Borders are open. Your ticket is purchased. Let’s block out your eating schedule and make some reservations, shall we? Because if there’s one thing to know about most good places to eat in Paris: planning and booking are necessary. Pourquoi? Because for one, restaurants are small and tend to have very short windows of operation: 12-2:30pm for lunch and 7pm-10:30pm for dinner. But also, they generally do one, maybe two services, and chefs don’t really care about making another portion of steak tartare for you if it’s 10 minutes to closing time.
You, however, want to eat well - especially after a year of uncertainties and restaurant closures. Thankfully, Paris is ready for you and this guide proves it. Whether it’s a stuffed sabich drizzled with lemony tahini, a glass of Cremant with a scoop of peanut butter crunch ice cream, or a six-course mystery tasting menu that starts with a goat cheese tartelette, you’re gonna want to bookmark - and, in some cases, actually book - these 17 restaurants (and hotels) for your next trip. Mangez bien, friends. Eat well.
You come to Bambino to drink really tasty natural wines, listen to great music (pulled from a giant wall of records spun on a player behind the bar), and to see and be seen - but not in a snobby way. There’s no pretension here and the atmosphere is energetic and friendly. The fact that they also serve really great bar food - things like a rotisserie chicken sandwich dripping in jus, spinach-stuffed calzone, and grilled corn covered in pecorino cheese and crushed hazelnuts - is a bonus. Their wine selection is extensive, but don’t bother with the list: Just tell the somm what you’re after and they’ll make a solid suggestion. If cocktails are more your thing, they’ve got a selection on tap, many highlighting digestifs, from a Negroni to a Cipran. The kitchen closes at 11pm, but they keep pouring wine until 2am.
Sure, you could just pop into any corner boulangerie for a quick jambon au beurre, but just like how New York pizza isn’t created equal, the same goes for sandwiches in Paris. (Or croissants, for that matter, but that’s another story.) If you’re after a quick, grab-and-go lunch, head to Penny Lane in central Paris where options include a sabich (fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, potatoes, tomatoes, and mango sauce stuffed between two slices of a soft, challah-like roll) or a Tangier-inspired bowl of grilled black mullet fish over rice with candied egg yolk, harissa carrots, spinach, and coriander. They do salads and soups too. Get there close to noon when they open because this place closes at a hard 2:30pm and will inevitably sell out. No reservations or weekends either.
You can tell the chef is having a good time at this narrow, dimly-lit spot outfitted with giant dripping candlesticks because he subtly bops along to Prince and Led Zeppelin while plating the likes of an ikejime fish with a creamy cashew-nut puree and the most blow-your-mind broccoli we’ve ever had, topped with green mole, peas and herbs. While the menu shifts regularly at Vivant II, what’s been dubbed “The Bone,” a 3.3 lb beef rib, served - you guessed it - on the bone, is fast-becoming a staple and will most likely be available for those hungry enough to gnaw on a whopping €70 piece of protein. Oh, and if it’s on the menu, get the brillat-savarin whipped cream for dessert. Trust us.
When much-loved Mokonuts opened in 2015, it was intended to be a low-key sandwich spot that also served good coffee. Somehow, it morphed into what it is today: a must-book, do-not-miss lunch place where the creamy labneh and miso-sesame cookies are the stuff of legend. So it’s no surprise the team reverted back to their original goal with their second venture, Mokoloco, just around the block on food-favorite Rue de Charonne. Here, they serve sandwiches like fried beef tongue katsu and tuna tartare in a lemon soy dressing. At night, the place turns into a small plates bar where they do five and seven-course mystery menus (for €35 and €47, respectively) plating reimagined Palestinian classics such as kubbeh grilled on charcoal.
Not to be confused with Marché des Enfants Rouges, the name of the market where this restaurant is located (if you want to call a vendor stand with stools a restaurant), this no-reservations, pull-up-a-seat-if-you-can-find-one spot is pretty remarkable given its setting. One minute you’ll get a waft of fat sizzling on a stovetop and the next you’ll catch a whiff of raw fish mixed with roses from stalls a few feet away. Plates like white asparagus with bottarga and grilled octopus in a chimichurri sauce come out when they’re ready and don’t expect water unless you ask for it - it’s all about wine here. “What do you like?” the somm will ask, and minutes later she’ll return with three open bottles to taste - all of them spectacular. The stools in front of the cooks are ideal for being in on the fun, but the service is attentive even if the only seats left are around the bend, facing a blank wall.
