Let us begin by saying that this guide to the best Paris restaurants is obviously in no way meant to be an exhaustive list. There is no such thing. This is meant to be a mix of new and not so new places that we think make up an excellent list of places you need to eat.
As is the case with any of our guides, we hope that you'll find this to be a useful reference, whether you're planning a short trip or permanent life escape to the (second) greatest city on earth. We were led to many of these places by two excellent resources, Paris By Mouth and Le Fooding. Get started with our recommendations below, and then head to either one of those experts if you need to dive deeper.
Thanks to its status as the hottest/best restaurant in Paris for several years now, Septime is damn near impossible to get into. That means calling for a reservation well in advance of your trip is essential. But once you do get a table, you’ll be blown away by the ingredient-driven cuisine and excellent wine list. The people here are nice too, so feel free to try out a few of those French words you’ve just added to your vocabulary. Actually, don’t.
One of our favorite little bistros in all of Paris, and we’re not alone in that sentiment. Opened in 2013 on a residential street in the 11th (that’s where all the cool food is), Le Servan is a neighborhood spot that’s also a must visit on your next trip. The food is rooted in classic Frenchiness, but you’ll often find unexpected flavors like Thai chili in your dish of mussels or cuttlefish with green mango. Hit this for lunch and you’ll be happy.
Yes, one of the best restaurants in Paris is named after a tomato-clam juice mix that is sold at WalMart. Which makes sense, as it’s probably America’s greatest export. Owned and operated by the very same people behind Septime, Clamato is another must-have restaurant experience. The menu is almost entirely made up of food from the sea, and every dish is a perfect example of simplicity and creativity coming together to make an impression you won’t forget. It’s a great spot for dinner, but we also like it for lunch on a day in which you have few other plans. Get a bottle of something sparkling (and natural of course) and start with a dozen oysters and whatever else looks fresh.
We’re not big on the whole “go to this place just because Anthony Bourdain did” thing, but it is true that Anthony Bourdain visited Le Baratin during one of his episodes of The Layover. But the more important point to be made is that Le Baratin is a place where Parisian chefs eat. Owner Raquel Corina is a bit of a legend in the local restaurant community, and her food is simple and homey and exactly what you want to eat when you’re in Paris. It’s a bit of a trek up to the 20th from wherever you’re likely to be staying, but it’s 100% worth the trip.
Well known restaurateur Pierre Jancou opened Vivant in 2012 in a space that was once a store that sold rare birds. The walls are still decorated with amazing art noveau tiles depicting those birds, which makes for an interesting and beautiful little room in which to consume amazing locally sourced food and natural wines. Pierre has since moved on to another new project (the man gets around), but Vivant remains a quality place to spend some time.
Restaurant Astier is exactly the kind of restaurant that we imagine we’d frequent all the time if we lived in Paris. And we imagine that a lot. This French bistro serves excellent classic French cuisine, but the real star of the show is the cheese plate (pictured). Order the 39€ special menu, and that thing will eventually get dropped off at your table with a couple of knives. You eat what you want, and then do your best not to pass out. We recommend hitting Astier for lunch, and then taking a long, fromage-fueled walk down to Le Marais.
For some reason, Reed has received virtually no press in Paris, despite it being a very good and very charming little restaurant. The owner, Catherine Reed, is a Canadian who has been living and cooking in Paris for decades, and she runs her spot near the Eiffel Tower essentially by herself. Make a reservation for dinner and Catherine will be cooking, serving, and cleaning up after your mess. It’s basically like being invited into her home for dinner, and it’s an experience you probably won’t forget. Catherine also puts on a cooking class in the restaurant, where you’ll learn to cook a few things, drink some wine, and then eat your work. Call or email for details.
This recently opened Le Marais restaurant sits in an amazing little courtyard just off one of those amazing little cobblestone Le Marais streets. The room is beautiful, and it’s a great spot for lunch or dinner and a few drinks after you finish cruising around.
