In the age of Instagram, the plates and dining room at Amarante feel almost defiantly unadorned. Christophe Philippe has created a haven near Bastille for those who unapologetically love fatty food and offal and who share a disdain for vegetables. You won’t find any herbs, acidity or brightness on these plates. Both the food and the ambiance are decidedly heavy. Your gut-busting meal might finish with a simple scoop of chocolate mousse or a perfectly aged piece of Camembert-de-Normandie. The… Read More »Amarante
Auberge Bressane is a very traditional French restaurant that serves classic dishes like escargots, frogs’ legs and coq au vin. They do these dishes incredibly well, along with regional classics like oeufs en meurette, quenelles de Brochet and chicken with morels and vin jaune, in a typical bistro setting that looks like a postcard. Despite being within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower, this place hasn’t been taken over by tourists. We were surrounded by locals on our recent visit… Read More »Auberge Bressane
We haven’t yet visited this new location, but they’re part of the Nouvelle Garde group that includes Brasserie Dubillot and Brasserie Bellanger which we recommend for affordable classic French food. Brasserie des Prés is open every day, even in August. BRASSERIE DES PRÉS 6 Cour du Commerce Saint-André, 75006Open Thursday-Sunday from 9am to midnightOpen Monday-Wednesday from 7pm to midnightReservations online or at +33 1 42 03 44 13 Their Instagram / Our Instagram
La Rotisserie d’Argent is a classic French bistro serving what might be the best roast chicken in Paris. Located next to the Seine, with outdoor tables overlooking the river, this is a centrally located and crowd-pleasing spot for classics like steak frites, duck confit, steak tartare, and kidneys in mustard sauce (vegetarians should steer clear). There’s a good wine list, as you’d expect from the team behind La Tour d’Argent, and they’re open every day. LA ROTISSERIE D’ARGENT 19 Quai… Read More »La Rotisserie d’Argent
Le CasseNoix is a neighborhood bistro just south of the Eiffel Tower in the 15th arrondissement. Chef Olivier Lenormand won the competition for best junior pastry chef in France at age 17, and worked for many years under Bruno Doucet at La Régalade. Like his mentor, he begins each meal by giving away something delicious – in this case a small crock of chicken liver mousse. His menu succeeds when he sticks to classic French dishes – a ballontine of rabbit… Read More »Le CasseNoix
Le Maquis is a small French restaurant located on the far side of Montmartre boasting small portions of impeccable, contemporary bistro fare and a small, all-natural wine list. A slight Italian leaning pervades the menu, which also includes more classic French dishes. Lunch is a steal at 16-euro for two courses and 18 for three.
Caluche is an all-day café and wine bar that serves fresh bistro fare in the Latin Quarter. This little gem is run by a former owner and server from the Café de la Nouvelle Mairie. The latter is renowned as a destination for natural wine lovers, and that crowd will be happy with this new venture. They’ll be even happier with the food – it’s phenomenally better at Caluche. Beyond the expected small-plate nibbles (olives, dried sausage), I loved their… Read More »Caluche
Le Mazenay is a modest bistro that’s serving classic French food with subtle Vietnamese accents. The restaurant is named after the village in Burgundy where chef Denis Groison was born, and the wine list reflects his ties to this region. But Groison grew up to travel the world, cooking in Singapore and Hanoi, and marrying a Vietnamese woman named Lan who very expertly oversees the dining room of their mom and pop restaurant in the Marais. He makes simple and… Read More »Le Mazenay
Bofinger is a beautiful old brasserie in the Marais that serves Alsatian dishes like choucroute and flammekueche. A lot of people have special memories tied to Bofinger, and I don’t want to talk them out of their attachments. But Bofinger (pronounced bo-fan-zhay) is not a destination for food lovers. The space is enormous, which makes it easy to get in without a reservation at the last minute. But their size is the restaurant’s downfall. It’s hard to flag a server… Read More »Bofinger
Le Trumilou is the sort of unfussy basic bistro that we want to love. Situated along the Seine and with plenty of space to welcome groups and last minute bookings, this would be an affordable gem if the food were edible. In our experience, it isn’t.
