyone from Betty Catroux and Ines de la Fressange to Sofia Coppola and Charlotte Gainsbourg. And once a favorite dining spot of the late Yves Saint Laurent, it attracts fellow designers, such as Tom Ford and Giambattista Valli, as well as brands, who often host dinners there. Even on a regular night, it's not uncommon to have Grace Coddington to your right and Carine Roitfeld at your left.
Despite the changing face of its clientele, the atmosphere at Caviar Kaspia has remained constant over the decades, and its inherent sense of camaraderie keeps us, and the fashion crowd, coming back.
Perhaps its popularity is due to the fact that the restaurant manages to successfully maintain an air of exclusivity and secrecy, despite its prominent position in the 8th arrondissement. It is accessed through the caviar shop on the ground floor and up flight of narrow wooden stairs, and the intimate décor gives the space the feel of a private members club, rather than a public restaurant.
So what’s on the menu? In addition to a selection of the world’s finest caviars, classic dishes include simple smoked salmon served with blinis and a king crab salad, not forgetting the restaurant’s signature Pomme De Terre Au Caviar, a twice-baked potato topped with caviar, accompanied by crème fraîche and the traditional mother-of-pearl spoon. Service is gracious, and the spirit of choice? Iced Russian vodka or chilled champagne. Not unlike the ideal fashion collection, the menu is a lesson in simple but sophisticated luxury. Full of heritage thanks to the influence of opulent Tsarist Russia, yet with the humble baked potato as the new, contrasting element.
17 Place de la Madeleine
+33 1 42 65 33 32