OUR FAVORITE PARIS RESTAURANTS
For more than a decade, we’ve been independently & anonymously reviewing Paris restaurants, and we’ve narrowed down our favorites for Spring 2022 to make our Paris shortlist. Subscribe to our newsletter to get our latest reviews and recommendations in your inbox.
(MOSTLY) CLASSIC FRENCH
27 rue Malar, 75007
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 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.
4 rue Biscornet, 75012
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, lightly cooked meats and fish, and butter in everything. Your gut-busting meal might finish with a simple scoop of chocolate mousse or a perfectly aged piece of Camembert-de-Normandie. The wine list is mostly natural and contains treasures.
20 rue Saint-Martin, 75004
Benoît serves elevated and expensive bistro fare with attention to detail in a beautiful space that’s centrally located and open every day. You’ll find expected classics like escargots and cassoulet, plus some delicious old-fashioned dishes that have all but disappeared.
10 Rue de Belzunce, 75010
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?).
47 Rue de Richelieu, 75001
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.
La Bourse et la Vie
12 rue Vivienne, 75002
This dining room of this small restaurant near the former stock exchange is compact and cozy, complete with all the markers of a comforting old bistro. Daniel Rose (ex-Spring and Le Coucou) has assembled and electrified a roster of extremely classic French dishes (pot au feu, duck à l’orange, pocheuse) that are hard to find at all anymore, much less done this well. More common dishes like steak-frites, foie gras and poireaux vinaigrette are exceptionally delicious here. It’s not cheap, but it delivers.
Le Bel Ordinaire
5 Rue de Bazeilles, 75005
This aptly named gem in the southern Latin Quarter straddles the line between a neighborhood bistro and something more refined – between the ordinary and beautiful. Recent visits have featured fried sweetbread nuggets, sea scallops with Jerusalem artichoke, and a gorgeous fish soup. A great option if you’re strolling in the nearby rue Mouffetard or Jardin des Plantes.
1 Rue Pradier, 75019
Le Cadoret is a Belleville bistro offering traditional French fare with some modest twists – beignets of veal brain with soy sauce and herbs, skate wing with capers and smoked potatoes – along with inexpensive natural wine and craft beer. With sincere and efficient service and serious value for quality, it’s an excellent example of what a modern bistro can be.
109 rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 + other locations
Breizh Café is one of the best options for a meal outside of the otherwise draconian French mealtimes of 12-2pm & 7-10pm. A Breton restaurant specializing in crêpes both sweet and savory, it’s the perfect place for a late breakfast or mid-afternoon snack. And with several outposts dotted throughout the city, some of which are open seven days a week, it’s never far away! The buckwheat crêpes are naturally gluten free, and with a wealth of organic filling options, it’s a good choice for vegetarians. It also might be the perfect hangover brunch.
53 Rue des Cloys, 75018
On the far side of Montmartre, Le Maquis boasts 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.
16 Rue Jean Mermoz, 75008
Le Mermoz may look like a classic bistro, with its cozy banquettes and wraparound zinc bar, but this restaurant just steps from the Champs-Elysées is anything but old school. Playful presentations, natural wine, and Noma-style ferments unite to make Le Mermoz feel more like eastern Paris than the 8th arrondissement. Whether for shared small plates at dinner or three courses at lunch, it’s a neighborhood favorite for a reason.
5 Rue Guillaume Bertrand, 75011
The 11th arrondissement may be flooded with phenomenal restaurants, but the market-driven menu at Massale stands out with much meatier 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 region and beyond.
CREATIVE & WORLDLY FRENCH
42, rue Saint-Sébastien, 75011
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 service make this neighborhood restaurant one worth crossing the city for. Now helmed by chef Christopher Edwards, the menu features plenty of peak-season produce, line-caught fish and an incredible selection of white wine and craft beer for sipping on the sidewalk terrace.
