Le Rigmarole

This small plates restaurant not far from République boasts a Japanese-accented assortment of dishes from French-American chef Robert Compagnon. Handmade pastas and yakitori are must-try items on the tasting menu. Ask for seat at the bar to see the binchotan grill at work. The team here easily caters to more (or less!) adventurous diners, with offerings like chicken sashimi and offal skewers. Co-owner Jessica Yang is the Taiwanese-American pastry chef behind the delectable desserts – save room.

Le Saint-Sébastien

This contemporary French restaurant in the 11th arrondissement is known for its handmade charcuterie, vegetable-driven (but not vegetarian) cooking, and desserts with a savory spin. The 400-reference-strong wine list and impeccable (Anglophone) service make this neighborhood restaurant one worth crossing the city for. Now helmed by chef Christopher Edwards, the menu in summer 2021 is featuring plenty of peak-season produce, line-caught fish, and an incredible selection of white wine and craft beer for sipping on the sidewalk terrace.

Massale

The 11th arrondissement may be flooded with phenomenal restaurants, but the seasonal menu at Massale stands out with far meatier market-driven options than most other spots leaning into the plant-based trend. Fish and seafood nevertheless abound here, and the wine list features specialties from France’s Jura and beyond.

Pompette

Pompette is a small plates restaurant boasting a natural wine list from Australian sommelière Jess Hodges. Chef Jordan Robinson’s modest menu is mostly pescatarian with international and North American influences ranging from curry-spiked cockles to fried chicken with white barbecue sauce. Reservations are a must, whether for one of the 28 indoor seats or the dozen on the terrace.

Pastore

Pastore is a contemporary Italian restaurant near Grands Boulevards boasting a relatively spacious dining room as compared to many of its Parisian counterparts. The 250-reference wine list is sure to offer the perfect accompaniment to Sicilian chef Lorenzo Sciabica’s exquisite pastas or the city’s best burrata – served simply with a drizzle of infused olive oil.

La Buvette

A simple spot where you can taste bottles of excellent natural wines alongside a few small plates from proprietor Camille Fourmont, formerly the bar manager at Le Dauphin. Not to be confused with the other Buvette, this off-the-beaten path bar (that is technically a shop where you can buy bottles) was selected as the Best Cave à Manger by Le Fooding.

Les Enfants du Marché

Les Enfants du Marché, a modern & creative restaurant located within the open-air Marché des Enfants Rouges market in the upper Marais, is a dining counter known for natural wine and avant-garde cuisine. While the seating on bar stools in the bustling market might suggest a more lowbrow offering, the surprising combinations on Japanese chef Masahide Ikuta’s unforgettable plates evoke a far more fine dining affair (an evocation reflected in the highbrow prices). It is one of our favorite Paris restaurants.

Arnaud Nicolas

At the impossibly young age of 24, Arnaud Nicolas achieved one of the highest honors in gastronomy – the title Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) – for his talent in charcuterie. Fourteen years later, he opened an ambitious shop and restaurant near the Eiffel Tower with the explicit goal of returning charcuterie to a place of honor on the French table. In the same way that prize-winning artisans have reshaped traditional baguette-making and pâtisserie, Nicolas wants to reintroduce charcuterie to palates that have become used to mediocre industrialized examples. So is it really that different? Yes.

L’Assiette

With its worn wooden tables, intricately painted ceilings, and charcuterie slicer propped on the marble counter, L’Assiette has the precise look of a dream Paris bistro. It also serves many of the classic dishes, like escargots and cassoulet, which have mostly disappeared from the city’s restaurants. The far-flung location in the 14th arrondissement, near the Catacombs but far from the center, has probably helped L’Assiette to stay off the tourist radar. Chef David Rathgeber and his team are friendly with visitors but don’t cater to them. The customers who come to indulge in this hearty fare are mostly local, which makes this a great option for tourists looking to avoid their own countrymen.

Le Baratin

Food and wine pilgrims, particularly those who read the New York Times or watch Anthony Bourdain, are willing to climb the hill for this Belleville institution. Raquel Carena tends the fire, offering her own personal brand of bistro cooking – sometimes delicate, sometimes hearty, always heartfelt. In stark contrast to the loving kitchen, the dining room is cold as ice, thanks to the joyless leadership of Carena’s husband Philippe.

Holybelly

Pancakes, poached eggs and hearty seasonal fare served alongside excellent coffee sourced from Belleville Brulerie in a sunny space along the Canal St. Martin. An international array of coffee preparations (flat whites, espressos, long blacks, cappuccinos, and very good “real deal” filtered coffee) are accompanied by hot chocolate made from homemade chocolate syrup and a selection of teas from Le Parti du Thé.

Mensae

Mensae is a contemporary French bistro not far from the sprawling Buttes-Chaumont park. Classics like frogs’ legs and steak tartare are frequently featured on the ever-changing menu, revisited with a contemporary bent and more reasonable portion size than the behemoths found in other restaurants. Don’t miss the chocolate mousse for dessert.

Abri

We have never been disappointed by the excellent modern bistronomy at Abri, but the only way that we have been able to go in the last year has been when someone else had a reservation they couldn’t use. No, they will not answer their phone. No, there is no secret strategy. Even if you go in person and ask for a reservation, any reservation, at lunch or dinner for any number of people at any time in the future, the answer will be no. So take it off your list, it’s not a functional restaurant if you can’t ever go.