Eating well in Paris doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out 15 spots that serve tasty cheap eats in Paris. Food choices include classic French dishes, burgers and pizza plus some surprises.
Paris has a reputation for being one of the most expensive food cities in the world. Considering the preponderance of Michelin-starred restaurants (more than 100 at last count) and expensive traditional dining rooms, this reputation has validity.
However, fine dining is just one part of the Paris food story. Another part of the story is an abundance of cheap eateries that transcend typical fast food and market fare.
Thanks to the variety of casual eateries in the city of light, you don’t have to limit yourself to croissants for breakfast and grocery store staples for dinner. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with eating croissants and shopping at grocery stores. You just don’t have to do that every day of your vacation.
Some of the best affordable restaurants in Paris serve classic French dishes while other serve global dishes associated with countries like China, Japan, Israel and Vietnam. Regardless of their menus, the best cheap Paris restaurants have one thing in common – a commitment to serving great food.
With a bit of research and some advance planning, Paris is a city where it’s easy to eat well without breaking the bank. And the best part? Saving money on most meals justifies splurging on a special lunch or dinner. Maybe even two.
Our Favorite Cheap Eats In Paris
Eating cheap in Paris is nothing new.
Parisians have been eating on the cheap since bouillons were all the rage in the 19th century. While current Paris cheap eats options span the globe, bringing the world’s best flavors to France, there’s nothing like eating an inexpensive meal at a local bouillon.
So, it only makes sense to begin our cheap eats Paris exploration at three of the city’s best bouillons.
Bouillons – The Original Paris Cheap Eats
Originally opened in the mid nineteenth century and named after the broth they served, bouillons earned their name by serving restorative dishes to the masses at affordable prices. In 1900, according to Wikipedia, nearly two hundred and fifty bouillons operated in Paris.
While there are fewer than ten bouillons operating in Paris today, the restaurant concept is experiencing a revival with new bouillons opening each year. These modern day bouillons serve all the classics from beef tartare to escargots in gorgeous spaces that convey the history and conviviality of the city.
We recommend starting your Paris cheap eats journey at a Paris bouillon. Whether you slurp a bowl of bouillon at a bouillon is up to you.
Bouillon Julien – Opulent Bouillon In The 10th Arrondissement
Bouillon Julien looks like it’s expensive. It’s not. It also looks like it’s been around for centuries. That’s not true either although its ornate century art-nouveau building dates back to the 19th century.
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.
Beyond its decor, Bouillon Julien’s affordable menu attracts a mostly local crowd for lunch and dinner. Our lunch included a selection of French food favorites that started with ‘garlicious’ escargot and crab-filled tarama and continued with tête de veau and, of course, a bowl filled with bouillon.
Bring your camera. Bouillon Julien’s dining room is a stunner.
Bouillon Julien is located at 16 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris, France.
Bouillon Pigalle – Bustling Bouillon near Montmartre and Sacré Coeur
Bouillon Pigalle is the opposite of intimate with two sprawling floors and enough tables to accommodate 300 hungry souls. But, let’s be honest, crowds don’t queue for a romantic experience here. They come for the food – plates and plates of classic French fare served on the cheap.
After braving the aforementioned queue, we feasted on dishes like oeufs mayonaisse (boiled eggs slathered with creamy mayo) and steak tartare that rivaled versions we’ve eaten for twice the price. However, the highlight of the meal may have been a hearty serving of blanquette de veau (veal stew) served over rice.
Save room for dessert. Our Baba au Rhum topped with chantilly cream was nothing short of delightful.
Bouillon Pigalle is located at 22 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France.
Bouillon Chartier – Historic Bouillon With Multiple Locations
The original Bouillon Chartier, located on Grands Boulevards, is the granddaddy of modern day bouillons. Open since 1896, the historic restaurant features a huge mirrored hall that fills with hundreds of guests every night of the year including Christmas. Per tradition, bills are hand-written on big sheets of paper that double as tablecloths.
Most guests don’t care about Bouillon Chartier’s history. They’re also not looking for haute cuisine. Instead, they happily join the inevitable queue with the goal of eating simple French food for ridiculously low prices. We achieved this goal during our visit since our dinner cost well below 20 euros each.
While we know chefs who consider Bouillon Chartier to be destination dining, we can’t say we loved our meal or that it’s even our favorite Paris bouillon. We’re still glad we ate there and recommend it to budget travelers looking to dine at a famous Paris restaurant with over a century of history inside its walls.
Consider eating early or late to minimize your wait time for a table.
Bouillon Chartier has multiple Paris locations. We ate dinner at the original Bouillon Chartier located at 7 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009 Paris, France.
Cheap Restaurants in Paris That Serve French Food
A traveler could hypothetically spend a week or longer in Paris without eating any French food. This sounds crazy but it’s especially true for budget travelers. However, this approach would be a shame since French food in Paris is some of the best food in the world.