Åke - Table & Vin
Pronounced “Okey” for those who aren’t Swedish, this tiny restaurant in the 10th arr. is full-on Scandinavian when it comes to design and deco - from the raw wooden chairs and stark white walls to the wildflowers on the tables. Natural wine and shareable dishes like mixed mushrooms gnocchi in a parsley jus and pork shoulder in a soy dressing are almost too pretty to eat - but yet, eat you must. Save room for dessert, though, and pray the pavlova - meringue paired with cream, caramel, and candied ginger - is on the menu. It’s like an adult candy bar on a plate and, quite simply, delicious.
It’s often hard to choose between ice cream or a crispy, cool pet nat on a hot summer day. Thankfully, the team at Folderol knows this and has therefore made it easy for you to have both in one place. This dessert spot and wine bar in the 11th arr. is just a couple hundred feet down from their sister restaurant, the Japanese-inspired Le Rigmarole, and has become increasingly popular since opening in early 2021. If you stay to eat your scoop, choose from the flavors scribbled on the left-hand side of the mirror. Flavors to-go, which tend to be the chunkier options - think strawberry shortcake, sesame brownie, and peanut butter crunch - are on the right. Wine from small, independent producers can also be taken to-go or sipped around the horseshoe-shaped bar, and paired with olive oil-soaked focaccia.
There’s no shortage of choice for eating well on or off Rue des Martyrs in South Pigalle, and while Pompette isn’t necessarily a restaurant to cross town for, it’ll be worth it if you do. People from the neighborhood flock here daily to sample the ever-changing menu of easy-to-share plates like housemade ricotta topped with cherries and almonds, and white bean hummus drizzled with olive oil and sesame seeds. Keep the bread around for the bowl of clams in laksa sauce because what is a bowl of fruits de mer if not for dipping a baguette once you’ve plucked the meat from their shells? They also do a more traditional, three-course “formule” (entrée/plat/dessert) for a very reasonable €22 per person. Either way, end with the ganache au chocolat, smoked chili pepper, and sea salt.
If you start craving pizza and pasta while in Paris, be bold and try a slice or bowl from Papi, where the sourdough crust may be topped with shiitake and shaved goat cheese and whose heaping bowls of “calabrese bolognese” are served over udon. Whether you go for lunch or dinner, sit out on their newly-constructed deck (complete with planters and plastic partitions) or within the cylindrical dining room wrapped in white tiles and raw wood. And make sure to order dessert - especially the “tiramisu au kinako” with caramel and black sugar from Okinawa, or ricotta ice cream topped with crushed pineapple, honey, and pistachios.
So, you want to try at least one classic bistro during your visit, ideally where you can sit on a terrace in one of those rattan chairs? The best ones are often off random side streets in more residential neighborhoods or, say, overlooking the tracks of a major train station. Walking by this one in between Gare de l’Est and Gare de Nord, it appears to be like all the others, but the plates sent out of the glass-walled kitchen are distinctive - especially for lunch where a perfectly plump piece of fish served with roasted wild carrots and an apricot purée is only €15. Make it a meal by adding a starter and/or a dessert for €19 or €23, respectively. In the evening, dishes are meant to be shared and menu options change with the seasons. But that classic bistro ambiance remains, complete with mismatched wooden chairs found at Paris’s Saint Ouen flea market and completely addicting country bread from a neighborhood bakery.
If you want to know where everyone in Paris is eating this summer, it’s down an unmarked, uneven cobblestoned alley in the 20th arr. at Amagat, which means “hidden” in Catalan. Take a left at the end towards the ivy-covered wall and follow the rumba music blaring from the speakers to settle in. Order your tapas by checking off a printed-out menu of items and handing it to your server. They may all come in succession, one after another, leaving little room on the marble countertop for your napkin, let alone your phone, but there’s no rush. Pour a glass from your pitcher of strawberry-rhubarb-cherry sangria and stay a while - the sommelier (who otherwise serves only Catalan wines) will take care of you. All the dishes are tasty, but the lamb chops with roasted cherry tomatoes and the ham croquettes are standouts. Overall, it’s a fun scene, and if you’re like us, you’ll just want to continue eating and drinking to avoid leaving.
