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.
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.
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.
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.
Make advance reservations as soon as you book your Paris hotel room or apartment. Otherwise, you’ll likely experience dining disappointment.
Where To Eat In Paris | The Best Restaurants In Paris
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
2. Chez Georges – Traditional Bistro In The 17th Arrondissement
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.
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.)
As for dessert, we shared a profiterole.
3. Bistrot Paul Bert – Classic Bistro Near Place Bastille
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).
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.
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.
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.
4. Au Pied de Cochon – Classic Brasserie In Les Halles
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.
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.
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.
5. Frenchie – Michelin Starred Bistro In The 2nd Arrondissement
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.
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
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.
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.
7. Arpège – Three Star Michelin Restaurant In The 7th Arrondissement
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.
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.
8. Le Baratin – Classic Bistro In Belleville
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.
Read More:20 of the Best Restaurants in Paris