Eating at bouillons is one way to get around this potential faux pas. But it’s not the only way. Read on to discover some of our favorite French food hacks in Paris.
Small Plates With Big Flavor At Billili In The 10th Arrondissement
Let’s talk about rillons. “What are rillons?” you ask. Ok. We’ll tell you.
Rillons are cubes of cooked pork. The rillons we ate at Billili, hunks of smoked and slow cooked thick artisan bacon, were a revelation. With their peppery crust, they reminded us of Katz’s pastrami but with pork. It’s fairly rare that a restaurant can get that pastrami seasoning right but Billili nailed it. The melt-in-your-mouth texture was great too.
Ok, now that we’ve gotten rillons out of the way, we need to talk about Billili, the wonderful wine-slinging little brother of Les Arlots, one of our favorite bistros in Paris, that’s located just a couple blocks from Gare du Nord on the western end of the 10th. This arrondissement’s reputation may precede it but, as we discovered in the last few years, the area, which some have described as “seedy,” is one of Paris’ most exciting areas to eat.
Billili isn’t just one of our favorite wine bars in Paris, it’s also remarkably affordable too. Dishes, like artisan saucisson on a small baguette, are listed on a blackboard menu. We especially enjoyed Billili’s wonderful vitello tonnato, garnished with briny capers and spade-like pickled caper leaves. We also loved Billili’s creamy brandade and the crisp biological wine that washed it down.
Not hungry? Go simple and order the terrine. It’s dense, tasty and ample enough, with a little bread, for a filling lunch.
Billili is located at 136 Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, 75010 Paris, France.
Crêpes And Galettes At Breizh Cafe (Multiple Locations)
Originally from Brittany, Chef Bertrand Larcher 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. That crêperie is Breizh Café.
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.
We ate two. One was topped with mushrooms, scrambled egg, ham, Comté cheese and onion confit and the other with a sunny side up fried egg, Comté cheese and andouille. Maybe next time we’ll try a sweet crêpe and call it dessert.
Pair your Breizh Café galette with artisan cider produced in Brittany.
Breizh Café has multiple Paris locations. We dined at the Marais location at 109 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris, France.
Socca At Chez Alain Miam Miam In The 3rd Arrondissement
Socca is another French dish with roots outside of Paris. In this case, those roots are in Nice. But, as is the case with crêpes, it’s possible to eat socca without taking a multi-hour train ride.
Located inside the Marché des Enfants Rouges, Chez Alain Miam Miam serves a range of French street foods that includes grilled sandwiches stuffed with proteins like pastrami and trout as well as cheese and veggies. But, if you’re like us, you’ll want to order a socca here. Made with chickpea flour, each socca is a crispy treat that’s a great cheap eats option for vegetarians as well as for carnivores like us.
Bring a canvas bag if you plan to shop at the Marché des Enfants Rouges before or after you eat socca at Chez Alain Miam Miam. Consider buying this Paris-themed canvas bag from Amazon if you need a new bag.
Chez Alain Miam Miam is located inside the Marché des Enfants Rouges at 26 Rue Charlot, 75003 Paris, France.
Global Paris Cheap Eats
Eating global cuisine in Paris seemed like a novelty twenty years ago. Today, global food is not only easy to find in every arrondissement, but it’s also hard to beat in terms of both affordability and flavor.
After eating falafels during our first trips to Paris more than a decade ago, we’re on a mission to expand our global food footprint every time we visit the city. These are some of our favorites global cheap eats in Paris:
Falafels At L’As Du Fallafel In The Marais
L’as du Fallafel is a must-visit Paris destination for budget travelers, kosher travelers and vegetarians. Although we don’t fit into any of these categories, it was love at first bite when we ate late night falafels at the classic Marais spot back in 2010.
Since we didn’t take photos of our food back then, at least not good ones, we enlisted our niece Olivia Fink to snap a shot of her loaded falafel for this guide. Wow! Her pita stuffed with fried chickpea patties, hummus, cabbage, eggplant and spicy harissa makes us hungry to return.
L’as du Fallafel offers both French and Israeli wines along with a full menu of Middle Eastern street food favorites. However, if your goal is to keep the bill down, you’ll want to skip the platters and pass on wine.
Don’t plan a Friday dinner or Saturday lunch at L’as du Fallafel. Although the falafel shop is open seven days a week, it closes for Shabbat.
L’as du Fallafel is located at 34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, France.
Chinese Dumplings And Salads At Ravioli Nord Est On The Edge Of Belleville
Raviolis Nord-Est has become legend for cheap eats hunters in Paris.
