Looking for the best place to eat in Paris? Here is the super top-secret list from The Traveling Professor of his favorite places to eat in Paris.
Le Hangar. 12 Impasse Berthaud, 3rd arrondissement. Métro: Rambuteau.
Nothing fancy about this bistro near the Pompidou Center. Reasonable prices at about €25 for dinner make this one of the best places to eat in Paris. Excellent gâteau au chocolat (chocolate cake) for dessert. No credit cards or website. Telephone: 01 42 74 55 44.
Chez Janou. 2 rue Roger Verlomme, 3rd arrondissement. Métro: Chemin Vert.
Everyone seems to be having a great time at this compact bistro, a few blocks from the Place des Vosges. Provençal and straightforward French food (very good entrecôte). Andy Herbach recommends their decent-priced wines with an emphasis on those from Provence. Known for its selection of pastis (anise-flavored aperitif) and delicious bowl of mousse au chocolat (chocolate mousse). Priced in the 15-25 euro range per person. Website: www.chezjanou.com.
Brasserie Bofinger. 5, rue de la Bastille, 4th arrondissement. Métro: Bastille.
Another grand turn-of-the-century Parisian favorite with a strong Alsatian bias. The seafood platters (fruits de mer) are the superstars here. Even though the crowd is mostly French, I found the staff to be quite friendly and accommodating. It is moderately priced. It’s near the Bastille opera house, so it’s difficult to get a table immediately before or after the opera. Bofinger’s “Mini-Me” counterpart, Le Petit Bofinger, is across the street. Reserve a day or two in advance. Website: www.bofingerparis.com.
L’As du Fallafel. 34, rue des Rosiers, 4th arrondissement. Métro: St-Paul.
This Jewish deli-type restaurant in the Marais is a crowd-pleaser. I like it so much for their 6-8 euro falafels (they call them “cocktail de viandes”, literally translated as “meat cocktail) washed down with an Orangina that I keep their business card tacked on my corkboard in my kitchen. A great little take-away (“emporter” in French) place or fine for a sit-down lunch (reservations not taken). I highly recommend this restaurant for a tasty, inexpensive meal. Some people consider this the best place to eat in Paris.
Café Le Petit Pont. 1, rue du Petit Pont, 5th arrondissement. Métro: St-Michel.
What a view of Notre Dame from the left bank! I have spent many a late evening sitting at this café with friends. Usually they have jazz or a piano player in the evenings. The location and ambience is what makes this place special – not the food. It is very close to Shakespeare & Company bookstore (see entry under “Favorite Museums, Monuments, and Attractions”). Here is the website: https://www.cafelepetitpont.com/?lang=en
Le Coupe Chou. 9-11, rue de Lanneau, 5th arrondissement. Métro: Maubert-Mutualite.
Americans seem to love this place located in the Latin Quarter, and for good reason. The fireplace and candlelit setting make it a favorite for romantics. The legendary Salade Coup Chou is topped with bacon, poached egg and croutons. Boeuf Bourguignon is richly served with meaty beef, carrots and onions. The sliced duck breast is my fave, perfectly balanced with sweet pears and light potato pancakes. Are you hungry yet? Reservations are not usually required. Website: www.lecoupechou.com.
Brasserie Lipp. 151, boulevard Saint Germain, 6th arrondissement. Métro: St Germain des-Prés.
I had my first meal ever in Paris here. I like to go for the generous choucroute garnie (sauerkraut with various meats) but sometimes the smell of fresh local seafood dishes (the cod, in particular) can change my mind. The menu (except for the prices) has not changed in 75 years. Try Chartier for something on the same style, but less expensive. Reservations a day or two before dining are recommended. Ask to be seated on the main floor. Dinner for two is about 125-150 euros or so. This is one of the favorite places for eating in Paris. Website: www.ila-chateau.com/lipp.
Les Éditeurs. 4, Carrefour de l’Odéon, 6th arrondissement. Métro: Odéon.
Not for dinner, but it’s a good spot to rendezvous with friends for a café au lait or a light snack. Look closely, you might spot a celebrity here. Inexpensive. Website: www.lesediteurs.fr.
Bistrot d’Henri. 16, rue Princesse, 6th arrondissement. Métro: St Germain des-Prés or Saint-Sulpice.
