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Last updated May 10, 2024

Hi, I’m Erin. I’ve been to Paris more than 10x. I adore the city, and I love food.

Erin Clarke of Well Plated in Paris

It can be surprisingly hard to find a great meal in Paris without shelling out a fortune, and I do want to be clear that restaurants in France are expensive, particularly when compared to average cities in the U.S.

When we travel, we direct our budget towards meals. Remind yourself that the food is a key part of your experience (and that the people serving you are being paid a living wage, a worthy investment).

When you travel to Paris and are about to spend your hard-earned moolah on food in one of the world’s greatest food capitols, the last thing you want is to eat a bad meal, and I hope this list may be somewhat helpful.

I have personally eaten everywhere on this list (except for those on the list of places I hope to try). Unless otherwise noted, the restaurants have good portions and will not serve you a plate of foam.

This list is organized into a few categories:

  • Bakeries, Patisseries, Chocolate, Gelato. Because this is France.
  • Macarons. I ate so many, they merited a separate section.
  • Best of the Best Restaurants. The restaurants in Paris we love most; many we have returned to multiple times.
  • Very Good Restaurants. Truly enjoyable and excellent options for lunch and dinner. Would happily return.
  • Hits the Spot Restaurants. Didn’t blow our minds, but no regrets and would recommend.
  • Would Not Recommend. Places we wouldn’t return.
  • On the List. Places we’ve had recommended to us but have not yet tried.
pastries from du pain et des idees in paris

Bakeries, Patisseries, Chocolate, Gelato

Du Pain et Des Idees: 10e. The best bakery in Paris and 100% worth the trip to the 10th. Get their signature escargots (we prefer the 4 fruits though the pistachio is the most famous), the sacristain, and either a chocolate croissant or regular croissant (or both).

Mamiche: 10e. Another of the best bakeries in Paris and right around the corner from Du Pain. The filled cream puff is a must (even if like me, you don’t usually love cream puffs). I was also smitten with their seasonal galettes (the crust is other wordly).

Pierre Herme: My first stop in Paris is always Pierre Herme for one of his specially flavored croissants and macarons (more on those in a minute), which I promptly devour on the square St. Sulpice. Do note that not all Pierre Herme locations have a bakery, though happily the one in the 6th arrondissiment on Rue Bonaparte by our apartment did.

Eric Kayser: Eric’s Odeon baguette (which is loaded with yummy, crunchy grains) isn’t traditional, but it’s my hands down pick. I also developed a small obsession with the fig-stuffed wheat rolls.

Landemaine. Wonderful croissants; near the Catacombs.

Ble Sucre Bakery: In the Marais. Fabulous croissants and madelines.

Le Grenier a Pain: Award-winning bakery in Monmartre with a killer citron (lemon) tart. I’m only sad I was too full to eat the salmon and goat cheese fougasse right along with it.

Poilane: Poilane’s rustic, lightly tangy, and deeply complex sourdough is widely regarded as some of the best bread in the world (and it is shipped all over the world too). In a word, wonderful. You can purchase by the slice, or go for the entire 6-pound miche and carry it onto the plane with you. My toast will never be the same. Be sure to try their wood-fired desserts as well. The rustic apple tart was one of my favorite treats of the entire trip.

Jean-Charles Rochoux: My favorite chocolate shop overall, and I’m still pining away for their chocolate basil truffle. Ask the cashier to recommend a few flavors. You won’t be disappointed.

Patrick Roger: His chocolate-coated prailines are other-worldly. Be sure to note the life-sized animal sculptures made of chocolate in each of his shops (as if you could miss them).

L’Eclarie de Genie. My friend calls these “life changing eclairs.” Go find out why.

Jaques Genin: Best. Caramels. Ever. You must go. And you must get the mango passion fruit caramel. How does he squeeze in so much butter? The Paris-Brest pastry is the most remarkable French pastry I’ve ever had. Excellent chocolate and pates des fruits as well.

Bertillion Gelato: The Paris original. Higher prices and smaller servings than the Italian chain GROM, which you can also find in Paris. Overall, we prefer GROM.

