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20 of the Best Restaurants in Paris

Our quest to eat at the best restaurants in Paris is a life long project that keeps evolving. Discover our current favorites and start planning your own food trip now.

Inside Chez George in Paris

We weren’t the first to fall in love with the food in Paris and we won’t be the last. The city’s food scene has become legendary all over the world, inspiring acolytes like Ernest Hemingway and Julia Child.

We never go to bed hungry in Paris – the city has more restaurants than we could visit in a year much less a week. Every trip, we choose where to eat from a bottomless well of worthy dining options that never runs dry.

Discover the Paris food favorites not to miss during your visit.

Inside Au Pied de Cochon in Paris
Some Paris restaurants, like Au Pied de Cochon, are big, bustling and boisterous. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Sure, the city has more than its fair share of Michelin-starred establishments helmed by restaurant icons like Alain Ducasse and Alain Passard. Without a doubt, these 100+ luxury restaurants are worthy destinations for big-budget diners celebrating a special occasion.

But the Paris restaurant scene is so much more.

Le Chateaubriand Dining Room in Paris
Other Paris restaurants, like Le Châteaubriand, have intimate dining rooms. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Timing matters a lot, especially if you travel during the summer. Paris, still as independent and cool as ever, hews to tradition with many restaurateurs closing their doors for all or part of August. Be sure to check a given restaurant’s website and social media for closure information. Parisians need their August beach time. Right?

And, as is the case in much of Europe, doing advance research and planning is key when it comes to scoring reservations and experiencing memorable meals. Many Paris restaurant websites now have reservation systems. You must check those sites in advance and act quickly.

Pro Tip
Make advance reservations as soon as you book your hotel room or apartment. Otherwise, you’ll likely experience dining disappointment since the best places to eat in Paris tend to book up in advance.

The Best Paris Restaurants | Where To Eat In Paris

Billili and Les Arlots in Paris
The first step to eating well in Paris is deciding where to eat. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

People often ask us how we decide where to eat in Paris.

Sometimes we discover restaurants through online research. Other times we get recommendations from Parisian restaurant workers and baristas. And, occasionally, we follow our noses into eateries that catch our attention.

We’ve done the research and we’ve eaten the food. These are our picks for the best restaurants in Paris:

1. Les Arlots – Excellent Bistro Near Gare Du Nord

Sausage at Les Arlots in Paris
We loved eating Les Arlots’ Sausage and Mashed Potatoes. We later discovered that it’s an an award-winning signature dish. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

If you travel to Paris from London via the Eurostar train or use public transit to get to town from the Charles de Gaul Airport, you’ll most likely drift through Paris’ 10th arrondissement.

The immediate area around the Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est train stations used to be blighted and ugly with cheap hotels and a seedy street scene – but that situation is rapidly changing. Today, a short walk either east or west of the stations will transport you to some of Paris’ most fun and funky areas. To the east, near Place de Republique, is one Paris’ most vibrant areas, running along the Canal St. Martin.

Skate Wing at Les Arlots in Paris
We ate this wonderful ‘simple’ skate wing topped with carrot and girolle (chanterelle) mushrooms at Les Arlots. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

To the west is a sort of no-nonsense nether zone between the Gare du Nord and Montmartre labeled as SoPi (south of Pigalle). There you’ll find intimate restaurants tightly filled with Parisians eating simple yet elegant bistro food while seated elbow to elbow.

Les Arlots is one of those restaurants.

Daryl with Chef Thomas Brachet at Les Arlots in Paris
Daryl was all smiles during our meal at Les Arlots. He’s pictured here with Chef Thomas Brachet. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Chef Thomas Brachet serves what he humbly calls a ‘simple’ menu at Les Arlots. For us, food like his simple, expertly constructed, porky pâte de campagne is what we love about eating bistro classics in Paris.

Brachet’s main courses are just as satisfying. We loved eating his skate wing, served with earthy yet sweet carrots, carrot purée and a generous amount of girolle (chanterelle) mushrooms.

We especially adored his snappy, award-winning house sausage (Sausage Les Arlots) served with a rich sauce and creamy potato purée. When you dine at Les Arlots, this is a must-order dish.

Toruine de Campagne at Les Arlots in Paris
This Terrine de Campagne des Arlots starter set the tone for our meal filled with classic French dishes cooked with a sense of modernity. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Summertime, when tables spill onto the sidewalk, is a great time to eat at Les Arlots. Then again winter is also a great time to order comforting dishes from the bistro’s blackboard menu. Let’s face it, it’s always a great time to eat at Les Arlots. The same goes for its jovial wine bar, Billili, which serves surprisingly great food next door.

Les Arlots is located at 136 Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, 75010 Paris, France.

More Restaurants Near Gare Du Nord
Carton Paris (boulangerie), Café le Deux Gares and Chez Michel

2. Chez Georges – Traditional Bistro In The 17th Arrondissement

Diners at Chez George in Paris
The opposite of a tourist trap, Chez Georges is a bistro that beguiles both locals and tourists. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

If you want to experience the archetypal, old school bistro experience, start at Chez Georges. Want ratatouille? Start at Chez Georges? Rillettes and cornichons? Salade frisée with lardons? Sole meuniere? It’s best to begin at the bistro in the 2nd.

We have to wonder how many bistros of all types have duplicated or at least were inspired by Chez George’s interior, lined with banquettes and wooden chairs that look like they’ve been there since the 1920s (the restaurant’s 1960 roots are more recent) and arched mirrors that sit adjacent to small blackboard menus. Of course there’s a zinc bar and that’s across from a large painting of Frenchman playing Jeu de Mail – an early version of stick sports like golf, croquet and polo.

Mindiat at Chez George in Paris
If you’re wondering if Mindi is beguiled by the painting behind her head or the glass of red wine in her hand, the answer is yes. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

There may be a game up on the wall but, for us, there was no game to what we ordered. We wanted classics and dove right into the restaurant’s excellent rillettes and crunchy cornichons along with ratatouille and a Lyon-inspired salade frisée that may have been better than salads we’ve previously eaten in Lyon.