Whether or not you catch the energetic Liza Asseily hanging around her 17-year-old Lebanese restaurant, be prepared to eat a lot because just about everything on the menu is worth prioritizing. You’ll see classics like perfectly crisp falafel and beef kébbé (served with the most addicting tabboulé chimichurri sauce), along with more creative flourishes - like adding black citron and hazelnuts to labneh and sweet tomato marmalade alongside grilled halloumi. Under no circumstances can you skip the riz au lait with orange caramel and rose petals for dessert, and to help you get over feeling a little fuller than you might like, order a café blanc (“white coffee″), aka hot water and raw fleur d’oranger made in a French press.
Despite the fact that you’ll probably have to wave down a server for a menu, a carafe of water, to order - food and a second bottle of wine - Robert is still 100% worth visiting. The menu is full of seasonal vegetables grown at the restaurant’s farm in the Loire Valley, and you can choose from the “Garden Discovery” menu for €48 that includes a mix of the chef’s favorites or à la carte shared plates. We did the latter and tried the raw tuna with watermelon, tomatoes, and chives, a cold Ajo Blanco soup with kohlrabi dumplings, and a creamy cauliflower risotto with goat’s milk and black cardamom that three of us had to fight over finishing. Newly-added street seating makes getting a table at prime-time sans reservation a breeze, though this place does fill up. Still, if the online reservation system says they’re complete, which it did the night we went, give them a ring or just swing by to double-check.
There’s no menu at this excellent Israeli tasting-menu spot in the 2nd arr. There isn’t even really a kitchen. You may also be served champagne whether or not you ordered any upon sitting around the Brazilian granite bar, which is arranged like a boxing ring with the chefs cooking in the center. The philosophy here, which the staff remind you any chance they can, is “hosting friends as family and family as friends.” But unlike their first Paris opening, Balagan, which presents a “Shots everyone!” mood, Shabour is a bit more intimate and refined. Dishes are composed right in front of you while they explain what you’re getting. It could be an eggplant crème brulée in a tzatziki broth or maybe a watermelon granita with feta ice cream and some pumpkin seeds, fried onions, and mashed melon rind for crunch. What’s more, they change up the menu for lunch (five courses for €59) and dinner (seven courses for €96), making it feasible to eat two meals here on the same day.
Hotel du Sentier
Not only is this hotel close by cuisine street Rue de Nil (home to Frenchie and Terroir d’Avenir epicerie, butcher, and fishmonger) and market street Rue de Montorgueil (home to Fou de Pâtisserie and À la Mère de Famille chocolate) - but its 30 rooms are surprisingly spacious. Each even comes with a bistro table and chairs. What’s more, those like No. 505 built into the front-facing Egyptian facade dating back to 1826 have incredible views of Haussmannian buildings across the way and get late-daylight perfect for a post-lunch nap. Also, there’s a top-floor suite with a spiral staircase to a private rooftop. Rooms from €200. Book your stay here.
Hotel les Deux Gares
Situated between two of Paris’s biggest train stations in the 10th arr., this new-ish hotel is hyper-local and commuter-friendly. In fact, room No. 404 has a spot-on view of the tracks in a cool, “I wonder where they’re all going?” way. And not to worry: The windows are double-paned so you won’t hear any choo-choo-ing as they pull in and out. The property from the Touriste Group (with three other Paris hotels, and one soon to come in London) has more patterns and colors than a Crayola box, along with line drawings of visionaries like Henri Matisse, Oscar Wilde, and Angela Davis in the hallways. Even bathrooms feature bright yellow wall tiles, mint green toilets, lilac walls, and black and white checkered floors. There’s also a cheery 24-hour basement gym with floral wallpaper, a sky-blue ceiling, and one very chic wooden treadmill. Rooms from €120. Book your stay here.
In between hip South Pigalle and historic Montmartre, this new 22-room property sits at the top of yet another food-friendly market street: Rue des Martyrs. HOY means “today” in Spanish, but may also stand for “House of Yoga,” which explains the fitness and wellness objective throughout the hotel. Calming rooms are outfitted with things like mini ballet bars instead of televisions, handmade ceramic mugs designated for either “uplifting” or “relaxing” tea blends, and all-natural toiletries. There are three dedicated relaxation areas to book reiki, reflexology, four-handed prenatal massages, and chiropractic sessions and, of course, a huge yoga studio where hotel guests receive a special rate of €25 for classes (instead of €30). The property’s Mesa restaurant, which sits under a sunlit atrium, is fully plant-based and open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Rooms from €195. Book your stay here.