Where To Eat And What: Top 10 Foods To Try In Paris
What would Paris be without its amazing cuisine? Paris is not only a great food city; it is also the capital of French gastronomy. Here is a short guide of the ten most iconic places and foods to try in this wonderful city.
Before embarking on this gastronomical journey through the streets of Paris, here are a few general guidelines to avoid any bad surprises:
1. Meal structure
In France, a starter is called “entrée”, a main course is called “plat principal” or simply “plat”, and desserts are called “desserts” (this one is not too hard to remember). In general, bistro and restaurants menus will be composed of entrée, plat and dessert. Sometimes, you will see that a “fromage” (cheese) could be ordered between the plat and the dessert.
The French traditionally drink wine with lunch and/or dinner depending on the occasion. The best way to choose a wine in France is to ask the waiter, or in higher-end restaurants, the sommelier (wine expert), to help you find the wine that best suits your food, tastes and budget.
3. Tipping policy
In France, service and taxes are included in prices. What you see on the menu is eventually what you pay. You tip the waiter depending on the quality of the service only.
As many of the restaurants listed below are very busy, we advise you to book a table before going to the location.
Top 10 Foods To Try In Paris
This restaurant is situated at the heart of the famous neoclassical five-stars Hotel Le Meurice, founded in 1838; between the Tuileries, the Louvre and Place Vendôme. Alain Ducasse and Jocelyn Herland, the two executive chefs of the restaurant, describe their cuisine as “raw” or “coarse” as they create delicious food with simple ingredients, always with great refinement.
The restaurant’s decoration is inspired by the Salon de la Paix of the Château de Versailles: ancient mirrors, crystal chandeliers, bronze and marble. The classical elegance of the building is associated with contemporary objects, and a wonderful view of the neighboring Tuileries Gardens.
You can try the “Menu Collection”, composed of three dishes, cheese and dessert. This menu will guide you through classical French specialties, chosen and interpreted by Alain Ducasse and Jocelyn Herland.
You can also, if you plan ahead, book the Table du Chef (“Chef’s table”), a private dining room with a unique view on the kitchens of the restaurant. This table can host up to 8 guests, that will be able to enjoy Jocelyn Herland’s advices for a once in a lifetime culinary experience.
Hôtel Le Meurice, 228 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris // Tel. : +33 1 44 58 10 55″
This restaurant, named after Napoleon’s favorite symbol, is a traditional French restaurant proposing a sophisticated cuisine, elaborated by the Chef Christophe Moret. It is the restaurant of the Shangri-La Hotel located in the historical 16th arrondissement of Paris.
Christophe Moret prepares emblematic French specialties; l’Abeille is most known for its Fontaine de Bernn snails with watercress and walnut cream or the famous Chausey Islands Lobster, with squash and Bourbon vanilla.
In a very elegant and plush atmosphere, you will discover a harmonious and fine cuisine relying on beautiful classicism and high quality ingredients.
Contact: 10 Avenue d’Iéna, 75016 Paris // Tel. : +33 1 53 67 19 90
In the great renovation works of the Bistrol Hotel, the restaurant directed by Eric Fréchon changed its name to l’Epicure.
Seconded by Franck Leroy and Bernard Neveu (the House’s sommelier that will help you choose the best wines to complement your meals), Eric Frechon delivers terroir and traditional cuisine, sometimes using unusual ingredient, but always with a great effect.
One of L’Epicure’s most famous dishes are the stuffed macaroni with black truffle, artichoke, and duck foie gras, “gratiné” with Parmesan. Erci Fréchon and his team’s perseverance and skills have been awarded a “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” title and three Michelin stars.
At any time of the year, you will enjoy your food facing a luxurious 1000 m² garden. During summer, it is possible to eat on one of the most elegant patio of the capital, very pleasant for both lunch and dinner.
Contact: 112 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris // Tel. : +33 1 53 43 43 40
This art deco inspired bistro can be found between the Opéra Garnier and the Madeleine. This Bistro is so successful that Delphine Alcover and Magali Marian, the two owners, recently opened a second address, at the end of the same street.
This bistro is indeed exceptional: a welcoming room with large mirrors, globe chandeliers, a charming 1930’s counter, smiling and efficient waiters, a large wine choice and a menu oscillating between modernity and tradition.
You can start-off the meal with a delicious squid carpaccio with lemon, sprinkled with botargo (tuna roe) pieces and served with celery and fresh herbs. This restaurant is most known for its traditional desserts. The cream dessert in its caramel sauce and the apple tarte Tatin are worth the try.
Contact: 8 rue Volnay, 75002 Paris // Tel. : +33 1 85 15 27 41
This famous 1950’s brasserie successfully reopened its doors to the public in 2003 after two years of renovation. At a time when many Parisian brasseries are owned by large chains that only aim to swindle tourists with mediocre food, it is always a pleasure to find an authentic one, at the heart of Paris’s 16th arrondissement.
