Sam, Brenna and Shannon used their “call a friend” life-line for the restaurant section and asked foodie friend Michelle to be guest-writer. A passionate traveler, who’d rather spend her whole travel budget on a gourmet meal than on souvenirs, Michelle has kindly written this section. A fount of savoir-faire, with some of the best recommendations around, this is the page that even Brenna, Sam and Shannon have bookmarked!

Michelle on Paris Restaurants…
“Eating out in Paris has evolved greatly over the past years, and the city now offers a diverse landscape with traditional French bistro fair, intricate haute cuisine options, excellent ethnic food (at last!), and even some American inspired brunch spots.  For the past ten years, the concept of le fooding (=food and feeling) has aimed to break traditional French gastronomic codes and conformity.

Paris is obviously known for its French food, but it is a diverse and multicultural city.  Whereas in the past “ethnic” food was viewed by many as a cheap option for students, more and more international dining options are opening to high reviews.  Of course, don’t expect to find the same ethnic food you crave in the United States, England, or your home town.  While good Mexican and South American food is hard to come by in Paris, you will enjoy excellent food from former French colonies, including Vietnam, Cambodia, and North Africa.  There are more and more “American-style” eateries popping up, but be warned that they will likely offer the most exorbitant prices for hamburgers and pancakes that you’ve ever seen!

Then there are the restaurants that emphasize style over substance, many of which also have bars or become clubs at night.  The most obvious example of this phenomenon are the Costes restaurants, run by the brothers behind the world famous Hotel Costes (again, famous for their music compilations more than their food) and a long list of other trendy Parisian cafes and restaurants, including some of our favorites, Le Georges (on top of Centre Pompidou) and Café Beaubourg.  That is not to say that their food is bad – it’s actually fine, albeit expensive – but it’s not the main draw for their customers.

Despite common fears that a good dinner in Paris must set you back a significant amount of money, you don’t have to search for Michelin stars to have a nice meal!  Although there will always be super famous or that moment’s “hype” Parisian eateries, we would also encourage you to get to know more low-key neighborhood places, where the food can be just as good but with a more local and low-key atmosphere.  Parisians tend to stick to their neighborhood restaurants more than, say, New Yorkers would.  And many of these restaurants will be much more affordable.

If you’re on a tight budget, check for “Paris pas cher” signs in restaurant windows – they will guarantee you are getting a good price/value ratio when eating out.  You can also look for restaurants with “formules” or fixed price menus that offer three-course meals for under 20 euros at lunch and under 35 at dinner.  Getting a carafe or a bottle of wine is a lot cheaper in French restaurants than it would be in the United States, especially if you opt for the house wine.  On the other hand, cocktails are less common and will be expensive.  Keep in mind that most restaurants, especially those in the center of the city, charge a very high price for drinks like soda.  This is because many people buy a soda or coffee and spend hours in a cafe, but it’s probably best to skip the coke and get tap water and/or wine.  If you don’t want to skimp on quality, you can also take advantage of Parisian food markets, and lax open container laws, to get high-end ingredients for a cheap, gourmet picnic near in a park.  The specialty food shops lining rue Montorgeuil similarly allow you to construct a delicious meal, one store at a time.

Finding the perfect restaurant in a city filled with as many options as Paris offers can be daunting.  Especially when you’re looking for an authentic restaurant experience and not a tourist trap, of which there are many, especially in the center of the city.  Here are some tips and addresses that we’ve collected over the year to serve as a jumping off point for your own culinary adventures.”

Practical Tips:

Parisians stick to traditional mealtimes, lunch is served between 12pm and 2:30pm and dinner between 7:30pm and 10pm.  Many places in Paris are small so it is best to reserve, especially Wednesday-Saturday nights.  As a rule of thumb, it is better to be overdressed than underdressed when dining out.  Of course, you can dress more casually in bistros and brasseries, but you should never wear flip flops and baggy jeans.

Restaurants by Arrondissements

le fumoir (trendy, cocktails, brunch, Louvre, 75001)
macéo (French, modern, Palais Royal, 75001)
quai quai (traditional, informal, cozy, Ile de la Cité, Pont Neuf, 75001)
matsuri (Sushi bar, Japanese, multiple locations)
baan boran (Thai, local, Palais Royal, 75001)
angelina tea room and café (café, hot chocolate, patisserie, touristy, tuileries, 75001)
Rue Saint-Anne Japanese food (Japanese, local, cheap, 75001)
Restaurant TaishinHigumaNaniwa-ya


