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Paris: Cafés and Restaurants

Paris and good eating and drinking have long been associated, and it's still true that for many Parisians, food is always their top priority. However, changing lifestyles and a general move away from the heavier traditional style of French cuisine have had an influence, even here, although perhaps less than elsewhere in the world. Nowadays you can even buy wine by the glass in most places!

As you might expect, there are many reviews, listings and columnists dealing with Paris restaurants and bistros online. Below we give you a selection of links to individual commentators and two major directories where you can compare recommendations in different districts of Paris before you go.

Paris Restaurant links:

Paris Notes' Top Twenty Restaurants
Rosa Jackson writes a monthly column called Paris Bites in an online and print magazine called "Paris Notes", which covers the Paris restaurant scene in much greater detail than this online version, with an emphasis on French cuisine: restaurant reviews, chefs, trends, new openings and other valuable Paris restaurant information.

Stop Press: Sadly, "Paris Notes" produced its last edition in August 2009, but you can see an archive of 50 editions (pdfs) here: Paris Notes Archive

"It is with deep regret that I must inform you that the July/August issue of Paris Notes will be the last issue of Paris Notes. After more than 17 years of publishing, in which we published 173 uninterrupted issues and over 1,300 articles, we are forced to stop publishing Paris Notes due to economic reasons."

Eat in Paris Recommendations
Eat in Paris is an interactive French site that has an English version. Claiming a database of 2200 establishments, it uses customer reviews and tends to have a different range of restaurants and bistros to others. It also covers Italian and Asian.

Bill Ives' Top Six under US$25 (in 2002 but they're still going!)
Bill Ives got a list of these restaurants from his local Paris manager in 2002 and they were going strong in August 2004 when he put them in his blog, read his comments:

  • L’ Epi Dupin 11 Rue Dupin 6th Ardst. – tel. 01 42 22 64 56 – It is a new French style. As the Economist guide says, “With its charming interior (note the Provençal-style stone walls and ceiling beams), inventive, affordable and oft-changing menu—this tiny restaurant, just a few steps from the chic Bon Marché department store (but in a very un-chic street), is deservedly a local favourite.”
  • La Bastide Odeon 7 Rue Corneille 6 th Ardst. – tel. 01 43 26 03 65 – It is Mediterranean cooking.
  • Boeuf Sur Le Toit 34 Rue du Colisee 8th Ardst. – tel. 01 43 59 83 80 – It is Brassiere style. There was an earlier one by the same name that was well known in literature.
  • Bistro de L’Olivier 13 Rue Quentin Bauchart 8th Ardst. – tel. 01 47 20 17 09 – It is Mediterranean cooking and its own site.
  • Toupary – 2 Quai du Lovure – 1st Ardst. – tel. 01 40 412 29 29 -This was on the 5th floor of the Samaritaine department store so has been closed for some years.
  • Le Clos des Moriccons 50 Rue des Moriccons – 15th Ardst. Tel. 01 48 28 09 37 - It is a new French style and was the only one I could not find on the internet.

Erik Dasque from has some great recommendations in his blog:

  • Chez Izoi, 1 rue de l’Ancienne École polytechnique (01 43 25 95 77) – Small, super romantic and fun. Not a great restaurant but oh, so Parisian.
  • Le Gamin de Paris, 49 rue Vieille du temple (franco moroccan, get the honey duck)
  • Refuge des Fondues is not to be missed. Go with a group of friends or go just the 2 of you, make reservations (17 rue Trois Frêres, 01 42 55 22 65). Order the cheese fondue, drink wine out of baby bottles. Be prepared to be drunk, friendly and hot. You’ll have the best time. Make a reservation.
  • Willy’s Wine Bar 13 r Petits Champs, Best wine bar in Paris back in the late 90s. Still a very strong choice.
  • Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole 24 rue Chanoinesse, very close to Notre Dame. My all time favorite. If you’re hungry : La Table gourmande d’Odette (59 Euros, $80). Try the snails and go down the stairs to visit the wine cave. [+ - ]
  • Brunch : le Pain Quotidien (2 rue Petits Carreaux or 18 place Marché St Honoré) is really good.
  • Don't miss Le loir dans la théière (3 rue des Rosiers in the Marais – +33-1 42 72 90 61 ) for Brunch or Lunch.
  • Trendy places: Buddy Bar (near the american embassy, metro Concorde, also a good dinner), Bar Fly (Champs elysees), Opus Café

Cooking Maestro Patricia Wells
(she of the Provence Cookbook) has some interesting selections on her website:

Meg Cutts has been lucky enough to live in Paris for over ten years now, exploring the 365 French cheeses and the many varied markets. Her friendly, chatty blog posting gives some advice to an American friend visiting Paris:

"... below is a list of some of the restaurants we go to with visiting friends and a couple of tips on eating in Paris:

  • Our favorite touristy restaurant in the heart of touristy Paris:
    Le Navigator
    63, rue Galande
    metro: St. Michel
    Tel: 01 43 54 35 86
  • Our favourite fish restaurant:
    Vin et Marée
    183 bd Murat 75016 Paris
  • A good restaurant for cheese fondue or raclette:
    19, rue Gustave Courbet
    75016 Paris
    Tel: 01 47 27 09 84
    Metro: Victor Hugo
    (If you are not familiar with raclette you might want to check out this post about it!)
  • A good neighborhood for exploring restaurant options: My favourite is the Marais, which is the 4th arrondisement of Paris.
  • A good idea in general when looking for restaurants: Try looking around the food markets or places that were formerly food markets.
  • Best place to eat oysters on a Sunday afternoon:
    Le Baron Aligre
    1, rue Théophile Roussel
    75012 Paris
    Tel: 01 43 43 14 32
    Metro: Ledru Rollin
  • Trendy areas for bars: Rue Oberkampf and rue de Charonne in the 11th.

Read her complete posting including reviews and comments

The Frères Blanc Brasseries
Sooner or later, you'll come across this well-known chain of Parisian brasseries, which "proposing a French traditional and refined food within typically Parisian setting". Their website, now only in French, originally had some interesting phraseology, viz "The spirit Frères Blanc, it is a diversity of places to coloured environments each different time which daily satisfy 10 000 appetites of day and night".

Cross-check them with the Directories (next page) or other reviews to see if they're right for you. The brasseries each have their own website:

Au Pied de Cochon
Le Grand Café
Le Procope
La Fermette Marbeuf
La Lorraine
Le Petit Zinc
Chez Jenny

Next Page: Paris Restaurant recommendations from the Directories

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