Patisseries, in general: At 4 pm each day, pop into a patisserie and pick something that looks yummy. We had great success, and I’m sure you will too.

macaron from pierre hermes

Macrons

Pierre Herme: Hands-down favorite. Pillowy soft and filled with layers of complex, creative flavor. The ginger-coconut-cinnamon-lime, passion fruit-chocolate, raspberry-rose-yogurt, and straight-up dark chocolate were the most memorable.

Laduree: My second favorite. Their strawberry popseed was one of my favorites that I tried the entire trip, and I went back the last day just to have it one more time. Laduree also has adorable tea salons where I highly recommend you treat yourself to some luxury with a fabulous pastry and café viennois (coffee with a big bowl of whipped cream).

Carette: I took my sister to Carette’s tea salon (similar idea to Laduree) for her birthday. Fun experience (and the pistachio and cassis macs were particularly outstanding), but if I could only choose one salon, it would be Laduree.

Dalloyau: A mix of classic flavors with a few creative specials. The congag mac was incredible.

Fauchon: Head to their store on Place Madeline for an overwhelming foodie experience, all in pink and black shiny paper. Everything glitters, including some of the macarons, but the meringues were too hard for my taste.

OUR FAVORITE PARIS RESTAURANTS

Note: Reservations strongly recommended or a must for all of the below.

plates of food from Chez Janou restaurant in paris

Best of the Best Restaurants & Wine Bars

Verjus. Book early and come for a real treat. My favorite in Paris. Stop for a drink in their downstairs wine bar first. (Their sister restaurant Ellsworth is great too).

22 Club. An intimate dining experience in a private French apartment. Just 22 seats per night and you’ll be besties with everyone by the end.

Ambos. Fresh takes on seasonal fare. We loved it. It’s hard to find a great restaurant in the 6e and this check all of the boxes.

Oktobre. Upscale, fresh takes on French dining. They do an amazing job with vegetables and with pairing proteins with novel sauces, all without feeling stuffy.

Les Papilles.  There’s no menu. Pay a flat fee for four courses, and you’ll adore every bite.

Chez Janou. A wonderful stop in the fourth for warm service and fabulous Provencal fare.

Pirouette. Elevated cuisine in a hip setting.

Pottaka. We eat here every time we are in Paris. And one of the few great places I’ve been in the 7e (near the Eiffel).

Le Bon Georges. Everything you want a French bistrot to be.

La Bonne Excuse. Delicious food and the most delightful, warm service.

Le Saint Sebastian. Creative takes on French cuisine in the 11e.

Chez Dumonet. A true neighborhood gem of a bistrot with the best duck confit deep in the 6e.

Breizh Cafe. Authentic Brittany buckwheat galettes (savory crepes), dessert crepes, and cider. Multiple locations, and the owner hails from Brittany, so it’s the real deal. We go every time we are in Paris and once saw actress Marion Cotillard a table away.

Cafe de la Nouvelle Marie. Real deal French cafe, tucked away just behind the Pantheon in the 5e. The most charming lunch spot.

L’Avant Comptoir et L’Avant Comptoir de La Mer. These side-by-side standing-only wine and tapas bars offer a wide menu of small plates and wines (“de la mar” specializes in seafood). The menu hangs from the ceiling, it’s bursting with energy, and is the kind of place you come to eat and drink far too much and make lots of friends doing it. They also set out enormous baskets of fabulous bread and slabs of the best butter I have ever eaten in my life. Go all in and try some new things too!

Le Garde du Robe. My favorite Paris wine bar. Stop in for a few glasses and a delicious + well-priced meat/cheese board.

Les Juveniles. Delightful spot run by two sisters. Great plates to share. A true gem. It’s a wine bar but offers a wide variety of entrees too. 

11e Domaine. A gem of a wine bar in the 11e. No wine list. Describe what you like and be delighted.

Augustin Marchand du Vins. Absolutely fabulous wine bar in the 6e. Reservations are pretty much a must but best made a day or two in advance.

