The Paris Foodie Guide
Oh the many culinary delights of Paris, from goose fat fried potatoes to sole meuniere to the simple pleasures of an almond croissant. It seems like there’s a Michelin starred joint on every corner, and an equally wonderful cheese shop or bakery to back it up. Here, our favorites of Paris’ gastro treasures. Image courtesy of @parisinfourmonths
Kunitoraya5 Rue Villedo, 1st | +33.1.47.03.33.65
Rue Sainte-Anne in the 1st is the city’s version of Little Tokyo: There’s a seemingly endless row of noodle shops and small Japanese joints. Of all the options, Kunitoraya is our favorite, thanks to its multi-varied udons. There’s a more upscale location around the corner on rue Villedo, but this outpost is more casual and rarely requires a wait.
Le Mary Celeste1 Rue Commines, 3rd | +220.127.116.11.67.89
Named for an infamous shipwreck—the boat was found intact, including its stores of liquor, though the crew had vanished—Le Mary Celeste got a lot of ink in the press when it opened: The young team behind this restaurant in the 3rd is the same one behind taqueria Candelaria. Like its sister restaurant, Le Mary Celeste has a drinks menu that's long and formidable, while the food menu is a bit more succinct: It’s all about oysters and other small plates that are intended to be shared. Though it does take reservations, it's just as easy to grab a seat at the bar.
Verjus52 Rue Richelieu, 1st | +18.104.22.168.54.40
When American couple Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian moved to Paris, they didn’t start with a restaurant: Instead, they cultivated their reputation through a series of under-the-radar dinner party-style seatings—hosted out of their apartment. Called Hidden Kitchen, you could only land a reservation by booking online. The concept—and cooking—was so popular, the duo opened a permanent location, called Verjus, in 2010, situated in a small passageway across from the Palais Royal. It’s distinctly New American and it’s delicious: If you can’t stomach the prices (the tasting menu is 60 euros), hit the bar a vins next door (they also have a sandwich shop).
Spring6 Rue Bailleul, 1st | +22.214.171.124.05.72
While it’s now a few years old—and has been expanded from its original, 16-seat footprint—it’s still hard to get through the door at Spring. Chicago-native Daniel Rose’s prix-fixe fare, which is served out of the large open kitchen, is reliably excellent and continues to justify the hype. In fact, there’s no actual menu: In their words, they will just make you dinner, all sourced from the Places des Fêtes.
Septime80 Rue de Charonne, 11th | +126.96.36.199.38.29
The chefs behind Septime seem to understand that you can’t fail when you start with the best fresh ingredients. This isn’t to say that the cool, pared-back space isn’t innovative—it just isn’t flashy. The lunch menu is a steal at 28 euros, though if you’re willing to splurge, opt for the “surprise” menu: You won’t regret it.
Le Servan32 Rue Saint-Maur, 11th | +188.8.131.52.51.82
Parisian dining has a reputation for being a little stodgy at times, what with the ubiquitous gilded interiors and price fixe-only menu—but at Le Servan in the 11th, you’ll find neither. Instead, chef Tatiana Levha, and her sister, Katia, offer up a short but sweet a la carte menu of Asian-inspired classics that changes pretty much daily. As for decor, it’s all neutral, with a brass-top bar. Walk-ins fare well at lunch, but make a reservation for dinner.
Isami4 Quai d'Orléans, 4th | +184.108.40.206.06.97
Top-quality sushi and sashimi is served alongside little else at this six-table spot on lle Saint-Louis. It’s tiny, so reservations are essential.
Frenchie5-6 Rue du Nil, 2nd | +220.127.116.11.96.19
Nantes-local Gregory Marchand, who cooked under both Jamie Oliver and Danny Meyer (he earned his nickname “Frenchie” while cooking with Oliver), offers a subtle worldly perspective on classic French cooking via a tiny set menu (around €45 euros per person). Reservations are hard to get, though Marchand’s off-shoot, Frenchie bar à vins, only takes walk-ins should you fail to land a table, and there's always Frenchie To Go.
La Dame de Pic20 Rue du Louvre, 1st | +18.104.22.168.40.40
Though Anne-Sophie Pic’s three Michelin stars belong to her flagship restaurant in Valence, the world expects La Dame de Pic (which translates as Queen of Spades) to land the same rating. That’s because Pic is one of the best chefs in the world, lending the food she touches a rare and very specific elegance. The high-concept menu here revolves around fragrance profiles (Pic partnered with Phillip Bousseton, the nose from Takasago), which makes for an unusual and unabashedly sensual experience.
Cibus5 Rue Molière, 1st | +22.214.171.124.50.19
The chef’s daily market visits direct the brief all-organic, Italian-inflected menu at this fittingly tiny restaurant (only 15 seats). Expect dishes like French beans with octopus and wild mushroom spaghetti.
Le Chateaubriand129 Avenue Parmentier, 11th | +126.96.36.199.45.95
The dining room might not look like all that much, but this is one of those restaurants that changes how people think about food. Chef Inaki Aizpitarte, a pioneer in Paris’s neo-bistro scene, deconstructs traditional French dishes and reassembles them in wildly inventive, globally influenced ways. Despite the kitchen fireworks, it never feels pretentious here, which is probably why locals and tourists alike line up out the door to get a table (reservations are available only for the first seating).
