Paris, like most major metropolitan cities, can be tricky to navigate when it comes to dining out. There are copious bad meals to be had in restaurants seducing us foodies with the right font on chalkboards and beautiful reclaimed wood tables. The bright side is that there are many exceptional meals to be had if one is willing to sift through it all. I’ll help! After almost two months of scouring the cobbled stoned streets of Paris, through online research, local recommendations and going back to the places I enjoyed when I lived there, I’ve compiled my favorite spots in town with a couple recommended research resources.
Favorite Casual Lunch Places- Beyond French Cuisine
Kunitoraya– 5 Rue Villedo 75001 Paris
For noodle lovers, Rue Saint Anne, in the 1st arrondissement, is the place to be. Kunitoraya is located on a street just off Rue Saint Anne. I stumbled on this udon place when I spotted a line of hungry Asians queuing down the street for lunch. Naturally, I joined them in line to see what the fuss was about. Happy I did…the tempura veggies were perfectly crunchy; not too oily and the umami broth tasted of healing nutrients.
Kottreri Ramen Naritake-Rue des 31 Petits Champs 75001 Paris. Open Wed-Friday for lunch and dinner.
This is also a place with a queue but worth the wait. Everything is made in-house. Be prepared for sodium overload though! And note, the intoxicating scent of pork fat may be offensive to vegetarian or kosher diners.
L’As du Fallafel– 34 Rue des Rosiers 75004 Paris- in the Marais
The Marais is my favorite neighborhood to stroll on a Sunday when other places are closed. This Jewish-hipster arrondissement is full of fashionable boutiques, interesting museums and bustling cafes. L’As du Fallafel is hands down the best falafel place in Paris and maybe the best I’ve had (I’ve never been to the Middle East). For 9 Euros you can get the falafel sandwich full of evenly dispersed humus, veggies, falafel and sauce. Don’t be tricked into going to its neighboring competitors…you’ll be disappointed.
Pho 14– 129 Avenue de Choissy 75013 Paris
OK, unless you’re an avid Pho lover there is probably no reason to seek out Pho in Paris. But if you’re like me, deprived of spice for a whole year, and happen to end up in Paris during winter, Pho sounds like the best cheap-dinner solution on a cold night. Avenue de Choissy, located in the ‘Chinese neighborhood’, has several legitimate Pho restaurants if you opt to not wait in the line for Pho 14.
Rice and Fish (sushi side) 16 Rue Grenata 75002 Paris
Again, maybe not what tourists seek out on a week vacation but if you’re in need of a sushi fix and a quick lunch then this is a viable option. There are two Rice and Fish locations on this street. One is the sushi side and the other offers bowls. I didn’t care for the bowl side as much.
L’Avant Comptoir– 3 Carrefour de l’Odeon 75006 Open every day- don’t take reservations
This is the type of place that didn’t exist 10 years ago and the change is welcome. L’Avant Comptoir is an offshoot of the restaurant Le Comptoir in the St Germain des Près neighborhood (in the Latin quarter). It is a stand up bar with an excellent wine selection and small plates, ranging from traditional meats and cheeses to creative daily seafood nibbles. Despite having a lot to tend to, the bartenders are friendly and on it. I recommend getting there before the rush (around 6ish) to secure a spot at the bar. It can get tight.
Fancier Lunches or Dinners
Les Papilles– 30 Rue Gay Lussac 75005 Paris
Traditional French cuisine at its finest. Les Papilles has an impressive array of wines. Whether you are there for lunch or dinner make sure to pair your meal with their suggestions. I’m sure everything is tasty à la carte but I highly recommend following the daily fixed menu selection.
Les Deux Abeilles-189 Rue de L’Université 75007 Paris 01.45.55.64.04 Monday-Saturday 9-7pm -Closed Sunday
Les Deux Abeilles, near the Eiffel Tour, is a Salon du Thè offering salads, quiches and soups. These homemade desserts will satisfy any nostalgia for grandma’s baking. I’ve ordered the chestnut cake every visit for the last 15 years (the menu doesn’t change much). It’s prudent to grab a reservation if you are looking to eat between 12:30-2:30.
Le Jeu de Quilles– 45 Rue Boulard 75014 Paris. Open Tuesday-Saturday.
If you’re starving after a few hours in the Catacombs this is the place to recover over a sit-down lunch. Also another place to follow their fixed menu which costs around 20 Euros for lunch.
Brasserie Bowfinger– 5-7 Rue de la Bastille 75004 Paris Open every day for lunch 12-3 and dinner 6:30-12 am
This traditional French restaurant satisfies the image of Paris depicted in the movies, from the mirrored-covered walls to the steamy tarte tatin. Bowfinger serves a beautiful spread of seafood platters, sock-smelling cheese trays and mouth-watering desserts.
La Poule au Pot– 9 Rue Vauvillier 75001 Paris
Another warm Parisian ambiance with old school French dishes. It is a place that you should order what they are good at- chicken. They are famous for serving the favorite boiled chicken dish of King Henry IV.
Loup-44 Rue de Louvre 75002 Paris
Loup is everything a modern brasserie should be in Paris. It’s open all day, everyday; serving creative cocktails and succulent rotisserie cooked meats. The menu is safe; the food consistent. If you are looking for dinner on the weekend then it is a smart idea to get a reservation (it always is in Paris). Otherwise, most days you can just show up. That’s a rare thing in Paris.
Special Dinners and Wine Bars
Frenchie’s Wine Bar 6 Rue Du Nil 75002 Paris- Open Monday -Friday from 7 pm- don’t take reservations
This small wine bar must be prioritized. The food is thoughtful and flavorful. The wine list is affordable and well selected. The ambiance is lively due to the small size and shared- table situation. Go!
Frenchie Restaurant 5 Rue Du Nil 75002 Paris-Open Monday -Friday from 7 pm Reservations needed-01.40.39.96.19 Price per person is around 100 Euros
I’m actually recommending this without having gone to the official restaurant. I loved the casual wine bar so much that I didn’t feel the need. The chef concocts a beautifully selected tasting menu; making a more formal dining experience than the wine bar. It’s the talk of the town.
Verjus– 52 Rue de Richelieu (Passage Beaujoulais) 75001 Open Monday-Friday from 7pm. Reservations needed in advance 01.42.97.54.40 ~100 Euros per person with wine
This was hands down my favorite meal of the year. Verjus also offers a special tasting meal, meaning there are several courses that are the chef’s choice (unless one has allergies or dietary restrictions). The maticulously presented courses left my palate inspired and fully content. It’s important to get reservations far in advance.
Verjus Bar à Vins– 47 Rue de Richelieu Open Monday-Friday from 6pm- don’t take reservations
Similar to Frenchie’s, Verjus, has a casual reservation-free wine bar below. The bartender steered us toward a delicious full-bodied bottle of Bordeaux while we waited for our table. If we weren’t planning on eating in the restaurant we would have been happy with the few plates offered in the bar. The small space creates a welcoming ambiance; conducive for the solo traveling foodie looking to make conversation with strangers.
Spring– 6 Rue Bailleul 75001 Paris- Open Tuesday- Saturday from 6:30 ~100 Euros per person
Spring is on the radar of both local Parisians and traveling foodies. The American chef, Daniel Rose, wows his clientele with his multi-course tasting menu. Our meal was a delicious journey through the chef’s expertise. This place is in high demand so get a reservation far in advance.
Best sites for navigating through the latest restaurants in Paris: