Eating in Paris
- Meal times in Paris: Lunch is typically from noon to 3pm and dinner from 7-10pm, with the restaurant/kitchen closed during off hours.
- Reservations in Paris: Reservations are important and many restaurants in Paris keep to a strict seating schedule, especially for dinner. 1st service is generally around 7 or 7:30pm and 2nd service is approximately at 9pm. More places have adopted online booking, but if you’re trying to call remember that most restaurants close between lunch and dinner (3-7pm).
- Dress Code in Paris: There isn’t a formal dress code in restaurants, with nicer places even accepting “smart casual.” Upscale establishments still require a jacket, and in general shorts on men are frowned upon.
- Bread: In France, bread isn’t meant to be a pre-meal snack so don’t expect it to be served with butter or olive oil. It’s typically used to soak up the sauces on your plate.
- Wine: French wines are defined by region, not the grape, so don’t expect to see Pinot Noir or Chardonnay on the menu. A quick general overview: mineral whites like Sauvignon Blanc are from the Loire Valley, Chardonnay is associated with Burgundy, Beaujolais is typically a lighter style red using Gamay, Pinot Noir is the dominant red in Burgundy, and Southern Rhone tends to be round and fruity with a combination of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. If you’re looking for something bigger, try the Languedoc or Bordeaux.
- Cheese: Is considered dessert and eaten at the end of the meal.
- Tipping in Paris: Tipping is not a percentage of the bill but rather an appreciative gesture. Rounding up the bill is common or even 5 to 10 euros if you’re somewhere more pricey.
Paris Restaurants: Quick Tips
- Best Cheap Authentic Restaurant: Bouillon Pigalle (9th/18th)
- Best Traditional French Restaurant: Bistrot Paul Bert (11th)
- Best Hotel Restaurants: Epicure inside Le Bristol (8th) and L’Oiseau Blanc inside The Peninsula (16th) for fine dining, La Régalade Conservatoire inside the Hotel de Nell (9th) for moderate prices.
- Best Crepes: Café Breizh (3rd)
- Best Honeymoon Restaurant: Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower (7th)
- Best Neighborhood for Food: The 11th
The 35 Best Restaurants in Paris
Verjus – 1st • $$$$
Inventive French fare in an elegant yet cozy setting, just steps from the Palais Royal. Its 78€ tasting menu changes regularly and is one of the most creative and affordable in town.
Map • +33 1 42 97 54 40 • Nearest Metro: Pyramides
Restaurant yam’Tcha – 1st • $$$$
Inspired Chinese take on contemporary French cooking. The chef spent years in China honing her craft before coming back to Paris to open up one of the most unique contributions to the city’s gastronomic scene. For an unusual pairing, opt for the tea instead of traditional wine. Service is friendly and flawless.
Map • +33 1 40 26 08 07 • Nearest Metro: Louvre-Rivoli
Juveniles – 1st • $$
Wine shop turned restaurant with cozy French home cooking. Prices are affordable, portions are generous and the warm welcome from Margaux and her boyfriend Romain make this a favorite.
Map • +33 1 42 97 46 49 • Nearest Metro: Pyramides
Aux Lyonnais – 2nd • $$$
The rustic and hearty cuisine of Lyon is celebrated here at this Alain Ducasse bistro. Traditional classics like quenelles (a pillowy cloud of fish served in a seafood sauce) or Pot de la cuisinière lyonnaise (suckling pig with foie gras) are exceptional. The 1890 dining room feels like a step back in time.
Map • +33 1 42 96 65 04 • Nearest Metro: Grands Boulevards
Frenchie Wine Bar – 2nd • $$
Creative small plates and a unique wine list; a taste of the same cooking that you’d find across the street at the hard-to-book Restaurant Frenchie. The wine bar offers a fun and relaxed scene without the hassle of booking months in advance.
Map • +33 1 40 39 96 19 • Nearest Metro: Sentier
Coinstot Vino – 2nd • $$
Natural wine-focused restaurant with simple French food inside the charming Passage des Panoramas. Though its location inside a historic monument might say tourist trap, the crowd is mostly neighborhood regulars and die-hard natural wine fans. As the night progresses, the vibe skews younger; once they shut the Passage gates off around 11pm you‘ll feel like you‘re in a private party.
Map • +33 1 44 82 08 54 • Nearest Metro: Grands Boulevards
Bistro Grands Boulevards – 2nd • $$$
Mediterranean-influenced dishes in a beautiful, airy setting that makes you feel like you’re dining al fresco. The retractable glass roof opens up in nice weather for dining under the stars. Serious wine and cocktail list with a rooftop bar in the summer.
Map • +33 1 85 73 33 33 • Nearest Metro: Grands Boulevards
Marché Des Enfant Rouges – 3rd (Marais) • $-$$
A cross between a farmers’ market and a food hall, the dining options at the Marché Des Enfant Rouges are some of the most diverse you’ll find in one place. Everything from a wine bar to classic French to Japanese bento boxes to Moroccan couscous or the ever-popular vendor that sings while making crepes. Great for families.
Map • Nearest Metro: Filles du Calvaire
Le Mary Celeste – 3rd (Marais (3rd) • $$
Fusion-friendly small plates, outstanding cocktails, and oysters on the half shell in a hip setting. Raucous crowd and loud music. Great for groups.
Map • +33 1 42 77 98 37 • Nearest Metro: Filles du Calvaire
Hugo & Co. – 5th (Latin Quarter) • $$
Shareable plates with a twist from Cambodian-born, NY-trained Tomy Gousset. Drawing from this diverse background, dishes include a stellar savory pancake with guanciale and pecorino, as well as a pork cutlet with black rice, cabbage and curry sauce. Convivial setting with a mix of clientele due to its Latin Quarter location – academics, students, creatives, and visitors.
Map • +33 9 53 92 62 77 • Nearest Metro: Cardinal Lemoine
La Bouteille D’Or – 5th • $$$
Hip space in one of the oldest restaurants in Paris, with stunning views of Notre Dame and an internationally-influenced menu. Dating back to 1631, La Bouteille D’Or has been updated with modern décor, a large outdoor terrace and a reasonably-priced three course 34€ menu. The location and views are unbeatable.
Map • +33 1 84 83 00 75 • Nearest Metro: Maubert-Mutualité
Semilla – 6th (Saint Germain) • $$$
Contemporary French cooking from an award-winning chef in the heart of Saint Germain. Reasonable prices, an extensive wine list, and a friendly, bi-lingual staff make Semilla popular with locals and visitors alike.
Map • +33 1 43 54 34 50 • Nearest Metro: Saint Germain des Près
Le Relais de L’Entrecôte – 6th (St. Germain) • $$$
Classic steak frites are the only thing on the menu at this popular restaurant chain. Though it may seem like a tourist trap, Le Relais de L’Entrecôte is an institution. Regulars come for the famous sauce while value diners appreciate the mountain of french fries and generous portions. Additional locations in the 8th and the 14th.
Map • +33 1 45 49 16 00 • Nearest Metro: Saint Germain des Près
Ze Kitchen Galerie – 6th (Saint Germain) • $$$$
Imaginative mix of Asian ingredients and French technique in a modern, upscale setting. Creative combinations like shrimp ravioli in tamarind sauce or white chocolate wasabi ice cream earned it 1 Michelin star.
Map • +33 1 44 32 00 32 • Nearest Metro: Odeon
L’Avant Comptoir du Marché – 6th (Saint Germain) • $$
This Spanish influenced, small plates, natural wine bar popular with Parisians has a new, larger space in the Saint Germain Covered Market (known for its excellent vendors). Friendly, easy-going atmosphere.
Map • +33 1 44 27 07 97 • Nearest Metro: Mabillon
David Toutain – 7th • $$$$
Modern French food from one of the most inventive chefs in Paris. Surprising and successful flavor combinations earned him a Michelin star. Minimalist décor compliments the adventurous tasting menu.
Map • +33 1 45 50 11 10 • Nearest Metro: La Tour-Maubourg
Café Constant – 7th • $$$
Classic French food, a prime location near the Eiffel Tower, and a convenient no reservations policy make Café Constant a great standby. Favorites are the more contemporary tartare of salmon and oysters served on the half shell or the hearty Parmentier de canard (a sort of upscale Shepherd’s pie). Always popular and crowded, just join the queue to get a table.
Map • +33 1 47 53 73 34 • Nearest Metro: École Militaire
Le Cinq – 8th • $$$$
3-star Michelin inside the Four Seasons Hotel with a wine list as thick as a phone book. This is haute cuisine at its finest. Dress code required.
Map • +33 1 49 52 71 54 • Nearest Metro: Georges V
Le Laurent – 8th • $$$$
A secluded 1-star Michelin in a former hunting lodge of Louis XIV. Its unique and romantic setting lends a French countryside feel; large bay windows overlook lovely gardens and in the summer months tables are set up on the terrace near a beautiful fountain.
Map • +33 1 42 25 00 39 • Nearest Metro: Champs-Elysées Clemenceau
Bouillon Chartier – 9th • $$
A stunning Belle Epoque dining room with old school waiters that write your order on white paper table cloths – and cheap prices. With mains priced around 9-14 euros, this bustling brasserie turns out solid fare like Confit du Canard or escargot in a fun, lively atmosphere. Great for families.
Map • +33 1 47 70 86 29 • Nearest Metro: Grands Boulevards
Buvette – 9th • $$
Cozy, rustic space with a neighborhood vibe and French classics like Croque Monsieur and Coq au Vin. Unlike most places in Paris, Buvette is open throughout the day as a café, bar, and restaurant. In the up-and-coming South Pigalle.