13 Rue Chapon, 75003
24 rue du Sentier, 75002
At Pantagruel, a modern & creative restaurant in the Sentier district, each main dish is actually a parade of three smaller ones. Balance and precision are the hallmarks of chef Jason Gouzy’s cuisine, which frequently toys with Parisian classics. Meaty options abound, but vegetables are given star treatment here, and great attention is given to the spectacle innate to classic French tableside service. Now with a Michelin star.
80, rue de Charonne, 75011
The seafood-focused fish and seafood sister to Michelin-starred Septime, Clamato is a fun, lively restaurant in the 11th arrondissement. With a menu featuring everything from small plates to seafood platters, whole fish to the unmissable maple syrup tart for dessert, it walks the line between impressive and lowkey. Clamato is also open all afternoon for nonstop service between lunch and dinner on the weekends. No reservations, but the nearby Cave du Septime is a fine place to wait for a table with a glass of (natural) wine or two!
15, rue Hippolyte Lebas, 75009
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. A great option for vegetarians and natural wine lovers.
Les Enfants du Marché
39, rue de Bretagne, 75003
Les Enfants du Marché is a dining counter set within the open-air Marché des Enfants Rouges, and it’s 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). Open during market hours (lunch and afternoon) only, with the un-reservable stools in high demand from noon onward. A great option in the Marais, and for Sunday lunch.
32 rue de la Fontaine au Roi, 75011
This contemporary restaurant in the 11th arrondissement has retained its phenomenal reputation under the capable direction of Chef Daniel Morgan. Like Peter Orr before him, Morgan cooks a plant-driven menu rife with international flavors featuring produce grown for the restaurant by the team at the Jardin sur Loire. A vegetarian prix fixe is available, but there’s something here for everyone. An airy dining room, open kitchen, and great, all-natural wine list seal the deal.
Hugo & Co.
48, rue Monge, 75005
This internationally-inflected spot from Michelin-starred Chef Tomy Gossuet brings the flair of the shared small plates so pervasive in eastern Paris to the historic Left Bank. Just steps from the Pantheon, this fusion restaurant nevertheless rooted in French technique is ideal for a Monday night dinner, good for vegetarians, and effortlessly balances more contemporary flavors with a dining room that’s not quite as boisterous as many Right Bank iterations of the genre. A short and sweet wine list features a mix of smaller producers and names with more clout.
5 Rue Saint-Bernard, 75011
Not far from the Aligre market, Mokonuts is one of the best lunch tables in Paris, featuring Lebanese-accented cuisine served from the open kitchen in the small, cozy dining room. The menu is short and sweet, and thanks to a no-reservations policy, you’ll probably have to wait for your table. Totally worth it. Breakfast is a sweet affair, featuring a simple roster of homemade pastries and tartines with fresh juice and coffee. Don’t neglect to buy one of Moko’s incredible cookies (or a whole stack to take away!)
Le Grand Bain
14 Rue Denoyez, 75020
This spot down the diminutive, street art-covered rue Denoyez is known for its lengthy menus both of seasonally-driven small plates and excellent natural wines. A wealth of ever-changing options always includes a few pescatarian and vegetarian options, though the lardo-draped cheese gougères have been a longtime stalwart for a reason. Great for Sunday night dinner!
10, rue du Grand Prieuré, 75011
This menu is improbable collection of dishes inspired by chef Robert Compagnon’s clear obsession with Japan and his skill with yakitori, but in addition to grilled meats and seafood, you could also find handmade pastas, beautiful tempura fried vegetables, and stunning desserts from his partner Jessica Yang, a pastry chef who was previously at Per Se (NYC) and Guy Savoy (Paris). Reservations are extremely difficult to get, so try to book four weeks in advance or add yourself to the wait list for multiple dates.
50, Rue Condorcet, 75009
In an open and bright dining room, chef Takao Inazawa is serving Japanese-accented cuisine with incredible precision and balance, like this panko-crusted blood sausage (10€) perfumed with Japanese curry, or veal sweetbreads glazed with sweet eel sauce. There are a few vegetarian creations, but the menu is heavy on meat and fish dishes. There’s an excellent wine list featuring Villemade, Dard et Ribo, Souhaut, L’Anglore and other natural wine producers.