La Palette. The Paris cafe you dream about. I’ve stopped here every time I’ve been in Paris for the last 15 years. Grab a seat on their sidewalk, order a glass of wine and a simple cafe lunch, and watch the world go by. Bad weather? Their bar is also beautiful. The food is nothing ultra remarkable but the vibes make up for it.

steak fries and fish in paris at a class brasserie

Very Good Paris Restaurants (Would Go Back)

Brasserie Bellanger. Various locations. The Nouvelle Garde group has a collection of brassieres in different neighborhoods. This one is conveniently near the Gare de L’Est and has just what you need in a brasserie: tasty food, good wine, and a lively neighborhood atmosphere. I loved that their dishes were classics but had fresh spins.

Bistrot Paul Bert: 9e. This neighborhood spot has received acclaim from The New York Times, yet is absolutely unassuming. Paul Bert is widely reputed for having some of the best (if not the best) steak-frites in Paris (or at least it was years ago; I can’t say if it still holds up). Just don’t try to order your steak beyond medium—they won’t serve it. Dessert here is a must.

FISH. 6e. This is a great spot if you are dining solo. Enjoy the bar.

Les Arlots. Fun, reasonably priced spot (for Paris) with plates designed for sharing.

Les Philosophes. 4e. A step-up from the usual tourists traps in the 4th.

Le Galliera. 16e, a few steps from the Palais Galliera. We popped in for a glass of wine and their excellent beef carpaccio with pesto and (according to Ben, who has taken a large sample sizes) some of the best frites in Paris.

Chez Paul: An excellent, classic bistro offering French staples at very fair prices. Between the rabbit, steak, and swordfish at our table, everyone was happy. The fried dandelion green, poached egg, and bacon salad I had for a starter was excellent too (perhaps because there was more bacon than greens).

Le Village: A gem in Monmartre (by the Sacre Couer/Moulin Rouge). Fabulously untouristy and the location of our first croque madames of the trip. Hello eggy, cheesy, hammy, sammie heaven.

Le Passage Au Niveau. 19e. For the person who wants to see off-the-beaten-trail Paris. Visit the gorgeous Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, then grab lunch at this rooftop garden restaurant, accessed through a passageway.

Café Le Precope: The oldest restaurant in Paris and a favorite of Ben Franklin. French classics and great service.

Cafe Angelina. A cup of their legendary, decadent hot chocolate is touristy but also a Paris must and 100% worth the hype if you are a chocolate lover.

Holybelly. Wildly popular breakfast spot. Good if you want a healthy, hearty breakfast (like a perfect omelette) or stack of yummy pancakes.

Da Rosa (CLOSED). Part high-quality deli, part restaurant, part wine bar, this spot offers a salivating selection of high-quality Spanish meats, cheeses, and olives. Can one live on bread, meat, and cheese alone? After eating at Da Rosa, I’m willing to venture a yes (provided I can still have dessert).

Cuisine de Bar. (CLOSED) Delightful tartines (think open-faced sammie loaded with flavor), served on Poilane bread (see above for Poilane info). After I expressed interest in the incredible the sea salt placed on the table, our server gave me a little container to bring home. (I later returned and purchased a 3-kilo bag that I’m depleting rapidly.) I enjoyed this spot so much, we went twice.

La Rotisserie (CLOSED). Right on the banks of the Seine and serving the best coq au vin of the trip. Great service and the fire-roasted meats were yummy.

fish and steak at chez vivienne in paris

Hits the Spot (Enjoyed But Wouldn’t Rush Back)

Bistrot Vivienne. Highly decent bistro food in one of Paris’ few remaining covered passages.

St. Sebastian. Very good, not mind blowing. But we were happy.

Les Antiquaires: I was a bit nervous to try a place so near The Orsay (a major tourist site), but this café was more than fine. Go for their giant, wonderful salads, one of which includes a softball-sized serving of burrata (a creamy cheese made by angels) surrounded by prosciutto.

Brasserie Lipp. Of 3 legendary “Grands Cafes” on the same corner of St. Germain I find this one the least touristy.

Chez Georges: Definite neighborhood vibe, friendly service, cheap wine, and good, filling basic food. If I lived nearby, I would be a regular.

Café du Marche: Near(ish) to the Eiffle tower. Giant salads, tasty burgers, really tasty fries, all at great prices. We wound up eating here twice because we were in the same neighborhood and searching for a staple.

Restaurant Polidor: This place has been around since 1845 (as has its plumbing). It’s jam packed with happy diners, and the food is no-frills but completely tasty.

