Where to eat in Paris: a foodie guide
From friendly neighbourhood bistros dishing up tasty, locally sourced delicacies to vegan spots working plant-based wonders, Paris is a hotbed of exciting culinary experiences. Add a liberal smattering of Michelin stars, and you get a city that’s a must for foodies of every flavour. Whether you’re on a budget or out to indulge, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourites to get you started. Bon appétit!
Best places to eat in Paris
In a city sparkling with Michelin stars, street food pop-ups and friendly bistros focussed on locally sourced produce, picking the best restaurant is a near-impossible task. So here are a few of our favourites for breakfast, dinner or lunch in Paris.
A place of pilgrimage for carnivores, this mirrored salon by Les Halles is a great place to indulge in succulent steaks and juicy pork chops, though the extensive oyster menu and lobster straight from the tank are also a draw. As the name suggests, pigs’ trotters, snouts and tails are a speciality.
Veggies in search of a pizza fix, look no further. This friendly Italian specialises in piping hot pizzas, with perfectly stretched, light, crisp bases with a generous helping of Italian charm and cheesiness.
The ever-changing, always delicious menu also has seasonal pasta, risotto and gnocchi dishes, along with desserts to die for.
New Yorker Emma Sawko is behind this chic, clean-eating canteen in Le Marais. Cold-pressed juices and smoothies are a speciality, while the menu is gluten-and dairy-free. Think acai bowls for breakfast and energy-boosting lunches, including konjac noodles, plant-based banh mi and burgers, all washed down with colourful smoothies. Just make sure you save room for a sweet treat, too.
Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris
It’s fitting that the city credited with the invention of the restaurant should now be revered for having some of the finest in the world. Gone are the days of stuffy surroundings and starched tablecloths though. Today’s chefs are celebrating modern methods, international influences and locally grown produce, to delicious effect.
With not one, not two, but three Michelin stars twinkling in its firmament, chef Alain Passard’s Arpège is a gastronomic legend. It’s also been a pioneer of high-end, vegetable-focused cooking, with exquisite dishes such as squash velouté, delicate ravioli and the house bouquet de roses apple tart. To top it all off, ingredients come direct from the restaurant’s own organic gardens.
In contrast to the formality of many Michelin-starred dining rooms, Septime is a relaxed neighbourhood restaurant with the simple ambition of serving fabulous modern French food.
A five-course tasting menu is available at lunchtime for €65, or tuck into seven courses for dinner at an equally reasonable €110.
To stand a chance of getting a table though, book precisely three weeks ahead.
The daughter of a French cheffing dynasty, Anne-Sophie Pic was named world’s best female chef in 2011, but has not rested on her laurels.
Her Michelin-starred Paris restaurant, opened in 2012, features highly personal creations and pushes boundaries by appealing to all the senses.
Expect your dish to come bathed in the clearest of consommés and surrounded by a halo of flowers.
Best affordable restaurants in Paris
For foodies on the budget, good news: there’s now a slew of Parisian chefs on a mission to provide excellent dishes that don’t break the bank. Along with the return of the traditional, affordable ‘bouillon’ style restaurant, recent years have seen more and more reasonably priced places popping up. You just need to know where to look...
The exquisite art nouveau interior steals the show with its decorative sea-green plasterwork, painted panels, mahogany bar, floral tiled floor and glorious stained-glass ceiling. No wonder it was the place of choice for Edith Piaf and her lover.
In contrast to this extravagance, the menu prides itself on affordability, with all mains, such as the house bouillon, coming in under €15.
Thanks to the friendly setting and the delicious Basque dishes served up by chef Sébastien Gravé, this charming restaurant has become something of a cult favourite among Parisians in the know.
On the ever-changing menu, expect to find everything from candied salmon to confit shoulder of lamb, followed by exquisite desserts, all dished up in beautiful style. A two-course lunch will set you back just €23.
A favourite with the local pétanque players, this cheery bistro has a delicious and varied menu, covering everything from oysters and snails to hearty poulet Céléstine and even a full English breakfast.
Main dishes are around the €15 mark, but you can snap up a tasty lunch board of gravelax, pork terrine, sausage or ham for under €10.
Best vegan restaurants in Paris
Famed for its cheese and charcuterie, you’d be forgiven for thinking France is a no-go for vegans. Not so though, as this tasty trio shows. From Middle Eastern mezze to African-European fusion, Paris’s vegan restaurant scene is thriving. Some also serve a meaty dish or two, to keep everyone at the table content.
A short stroll from Gare du Nord, this diminutive lunch spot sates hunger pangs with Middle Eastern flair.
Toppings regularly change on the generous hummus bowls, rich with Tahini imported straight from Israel: smoky aubergine, say, or root veg glazed in date molasses.
There are meaty options for carnivores, too, and colourful salads and tabbouleh that will keep everyone happy.
Top of the list of the most Instagrammable spots in Paris, this Montmartre café with a soul has come a long way since its former days as a charcuterie. The seasonal menu happily skips from Persian-inspired smoked aubergine to the funky burger –a tasty red bean number, slathered in delicious toppings. Don't miss the vegan cheese board, which could happily fool the most entrenched of fromage aficionados.
What happens when classic brasserie training gets an injection of West African cool? An intimate, inventive 11th-arrondissement eatery, where 80 per cent of the menu is vegan. Pull up a chair at the bar for genial chat and moreish tapas: crunchy akara fritters, spicy onion Yassa with jackfruit or a goodness-packed salad of cassava, beetroot, hazelnuts and fig, drizzled with agave vinaigrette.