A bold statement? The salad’s tendrils of frisée, heartily dressed in mustard, interspersed with chunks of pinky finger sized bacon lardons and topped with a perfectly poached egg, will make you a believer too.

Channeling our inner Julia Child, who was known to eat in this hallowed spot, we ordered sole meunière.

It was a beautiful piece of fish with that even ridge of white flesh that makes dover sole so meaty and satisfying. It could have used a bit more salt but we added that later, along with a generous squeeze of lemon, and it tasted fine. (Undersalting food seems to be a trend all over France. We chalk it up to universal medical access. That being said, the French make up for it with cheese.)

Sole Meuniere at Chez Georges in Paris
Don’t worry – we didn’t add additional butter to this shareable sole meuniere. However, we did add both fresh lemon juice and salt to the iconic French fish dish. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

As for dessert, we shared a profiterole.

Profiterole at Chez George in Paris
Just when we thought we couldn’t be surprised by profiteroles, Chez Georges served us this decadent version floating in chocolate sauce. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Anyone who knows this legendary choux pastry bistro dessert knows that no explanation is necessary.

Chez Georges is located at 1 Rue du Mail, 75002 Paris, France.

More Traditional Bistros In Paris
À la Biche au Bois, Bistrot Des Tournelles and L’ami Jean

3. Bistrot Paul Bert – Classic Bistro Near Place Bastille

Bistrot Paul Bert in Paris
Locals and travelers fill the shabby-chic dining rooms at Bistrot Paul Bert for lunch and dinner five days and nights of the week. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Far from a hidden gem, Bistrot Paul Bert is firmly on the radar for locals and travelers who enjoy elevated yet affordable bistro fare. Though it feels like it’s been around for a century, Bertrand Auboyneau opened the popular Paris bistro in 2000.

Bistrot Paul Bert offers an a la carte menu; however, ordering the three-course prix fixe dinner (priced at 41€ at the time of our meal and subject to change at any time) is the way to go unless your heart is set on cote de beouf. Presented on a handwritten chalkboard menu, the options available during our meal ran the gamut from classic trout menuière to seasonal asperges blanches (white asparagus).

Pro Tip
Grab a seat next door at La Cave Paul Bert if you can’t wrangle a reservation at the bistro. You can experience the bistro’s food while you sip on a glass or two of excellent wine. You can even order steak if you’re extra hungry.

Tartare at Bistrot Paul Bert in Paris
This luscious chopped beef tartare came with crispy frites (fried potatoes) and a green salad composed of frisée, radicchio, tiny croutons and tangy mustard vinaigrette. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The chefs at Bistrot Paul Bert have been cooking for decades. We could taste their experience in dishes like mullet carpaccio with lemon and cauliflower on top and sautéed squid flavored with preserved lemon.

Mindi ordered her usual tartare and was pleased with her chunky puck of mixed onion, gherkins and parsley.

Daryl went rogue by ordering beef tongue. Not only could he taste the various levels of preparation from the homemade stock to the braised tongue cooked until meltingly tender, but it was the first time that he’s eaten tongue that tasted better than his grandmother’s.

Paris Brest Bistrot Paul Bert in Paris
Simply described on the English menu as choux pastry with pastry cream, this Paris-Brest was nothing short of a masterpiece. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The three-course meal includes a final course of either cheese or dessert. Selecting the signature Paris-Brest named after a historic bike race between the two cities is a must for its light choux pastry and divine praline-buttercream filling. We also enjoyed a buttery, sugary Grand Marnier souffle that was as big as it was light.

Be warned that, dining at Bistrot Paul Bert comes with a side of service ‘tude. This is ultra cool Paris after all. We had to assert ourselves to avoid sitting in a back room designated for tourists and waited interminably for our bill after requesting it multiple times. We also didn’t appreciate our server glad-handing for a tip after claiming that “it was his first night” while working the room like he’d been there for years.

Service issues aside, Bistrot Paul Bert is a Paris restaurant that we fully recommend and will happily revisit whenever we’re in the neighborhood – assuming we can score a reservation without angst which isn’t a given (see above reference to ‘tude) these days.

Bistrot Paul Bert is located at 18 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris, France.

More Restaurants Near Place Bastille
Boucherie Les Provinces, Clamato, Le Baron Rouge (wine bar), Marché d’Aligre (market), Mokoloco and Septime

4. Au Pied de Cochon – Classic Brasserie In Les Halles

Au Pied de Cochon in Paris
Au Pied de Cochon is far from a hidden gem. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

It may be gauche of us to seek out the archetypal soupe l’oignon but who doesn’t love the ‘rich’ simplicity of stretchy cheese, beefy broth with pulverized onions and supple soaked bread.

Au Pied de Cochon serves the best restaurant version we’ve eaten in Paris. It’s not overfilled with onions. It has a dark bronze crust of stretchy Emmental cheese reaching from rim to rim. And the broth is rich and beefy with large globs of pleasantly soggy bread.

Onion Soup with Spoon at Au Pied de Cochon in Paris
Eating French onion soup is a must in France. However, the iconic soup is simply called soupe l’oignon (i.e onion soup) at restaurants like Au Pied de Cochon in Paris. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Au Pied de Cochon is a brasserie in the truest sense of the word.

You can look around and ogle at the colorful Greek revival space where spherical glass grapes overflow from the light fixtures. And, as the restaurant’s name suggests, you can eat pig’s feet here which Daryl gladly tried as part of The Temptation of Saint-Anthony “Patron of the Butchers” plate.

Its mix of ears, tails and bones is a bit of a chore to eat which is okay if you’re adventurous and enjoy an old-school eating challenge. But, If he had to do it again, he would have ordered the more eater-friendly stuffed pig’s foot instead.

