49 Rue Volta, 3rd
You'd walk right by this nondescript sliver of a restaurant if you didn't know it was there. A smattering of oversize gold candlesticks, artfully dilapidated tile walls, perfectly gilded mirrors, slabs of marble, and rickety chairs will make you feel like you're eating in someone's wonderfully loved kitchen. And this kitchen just happens to serve Argentinian steaks accompanied by creamy guacamole, beans and rice, and heaping amounts of side salad.
32 Rue Saint Marc, 2nd
Alain Ducasse’s Aux Lyonnais is one of those traditional French dining experiences that manages to deftly skirt stuffiness. The old-world façade still has the original sign from the restaurant’s 1914 debút, and the belle époque interior (mirrored walls, intricate tile floors, and an original wooden staircase) feels straight out of central casting. The menu changes seasonally—they offer a prix fixe as well as a la carte.
27 Rue du Dragon, 6th
This cozy spot in the 6th is open through the entire month of August, and we’re grateful for that because the dishes are a perfect showcase of France’s summer garden bounty. The burrata starter comes with fresh cherry tomatoes and a pistachio pesto, and the brunch dishes (yes, that means French toast and crepes) revolve around around summer raspberries and strawberries.
Bistro aux Vieux Chene (Closed)
7 Rue du Dahomey, 11th
If Bistro Paul Bert is too busy (which is often the case), grab a seat at the zinc bar here. It’s friendlier, much less hyped, and specializes in reliably wonderful bistro classics at always reasonable prices.
6 Rue du Sabot, 6th
Travelers missing their sushi fix usually slink over to Blueberry on night three in Paris, when the capacity to consume another plate of steak-frites is officially no more. Purists be warned: The maki are on the innovative side, imbued with tropical, citrusy flavors like mango and yuzu (trust us: These rolls are next-level good). The atmosphere is more disco than serene. Whitewashed stone walls are illuminated electric blue and neon pink, while dozens of low-hanging lamps dispel any notions of a romantic dinner. Come at lunch for value, but dinnertime is when the ambiance reaches a celebratory fever pitch, when the lighting is most dramatic. Somehow, those perfect, umami-rich mouthfuls just taste better after dark.
74 Rue des Gravilliers, 3rd
At lunch, Bob’s is overrun with health-conscious Parisians who sidle up to the communal tables for salads, veggie stews, and cold-pressed juice.
22 Rue d'Enghien, 10th
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.
22 Boulevard de Clichy, 18eme
Bouillon Pigalle is a restaurant of the proletariat. Though it would be more accurate to call it a restaurant of the proletariat of Paris who favor watercress salad, escargots, beef bourguignon, frites, and a menu that is as true to a bistro menu as it can be. Historically, in French restaurant vernacular, a "bouillon" is a restaurant that served bouillon-which is to say good, afforable food, that appealed to the working class. And Bouillon Pigalle is the 2018 version: 300 seats; a festive, bustling vibe; and a crowd willing to wait the better part of an hour for table. No matter. The profiteroles are that good.
28 Rue Henry Monnier, 9th
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.
38 Rue de Bretagne, 3rd
This bustling bistro is particularly great for late dinners and brunch: The menu is nice and succinct, offering the classics you want after a few glasses of wine. You’ll find steak au cheval, steak tartare, a selection of burgers, and a sampling of salads, plus a small wine list mostly offered by the carafe. This is one of the few places open on Sunday.
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