Paris is split into districts and each has its own unique style and often budget when it comes to restaurants. Like any major city you can eat a tasty lunch for as little as $5.00 or go to a Michelin star restaurant and pay $200.00 for three courses. So we can’t list all options here, but we can give you some advice on where to find certain types and budgets of restaurants, and also provide some ideas for non-restaurant eating which might save you some money and help you discover Paris in a different way.
Really with Paris restaurants you get what you pay for in general, but there are certain tourist hot-spots to avoid where second-rate food is sold at high prices. So as a rule try to get away from the crowds to pick a restaurant, or look on-line to see what’s rated highly. Some suggestions below for each district on which Paris restaurants you could visit during your Paris vacation:
Alternatives to Breakfast in your Hotel
When you look at booking a hotel in Paris you will likely find you have to pay more for breakfast, and this can often cost $15.00-$20.00 per person per night. If you’re planning to start your sight-seeing early everyday then you might be better advised to visit a cafe for breakfast instead as you can choose exactly what you want and likely pay half the price for it.
Picnics in Paris
The public parks in Paris are beautiful and so is the food from the deli shops in the side streets. Why not combine the two and put together your own picnic for lunch one day? There is nothing more relaxing than sitting on a bench on a sunny day in the Jardins du Luxembourg while breaking into a fresh baguette, and combining it with Brie or Camembert cheese, foie gras and cold cuts of meat.
Some of the best places to pick up your picnic essential items are:
L’Epicerie on Ile St-Louis – gourmet items
La Masion Lafitte on Ile St-Louis – foie gras specialist
Calixte on Ile St-Louis – croissants, pates, terrines and desserts
La Ferme Saint Aubin on Ile St-Louis – cheese
Eating in Ile St-Louis
You will find restaurants for all budgets on Ile St-Louis with several brasseries and bistros serving lunch and dinner. Alongside french cuisine at places like L’Orangerie, Le Vieux Bistro and Chez Paul there is a good Japanese restaurant called Isami, and a tapas style tavern called Taverne Henry IV which serves wine with small plates of food.
One of the most famous eating establishments on Ile St-Luis is Berthillon the ice cream parlour where you can enjoy single scoops or glorious desserts combining several ices and cream. If you like ice cream this is a must-visit!
Eating in Beaubourg & Les Halles
The areas of Beaubourg and Les Halles have some very good restaurants as well as pubs/ taverns.
There are several highly rated and highly priced haute cuisine restaurants of repute in this district such as Gerard Besson and Benoit. Other restaurants of repute here are Au Pied de Cochon serving offal, steak and oysters; Chez Deniz open 24hrs a day and serving up large steaks; and Cafe L’Escargot Montorgueil for your first and maybe last taste of snails.
The pubs and taverns of Les Halles serve up some of the best beers in the world. Irish bars like Guinness Tavern and Flann O’Brien’s serve draft Guinness and other ales, while The Frog & Rosbif is an English style pub with hearty meals and beers. Cafe Oz is a noisy Australian bar serving Australian beer and wine, while Au Trappiste serves some of Belgium’s best beers.
One of my favourite places in Les Halles is Le Sous-Bock Tavern a Belgian tavern which has over 400 beers available, 200 whiskies and mussels (moules) to die for. If you’re not able to add Belgium to your European itinerary then make sure you add this tavern and get a taste for Belgium…you’ll love it!
Eating out in Marais and the Bastille
The Marias and Bastille regions are trendy and in good condition having been revived in the 1990’s. Amongst the museums and magnificent mansions you will find some of Paris’ best budget restaurants, many of which you will have to book ahead of time because of their popularity. These include Gil Angeli an Italian restaurant renowned for its Carpaccio and Tiramisu; La Galoche d’Aurillac serving food from the Auvergne region of France with its hearty dishes including stuffed cabbage; Bofinger Pari’ oldest brasserie which has a good fixed price menu; and Bistrot les Sans-Culottesa steak restaurant serving good food at good prices.
Eating in the Tuileries and Opera Quarters
Once the home to the rich and famous these neighbouring quarters still accommodate some of the finest restaurants in Paris, expect to pay big dollars for world-class food. Michelin star restaurants such as L’Esoandon, Le Grand Vefour, and Lucas Carton stand out here.
For those on a more modest budget you could try Chartier which serves up simple French food, or Les Bacchantes with its extensive wine list and fine menu.