A plate of dumplings (or raviolis as they’re called in most Latin languages) is still in the single digit euros, at least for now. Are the dumplings, which can be ordered fried or steamed, so special that they’re worth a special trip to Paris? We heartily say no. But recently, in a city where inflation is beginning to rear its ugly head, Raviolis Nord-Est remains a cheap eats spot worth seeking out.
Don’t get us wrong. These dumplings are very good, made by hand with fresh traditional ingredients like pork, cabbage, beef, chicken and mushrooms. The fried ones we ate, cooked with precision, had brown crispy edges like you would expect from a Paris kitchen. We just don’t believe that these dumplings are so unique to Paris especially considering the quality Asian food that’s available all over the USA, especially in NYC.
Ravioli Nord-Est’s cold salads are another story. These colorful flavorful cold appetizers, like the peanut salad and the salad of shredded cold potatoes that we shared, scream Paris with their colorful assortment of beautifully cut vegetables and surprisingly piquant flavors.
Weather permitting, grab a table in Ravioli Nord-Est’s outdoor seating area. It will place you in touch with the restaurant’s neighborhood on the edge of the 10th arrondissement, adjacent to Belleville.
Ravioli Nord Est is located at 11 Rue Civiale, 75010 Paris, France.
American Fast Food Classics At Janet By Homer In The Marais
Paris is fun for its blend of old and new. For every Chez Georges and Robert et Louise, there’s a place like Janet by Homer where Parisians use their super coolness and artistic vision to imagine new spins on classic food. In this case, the gussied up food involves American fast food favorites like hot dogs and pastrami sandwiches.
Marais lobster roll slinger Moïse Sfez started at a street stand before he opened his first shop, Homer, in the Marais in 2018. Now Homer, which we eagerly want to try next time we visit Paris, has grown into a worldwide entity with multiple locations in Paris and additional spots in Saint Tropez and Dubai.
Janet, which was named after Sfez’s grandmother, has only one location, for now, on bustling Rue Rambuteau in the Marais. It’s a fun family-friendly spot that’s ideal for a late afternoon bite after a day of touring Paris’ streets and museums.
We liken Janet to a retro New York lunch counter like S&P (formerly Eisenberg’s) with its indoor counter, and three outdoor tables. We got the bargain-priced formula which came with a sandwich and hotdog plus a side of corn on the cob and a drink.
The hot dog, featuring house made sausage and served in a brioche roll loaded with perfectly diced toppings, was excellent. The pastrami sandwich, more reminiscent of corned beef due to a moderate level of pepper spice and less smoke, was served on toasted rye bread with whole grain mustard and a slice of pickle. As for the corn, it was cooked to look beautiful as things are in Paris with slightly charred kernels and a flurry of sparkling sea salt on top.
Janet by Homer is listed as kosher friendly. We assume that it’s not strictly kosher but, hey, it’s in the Marais so there’s that.
Janet by Homer is located at 13 Rue Rambuteau, 75004 Paris, France.
Chinese Noodles And Soup Dumplings At La Taverne De ZHAO (Multiple Locations)
Giant bowls of hand torn noodles populate every table in a room where Xi’an meets Paris. However, La Taverne de ZHAO isn’t some Sino-French mashup. The cuisine here is pure Chinese (or, as their website says, 100% Chinese.) This is what happens when Chinese noodles meet French sensibilities and we have just one question…
Could their bowls be any bigger and where can we buy a couple?
As you would expect in Paris, everything at La Taverne De ZHAO is cooked with precision from karage-style fried chicken that’s served with a blistered crust, resultant crunch and juiciness to torn Biang Biang noodles that are surprisingly ‘piquant’ for France. That piquancy makes us wonder if the French tolerance to of chili heat has gone up a bit.
More on the noodles which had a nice chew without being overly starchy. Daryl thought they were better than NYC’s Xi’an Famous foods. While both are local chains, Zhao serves its Xi’an-style noodles in a way that’s more appealing because… Paris.
Don’t skip Zho’s soup dumplings. They’re quite good though you’ll find better versions at Din Tai Fung or Joe’s Shanghai as well as in Las Vegas and of course in Shanghai. But, that being said, we’ve never eaten a more beautifully presented xiaolong bao than the ones we ate at Zhao.
La Taverne De ZHAO has multiple Paris locations. We slurped noodles at the original restaurant located at 49 Rue des Vinaigriers, 75010 Paris, France.
Ramen At Kodawari Ramen (Multiple Locations)
Based on France’s kinship with Japan, eating Japanese food in Paris makes perfect sense. At least that’s what we told ourselves while queuing for ramen at Kodowari Ramen on a dreary May day. Sure enough, even in the rain, a line snaked out the door at one of the city’s hippest ramen shops. After a 30 minute wait, we were in Parisian ramen land.
Our reward? Textbook bowls of ramen prepared with Japanese techniques and French ingredients. Vegans get their own soup with Pumpkin Paitan Ramen vibrantly served with bright, beautiful slices of pumpkin floating in a cep mushroom oil enhanced vegan broth.