Chez Casimir is a long-standing casual bistro near Gare du Nord that’s now being run by a new team. It’s a good option for those who love charcuterie, offal and wild game, especially when you need something that’s open on Monday and near the train station. CHEZ CASIMIR 6 Rue de Belzunce, 75010Open Monday-Friday for lunch & dinnerOpen Saturday for dinner only Closed SundayReservations at +33 1 48 78 28 80 Their Instagram / Our Instagram OUR PHOTOS OF CHEZ CASMIR SUBSCRIBE… Read More »Chez Casimir
Book one of the ten tables at Le Severo when you’re craving beef, whether that’s in the form of tartare, haché, filet, tataki, bavette, onglet, or côte de boeuf. These are selected and aged by owner / butcher William Bernet, served with excellent fries, and accompanied by one of the best wine lists in town (Beaujolais and Rhone, in particular). Le Severo has been here forever, welcoming visitors and regulars to its little corner of the 14th arrondissement for what… Read More »Le Severo
Brasserie Bellanger is an all-day spot near Gare du Nord for affordable French classics like oeuf-mayo and steak-frites They’re open every day, even in August, and their continuous service from 9am to midnight makes them a good option for eating early with kids or late, after a show. They have sister locations in other neighborhoods called Brasserie Dubillot, Brasserie Martin and Brasserie des Prés.
First the bad news: Café des Ministères is almost impossible to book right now. We named it our best restaurant of 2022, and plenty of newspapers (Le Figaro, the New York Times) have lavished similar praise. If you manage to get in (they open online bookings three weeks in advance of a particular date), don’t neglect to order the choux farci façon Reine with leaves of Pontoise cabbage lacquered around a tender mound of smoky sausage and foie gras, in… Read More »Café Des Ministères
Grande Brasserie has a lot of things going for it. The vintage décor, in the space that used to be Le Petit Bofinger, is gorgeous. Light streams in through the large windows, and the walls are adorned beautiful old murals and posters. Owner Adrien Spanu has a lot of restaurant friends who helped him put together one of the best wine lists in Paris (hint: it looks a lot like the ones you’ll find at Semilla and Fish). It’s centrally… Read More »Grande Brasserie
The Bistrot des Tournelles opened in 2022 and was named “Best Bistro of 2023” by Le Fooding. They’re not the only ones who raved – I know plenty of people who loved their experience here. I found it to be pretty good, but certainly not the best of the year. Classic desserts like crème brûlée, tarte Tatin and chocolate mousse were delicious. Salmon gravlax and oeufs mayo starters were “correct” and tasty. Two dishes were downright bad – the croque… Read More »Bistrot des Tournelles
Aléa is new restaurant, tucked into the sweet and sedate backside of the Montmartre hill, that’s run by a young couple. It feels personal. Chef Léa Lestage, who previously worked at the three-star Epicure, is serving a market-driven menu at night with 3-4 options per course (starters 11-16€, mains 24-26€). When I went, that included the best duck dish I’ve had in years – a canard de Challans served with an indulgent potato millefeuille and a fig poached in red wine… Read More »aléa
We haven’t yet visited this location, but they’re part of the Nouvelle Garde group that includes Brasserie Dubillot and Brasserie Bellanger, which we recommend for affordable classic French food. Brasserie Martin is open every day, even in August. BRASSERIE MARTIN 24 Rue Saint-Ambroise, 75011Open every day from 9am to midnightReservations online or at +33 1 48 05 34 36 Their Instagram / Our Instagram
For the wine-indifferent, Café de la Nouvelle Mairie is merely a timeless, picturesque terraced café on a shady lane beside the Panthéon. But for alert wine geeks, it might as well be the Panthéon itself, as pertains to natural wine.
Brasserie Dubillot is an all-day spot for affordable French classics like oeuf-mayo, sausage & mash, and steak-frites. They’re open every day, even in August, and their continuous service from 9am to midnight makes them a good option for eating early with kids or late, after a show. They have sister locations in other neighborhoods called Brasserie Bellanger, Brasserie Martin and Brasserie des Prés.