Eating around the Champs-Elysees Quarter
During your visits to the designer shops along the Champs-Elysees you may find time to get lunch and you will certainly find plenty of equally expensive restaurants to match your shopping list. Some of these are inflated due to their location, reeling in tired shoppers in need of refreshment. But amongst them are some very good restaurants such as Alain Ducasse rated as one of the best chefs in Paris, Guy Savoy another top chef who serves experimental dishes, and Taillevent famous for its seafood and truffles.
Another favourite nestled at the eastern end of the Champs-Elysees is Angelina a grand Victorian-style tea room famous for its thick-thick hot chocolate (so thick they give you a glass of water to wash it down) and its delicious pastries. Another Parisian experience not to be missed.
Eating in the Eiffel Tower and Invalides Districts
Due to the enormity of the Eiffel tower, and its expansive gardens at its footings, and the surrounding Invalides district being the home to embassies and government buildings there aren’t that many restaurants to pick from around here, but there are some options.
Le Divellec is renowned as one of the best seafood restaurants in Paris, L’Arpege is the home to a top chef and delightful menu, Altitude 95 on the 1st level of the Eiffel Tower has good views of course and a reasonably priced lunchtime menu, while Au Petit Tonneau is a budget bistro with meaty dishes.
Eating in the St-Germain, Latin and Luxembourg Quarters
Variety is the spice of life in these bustling quarters to the south of the Seine. It is the home to Parisian cafe-culture, as you will soon discover as you realise every table and chair in every cafe faces outward while their occupants watch you as you pass by. You’ll soon join them and watch in fascination as the city wonders by your seat as you sip a cafe-au-lait.
Some of Paris’ best chocolatiers reside in this area with Christian Constant, Caco et Chocolat and Jean-Paul Hevin being top destinations for chocolate-lovers. Alongside these are many fine patisseries serving up mouth-melting macaroons, lemon and strawberry tarts. Well-frequented patisseries are Gerard Mulot, and Gaulupeau.
The St-Germain and Latin Quarters are good places to find very good mid-priced restaurants, as there’s plenty of competition around here and the food has to be good and competitively priced. Try L’Epi Dupin, Les Bookinistes, Alcazar, La Bastide Odeon, Le Coupe-Chou or Chez Henri au Moulin a Vent. Dishes such as Chateaubriand, frogs legs, escargot, boeuf bourguignon, blanquette, risotto, and duck a l’orange will all leave you craving French cuisine when you get back home.
Around the St Michel area you will also find some good late night eateries including street stalls serving kebabs and grilled meats…just in case you get peckish again after a few drinks.
Eating in the Jardin des Plantes Quarter
In this quieter district of Paris you will find the Jardin des Plantes which is an open public park which is a nice setting for a picnic. Local patisseries, epicieries and boulangeries should suffice in providing the contents of a delicious picnic.
This area is another good location to find inexpensive good food. Locals like places like Le Terroir, L’Aimant du Sud, Anacreon, Les Vieux Metiers de France, Chez Paul, Coco de Mer, L’Avant-Gout, and Le Zyriab.
Eating in the Chaillot Quarter
For an after-dinner stroll there are few more spectacular views than from the Palais de Chaillot on its hill overlooking the river and Eiffel Tower. This alone should encourage you to eat dinner in this quarter one evening.
Les Bistrot des Vignes is a favorite of ours, a small bistro serving good food in an unpretentious manner. Other favorites here are La Butte Chaillot, Le Scheffer, Le Petit Retro, Brasserie de la Poste, and Zebra Square.
Eating in the Montmartre & Pigalle Quarters
If you avoid the overly-expensive restaurants and bistros around Sacre-Coeur you’ll then be able to find a more reasonably priced and less-touristy restaurant with good food. Le Moulin a Vins is famous for its duck a l’orange; while Chez Jean serves tasty fish dishes. Chez Catherine the Provencal 1950’s style bistro is a contrast to Haynes a Mexican style restaurant with loud music. La Table de las Fontaine is home to the mouth-watering oxtail stew, a flavour if never tried before shouldn’t be missed by meat-lovers.
We hope to add some more reviews here very soon but hopefully the suggestions above will get you started, and don’t forget to visit Trip Advisor to see what other visitors to Paris are saying about the restaurants they’ve visited.