Temptation of Saint Anthony at Au Pied de Cochon in Paris
Au Pied de Cochon’s The Temptation of Saint-Anthony “Patron of the Butchers” plate, with its assortment of meaty morsels, is a vegan’s worst nightmare. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Expect a throng of people, including families, chowing down on the local fare, wine in hand, when you dine at Au Pied de Cochon. While it was calm when we arrived at 7pm on a late spring evening, we noticed a large line forming out the front door just a half hour later.

Our service was hurried but still competent. Mindi’s 14-hour candied pork loin came ridiculously overcooked (it must have been sitting under a heat lamp for an extra half hour), so we sent it back with no argument. Sure enough, the properly cooked replacement plate had wonderful depth of flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Au Pied de Cochon is located at 6 Rue Coquillière, 75001 Paris, France.

More Classic Brasseries In Paris
Bofinger (mixed reviews), Grande Brasserie and Le Dôme (Seafood)

5. Frenchie – Michelin Starred Bistro In The 2nd Arrondissement

Truffled Potato and Celeriac at Frenchie
Truffles were the star ingredient in this potato and celeriac feuilleté starter at Frenchie. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Described as a ‘micro-restaurant’ by Chef Grégory Marchand, Frenchie serves a seasonal prix-fixe menu that’s simultaneously global and local. After working around the world in cities like Hong Kong and New York, the acclaimed chef is adept at sourcing local product and adding international flavors.

Despite its notoriety, Frenchie is a small space with a fairly limited schedule that only serves dinner on week nights. The restaurant’s five-course dinner menu currently costs 140€.

Read our Frenchie restaurant review.

Cheese Selection at Frenchie in Paris
Brandied cherries and housemade chutney brought a French flair to Frenchie’s British cheese plate. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

You won’t find Frenchie’s menu online since it changes frequently. Expect dishes like foie gras with caramelized pecans and grilled guinea fowl, both featured during our meal.

That meal started with gougeres made with French Comté cheese and ended with a British cheese selection sourced from London’s Neal’s Yard Dairy. Highlights included a ridiculously tasty truffled potato and celeriac feuillete as well as smoked salmon brightly flavored with Meyer lemons and pickled turnips.

Frenchie is located at 5 Rue du Nil, 75002 Paris, France.

More Michelin Restaurants In Paris
Paris currently has 130 Michelin-starred restaurants including nine thee-star restaurants, 15 two-star restaurants and 106 one-star restaurants. You can read about them all on Michelin’s website.

6. Le Châteaubriand – Neo Bistro In The 11th Arrondissement

Le Chateaubriand in Paris
Le Châteaubriand sets the bar for neo bistros in Paris. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

People in Paris love to offer their opinions when it comes to restaurants. Those opinions change like seasons. That being said, we’ve never heard a bad remark about Le Châteaubriand. Not a peep.

Ask a local server about a lauded restaurant like Septime and you may be greeted with the kind of industry silence that speaks volumes of negativity without saying a word. With new bistros coming and going, there always seems to be a restaurant of the moment.

This isn’t the case with Le Châteaubriand which has taken its place as a classic neo bistro. In fact, if there was a list of classic ‘new’ restaurants or neo bistros in Paris, you’d probably find Le Châteaubriand at or near the top.

We’d always heard about the 11th arr. restaurant but the planets never quite aligned – we always had other plans or the bistro was closed on the nights of our visit. Finally, the timing was right and we scored a table at Le Châteaubriand where we enjoyed a meal worthy of the bistro’s reputation.

Gougeres at Le Chateaubriand in Paris
Adding poppy seeds to gougères isn’t the norm in Paris or beyond. Based on these tasty poppy-topped gougères we ate at Le Châteaubriand, perhaps it should be. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Le Châteaubriand’s Chef Iñaki Aizpitarte, a Basque native, epitomizes the modern Paris chef, integrating international flavors into the tightness of a Paris plate. It’s been awhile since he was the ‘new thing’ so, in a way, chefs like Aizpitarte, who have shed many of the stodgy traditions of the Paris dining scene, have become legends.

That being said, Le Châteaubriand’s constantly changing chef’s tasting menu retains a certain relevancy that feels fresh, new and free of gastronomic trickery. Some of the dishes like scallops, plated in a dome of endive, are ingenious. Magret de canard (duck breast) became memorable when served with a chocolate brown “duck ravioli” in a wonderfully glossy sauce.

But, evidenced by the poppy seed gougères that commenced our meal, Le Châteaubriand has not forgotten its Parisian roots. This is the kind of exciting dining we seek when we’re in Paris.

Le Châteaubriand is located at 129 Avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris, France.

More Neo Bistros In Paris
Café les Deux Gares, Le Cafe de Mars and Le Servan

7. Arpège – Three Star Michelin Restaurant In The 7th Arrondissement

Arpege in Paris
Arpège’s main dining room feels fresh and bright thanks its fresco paintings. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Eating at a three-star Michelin restaurant in Paris wasn’t our goal until we saw Arpège featured on Netflix’s Chef’s Table, France. Helmed by acclaimed Chef Alain Passard, the Left Bank restaurant caught our eyes both for the beauty of its plates and its mostly vegetarian restaurant.

The concept of a three-star Michelin restaurant that eschews meat and seafood may seem incongruous but Passard pulls it of with a mostly vegetable menu that draws heavily from his farms outside Paris. There’s an almost Beethoven-esque quality to his food which is not as much about innovation as it is about expression and refinement.

Read our Arpège restaurant review.

Winter Radish Carpaccio with Kalamata Bottarga at Arpege in Paris
We didn’t miss meat when we ate this winter radish carpaccio at Arpège. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

While our lunch wasn’t vegan or even vegetarian in the strictest sense, it celebrated vegetable from start to end. Yes, even our desserts featured ingredients like celery and Jerusalem artichoke. It was also a leisurely affair that included twelve savory courses and three sweet courses.