Brothers David and Julien run this friendly spot with about 25 seats. The menu has a strong Breton (Atlantic coast) influence. That means dishes like duck breast with honey, lamb with prunes, and natural-tasting seafood crepes. I never say “no” to anything with cheese, especially the potatoes. It should be about 35-45 euros per person. Website: https://bistrotdhenri.fr/en
Pâtisserie Viennoise. 8, rue de l’École de Médecine, 6th arrondissement. Métro: Odéon.
What a classic pastry shop! I go out of my way to have breakfast here with the Sorbonne students. It’s not bad for lunch either. Most everything is made on the premises – from flaky croissants to cinnamon dusted apple tarts to yodel-inducing strudels. Angelina may have the reputation of having the best hot chocolate in town, but Pâtisserie Viennoise beats it by a kilometer. The creamy chocolate cup is topped with a dollop of whipped cream stiffer than the desk clerk at The Ritz. Closed weekends.
A La Petite Chaise. 36 rue de Grenelle, 7th arrondissement. Métro: Rue du Bac.
Pay no attention to the claim of Le Procope as being the oldest restaurant in Paris – A La Petite Chaise rules. The dour-faced wait staff is all business while serving up fresh French classics like foie gras, real onion soup capped with sharp gruyère cheese. Seafood plates are super-fresh but the pasta and meat dishes deserve merit too. You know it’s authentically French when upon noticing wealthy older French gentlemen accompanied by their considerably younger “nieces”. The prix fixe menu is a good value. Website: www.alapetitechaise.fr.
Chartier. 7, rue Faubourg Montmartre, 9th arrondissement. Métro: Grands Boulevards. Other locations at Gare de L'Est and Montparnasse.
Step back over 100 years in time to legendary Bouillon Chartier. It’s great fun in a grand old dining hall. Diners may find themselves sharing a water bottle or bread basket with someone from Paris, Finland, Korea, or Argentina. No one will admit this is the best food they’ve eaten but an appetizer (called an entrée in Paris), a plat (what we call an entrée in the U.S.), dessert, wine (or water) goes for about €20. No reservations, just line up outside and chat up the friendly crowd while waiting to be seated. Diners are not admitted after 10 p.m. Website: www.restaurant-chartier.com.
Chez Michel. 10, rue de Belzunce, 10th arrondissement. Métro: Gare du Nord or Poissonnière.
Expect to find few tourists at this plain small bistro serving a variety of authentic dishes of the French seacoast like mussels, kig ha farz (Normandy stew of various meats), roast suckling pig, wild pigeon, boar, and beef cheeks. Well, if you wanted to eat at Applebee’s, you should have stayed home. Chez Michel is not all that easy to find, but your taste buds will be rewarded for the effort. Try your best to keep the bill under €150 for two. I would reserve a day or two in advance, although I walked in with no problem. Ask to be seated on the main floor for a more intimate experience, downstairs for a communal environment. No air conditioning. Chez Michel is one of my top choices. Website: www.restaurant-chez-michel.com.
Bistrot Paul-Bert. 18 rue Paul-Bert, 11th arrondissement. Métro: Faidherbe-Chaligny.
A long-time favorite place to eat in Paris, traveling out to this truly neighborhood bistro experience with its traditional decor and blackboard menu. It has an extensive wine list for such a small place. Try the entrecôte (rib-eye steak). Prices are in the 30-40 euro range. Closed Sunday/Monday and in August. Website: https://www.instagram.com/bistrotpaulbert/?hl=en. Telephone: 01 43 72 24 01.
Le Train Bleu. Gare de Lyon, 12th arrondissement. Métro: Gare de Lyon. RER A and RER D.
Located in the Gare de Lyon train station in the 12th arrondissement. The beauty and grandeur of this Belle Époque restaurant compensates for the relatively expensive pedestrian food. In all fairness, I was with a group of about 20 people and we ordered from a special menu. At about €20 each, the pricey cocktails may incite another French Revolution. As I said, the food was unexceptional, but everyone else I know of who has eaten here likes it. Reservations recommended. Website: www.le-train-bleu.com.
If looking for the best Paris restaurant selections, I recommend purchasing Eating and Drinking in Paris by Andy Herbach.