The casual neighborhood bistro we all dream about, complete with a charming host (Margaux) who remembers your previous visit, and her chef-husband Romain who makes beautiful bistro food in a tiny kitchen. The atmosphere is friendly and familial, despite the posh location near the Louvre. The wine cellar that began with Margaux’s father Tim Johnston remains one of the most delightful and well-priced in the city. The house-made terrine and rice pudding are recommended book-ends to your meal. Juveniles is… Read More »Juveniles
Chef Stéphane Jego was an early star of the bistronomie movement, elevating traditional bistro fare with the sort of techniques and emphasis on quality ingredients that one might expect from finer dining. His simple, cheerful dining room at Chez l’Ami Jean has not wavered in quality, even though the dining room is filled with visitors expressing delight in foreign tongues. Meat and fish options abound (vegetarians beware), but wild game is the star when in season. CHEZ L’AMI JEAN 27 rue Malar,… Read More »Chez L’Ami Jean
Bouillon République is a very affordable spot for classic French dishes. They’re open all day with continuous service, which makes them a good options for parents with young children or anyone else who needs to eat early. They also serve late, making them a good idea if you’re hungry after a concert. The restaurant is massive and can handle very large parties, so we’ve included them in our guide to Paris restaurants that are good for groups. BOUILLON RÉPUBLIQUE 39… Read More »Bouillon République
La Fontaine de Mars is a southwestern French bistro near the Eiffel Tower that got a lot of recognition when the Obamas visited during his presidency. It’s a good spot to try classic French dishes, but certain dishes like the cassoulet seem to have gone downhill over the years. They have a charming outdoor terrace in front of the fountain that gives this restaurant its name. LA FONTAINE DE MARS 129 rue Saint-Dominique, 75007Open every day for lunch and dinnerReservations… Read More »La Fontaine de Mars
A beautiful and expansive outdoor terrace tucked inside a hidden courtyard in the Marais, this is the Paris address of Mauro Colagreco, whose restaurant Mirazur was rated as the World’s Best in 2022. GrandCoeur offers a Mediterranean menu full of fresh fish, with a few vegetarian & carnivorous options. It’s open every day and is a good option for larger groups. Included among our 50 Favorite Restaurants in Paris. GRANDCOEUR 41 Rue du Temple, 75004Open every day for lunch and dinnerReservations… Read More »GrandCoeur
Chez Michel has reinvented itself many times within the bistro tradition. Founder Thierry Breton has passed the reins to chef Masahiro Kawai, who carries the torch for traditional dishes like Kig Ha Farz while creating his own instant-classics, like this spin on bouillabaisse. The atmosphere is homey with wood timbered ceilings and the wine list remains impressive. Leave room for desserts like Paris-Brest and Poire Belle Hélène (who else makes that anymore?). CHEZ MICHEL 10 Rue de Belzunce, 75010 Open Monday-Friday… Read More »Chez Michel
A l’Epi d’Or is a second spot for classic French food from Jean-François Piège, and about half the price of its nearby sibling, La Poule au Pot. A daily two- or three-course menu (29€ or 39€) makes this a very good deal for central Paris, and the à la carte menu contains kid-friendly classics like croque monsieur (16€) and hachis parmentier (24€). It’s not inexpensive compared to Bouillon République, but it’s inexpensive for Jean-François Piège. We love the steak tartare – served… Read More »A l’Epi d’Or
Read an old travel guide to France, and you’ll likely find mention of les routiers. At these roadside restaurants catering to truckers, grub was classic, cheap, and good. And despite the absence of any highway running through the trendy 11th arrondissement, Aux Bons Crus evokes these restaurants of yore.
L’Ami Louis is one of the most atmospheric restaurants in Paris. It’s dark and dramatic, with white jacketed servers bringing overflowing plates of snails, foie gras, and other classic French dishes. The roast chicken, with its accompanying tower of shoestring fries, is as good as everyone says it is. But L’Ami Louis is also one of the most clubby restaurants in Paris. It’s filled with regulars, it’s hard to get a table, and the prices are high enough to scare most tourists away. That’s probably by design. If you need to ask how much the roast chicken costs (it inches closer to 100 euros every year), then L’Ami Louis is probably not for you. It remains one of our favorite places in Paris, when someone else has gone to the trouble to book and ideally when someone else is paying.
The overarching honesty and generosity of La Vierge’s concept places the restaurant alongside overachieving peers like Belleville’s Le Cadoret at the vanguard of a new generation of Paris bistrot that recognizes the value of virtue.
Le Cadoret is a French restaurant in Belleville offering traditional French fare, inexpensive natural wines, and craft beers. With sincere and efficient service and serious value for quality, it’s an excellent example of what a modern bistro can be.
Sauvage is boisterous and fun. It has the feeling of a friendly neighborhood wine bar that just happens to have real talent (chef Sébastien Leroy) in the kitchen. Sauvage caters to a local St-Germain clientele that doesn’t bat an eye at relatively high prices, resulting in luxurious dishes like quail with foie gras and black truffle. The wine list leans natural, and contains treasures. We included Sauvage among our favorite restaurants in Saint-Germain. SAUVAGE 60 rue du Cherche Midi, 75006Open… Read More »Sauvage
La Poule au Pot is chef Jean-François Piège’s revival of a classic Les Halles institution. The menu is full of classic French dishes like frog’s legs, merlan frit colbert, and clafoutis. It’s a pricey affair, but a good option to keep in mind near the Louvre, especially on Saturday when many spots for classic French are closed. LA POULE AU POT 9 Rue Vauvilliers, 75001Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch & dinnerClosed Sunday & MondayReservations online or at +33 1 42 36… Read More »La Poule au Pot
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.
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 Villaret is one of our favorite Classic Bistros in Paris. Sometimes in life we chase after the ones who play hard-to-get and we ignore the nice, stable options who just want to treat us right. Le Villaret is the homely neighborhood bistro that I never appreciated until I stopped looking for love at Le Baratin and Le Repaire de Cartouche.
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.