At its essence, Aprège celebrates local products grown in France. Dining here is a must for culturally curious travelers whether they typically eat meat or not.

Arpège is located at 84 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris, France.

More Three Star Restaurants In Paris
Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen, Épicure, Kei, L’Ambroisie, Le Cinq, Le Pré Catelan, Pierre Gagnaire and Plénitude – Cheval Blanc Paris

8. Le Baratin – Classic Bistro In Belleville

Le Baratin in Paris
Chef Raquel Corena (far right) holds court at Le Baratin, a classic Paris bistro and favorite of chefs throughout the city. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We ate at Le Baratin for the first time in January 2010, capping off a day trip to chilly Versailles and a gorgeous sunset walk through Père Lachaise. We loved the intimate bistro’s atmosphere and loved the food even more.

Back then, Le Baratin’s Argentinian-inflected French cuisine was lauded as a hidden gem by Paris food authorities. Alex Lobrano’s enthusiastic admiration contributed to its status as a must-eat for food lovers visiting Paris.

Tempted to return a decade after our first meal, if for no other reason than to improve our dreadful photos, we solidified our decision after receiving a slight nudge from Frenchie’s Chef de Cuisine Sasha Minins. Lucky enough to score a last-minute Saturday night dinner reservation, we invited our niece Danielle to join us for this culinary trip down memory lane.

Ravioli at Le Baratin in Paris
At Le Baratin, simple, large, earthy mushroom boletus (a French version of porcini) ravioli are stuffed with ricotta and pine nuts. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

In the 10-year gap between meals, it was easy to forget the rusticity of Corena’s utterly French menu dotted with occasional flirtations toward her native Argentina. Our meal brought those memories back.

While Danielle shared tales about exercising her young brain in Italy, Daryl dug into cervelle de veau – creamy calf’s brain in a lemon butter sauce – one of the bistro’s longtime favorites.

Veal Rib at Le Baratin in Paris
Le Baratin’s Braised Lamb Shoulder is Parisian comfort food. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We enjoyed our meal with a fabulous, if slightly pricey, Cabernet Franc from Loire Valley. The wine paired well with braised one-pot dishes like epaule d’agneau (i.e. braised lamb shoulder) and travers de veau – a veal rib served over a light drizzling of Barolo vinegar.

The food of Le Baratin is best enjoyed on a cold Paris night with a bottle of wine from the restaurant’s excellent natural wine menu. Hopefully, we’ll be back a third time before 2030.

Le Baratin is located at 3 Rue Jouye-Rouve, 75020 Paris, France.

More Restaurants In Belleville
Ama Siam, Dame Jane, Il Posto, Le Cadoret, Le Jourdain, Ravioli Nord-Est (cheap eats) and Restaurant Chez Alex Wenzhou

9. La Bourse Et La Vie – Daniel Rose’s Bistro In The 2nd Arrondissement

Tartare at La Bourse et La Vie in Paris
Every tartare we eat in Paris is its own thing. The coarsley chopped, mosaic-like version at La Bourse et la Vie is a hearty, rustic meal on a plate. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Open since 2015, La Bourse et la Vie is a classic French bistro ironically helmed by an American. The irony is not so palpable considering that the American is Daniel Rose, the chef responsible for Paris’ Spring and Chez La Vieille (both now closed) as well as Le Coucou in New York.

Dining at La Bourse et la Vie was a no-brainer for us after experiencing Rose’s vision at Le Coucou. Although La Bourse et la Vie offers a full dinner menu, going for lunch was an equally easy decision since the restaurant’s midday meal provides excellent value.

Steak au Poivre at La Bourse et La Vie in Paris
Modern Bistro La Bourse et la Vie serves a classic entrecôte Steak au Poivre. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

House-made fresh cheese spread with chives and shallots and a beautiful, rainbow-like salad with large heirloom tomatoes, herbs and olives started our meal. Soon after, sides of dressed butter lettuce and an epic bowl of crispy frites that was almost impossible to finish accompanied our main course.

But, without a doubt, the meat was the star of the show.

Mindi’s rustic steak tartare was a round mound of chunky raw meat surrounded by egg yolk, egg whites, capers, onion, anchovy, pickles and garlic. Daryl’s generous entrecôte steak, prepared to a wonderful à point doneness with a hint of smokiness, shared the plate with an elegant sauce just viscous enough to avoid being thick or runny.

La Bourse et La Vie is located at 12 Rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, France.

More Restaurants In The 2nd Arrondissement
Aux Lyonnaise (bouchon by Alain Ducasse), Chez Georges, Echo, Frenchie and Stohrer (Paris’ oldest patisserie)

10. Bouillon Julien – Gorgeous Bouillon In The 10th Arrondissement

Bouillon Julien Interior in Paris
Bouillon Julien lives up to its tag line that ‘here everything is good, beautiful, and inexpensive’ starting with its opulently decorated dining room. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Bouillon Julien oozes with history from its vintage cash register to its menu filled with classic French dishes. Though only operating as a bouillon since 2018, this popular bouillon is in a fabulous art nouveau building that dates back to the turn of the 19th century.

Edith Piaf dined here with her lover Marcel Cerdan in the 1940s. Decades later, the building achieved historical monument status in 1997. You really have to see the space to believe it – calling the restaurant ornate is an understatement.

Painted nymphs, stained glass and mirrors adorn sea-green walls covered with sconces galore while floral tiles cover the floor. It all sounds incredibly gaudy and yet the result is beautiful.

Escargot at Bouillon Julien in Paris
We deemed these escargot to be ‘garlicious’ though we could have certainly called them ‘butterlicious’ instead. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Beyond its decor, Bouillon Julien’s affordable menu attracts a mostly local crowd for lunch and dinner. Though empty when we arrived for our lunch just past noon, the bouillon soon filled and was bustling when we left an hour later.

