On The Traveling Professor's small group tours to Paris, we love to go out and eat. For years, I have found the best resource for finding the best restaurants from my friend Andy Herbach's book, "Eating and Drinking in Paris".
Here are just 4 of Andy's favorites:
La Fontaine de Mars: Red-checked tablecloths and friendly service near the Eiffel Tower. Try the poulet fermier aux morilles (free range chicken with morel mushrooms). Prices seem to have increased since the Obamas ate here. Still, highly recommended. Info: 7th arrondissement. Metro: Ecole-Militaire. 129 rue St-Dominique (near avenue Bosquet). Tel. 01/47.05.46.44. Open daily. No lunch Sunday. Moderately priced.
Le Petit Marché: This corner café/restaurant, located on a small street off the Place des Vosges, is not for those who want a quiet, romantic dinner. It's busy, noisy, and jam-packed (don't come here if you don't like to be seated in cramped quarters). The staff is helpful and friendly and most speak English. Start with the Chinese salad (salade Chinoise) or the ceviche. You'll find French cuisine with Asian influences such as fresh tuna tartare (thon cru) with toasted sesame seeds served with a Thai sauce. Main courses are served with small bowls of mashed potatoes and green beans (haricots verts). Other recommended dishes include the cod (cabillaud), lamb (agneau), steak tartare with Asian spices, and the succulent duck breast (magret de canard) in a honey sauce. Try the excellent raspberry (framboise) dessert. Info: 3rd arrondissement. Metro: Chemin Vert. 9 rue Bearn (at rue des Minimes). Tel. 01/42.72.06.67. Open daily. Moderately priced.
Ma Bourgogne: This café/restaurant is in the Place des Vosges (the oldest square in Paris) and serves traditional Parisian cuisine and specializes in poulet roti (roast chicken). Good salads. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Info: 4th arrondissement. Metro: St. Paul. 19 place des Vosges. Tel. 01/184.108.40.206. Open daily. No credit cards. Moderately priced.
Le Chardenoux: This small, beautiful bistro has been in business for almost 100 years. Cyril Lignac, of television-show cooking fame, has taken over and updated its menu (and prices). The weekday prix fix lunch at about 30 euros lets you sample such dishes as penne aux coquillages et chiprons, creme basilic (penne with shellfish and squid in a basil cream sauce). Info: 11th arrondissement. Metro: Charronne. 1 rue Jules-Valles and 23 rue Chanzy. Tel. 01/220.127.116.11. Open daily. Moderately to expensive.
Get ALL of Andy Herbach's restaurant picks plus more in his book, Eating and Drinking in Paris.