La Bourse et La Vie. Well known for their modern takes on classics (I thought it was a little overhyped).

Pizza Sant’Antonio: The giant 11 euro pizza pies were just what the hungry travelers ordered after a long day of exploring.

Chez Denise, also called La Tour de Montlhéry. This is a revered Paris spot with big portions. Not our favorite, but popular with many.

Frenchie Wine Bar: If I money were of no consequence, this restaurant would be listed as a “Best of the Best.” The food is some of the best we had in France, but the portions were teeeeeeny tiny and expensive for their size. If you are a big foodie and don’t mind dropping some serious $$ to fill yourself up, it’s worth going. Warning: no reservations and the wait can be formidable.

Would Not Recommend

I want to preface this section by saying—none of these places were bad. I just have some hesitation recommending them, for the reasons I’ve listed below.

Cave la Bourgone: Inexpensive (relatively), but you get what you pay for—Ben’s steak was fairly chewy, and my salad was more toasted bread than greens or cheese.

L’Ebouillante: If you are looking to sit outside and aren’t too fussy about your food, this place is just right. I loved being out on the sidewalk, but the food wasn’t particularly memorable.

La Cremerie: In a super touristy spot in Monmartre, and priced to match. Go for the atmosphere if you like, but don’t have your heart set on a great meal.

L’Atlas Brasserie: An easy, decent dinner option in St. Germain on busting Rue de Buci, but nothing revolutionary. They do offer a large menu with a wide-range of options, so this could be a good choice for larger (pickier) parties.

Le Reflets du Scene: Good if you need a bite after visiting the Louvre, but not for much else. Nice service.

Le Trumilou. We were underwhelmed by this casual spot on the right bank of the Seine. Maybe if we’d been on the sidewalk, it would have been a better experience.

For Next Time…

Le Cheval d’Or. 20e. Missed this one due to a travel delay and still bummed about it!

Les Frères Laumière. 19e. Lovely looking bistro near the Parc Des Buttes-Chaumont.

Le Rigmarole. 11e. French with a Japanese touch.

Café Varenne. 7e. Old school bistrot in a touristy area (near the Orsay) that manages to have great food.

Chez L’Ami Louis. 3e. Traditional French fair in an old school environment that’s hard to find (a fave of Ina and Stanley Tucci).

Le Voltaire. 7e. Classic French done well in a beautiful, classic atmosphere.

Au Bon Accueil. 7e. Market-inspired French cuisine.

Quinsou. 6e. High on our wish list for a special dinner.

Aux Prés. 6e. Refined meat-based brasserie dishes in a cozy and traditional restaurant run by a TV star chef.

Les Climats. 6e. A splurge restaurant with modern cuisine and art déco décor in an intimate setting. (A la carte menu, around 180 euros per person.)

Ze Kitchen Galerie. 6e. Trendy French/Asian fusion.

Chez Fernand. 6e. A small, casual restaurant.

Huguette. 6e. Little sea food bistrot, open all day long.

Hugo & Co. 5e Excellent neobistrot run by a Cambodian chef. The décor is influenced by nature

Alcazar. 6e.  Trendy restaurant with good food, a lively ambiance, beautiful interior, and bar upstairs.

Le Reminet. 5e. Traditional bistro in the Latin Quarter with remarkable food, a changing menu, and candle-lit dinners.

Le Recamier. 7e. Nice French casual located on a dead-end street with a nice, quiet terrace. This specialty is soufflés.

Boutary. 6e. The gourmet restaurant of the caviar house of the same name. Like its flagship product, it combines refinement with relaxed conviviality. Only offers a chef’s menu.

Eating in Paris | Resources

I find these resources to be extremely helpful when planning our meals and sweet excursions.

Michelin. Whether or not you’re looking for a place with a star, any restaurant on Michelin’s list all over France has generally been a hit.

Paris by Mouth. I pay for their substack and if you travel to Paris and food is the priority, find it totally worth it.

My Paris + Dining Tips by David Lebovtiz

10 Insanely Delicious Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Paris by David Lebovtiz

The Paris 10: Must Tastes by Dorie Greenspan

Common Ordering Mistakes in Paris by David Lebovtiz

Bon Appetite!

