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We exited our Airbnb apartment, strolling down Rue du Renard away from the Pompidou; turning right onto one of Paris’ largest thoroughfares, Rue de Rivoli. Once on Rivoli, we walked past the Hotel de Ville within earshot of Notre Dame passing an assortment of boulangeries and fromageries including noted MOF affineur Laurent Dubois and Boulanger Manon.
After a few short blocks, we tingled with excitement as we approached our Parisian dinner destination – The Grilled Cheese Factory.
The Grilled Cheese Factory?!!
Yes. You read that correctly folks – our first dinner in Paris was grilled cheese. We were in Paris on a mission to eat American classics: Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Barbecue and … Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.
During the previous food-focused month Lyon, we were floored by the gigantic yet perfectly prepared burgers at Les Frangins. We learned that this American food fascination began in Paris and was championed by chefs wishing to stretch the culinary boundaries of French gastronomy to create something new and exciting.
These chefs, many of whom previously cooked in the best restaurants in Paris, are now pouring ‘new wine in old bottles’ as they reach for fresh sources of inspiration to create and elevate classics that many of us would consider mundane. And, in many ways, they’re doing this with American food in Paris.
Where to Eat American Food in Paris
As you fill your Paris itinerary with museums and other cool tourist spots, be sure to save time to try a sampling of Paris restaurants. Of course, you will want to eat classic Paris food dishes at charming bistros and perhaps experience one or two of the top restaurants in Paris.
For a unique twist, why not try the French take on American food classics? This option is especially great for budget travelers looking for good but cheap restaurants in Paris. And, as a bonus, many of these restaurants are located in the best areas to stay in Paris, so there’s no need to travel far in your quest for dinner.
If you’re wondering where to eat in Paris, throw out your Paris restaurant guide for a few meals and check out these American-style joints:
The Grilled Cheese Factory
As we entered The Grilled Cheese Factory in the Lower Marais, our heads turned immediately to the open kitchen just to the right of the door. There, two chefs were grilling large triangular sandwiches on a trio of skillets. The diagonally sliced sandwiches were lying face down in their respective pans.
Grilling the cheesy inside of the sandwich? How come we never thought of that? And the ingredients?
Melty fresh cheddar, full-flavored pastrami (a deli favorite in Paris) and other notable fillings like local farm bacon and deeply caramelized onions. Crisped to perfection on bread sourced from MOF boulangerie Ganachaud, these grilled cheese are an excellent choice for travelers looking for cheap eats Paris options.
The Grilled Cheese Factory has two locations in Paris. We ate at the one located at 9 Rue Jacques Cœur, 75004 Paris, France.
Frenchie To Go
Chef Gregory Marchand blazed new culinary trails in Paris in 2009 with the opening of Frenchie, a restaurant that unashamedly draws in Non-French influences like American and Italian food to the French culinary canon. Now, Marchand offers a number of American classics at his latest venture, Frenchie To Go.
Think you’ve seen some great hot dogs? Check out Marchand’s simple yet elegant take on the American tube meat classic.
Frenchie To Go grills a thin hot dog and places it on a massive hot dog bun stylishly dressed (in Parisian style, of course) with swirled yellow mustard. After tasting the slightly smoky, beefy grilled dog, Daryl swore that the restaurant must be importing their links from New York, but we later found out that the hot dogs are actually made in-house.
One of the more affordable restaurants in Paris, Frenchie To Go makes a drool-worthy Reuben as well as other staples like Pulled Pork and Lobster Roll sandwiches. They also serve worthy Non-American specials including creamy burrata with whole and shaved white asparagus, strawberries and black olives.
Combine the great food with a casual family atmosphere, and the result is not to be missed.
Frenchie to Go is located at 9 Rue du Nil, 75002 Paris, France.
Trust the French, whose culinary classics include slow-cooking stalwarts like Boeuf Bourguignon, Blanquette de Veau and Coq au Vin, to lovingly embrace the barbecue concept of ‘low and slow’ cooking at The Beast, one of the most popular places to eat in Paris France.
And how was the brisket at this popular Paris restaurant you ask? Pretty darn good.
The moist and juicy meat contains a perfect red smoke ring like we would expect in America, but the rub, dotted with whole peppercorns, was unmistakably French. The French will never just plop food on a plate, and the barbecued meat was plated next to a pool of sauce much like a steak in a fine restaurant. Even on the cheap, dining in Paris is always a special event.
The Beast has three locations in Paris. We ate at the original one located at 27 Rue Meslay, 75003 Paris, France.
We stopped in Le Ruisseau for burgers while bar hopping with our friends at Our Tasty Travels. While Le Ruisseau’s burgers aren’t quite as epic as the ones we ate at Les Frangines in Lyon or Le Pied de Mammouth in Strasbourg, they are loaded with flavor.
This hole-in-the-wall serves a fine blue cheeseburger made with Blue d’Auverne and a goat cheeseburger with St, Maure de Touraine. Plus, the fries served with our burgers were perfectly crisp. Is there a more perfect quick meal than hamburgers for four Americans dining in Paris? Maybe. Maybe not.
We view a restaurant like Le Ruisseau as a bridge between the large burgers we would eat in a fine restaurant and the kind of burgers that are served at Shake Shack, our favorite American fast food joint.
That Parisians, however, maximize their ability to use the kinds of superior products (cheeses, meats and condiments) that are only available in France, elevating the burgers, even at cheap places to eat in Paris, to a finer dining experience.
Le Ruisseau has two locations in Paris. We ate at the one located at 22 Rue Rambuteau, 75003 Paris, France.
Now that we’ve eaten some of the best American food in France, we’re ready to return and check out the Paris restaurant scene from a different angle. We never tire of eating out in Paris!
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.