Ok. Let’s get serious for a second. Because when you get right down to it, next to walking along the moonlit Seine on a romantic, balmy evening, the best part about being in Paris is the proximity to French food; or, food in general. With thousands of cafes, bakeries, bistros, bars, and restaurants to choose from, things can get a little hairy. That’s where helpful suggestions come in! But don’t worry – we’re not going to send you to the same places that Rick Steves or Lonely Planet have on their faves list, because chances are those eateries are overrated and outdated. Taste is subjective, but at the very least this guide to sit down eateries may make you think twice about those highly recommended spots, and give you a few others to add to your Pinterest board. As for street food and sweets, that’s a whole ‘nother chapter. Enjoy!
Go Here Now…
Type: Cafe, cozy, lunch or dinner
Deserving of the hype? Definitely
BEST. CREPES. EVER. We shared a galette (savory crepe) with bacon, potato, and cheese, topped with a light arugula salad; filling but not heavy. As for the sweets, we went for it with 2 dessert crepes, and were super glad we did. The first had a smooth chestnut spread, heavenly chestnut ice cream, and whipped chestnut cream. The second, caramelized apples, vanilla ice cream, and salted caramel. In the words of Rob Dyrdek: “Ridiculousness.” Each bite I would swoon, make little “mmm” noises, savor, and repeat. The cider we had with the meal was probably the best I’ve ever had and went beautifully with both the sweet and savory crepes. The only downside? Everyone else wanted in on the goods and we had to wait a bit for a table. Small price to pay for a foodgasm.
Type: Cafe, patisserie, tea room, breakfast and lunch
Deserving of the hype? Fo sho
Verdict: A MUST for anyone with a sweet tooth
I can die happy now after one of the best, most fanciful breakfasts Paris has to offer at Ladurée’s Rue Royal location. On our tiny, bistro table, we managed to fit: 1) Pain perdu with chantilly cream – light, crisp, and custardy; 2) a kougin amann that could show Dominique Ansel a thing or two; 3) a top-notch canelé that Michael claims is the cat’s meow; and 4) a rose/raspberry pastry that made me feel like a princess eating it. And if I wasn’t already feeling like Marie Antoinette shoving sweets in my face to excess, the frou frou decor and fancy-pants china certainly did.
Type: Cafe and coffeehouse, breakfast and lunch
Deserving of the hype? Two thumbs up! Good reviews highly warranted
We went here for Michael’s b-day breakfast, and what a great start to the day it was. Pancakes with kiwi, pistachios, syrup and whipped cream. Yum! Also, porridge with raisins, pears, apricots, and a brown sugary syrup… best oatmeal I’ve tasted! Our latte & chai bevs were lovely, too. Great space, decor was warm but contemporary (kind of Brooklyn-esque) and really nice people. I could see myself becoming a regular.
If You’re Nearby…
Type: Cafe and coffeehouse, breakfast, lunch, snack time
Deserving of the hype? Great spot that could use more press
Verdict: A sweet, neighborhood gem
We each had a set meal. Both came with butter lettuce salad, dressed with a nice vinaigrette and lots of delicious beets. We shared the mains – rice, red beans, guacamole (hearty and lovely vegetarian dish), and a white bean soup which was equally nice, and came with an onion/raisin twist bread. For dessert, we both chose the chocolate cake, topped with a drizzle of caramel and chantilly cream. Not ‘French’ per se, but eclectic with an emphasis on veggie fare. Warm, cute, cozy.
La Fee Verte
Type: Bistro, bar, lunch and dinner
Deserving of the hype? It’s a worthy contender
Verdict: Bodacious eats and absinthe haven
We shared an Italian burger (OMFG good) with fries that were perfectly crisped and seasoned. The coure de rumsteak w/ au poivre was served with garlic potatoes and was equally scrumptious! Then there was the absinthe. Soixante Cinq (65 percent) and Un Emile (68 percent) were our chosen varieties; the latter was best, but still not my thing. Regardless, it’s fun to try and ‘The Green Fairy’ is an excellent place to give it a go.
la fee verte on facebook
L’As du Fallafel
Type: Quick, lunch, sit down or take away
Deserving of the hype? Not so much
Verdict: Ok, not great
We both chose the falafel special – when in Rome – and it’s what we came for. Pretty good falafel, nicely crisp on the outside and with robust flavor, but the overall package, while quite hefty and filling, was good, but not great. It’s worth noting that you can get it for takeaway at the window outside for 5€, but that to sit inside it’s 8€… Not sure it’s worth it, and I wish we would have known before deciding to have a seat. My guess is that any of the falafel joints on the same street were just as good but had half as many customers (no wait!). Not sure I’d really make this a standout.
l’as du fallafel on yelp
Bistrot la Renaissance
Type: Bistro, lunch or dinner
Deserving of the hype? Not really talked about
We each had the pork with mashed potatoes. It was okay… not much to write home about. And maybe I’m just picky, but there were an awful lot of inedible/lesser bits, many of which I left on the plate. The space itself was nice, though, and the server we had was friendly. Comme ci, comme ça.
Le Relais de l’Entrecote
Type: Restaurant, dinner
Deserving of the hype? Overrated, for sure
Verdict: Leaves much to be desired
They do steak and fries. Period. In theory, one might assume that equated to a restaurant excelling in such things. In truth, it was seriously underwhelming. Lousy atmosphere and very rushed experience. Mediocre steak. Underpar frites. We got in line at 6:40, sat pretty quickly after 7, and were out before 8. Overpriced as well at 27€ a piece for the basics: salad, steak, fries and water. We were at the mercy of online recommendations with this one, and now having gone I can’t imagine who would rate that over 2 stars and be a repeat customer.
Au Pied du Cochon
Type: Brasserie, open 24/7
Deserving of the hype? Heck no
Verdict: Big letdown
We wanted French Onion Soup, and this was a supposed favorite of the late Julia Child, so we went here. The soup base and onions were tasty, but the bread was entirely too soggy and the cheese on top was neither our preference (seemed a bit more cheddar than gruyere) and too crisped to eat with the soup. Kind of just one giant clump that sank to the bottom of our stomachs. Ick.