The chef, Rodolphe Biron is a real connoisseur of Parisian gastronomy. In this typical Parisian restaurant you will be able to taste sea food specialties such as the lobster salad, prepared herring with oil, pike quenelles, or meunière sole, as well as French terroir dishes like the saucisson chaud Beaujolais (warm dried sausage), the roasted loin of lamb or the Bresse free-run chicken.
This brasserie is also known for its traditional French desserts such as its Baba au rhum, chocolate éclair, fine apple pie, or chocolate profiterole.
In warm summer days, the large windows open up and a wonderful patio welcomes fresh air lovers. The neat decoration, welcoming waiters and comfortable furniture will turn your lunch or dinner into an unforgettable experience.
Contact: 133 Avenue Victor Hugo, 75016 Paris // Tel. : +33 1 56 90 56 00
This restaurant is a typical 1900’s bistro, located in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. The Chef, named Erwan, offers traditional French cuisine with international flavors and twists. The name Bistrotters, is the contraction of Bistro and globetrotters.
One of the particularities of this restaurant is that it has the Local Products, Cooked Here label, certifying that it works mostly with products from the Parisian region (Île de France), in a goal to develop local farming and reduce greenhouse gases emission.
The host, François, will welcome you in a cozy little restaurant with a traditional Parisian ambiance. This bistro proposes a traditional Entrée, Plat, Dessert menu. One of the most famous main courses of the house is their crusty pork breast, with a home-crafted sauce and fresh vegetables.
Meals are accompanied by very good wines, especially the Beaujolai de Graillot, which can also be bought to go!
Contact: 9 rue Decrès, 75014 Paris // Tel. : +33 1 45 45 58 59
This restaurant is known to be a reference for many French and international politicians, artists and movie makers. The reasons for its success are very simple. Ingredients are fresh, carefully selected, and cooked with precision. The cooking team is directed by Chef Bertrand Grébaut, one of the leading new generation Parisian cooks.
It is located in the rue Charonne, in the 11th arrondissement, a very trendy neighborhood at the moment. The restaurant’s decoration is very modern with workshop-like furniture, heavy metal beams… A real industrial inspiration, extremely chic, that suits very well the young and dynamic waiters that make the Septime experience even better.
The food served is in the neo-bistro trend (one of the main trends in Parisian gastronomy today), revisiting traditional French cuisine. Their avant-garde menu offers a reinterpretation of French classics such as the buckwheat galette with eggs and mushrooms, or the cod with greens and lemon confit.
Once again, you should book a table in advance if you want to be sure to have a seat.
Contact : 80 rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris // Tel. : +33 1 43 67 38 29
CHEZ L’AMI JEAN
This restaurant is a classical Basque restaurant directed by Stéphane Jégo and situated near the Invalides in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. As soon as you enter the restaurant, you can see hams and cayenne peppers drying in the warmth of the main room, from which you can see, hear and feel the kitchen. Their smells directly transport clients to France’s South West, near the Spanish border.
The menu is filled with meats like hare or partridge. Terrine and traditional charcuterie pass from table to table, cradled by the “Allez envoyez” of the kitchen. It is certainly one of the most friendly (and noisy) restaurant of the capital.
Your meal will be accompanied by bread from the baker Jean-Luc Poujaran accompanying perfectly the Bresse chicken with Paris mushrooms, or the stuffed rabbit and vegetables.
Contact: 27 rue Malar, 75007 Paris // Tel.: +33 1 47 05 86 89
No one should visit France without tasting some of the wonderful specialties from the Britany region. This restaurant located at the heart of Paris in the 3rd arrondissement, has a very modern and pale wood interior.
This café is rather different from the numerous crêperies in the center Paris that have, as only goal, to trap the largest number of tourists and robbing them for an average crêpe. This restaurant is held by true Breton natives.
You can live the full Breton experience there, by ordering oysters from Cancale or smoked herring as starters; before enjoying a delicious and traditional galette (a crêpe made of buckwheat, generally salty, and filled with ham, cheese, eggs, or any type of ingredients).
This restaurant offers a choice of 15 different apple ciders (traditional drinks from Britany and Normandy). Cider is the drink that best accompanies any type of crêpe or galette and is widely consumed by French people with these dishes.
Contact: 109 rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris // Tel. : +33 1 42 72 13 77
LA FROMAGERIE DANARD
How could you taste French cuisine without trying some of the iconic French cheeses? In this fromagerie, modern trends and traditions coexist; resting on three eternal pillars: bread, wine, and cheese.
These pillars became as legendary the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. Galina Danard (the fromagère) and Altan Yasar (wine expert) will guide you through this amazing journey.
The owner, patient and welcoming, can advise you and provide you with the cheeses and charcuterie that will suit your taste. A must for any cheese lover. The truffle cheeses are a specialty of the house and have a unique taste. The Corsican wines on the menu will suit your food very well and deserve to be cited here.
If you want to sit down and eat, you should book a table in advance as seats are scarce.
Contact : 5 rue du Colonel Driant, 75001 Paris // Tel. : 09 72 53 62 92