End your meal with a homemade dorayaki for dessert. While we’re not huge fans of the sweet golden Japanese pancake sandwich and found Kodowari’s version to be a bit dry, there’s something classic and beautiful about ending a meal with a well-crafted disc emblazoned with Japanese letters.
Kodawari Ramen has multiple Paris locations. We slurped ramen at the original restaurant located at 29 Rue Mazarine, 75006 Paris, France.
Israeli Food At Maafim In The 2nd Arrondissement
Israeli food is making its mark all over the world. The Holy Land’s food is all the rage at spots like Ottolenghi in London, Zahav in Philadelphia and Shaya in New Orleans. As expected, Paris has joined the Israeli food party with restaurants like Maafim, a casual eatery/bakery with a simple menu. A hill of challahs greet visitors who walk into the cheerful 25-seat space each weekday.
We began our Maafim meal with a pretty plate of Salmon Tataki and a tasty sweet potato soup topped with croutons. Next up was Maafim’s “Salade de Fallafels” – golden brown orbs of chickpea topped with a creamy dressing, fresh herbs and vegetables.
We finished our meal with a wonderful ‘Shwarma Sandwich’ – airy white bread filled with grilled vegetable ‘shwarma’ topped with dabs of tahini sauce. This dish is a great option if you’re looking for inexpensive but tasty vegetarian food in Paris.
Burgers With Attitude At PNY (Multiple Locations)
Hoards of customers flock to PNY every day to eat solid burgers at the popular Paris chain. What they get is more of a hybrid – somewhere in between a thicker smashed patty and a super thick pub-style burger. As for us, we got two Paris burgers.
Loaded with bacon, English cheddar and “beignet d’oignon” which sounds so much classier than onion ring which is what is was, Our Return of the Cowboy burger was the winner of the two. It was also a solid upscale interpretation of a Wendy’s baconator.
Check the menu before you order since each PNY menu features a signature burger. The Oberkampf burger is called Found Dead in Mexico and comes with melted cheddar cheese, fried peppers, spicy pepper jam, iceberg lettuce and mega death sauce.
PNY has multiple Paris locations. We ate at the PNY located at 96 Rue Oberkampf, 75011 Paris, France.
Pizza At Popine (Multiple Locations)
Mindi loves pizza. Daryl loves the idea of Parisians making pizza. So, it was inevitable that pizza made the cut on our autumn Paris agenda. Deciding where to go eat it was the only question. Contenders included Grazie, Peppe and Popine.
Naples native Gennaro Nasti opened Popine in 2016. Channeling his Neapolitan roots, the award-winning pizzaiolo boldly serves Italian pizza to a Parisian clientele. He sources many of the pizzeria’s ingredients from Italian producers in Compagnia and Emilia-Romagna.
During our dinner, we opted for a pie topped with four types of Italian tomatoes. Although it reminded us more of pizza we’ve eaten in Verona than our favorite Naples pizzas, we happily ate every bite until the colorful pie was gone.
Pho At Song Huong In The 13th Arrondissement
The Vietnamese may have forcefully eliminated the French from what was then Indochina in 1954 but, at least culinarily, the two countries will forever share a kinship.
Once we decided to eat Vietnamese food in Paris, we knew that pho would be our meal of choice. In a bowl of pho, broth and herbs speak French while rice noodles scream Southeast Asia. We found Song Huong just a five-minute walk off Place d’Italie and, with it, a cool Parisian take on the Vietnamese food favorite.
Song Huong’s Pho Entrecote Dac Biet, a sizzling beefy broth served with a side of pho rice noodles and bright red thin raw slices of entrecôte topped with fresh herbs, is a show stopper. We think all pho should be served like this.
Start your meal with a plate of banh cuon. A breakfast choice in Vietnam, this dish features wide sheets of rice noodles with Viet cold cuts, crispy fried shallots and nuoc cham sauce for dipping.
Song Huong is located at 129 Avenue de Choisy, 75013 Paris, France.
Cheap Eats Paris FAQs
Yes. Paris has a surprising number of affordable restaurants and cafes in every arrondissement. Some of the best cheap Paris restaurants serve classic French dishes while others specialize in global foods like hamburgers, pizza and dumplings.
We consider a cheap Paris meal to be 20 euros or less. You may have a different threshold for valuing cheap meals.
There are cheap restaurants all over Paris. Some are casual French brasseries call bouillons. Others are Asian restaurants. Yet others serve burgers and pizza.
Bouillons are inexpensive restaurants that serve classic French dishes. Popular during the 19th century, bouillons are surging in popularity more that a century after their debut.
No. Tipping is optional in France.
Hungry For More In Paris?
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 their website 2foodtrippers. 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.
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Original Publication Date: August 27, 2023