Hungry for France? Check out my other French travel posts:

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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29 Comments

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  1. Erin, thank you so much for posting this! We will be in Paris for a few days in September and this is now my one stop shop for where we’ll eat, since obviously eating is a main priority of our Europe trip :)

    1. SO FUN Lorraine! I am beyond excited for you guys. Also, eating is the definite priority. I love your style!

  2. What a wonderful post! I’m definitely saving this for in case we end up in Paris. We do enjoy traveling as well as good food, so this will be very useful. Thank you for posting this info.

  3. Nice recap and list of places to visit. First hand knowledge is always the best! I could go for one of those croissants this morning :D

  4. What a great resource! Paris is only a fuzzy dream in my head, but if it ever becomes a reality I’ll be coming back to this post. I about died when I saw that mound of burrata and prosciutto!

  5. Thank you for taking the time to write this out Erin! I hope someday I will need to use it :) I agree, the biggest part of a trip if figuring out where to eat! And I can only imagine how expensive it could become without some planning. Thank you again Erin!

  6. This is a great list! Many of these places are on my top foods to eat in Paris post as well… great minds eat alike :) Aren’t the caramels at Genin amazing?!?! I brought back pounds of them in my suitcase… it was a sad day when I ate the last one. And Patrick Roger… omg amazing. We loved Les Papilles and adored L’Avant Comptoir. In fact, we asked if we could buy some of their wine glasses (the ones with the pig on them) and they let us buy 4 of them! It was probably our favorite souvenir… other than the caramels of course.

    1. Chris, I just ate my last caramel today! The two of us had a moment, before I chomped down. Looks like we both need to go back to France to restock!

  7. I loved Laduree’s vanilla eclairs and I liked Gerard Mulot’s macarons. They stick to more traditional flavours and they have a shop by St Sulpice so it’s a good place to pop in after there if that’s on the list! I’ve bookmarked this for next time I go to Paris, thank you!

    1. Jo, I actually went to Mulot’s though I got croissants not macaroons. Sounds like I need to go back for those and the vanilla eclairs too!

    1. That makes me so happy to hear. Have a wonderful trip, and if you try any of these places, I’d love to hear all about them!

  8. Love your blog! We are headed to Paris over the Christmas holidays….arrive on the 29th and will be there for New Year’s Eve. If you had to pick 2 restaurants not to miss (don’t mind spending some $$$), what would you suggest? Focus on fish/chicken/veggies/BREAD!! Also, I’m just not sure what to plan for NYE….also any suggestions for really good bistros for lunch?

    1. Hi Gigi! Our two favorites were Bistro Paul Bert and Les Papilles. In terms of lunch, I don’t have one particular bistro I recommend, beyond those listed here. I’d suggest finding something in the neighborhood where you are spending the day with good reviews on Trip Advisor. NYE, unfortunately, is a mystery to me. I’d love to hear what you end up doing though. I’m sure it will be FABULOUS! Have so much fun on your trip, and be sure to order some hot wine (vin chaud) while you are out and about to stay warm :)

  9. This was so helpful! I really like how you mentioned ones that may not be as worth it too, it really helps especially if you are not one to spend a lot when travelling. I have never tried macaroons in Paris, so I am excited to see that they seem to have quite a lot of good shops that sell them!
    Thank you for posting this article, it was very helpful.

  10. Thanks for this information! I definitely need to visit Paris. :) You have a great blog, if you are interested to visit Novi Sad you have a invitation to be our guests. :)

  11. Hi Erin! I am a big fan of your blog and came across this post before spending one night in Paris at the tail end of a recent Rhone/Cote d’Azur getaway with my husband. We have each been before, separately and together, but for a variety of reasons we never had outstanding food experiences. Our goal was to change that this time around, and thanks to your recommendation we snagged a table at Les Papilles for our final vacation dinner and it was absolutely outstanding. The chef prepared cauliflower soup, braised beef (6 hours) with root vegetables, blue cheese with date red wine sauce and mango panna cotta, along with the best bread we ate all week. Delicious wine flowed and there was such a lively, happy atmosphere in the restaurant. 5 stars to Les Papilles and to you!

    1. Alison, you are taking me back!! I am so so happy you all enjoyed your time at Les Papilles. Such a special place!!