Our lunch included a selection of French food favorites starting with ‘garlicious’ escargot and crab-filled tarama and continuing with tête de veau and bouillon.

Lunch at Bouillon Julien in Paris
Our lunch at Bouillon Julien filled our bellies without breaking our bank. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

How could we resist ordering the bouillon’s signature dish, a beefy broth loaded with pasta, braised beef, lemongrass and ginger? We couldn’t and we didn’t.

A big bowl of frites and a carafe of ruby red Gamay wine completed our meal. Paying our bill, which clocked in at just under 40€ including service, was the opposite of a hardship. In fact, it was a pleasure.

Bouillon Julien is located at 16 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris, France.

More Bouillons In Paris
Bouillon Chartier, Bouillon Pigalle and Bouillon République

11. Le Train Bleu – Famous Paris Restaurant Inside Gare de Lyon

Le Train Bleu in Paris
Located in the Gare de Lyon train station, the dining room at Le Train Bleu is nothing short of glorious. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Le Train Bleu is a restaurant that has to be seen to be believed. If you’re visiting Paris on a budget, we propose a few ‘hypotheticals’ in which you can experience what is probably one of the grandest restaurant spaces in the world:

  • Eat breakfast on your first morning before heading to your hotel room or apartment.
  • Splurge on lunch between museum visits.
  • Enjoy a simple coffee and croissant before boarding a train to Lyon or Provence.

We chose a variation of option one assuming that we’d be seated in the main dining room. Alas, our breakfast was served in the quieter, less opulent ‘salon’ section of the restaurant.

Omelette at Le Train Bleu in Paris
Though this omelette wasn’t the best we’ve ever eaten, our Le Train Bleu meal was still an elegant breakfast experience. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Priced at 13€, our omelette was good though cooked with a surprising degree of brown. (We were taught that the French don’t brown their omelettes.) The accompanying bread service, which included fruit confiture and Normandy butter, clocked in at 7.50€.

The restaurant, originally built for the 1900 Paris Exposition along with the Gare de Lyon, transports diners to the Belle Epoque with its intricate relief sculptures, humanist paintings and mirrors that enhance the ‘wow’ effect. Just passing through the ornate art-nouveau room is a thrill. Eating here is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Le Train Bleu is located at Place Louis-Armand, 75012 Paris, France.

More Famous Restaurants In Paris
Arpège, Bistrot Paul Bert, L’ami Jean, L’As du Fallafel and Le Tour d’Argent

12. Septime – Most Difficult Reservation In Paris

Septime in Paris
While Septime’s blue building blends into the neighborhood, it stands out like a sore thumb to in-the-know food travelers. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We’re not far from the mark when we jokingly refer to Septime as the hottest ticket in town. Despite the neo-bistro’s compact size and streamlined Nordic decor, an enormous number of diners vie for the relatively small number of lunch and dinner reservations available for Septime’s weekday meals.

We understand the competition from personal experience – it took us three days of trying to get a reservation. You might find that crazy considering the immense number of restaurants in Paris and we don’t necessarily disagree. But eating at Septime was a must once we scored that golden ticket, i.e. lunch reservation at Septime.

Read our Septime restaurant review.

Cuttlefish at Septime in Paris
Although cuttlefish are far from the cuddliest fish in the sea, we deemed this creative cuttlefish dish to be hug-worthy. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Betrand Grébaut brought a range of experiences when he opened Septime in 2011 with partner Théophile Pourriat. Originally a graffiti artist who trained to be a graphic artist, Grébaut paid his dues by attending culinary school, interning for Alain Passard at L’Arpège and helming the kitchen at L’Agapé.

Fast forward to the present and the popular Paris restaurant has a Michelin star and has a seemingly permanent spot on William Reed’s 50 Best Restaurants list. It’s also spawned a mini-empire that includes Clamato, Septime La Cave and Tapisserie.

Septime is located at 80 Rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris, France.

More Popular Restaurants In Paris
Cédric Grolet Opéra (patisserie), Frenchie, Granite, Bistrot Paul Bert and Le Jules Verne

13. Breizh Café – Crêperie In The Marais

Breizh Cafe in Paris
Tourists and Parisians line up to eat crêpes at Breizh Café in Paris’ Marais neighborhood. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

After growing up eating crêpes in Brittany, Chef Bertrand Larcher started his crêpe empire in Tokyo. He later opened his first Paris crêperie in the Marais where he serves a full menu of sweet crêpes and savory galettes as well as oysters sourced from Brittany’s Cancale.

We didn’t grow up eating crêpes and were previously unfamiliar with the buckwheat version (commonly called Gallette Bretonne) until our Breizh Café lunch. After his first bite, Daryl joyfully exclaimed that the hearty flavor reminded him of kasha, a dish he’s enjoyed since childhood at family holiday dinners. Mindi just smiled and dug in with gusto.

Terre Neuve Crepe at Breizh Cafe in Paris
Eating crêpes at Breizh Café is the next best thing to eating crêpes in Brittany. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Breizh Café’s menu separates its savory galettes into four categories – classics, ‘complètes’, house specialties from the sea and house specialties from the farm. The restaurant uses organic eggs and sources ingredients like buckwheat flour and andouille sausage from Brittany.

During our lunch, we ate two ‘compléte’ galettes – one topped with mushrooms, scrambled egg, ham, Comté cheese and onion confit and the other topped with a sunny side up fried egg, Comté cheese and andouille. The flavor of the raw milk Comté cheese paired well with the earthy buckwheat base in both, though we preferred the mushroom galette between the two.

Cider at Breizh Cafe in Paris
If you’re wondering what to drink at Breizh Café, the answer is cider. We recommend buying a bottle to share. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We washed down our lunch with bowls of Breizh Café’s Jean Charles Bignon artisan cider. A funky, refreshing bargain, we instantly regretted not ordering a full bottle. It was that good.