Le Repaire de Cartouche is a great place to sit at the bar without reservations, order wine with a slab of terrine, and wait for your table to open up at Au Passage. It’s still great fun as a wine bar, even if it can no longer deliver as a restaurant.
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.
A recent visit didn’t live up to the hype in which Thierry Dufroux’s Basque-inflected bistrot was declared “one of the revelations of 2013.” With the exception of a vanilla millefeuille with fresh strawberries, every dish was fine but forgettable. The wine list was uninspired and service was brisk and joyless. Three years ago, when most of this restaurant’s reviews were written, Belhara may have stood out as more exciting. It may have actually been more exciting back then. But today, when Paris is experiencing a renaissance of old-fashioned cuisine bourgeoise, Belhara doesn’t quite make it to Our Top 50 Paris Restaurants. Its saving grace: three courses for 38€ is still a great value for dinner in the 7ème near the Eiffel Tower. Read More »Bistrot Belhara
Practical information Address: 4 bis rue du 4 Septembre, 75002 Nearest transport: Bourse (3) Hours: Open every day Reservations: Reservations not accepted for the tapas bar, but book a few weeks in advance for the upstairs restaurant Telephone: 01 47 03 91 91 Average price for lunch: 10-19€ at the tapas bar and 20-39€ in the restaurant Average price for dinner: 20-39€ at the tapas bar or 60-100€ in the restaurant Style of cuisine: Basque, small plates & tapas Website Facebook [slideshow_deploy… Read More »A Noste
Willi’s Wine Bar has been a Paris institution since 1980, when Mark Williamson opened up near the Palais Royal. If you’ve come to Paris to drink wine, this is a great place to stop in for a glass (or bottle) and some simple food. It’s also a good place to book for larger groups. Open Saturday, open Monday, good for groups, vegetarian friendly, excellent wine, near the Louvre 13 rue des Petits-Champs, 75001Open Monday-Saturday for lunch & dinnerClosed SundayReservations online… Read More »Willi’s Wine Bar
You can call Quedubon a bistro or a wine bar or a cave. All apply to this address near the beautiful Parc des Buttes Chaumont. The simple food ranges from light (capriccios of fresh fish) to homey (braised meats) to downright offal (veal brains), and is washed down by one of the vins naturels that populate the impressive wine list maintained by Gilles Bénard. Owing in part to the non-central location, there’s a village-like feeling to this friendly place. You can also buy bottles to go.
Practical information Address: 108 boulevard du Montparnasse, 75014 Nearest transport: Vavin (4), Edgar Quinet (6) Hours: Open every day for lunch and dinner Reservations: Book a day or two in advance Telephone: 01 43 35 25 81 Website Book Online What people are saying Not Drinking Poison in Paris (2015) “The upside of a city that trades on history, however, is the persistence of such majestic creations as Le Dôme’s airy millefeuille, gargantuan portions of which are hacked off a tree-trunk-sized… Read More »Le Dôme
Practical information Address: 92 rue Broca, 75013 Nearest transport: Les Gobelins (7) Hours: Closed Sunday & Monday; Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner Reservations: Book a few days in advance Telephone: 01 47 07 13 65 E-mail: email@example.com Average price for lunch: 20-39€ Average price for dinner: 20-39€ Style of cuisine: Classic French Website Facebook Book Online Reviews of interest Time Out (2013) “«Bons produits» ne rime pas toujours avec « repas réussi ». Si les éléments semblaient réunis pour s’offrir un dîner goûtu et audacieux– de… Read More »L’Ourcine
Practical information Address: 45 avenue Ledru-Rollin, 75012 Nearest transport: Gare de Lyon (1, 14, RER A), Quai de la Rapée (5) Hours: Closed Sunday; Open Tuesday-Friday for lunch & dinner and Monday & Saturday for dinner Reservations: Book a few days in advance Telephone: 01 43 43 34 38 Average price for lunch: 20-39€ Average price for dinner: 20-39€ Style of cuisine: Classic French Facebook Reviews of interest Atabula (2014) “Au programme: nappes épaisses, lourds couverts dans une ambiance mi populaire-mi bourgeoise.… Read More »A la Biche au Bois
Franck Baranger’s modern bistro near Pigalle is turning out dishes like celery root soup, oyster tartare, and a standout côte de cochon. Two courses at lunch for 17€, three at dinner for 32€.
It’s all about the bon produits at Le Bon Georges: beef from Alexandre Polmard, sustainable seafood from small-scale fishermen, market fresh veg from Joël Thibault, and vins de propriétés. The menu changes each day at this brand new, but classically beautiful bistro.
The market at Les Halles is long gone, but its legacy is still in evidence at Chez Denise, an old-school meat joint that’s open late. Expect to find steak, bone marrow, frisée salad on these red & white checked tablecloths. Come hungry, and don’t expect to be fussed over.
– Meg Zimbeck, 2010