Most anyone you ask will have Frenchie on their list of best restaurants in Paris. That usually means that reservations are impossible to secure, and it also often means that by the time you actually get a seat, you’re so hyped up on the place that it will inevitably let you down a little bit. In our opinion, there are too many great restaurants in this town to get stressed out over a reservation at Frenchie. That’s why their wine bar is such a beautiful thing. At Frenchie Bar à Vins, the food is just as good as it is at the main spot across the street, but they do not take reservations. So you can just stroll up, order a bottle of wine from their incredible selection, and dive into a few excellent things to eat.
Le Chateaubriand is by now an essential Paris restaurant, and it’s one that you need to make time for while you’re there. The environment is casual and the €60 tasting menu is seasonal and distinctly French, but also very interesting. The term some use for such a thing is “bistronomy,” but we can’t really say that out loud. You probably shouldn’t either, especially while you’re in Paris. A reservation at Chateaubriand is always recommended, as you can book for the first seating as long as you call a few weeks in advance. If that’s filled up, you’ll end up having to wait next door at their wine bar, Le Dauphin, for your table. There are worse things in life.
Much like Frenchie Bar à Vins, Le Dauphin is the wine bar counterpart to a famous French restaurant. Le Chateaubriand is next door, and this place is meant to be a sort of casual little brother with food from the same famous chef. It’s a cool, all marble space, and it’s always filled with cool French people (so…French people), many of whom are waiting for their table next door. A visit to Le Dauphin is definitely not the same experience as eating at Le Chateaubriand, so don’t think that the two are interchangeable. But we do like this place for a glass of wine and a few bites from their tapas-style menu before you head out to your next destination for the night
Finding a decent meal on a Sunday night in Paris can be a real pain in the ass, as most everything is closed. Our move every time is to hit up Le Stella. This classic bistro is a true local hang, in what is essentially the Upper East Side of Paris. You’ll definitely see at least one lady in a fur coat holding a tiny dog at the table, and probably a few grey haired French guys in tweed jackets. The menu is super-traditional, featuring things like escargots, tête de cochon, steak au poivre, and an incredible beef tartare. Le Stella is also known for its fresh seafood – specifically oysters. They’re best consumed from one of the giant towers you can order, along with some other delicious ocean dwelling creatures. That’s how you do Sunday night in this town.
This well known spot in Saint-Germain should be on your radar if only for the fact that you’ll probably end up in Saint-Germain at some point and you’re going to end up hungry. Le Comptoir is a good spot for a quick late afternoon lunch and a little bit of uniquely Paris bistro vibe. Also note, it’s smaller than the smallest studio apartment.
The man behind the legendary wine bar Racines (and the Tribeca restaurant of the same name) recently bought and revamped this restaurant on in Saint-Germain. Put it on your list if you’re staying in the area, or if you’re looking for an excellent meal and a good bottle of wine. So yeah, just put it on your list.
Here’s your move: spend the day cruising around Le Marais, and then hit L’As du Fallafel for some grub. This little spot turns out some incredible falafel, kind of like Mamoun’s here in New York – but better. You want the €5 falafel special, and you’re probably going to eat it on the street.
Not looking to fight the crowds for a falafel? Hit Miznon, for a pita sandwich. This casual restaurant comes to Paris from a famous Israeli chef, who opened the original Miznon in Tel Aviv. The menu changes frequently, but the lamb and cauliflower are our favorite versions of these excellent sandwiches. Miznon is also open Sunday and Monday, which is good to know since so much else in Paris is closed on those days.
Our pick for a white table cloth experience, should you be looking to have one of those in this town. Garance is an upscale restaurant on the Left Bank that doesn’t feel the slightest bit stuffy. It’s a small room with a set menu (70€), and a wine list with great things by the bottle and the glass that’ll keep you occupied for a very long time. It’s not a bad idea for lunch after your visit to the Eiffel Tower either, assuming you’re looking to see one of those in this town.
An excellent late night spot in Oberkampf, which is where you'll probably end up if you're out late in Paris. Aux Deux Amis is a classic French bistro, but the location and hours of operation make it one that's always lively and full of young Parisians. The plates are small and shareable and the prices are reasonable. Just know that it will be packed. Always.