Breizh Café has multiple Paris locations. We dined at the Marais location at 109 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris, France.

More Crêpe Restaurants In Paris
Brutus, Chez Alain Miam Miam, Crêperie Bretonne Fleurie, Crêperie le Petit Josselin and Krügen

14. Brasserie Lazare Paris – Brasserie Inside Gare Saint-Lazare

Lazare in Paris
Mindi and our friend Amanda had tough choices to make while perusing the menu at Brasserie Lazare Paris. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Think again if you think that Le Train Bleu (see above) is the only notable Paris restaurant located inside a train station. Case in point – Brasserie Lazare Paris is in the forecourt of Gare Saint -Lazare.

Open since 2013, the brasserie is what you’d likely expect of a large brasserie situated inside a train station. It’s busy. It’s fairly informal. And its menu has a gamut of French dishes that somehow all fit on one concise page.

We ate several of those dishes. Some, like rillettes de canard and tartare de boeuf, were traditional and familiar. Others were more unique – namely a whole artichoke served with green beans and a flavorful mashup of garlic-fried calamari with calamari.

Desserts finished our meal. Not settling for one sweet treat, we shared beignets aux pommes (apple donuts) and a profiterole.

Brasserie Lazare Paris is located at Rue Intérieure, 75008 Paris, France.

Most Famous Paris Restaurants Located Inside A Train Station
Le Train Bleu

15. Pierre Sang – Chef-Driven Korean-Influenced Food In Oberkampf

Pierre Sang in Paris
Pierre Sang is one of the reasons why we adore Oberkampf in Paris’ 11th arrondissement. The hip restaurant serves bold flavors without breaking the bank. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The first restaurant opened by Chef Pierre Sang after he competed on Top Chef France in 2011, Pierre Sang (the restaurant) manages to be simultaneously simple and sophisticated with a rotating set menu that blends flavors from the chef’s home country (Korea) and adopted country (France).

Lunch guests can choose two, three or five plates while evening diners get six courses. Prices are ridiculously fair, ranging from 23€ for the two-course lunch to 44€ for the six-course dinner at the time of our visit. Prices are subject to change at any time.

Hake with Corn Sauce at Pierre Sang in Paris France
Our Pierre Sang lunch commenced with a hake starter enhanced by ingredients like corn sauce, wasabi peas, fennel and spring onions. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Hedging our bets, we opted for three courses during our midday meal. Though it was more than enough food, we regretted not going for the full five based on the quality of the hake as well as pork loin garnished with gochujang miso sauce, haricot verts, mustard grains, broccoli puree and baby corn.

Street Art Girl in Paris
Banksy or not Banksy? That was our question during lunch. Apparently the answer is no. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

And how can we forget our dessert – four apple preparations on one seasonal plate – chantilly, sorbet, baba and cider – which we slurped and sipped with childlike glee.

We also can’t forget the street art that we viewed through the restaurant’s window. We thought it was Banksy but the art’s signature said otherwise. Either way, the whimsical design provided a harmonious complement to our satisfying meal.

Pierre Sang is located at 55 Rue Oberkampf, 75011 Paris, France.

More Restaurants In Oberkampf
Astier, Au Passage, Aux Deux Amis (wine bar), Café Mericourt (brunch and coffee), French Bastards (boulangerie/patisserie), Le Rigermarole and Surpriz (cheap eats/döner kebabs)

16. Maison – Chef-Driven Cuisine In The 11th Arrondissement

Maison in Paris
A vaulted ceiling and open kitchen set the urban farmhouse tone at Maison in Paris. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Considering the mutual affection between Tokyo and Paris, it’s no coincidence that a Japanese chef helms one of the city’s most exciting restaurants. Prior to opening Maison, Sota Atsumi trained at Michelin-starred restaurants in Lyon as well as at famed Le Maison Troisgros before making waves at Paris’ Clown Bar. Now on his own, Atsumi has created a culinary oasis in the city.

Diners enter Maison through a spartan ground-floor lounge that leads up a stairwell to a sophisticated, sun-drenched dining room situated in an ultra-modern space with a vaulted A-frame ceiling, hexagonal tiles lining the walls and a chef’s counter facing the kitchen. This is an urban farmhouse with large exposed maroon beams stretching over the room’s vast communal table.

But, at the end of the day, the real wow is in the food.

Monkfish at Maison in Paris
Chef Sota Atsumi‘s plates tell a story. Pictured here is line-caught monkfish served with firmly cooked French mushrooms and foie gras. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Starting with chestnut bread baked in the kitchen’s wood oven and miniature cloud-like tartlets filled with onion and haddock, we enjoyed a two-hour journey that took our taste buds to the Basque Country and beyond.

The aforementioned Basque Country can claim credit for the yellowfin tuna and monkfish as well as the cider, but Maison’s culinary team took each item further. Slabs of tuna, layered with paper-thin grapefruit, burst with acidity.

Atsumi’s Meaty monkfish was multidimensional – feeling more like a culinary journey than a mere plate of food. On this food trip, an initial bite of simple meaty flesh segued into flavors of herbs, mushroom, rich sauce and foie gras that unfolded like chapters in a book.

Squab at Maison in Paris
The restaurant’s chef, Sota Atsumi, is one of the brightest stars in the Paris dining scene. Pictured here is his rendition of Squab with claw on. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Buttery tender squab grilled on charcoal was served claw-on in recognition that the squab was once a living being. A tube of thick pasta arrived with a tasty liver-like sauce starkly similar to the banh xeo sauce we’d eaten in Da Nang, Vietnam.

We ended our Maison meal with brie noir de Coulommiers, an earthy, nutty cheese aged for 12 months, paired with an equally earthy, nutty fig walnut bread made with buckwheat flour. However, proving that enough isn’t really enough in Paris, we found room for pear crème brûlée served with olive oil ice cream, candied kumquats and cereal crunchies.