Map • +33 1 44 63 41 71 • Nearest Metro: Pigalle
Pink Mamma – 9th • $$
Meat-centric menu inside a stunning 4-story former hospital. Each level has its own character, starting with the speak-easy basement with Italian-influenced cocktails. The real treat is the glass-enclosed top floor with views over the city. Excellent pizzas and pastas round out the menu.
Map • +33 1 40 36 03 94 • Nearest Metro: Pigalle
Le Galopin – 10th • $$$$
Refined and elegant tasting menu driven by great, seasonal ingredients in a tourist-free part of Paris. Beautifully-executed dishes that are at once nuanced and complex. Its laid-back atmosphere, simple yet stylish décor, and charming location on a neighborhood square (Place Sainte-Marthe) make it a destination.
Map • +33 1 42 06 05 03 • Nearest Metro: Belleville
Les Arlots – 10th • $$$
Excellent neighborhood bistro offering modern-interpreted French classics near Gare du Nord. Top quality ingredients and prize-winning house-made sausage. Strong natural wine list, low-key vibe, perfect if you’re catching the Eurostar.
Map • +33 1 42 82 92 01 • Nearest Metro: Gare du Nord
Septime – 11th • $$$$
1-star michelin with one of the best modern French tasting menus in Paris. A favorite among foodies and voted one of the world’s 50 best restaurants. Simple, rustic-industrial decor in a low key, off the beaten path part of the 11th. Definitely worth the trek and the effort to get a reservation.
Map • +33 1 43 67 38 29 • Nearest Metro: Charonne
Bidoche – 11th • $$$$
Butcher shop by day, restaurant by night. Choose among some of the highest quality meat in France (beef, veal, lamb or pork) and have them prepare it for you in the chic, hidden restaurant in the back. The fun part is selecting your cut from the boutique.
Map • +33 9 81 12 59 81 • Nearest Metro: Oberkampf
Bistrot Paul Bert – 11th • $$$
Consistent, top quality bistro fare (think steak Bearnaise or soufflé au Grand Marnier). The classic interior – woodwork, mosaic tiles, and zinc countertops – has a timeless Parisian feel. It’s in all the guide books (for good reason), but it’s popular with locals too.
Map • +33 1 43 72 24 01 • Nearest Metro: Faidherbe-Chaligny
Aux Deux Amis – 11th • $$
Lively wine bar with a local vibe and great small plates. Frequented by Parisian fashionistas and natural wine aficionados, the crowd skews young and hip. Expect contemporary French food with a menu that changes daily.
Map • +33 1 58 30 38 13 • Nearest Metro: Oberkampf
Fulgurances – 11th • $$$$
The most experimental restaurant in Paris. An incubator of sorts, Fulgurances showcases a rotating roster of burgeoning chefs by offering them a temporary residency to let them run their own restaurant. Check the website to see who is being hosted.
Map • +33 1 43 48 14 59 • Nearest Metro: Rue des Boulets
Le Chateaubriand – 11th • $$$$
Consistently ranked as one of the world’s 50 best restaurants, its no choice, 75€ tasting menu changes every night. Friendly service, modest wood interiors, in a low-key part of the 11th. Very popular with visitors so expect to book weeks in advance.
Map • +33 1 43 57 45 95 • Nearest Metro: Goncourt
L’Assiette – 14th • $$$
In a more residential part of Paris, this is the place for hard to find home cooked dishes like hearty cassoulet or pork knuckle rillettes. Simple interiors with touches of marble and antique glass. Near the Catacombs but tourist-free.
Map • +33 1 43 22 64 86 • Nearest Metro: Mouton-Duvernet
Les Grands Verres – 16th • $$$
Mediterranean-inspired cuisine inside a gorgeous space in the Palais Tokyo. This vibrant and hip take on museum dining updates the traditional mold with small shareable plates and a great cocktail list.
Map • +33 1 85 53 03 61 • Nearest Metro: Alma-Marceau
L’Oiseau Blanc – 16th • $$$$
Romantic setting with a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower and Michelin-worthy food. This stunning rooftop restaurant inside the Peninsula Hotel is perfect for a special occasion. Elegant interiors, impeccable service, and a terrace open in the summer to enjoy a pre-meal drink while taking in the monuments.
Map • +33 1 58 12 67 30 • Nearest Metro: Kléber
Le Grand 8 – 18th (Montmartre) • $$$
Traditional, unfussy, French food with gorgeous views at the foot of Sacré Coeur. Tucked away on a pretty, tree-lined street, this neighborhood gem offers a low-key vibe and a strong natural wine list.
Map • +33 1 42 55 04 55 • Nearest Metro: Lamarck-Caulaincourt
Le Grand Bain – 20th (Belleville) • $$$
Off the beaten path, contemporary small plates restaurant on a street famed for its graffiti in Belleville, an artsy and edgy hotspot in Northeast Paris. The dining room can get loud.
Map • +33 9 83 02 72 02 • Nearest Metro: Belleville