L’Avant Comptoir3 Carrefour de l'Odeon, 6th | +188.8.131.52.07.97
Yves Camdeborde was so busy at his popular Left Bank restaurant, Le Comptoir, that he opted to accommodate the overflow by opening a tiny bar à vin next door. Though it’s standing room only, which is quite common in Paris, the delicious Béarnais-style small plates are worth tempting discomfort. We promise it’s a pleasant experience.
Dim Sum Cantine15 Rue Milton, 9th | +184.108.40.206.76.71
Much like the Cantonese-style dumplings that are its claim to fame, this restaurant is compact but mighty. The house-made dim sum (mushroom, shrimp, lacquered pork, and more) is steamed and then immediately served by the basket, accompanied by salad and rice. Lest you forget you’re in Paris, the steamed brioche buns make the perfect dessert. Since this restaurant is often packed, check out the second location in the 2nd arrondissement.
Buvette28 Rue Henry Monnier, 9th | +220.127.116.11.41.71
It takes nerve (and talent) for an American to take a French concept and re-create it for a famously hard-to-please Parisian audience. In chef Jody Williams's case, her French-inspired wine bar, Buvette, has been embraced with open arms. She tested the concept in New York first—there is a much-loved West Village outpost—and exported her gastrothèque to Paris in 2013, to rave reviews. In this romantic, perfectly Parisian little wine bar, you can expect a wonderful cocktail and wine list, and a petite menu of small versions of dishes like coq au vin, moules, and tartines. They also serve several local, seasonal salads—good ones are still hard to find in many traditional French restaurants.
Shang Palace10 Avenue d'Léna, 16th | +18.104.22.168.19.92
The menu is plucked directly out of Southeast China, showcasing picks like wok-fried pigeon, steamed sea scallops with vermicelli, and perfect salmon, served with shredded fruit. The dining room is gilded, ornate, and luxe, which is exactly what you’d expect from the Shangri-La Hotel.
Clamato80 Rue de Charonne, 11th | +22.214.171.124.74.53
While it's nearly-impossible to get a reservation at Septime—and a bar stool at their wine bar is hard to come by, too—you’ll probably have better luck at their newest venture, Clamato, a seafood-centric joint that refuses reservations. Also, it’s open all day on Saturday and Sunday, which is a rarity in Paris.
Restaurant Hélène Darroze4 Rue d’Assas, 6th | +126.96.36.199.00.11
Frogs legs, sweetbreads, caviar, and oysters all get the two Michelin star treatment at the hands of Landes-born and fourth generation chef Hélène Darroze. With restaurants in London and Moscow, the menu has a global touch with deeply local roots: Darroze uses area providers, and bases her dishes on what’s seasonally appropriate. Her quiet and restrained approach can be felt in the room’s decor as well, which is hushed and elegant.
Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie34 Rue Montmartre, 1st | +33.01.42.33.31.32
This quaint little restaurant serves excellent French food—cassoulet, steak tartare, and chocolate cake—in an unstuffy Art Nouveau dining room. The adjoining shop, complete with ham hocks hanging from the rafters, has a killer selection of French wines, cheeses, and other specialty items.
Ober Mamma107 Blvd. Richard Lenoir, 11th | +33.158.306.278
This is a true trattoria in the middle of Paris, with great platters of antipasti, thin-crust pizzas, and surprisingly big bowls of house-made pasta (definitely not the skimpy starter size—these are mains). The interior immediately suggests a good time with long electric-blue leather benches running the length of the walls, offset by yellow table mats on quintessentially Parisian round tables. Expect a tight squeeze: This place is perpetually packed with locals downing glasses of sparkling Lambrusco and rounding off with a few bites of the sublime tiramisu.
La Fontaine de Mars129 Rue Saint-Dominique, 7th | +33.147.054.644
In a city filled with good, classic restaurants, it's hard to narrow it down to a few favorites, but Le Fontaine de Mars is one of those old-world bistros that constantly draws you back in. Once inside, no one would blame you for thinking that nothing has changed in a hundred years—and maybe it hasn't: Pink tablecloths, mirrored walls, and retro floor tiles abound. Keep your order to the tried-and-true classics, good steak-frites or coq au vin with a large glass of red is the way to go here.
Bonhomie22 Rue d'Enghien, 10th | +33.983.888.251
If you've overindulged on steak-frites and can't handle the thought of another buttery sole meunière, eschew the delicious but heavy bistro classics for some Mediterranean at Bonhomie. A café meets cocktail bar meets restaurant near the chic Marais district, sitting on a royal-blue leather stool in the beautiful, modern, white-and-gold interior feels like a breath of fresh air. The menu leans on Moroccan influences with a former Frenchie chef at the helm—dishes like minty chickpeas and labneh and harissa lamb with tabbouleh take center stage. If you happen to pass by at an odd afternoon hour, a coupe de champagne at the long marble bar is the way to go.
Claus14 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1st Arrondissement | +188.8.131.52.55.10
Claus is one of those spots where you'll want to have your way with every dish on the menu (all-breakfast, all the time). There are granolas and toasts and eggs in every conceivable incarnation, and good god, so much pastry. Get a small window table upstairs, grab a newspaper, and take your time. There’s also granola: Claus will have you hooked one crunchy, subtly sweet, almost smoky bite in. And the tiny grocery store across the street that sells the stuff by the bag is the final piece of the master plan. There's also tea, coffee, and a dozen or so flavors of house-made jam. You'll buy all the jars you can carry with the best intentions of handing them out to friends back home. But even the best intentions…