Maison is located at 3 Rue Saint-Hubert, 75011 Paris, France.

More Chef-Driven Restaurants in Cuisine In Paris
Arpège, Frenchie, Le Baratin, Le Châteaubriand and Pierre Gagnaire

17. Restaurant Le Dalí – Afternoon Tea In One Of Paris’ Most Exclusive Hotels

Afternoon Tea at Le Dali in Paris
We enjoyed this tea tower topped with world-class pastry chef Cedric Grolet’s ‘apples’ and ‘passion fruits’ at Le Dali in the Hotel Meurice. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

There’s nothing like slowing down, relaxing and enjoying a dose of fine living after a day of hectic sightseeing in Paris. With the city’s embarrassment of pastry riches, experiencing afternoon tea is a must in Paris with no lack of options.

You can enjoy your tea with Russian grandeur, next to an intimate courtyard or (as we did) at Le Dali inside the grand Hotel Le Meurice.

During a leisurely afternoon tea session shared with our sister Holly and niece Oliva, we enjoyed a tea tower topped with world-class pastry created by pastry giant Cedric Grolet. The price skewed high but the shared memories are priceless.

Le Dali is located at the Hotel Le Meurice at 228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France.

More Hotel Afternoon Teas In Paris
Angelina, Bontemps, Great Mosque Of Paris Tea Room (Moroccan), Hôtel de Crillon, Hotel Ritz Paris, and Le Café Mulot

18. Huîtrerie Régis – Oysters In Saint-Germain-Des-Prés

Huitrerie Regis in Paris
Huîtrerie Régis is destination dining for Parisians who covet raw oysters. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Huîtrerie Régis is compact and doesn’t take reservations. Either of these features could be a deal breaker but that’s not the case at this Saint-Germain-Des-Prés restaurant. Instead, people flock here to eat oysters sourced from France’s Atlantic waters.

Ironically, oysters aren’t the only thing on the menu at Huîtrerie Régis despite a name that loosely translates to Regis Oyster Bar. Others food options include charcuterie and cheese as well as fruits of the sea like prawns, clams and sea urchins.

Oyster Platter at Huitrerie Regis in Paris
These twelve oysters didn’t disappoint with their sweet and salty flavor profiles. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We didn’t try any of those foods. Instead, like most people who squeeze into Huîtrerie Régis, we shared a dozen oysters that ranged from salty to sweet. Sourced from the Marennes-Oléron and simply served with fresh lemon wedges, bread, butter and tabasco, those oysters proved to be an excellent pre-dinner snack.

Hungrier diners can opt to eat fixed meals. Two different oyster formules were priced at 39€ and 49€ per person at the time of our visit. As always, those prices are subject to change.

Huîtrerie Régis is located at 3 Rue de Montfaucon, 75006 Paris, France.

More Restaurants In Saint-Germain-Des-Prés
Allard, Cafe du Clown (cafe), Guy Savoy, Le Comptoir du Relais, L’Atelier De Joël Robuchon and Le Procope

19. Vivant 2 – Lively Comptoir In The 10th Arrondissement

Chef Pierre Touitou with in Kitchen at Vivant 2
Chicken Two Ways provided twice the satisfaction during our dinner at Vivant 2. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Vivant 2 lives up to its name. Dimly lit with an intimate atmosphere, the restaurant is fully alive with a buzzing vibe generated by its busy culinary team and a stream of fashionable guests.

Though relatively young in years, Chef Pierre Touitou (pictured above) is a culinary sage who creates nightly magic in a compact, open kitchen behind the restaurant’s sleek marble bar. A dozen or so lucky diners get a front-row view of the action, with Vivant 2’s kitchen just meters away from the stools.

Touitou trained with top chefs like Alain Ducasse and hails from a privileged lineage as the son of an acclaimed designer. This pedigree doesn’t stop him from cooking with controlled abandon.

Tuna at Vivant 2 in Paris
Our seared Tuna glistened with jewel-like bits of finger lime at Vivant 2, an innovative Paris restaurant in the 10th arrondissement. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

During our meal, the young chef didn’t stop hustling – chopping, plating and blow-torching food with an aggressive precision that was fun to watch and a joy to taste.

Our first taste of duck pastilla made with Greek pastry and foie gras primed us for dishes like ruby red blow-torched tuna topped with juicy bits of finger lime. Our La Cour D’Armoise chicken arrived two ways – the breast roasted with black sauce, corn and tofu and the thigh served in a salad with frisée and watercress topped with padrons.

Peach Meringue Dessert at Vivant 2 in Paris
Simply described as peach with Italian meringue, Touitou’s dessert wowed us with its torched meringue and plump peach soaked in turmeric syrup. A crispy cookie on top added crunchy completeness. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

However, the piece de resistance had to be Touitou’s Tunisian-inspired, braised veal topped with vegetal Mloukhiya sauce.

Blackened with squid ink, the sauce’s complex flavor and mole-like texture provided an excellent counterpoint to the multidimensional flavors of the braised veal. The dish”s fiery Tunisian harissa paste gave us all the motivation we needed to start dreaming about a future trip to North Africa.

Vivant 2 is located at 43 Rue des Petites Écuries, 75010 Paris, France.

More Hipster Restaurants In Paris
Billili (wine bar), Double Dragon, Dumbo, La Cave à Michel (wine bar), Miznon and Mokoloco

20. Rigamarole – Modern International Omakase (Temporarily Closed)

Chefs at Le Rigmarole in Paris
Robert Compagnon and Jessica Yang bring a wealth of experience to Le Rigramole, a small but popular restaurant in the 11th arrondissement. The duo delivers a unique dining experience with elements of Japan and Italy. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Our dinner at Le Rigmarole started on a highly inauspicious note as we dashed in from the rain and promptly broke a vase at our table while removing our outerwear. Things looked up when talented co-owner Jessica Yang welcomed us to the restaurant with a shrug and a smile.