liza (creative, Lebanese, modern, Bourse, 75002)
la fontaine gaillon (Opera/Place Vendome, French, seafood, upscale, 75002)
bob’s kitchen (healthy, vegitarian, Arts et Metiers, 75003)
chez janou (French/Provencal, pastis, informal, Marais, 75003)
le petit marché (bistro, hip, informal, Marais, 75003)
404 (Moroccan, trendy, Arts et Metiers, 75003)
derrière (eccentric, 75003)
anahi (Argentinian, steak, pricey, trendy, Marais, 75003)
le marché des enfants rouges (cheap, local, 75003)
merci (café, lunch, 75003)
le taxi jaune (old-fashioned, French, unique, Marais, 75003)
candelaria (taqueria, charming, tiny, informal, brunch, North Marais, 75003)
chez omar (Moroccan, couscous, informal, Marais, 75003)
le lac de l’ouest (Chinese, cheap, tiny, 75003)

fallafel in the Marais (cheap, famous, Jewish, Marais, 75004)
mi-va-mi, l’as du fallafel, chez hanna
l’ebouillanté (café, charming, outdoor space, juices, Marais, 75004)

le cosi (Corsican, local, special occasion, Sorbonne/Pantheon, 75005)
le pré verre (modern, fusion, French, Maubert-Mutualité, 75005)
la grande mosquée de paris (Moroccan, 75005)

le comptoir du relais – French, charming, Odeon, 75006)
le bistrot d’henri – classic, French, Mabillon, 75006)
coffee parisien (trendy, American, brunch, Mabillon, 75006)
la palette (café, trendy, lunch, hot spot, St-Germain-des-Prés, 75006)
ladurée (tea room, macarons, upscale, St-Germain-des-Prés, 75006)
brasserie lipp (bistro, historic, touristy, St-Germain-des-Prés, 75006)
le relais de l’entrecôte (steak and frites, French, touristy, St-Germain-des-Prés, 75006)

le comptoir du 7ème (French, bourgeois, local, reasonable prices, Ecole Militaire, 75007)
les ombres (French, inventive, very expensive, view, 75007)
bellota-bellota (Spanish, deli, cheap, 75007)

black calvados (inventive, expensive, fancy, rock, intimate, Champs-Elysees, 75008)
pershing hall (expensive, trendy, upscale, Champs-Elysees, 75008)

rose bakery (brunch, charming, expat, 75009)
hotel amour (trendy, outdoor, cocktails, 75009)
bouillon chartier (French, historic, informal, Grands Boulevard, 75009)
le cul de poule (French, trendy, charming, 75009)
da carmine (Italian, pizza, cheap, 75009)

hôtel du nord (canal saint martin, 75010, French, charming, trendy)
la fidelité (canal saint martin, 75010, French, hot spot, trendy)
au sésame (brunch/lunch, American, bagels, Canal Saint Martin, 75010)
chez prune (Canal Saint Martin, Bobo, 75010)
el guacamole (Mexican, taqueria, cheap, charming 75010)

le chateaubriand(classic, French, hyped, reserve early, Oberkampf, 75011)
café de l’industrie (French, traditional, Bastille, 75011)
septime (updated French, Charonne, 75011)
le café charbon (French, traditional, Oberkampf, 75011)
le bar à soupes (soup, French, Bastille, 75011)
le train bleu (belle époque, expensive, Bastille, 75011)
verjus (gourmet, fusion, tasting menu, 75011)
l’estaminet (French, traditional, charming, 75011)
pizzeria arlecchino (Italian, pizzas, cheap, take away, 75011)

l’avant gout (French, traditional, michelin star, Place d’Italie, 75013)
chez maman (maghreb, algerien, Corvisart, 75013)
 (rooftop restaruant, food truck, Gare d’Austerlitz, 75013)
Pho 14 (Vietnamese, Tolbiac, 75013)

bagatelle (outdoor, French, festive, Bois de Boulogne, 75016)
le cristal room (French, upscale, OTT, Philippe Starck, Baccarat, Boissière, 75016)
bon (French, upscale, Philippe Starck, La Muette, 75016)

restaurant convivium (Italian, upscale, 75017)

café burq (local, creative, Montmartre/Abbesses, 75018)
la famille (local, creative, Montmartre/Abbesses, 75018)
chéri bibi (local, informal, Montmartre/Abbesses, 75018)
le refuge des fondus (cheap, touristy, fun, fondue, Montmartre/Abbesses, 75018)
floors (trendy, burgers, Montmartre, 75018)
ristorante al caratello (Italian, informal, Montmartre/Abbesses, 75018)
la fourmi (ecclectic, bar food, Montmartre, open late, 75018)
au bon coin (local, French, traditional, cheap, 75018)

krung thep (Thai, tiny, casual, Belleville, 75020)
au rouleau du printemps (Vietnamese, tiny, cheap, Belleville, 75020)


Restaurant Guides and Links
le fooding
secrets of paris
paris by mouth
david lebovitz 
alternative food and beverage
paris city mag
paris untapped cities
food spotting
ou bruncher
pot of paris
pret a voyager
do it in paris
paris (im)perfect
unlock paris

Vegetarian Paris:
hip paris

Gluten- Free Paris:
david lebovitz


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