Let’s cut to the chase. We loved everything about Le Rigmarole from its eclectic, yakitori-friendly menu to its bare-bones vibe. Though the menu could be described as more Japanese than French, Yang and partner Robert Compagnon deliver a culinary experience that’s Paris dining at its best.

Chicken Thigh Yakitori at Le Rigmarole in Paris
Robert Compagnon grilled these chicken thigh skewers with spicy Italian orange sauce over Japanese binchotan charcoal. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Rigamarole has a menu. Ignore it. This is a restaurant where it makes sense to order one of two prix fixe chef’s menus which were priced at either 49€ and 69€ (subject to change) at the time of our meal.

Not only is the chef’s menu the price-effective way to go, but it’s also fun to succumb to an element of surprise as you await each course. And by each course, we mean many courses. Many, many courses. So many that we stopped counting after a dozen.

Yang queried us regarding our preference for offals, raw fish and vegetables before the parade of small dishes commenced with pickled kohlrabi, red cabbage and golden turnips. The kitchen team crafted our menu accordingly, including offals just for Daryl and a range of tasty treats for us both.

Chawanmushi at Le Rigmarole in Paris
The chefs at Le Rigmarole make this creamy Chawanmushi with chicken stock instead of traditional Japanese dashi. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Each miniature course was a revelation. Raw endives shared a plate with caramelized pistachio. Grilled salmon with a spicy homemade yogurt sauce was so flavorful that we used a demi spoon to scoop out every drop.

Compagnon didn’t disappoint, grilling juicy yakitori skewers with the likes of butterflied chicken wings, chicken liver and a chicken heart on white binchotan charcoal. He also delivered with a thick and beefy homemade bone marrow spaghetti dish seemingly inspired by the cuisines of both Bologna and Rome.

Yang provided the meal’s sweet ending. Our desserts included velvety smooth lemon ice cream and chocolate fondant with praline crust and barley ice cream.

Le Rigmarole is located at 10 Rue du Grand Prieuré, 75011 Paris, France.

More Asian-Inspired Restaurants In Paris
Brigade du Tigre, Cheval d’Or, Double Dragon, Lao Siam, Yam’Tcha, Maison, Pierre Sang and Sadaharu Aoki (patisserie)

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top foods to eat at Paris restaurants?

Like New York, L.A. and London, Paris’ dining offers a myriad of options with bistros and larger restaurants serving a range of traditional dishes and modern cuisine. In other words, you can enjoy steak tartare or sole meuniere at a classic bistro like Chez Georges one day and roasted beet carpaccio with XO sauce at a restaurant like Septime the next day.

Are Paris restaurants expensive?

The top Paris restaurants are indeed expensive. However, the city has numerous inexpensive boulangeries and bistros where it’s still possible to enjoy a three course lunch ‘plat du jour’ for under 50€. There are also cheap eats options all over the city for those traveling on a budget.

Where did Anthony Bourdain eat in Paris?

Bourdain visited dozens of Paris hot spots while filming No Reservations (twice) and The Layover. After eating at several including Bistrot Paul Bert, Du Pain et des Idées, Frenchie, Le Baratin and Le Châteaubriand, we share his enthusiasm.

Where did Phil Rosenthal eat in Paris?

The Somebody Feed Phil star ate at Arpege, Blé Sucré, L’Ami Jean, L’Ami Louis, L’As Du Falaffel, L’avant Comptoir, Les Deux Magots, Marché D’Aligre and Pierre Herme in Paris.

Are restaurant reservations necessary in Paris?

Yes. Reservations are necessary at most Paris restaurants.

Is tipping necessary in Paris?

No. Tipping is optional in France.

What time do people eat dinner in Paris?

People typically eat dinner between 7pm and 9pm in Paris.

How many Paris restaurants have Michelin stars?

Paris currently has 130 Michelin-starred restaurants including nine thee-star restaurants, 15 two-star restaurants and 106 one-star restaurants.

Things To Do In Paris

Louvre Sefie in Paris
We agree to disagree about the Louvre. Daryl can happily visit the world-class art museum every single time we visit Paris. Mindi would rather visit other museums. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

There’s absolutely no need to be bored in Paris. We recommend the following activities between meals:

Paris Museum Pass and Locks
Buy a Paris Museum Pass and skip the lines. You’re worth it! | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Make your life easier and buy a Paris Museum Pass like the 2-day pass we enjoyed during our most recent visit. Not only does the card give access to top museums including the Louvre, l’Orangerie and Orsay, but it also includes entry at the Arc de Triomphe and Sainte-Chapelle.

Getting Around Paris

Cyclist in Paris
Plan ahead and book your Paris accommodation early to secure the best pricing and availability. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Paris is a sprawling city. You could easily walk for hours every day and never see it all.

We recommend taking the RER train from the airport unless you have the misfortune of flying into Beauvais. We did that once and will only do it again for a crazy-cheap fare.

Metro Station in Paris
All streets lead to a Metro station in Paris. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

With more than 300 stations, the Metro is the best way to traverse Paris and its many arrondissements. The fare is cheap, especially if you buy a 10-pack of tickets.

Paris’ subway system goes pretty much everywhere. Other options include buses, car share services, taxis and your two feet.

Paris Planning Checklist

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About the Authors

Daryl and 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. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.

Disclosures

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Funding
We self-funded our multiple trips to Paris.

Original Publication Date: August 13, 2023

Vicky

Saturday 19th of August 2023

The only reservations we made to eat in Paris were when our hotel recommended good places to eat and they called for us. We didn’t eat very often in the center of Paris but tried to find places to eat in the less touristy neighborhoods like the 13th, 14th, and 15th. I really wanted to see Le Train Bleu, but we never got there. There are so many places to eat in Paris but like New York, where we used to live and live very close to still, the hottest places usually give me indigestion trying to get a reservation. I would much rather avoid the latest hot spots and give places that are recommended by locals my business.

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