Favorite Paris Restaurants
Browse our list of our favorite restaurants in Paris. Note that many restaurants are closed on Sunday and Monday.
1. Best Restaurant for "Hearty" French Fare and Amazing Mashed Potatoes - L'Ambassade d'Auvergne
Traditional French farmhouse staples, such as pork and lamb from the Auvergne region of France, are served in this two-story wood-beamed restaurant with country decor including hams hanging from the ceiling. The roasted pork dishes are "melt-in-your-mouth" delicious, but the real attraction is the "aligot". Aligot is a creamy mashed potato and cheese mixture that is delivered at your table in a large, copper pan. The friendly servers put on a show by stretching the starchy potatoes in long ribbons towards the ceiling and occasionally across the dining room. Luckily, the aligot is as fun to eat as it is to prepare. For dessert, the delectable chocolate mousse is served family style in a large, stoneware bowl - enough for four people.
Dinner for two including before dinner drinks, appetizers, main course, dessert and bottle of wine from the Auvergne region is approximately 100 euros. 22 rue du Grenier Saint-Lazure, 3e.
2. Best Budget Meal on the Left Bank - Pizzeria Pepone
When strangers called to us as we were looking at the menu outside, "Eat here. You won't regret it", we had to give this tiny, tacky-looking Italian restaurant off of touristy Rue de Buci in St. Germain des Pres a try. Numerous visits later, we've always had a great meal for the price of a drink in the famous cafes up the street.
Decorated in a combination of christmas lights, tinsel, and soccer team flags, this tiny candle-lit restaurant (6 tables on each on two floors) has an extensive menu including dozens of Italian favorites (pasta with vodka cream sauce, Osso Buco, veal parmigan) and 21 different pizzas. The fixed price menu options (appetizer, main course and dessert) start at 12 euros. Our favorites include the Pizza Parma, tomatoes, mozzarella, and Jambon de Parma on a thin crust, and the Vodka Citron, vodka over a lemon sorbet, for dessert. Three course dinner for two including a carafe of wine approx. 30 euros. 3 rue Grégoire de Tours, 6e.
3. Best Restaurant to Share a Meal with Friends - Pinxo
This restaurant founded by super-star French chef Alain Dutournier is a spanish tapas bar with a French modern cuisine twist. Pinxo in Catalan means " everything you can eat with your hands". Forget the traditional 3 course French dinner, order a few appetizers/tapas, and dig in. Designed for sharing, each appetizer is split into three pieces. You order "rounds" of appetizers until you are full. To our American taste buds, the creative melding of ingredients was a heavenly surprise. A few of our favorites were the egg rolls stuffed with king crabmeat, salad, soybeans, mint and peanuts and the cannelloni stuffed with goose filets, spinach and mushrooms. For dessert, the trio of a pouched pear, with mesquite-smoked dark chocolate cake, and green tea sorbet was mystifyingly good (its unbelievable that bbq cake is SO tasty). If this sounds too avant-garde, try the tropical trio of tiramisu. It's sure to please all palates.
Continuing the "sharing" theme, the kitchen is open to the dining room so that you can watch the chefs concoct their creations. In this "open" atmosphere with such inventive menu options, it was easy to talk to neighboring tables, ask what they think of their dishes, and then order for your table to try. Dinner for two with wine 100 euros. Located in the Plaza Paris Vendome Hotel, 9 rue d' Alger, 1e.
4. Best Restaurant for Romantic Time Travel - Lapèrouse
Step into this elegant 18th century townhouse overlooking the Seine river and the Louvre museum, and you'll step back into the exotic world of the 19th century Parisian high society. In the late 1800's, Lapèrouse was used by famous French courtesans as a rendezvous point for illicit liaisons with their power broker clients. It is even rumored that a secret underground tunnel linked the restaurant to the French Senate building in the Luxembourg Gardens. When receiving payment in the form of diamonds, the courtesans - no fools - would scratch the mirrors in the dining rooms to ensure that the diamonds were not fakes.
Over the years, many famous French cultural figures and writers, such as, Victor Hugo, Colette, George Sand and Alexandre Dumas were captivated by the opulent and intimate interior and superb food served at Lapèrouse. The food and service are exceptional - what else would you expect from a restaurant that charges 100 euros/person for dinner. However, the big draw is the pervasive atmosphere of entering a long ago world of romance and passion. With the candle light reflecting on the crystal wine glasses as you gaze at the lights from the Louvre reflecting on the Seine, you can understand why many famous writers found romantic inspiration at Lapèrouse. For special occasions, reserve the "Belle Otero" lounge - a totally private dining room with a secret door. If you'd like to learn more about the restaurant's history, ask for The History from your waiter. Budget 300 euros for dinner for two with wine. 51, quai des Grands-Augustins, 6e.
5. Best Restaurant for Seafood and Wine - Fish La Boissonnerie
Fish is a combination seafood restaurant and wine bar in St. Germain des Pres. Dine at Fish and you'll leave wondering how they can take a sample dish like steamed mussels or skate (a North Atlantic fish), add wine and a few herbs, and have a fantastic tasting meal. Ask your server to recommend a wine from the reasonable list of French wines stocked in the wine bar. A perfect choice if you're interested in a simple, unpretentious French meal. 40 euros for dinner for two with wine. 69, Rue du Seine, 6e.
6. Best Gourmet Restaurant to Dine Like a King (Literally!) - Relais Louis XIII
Housed in a monastery where Louis XIII was proclaimed King in 1610 after the assassination of his father, the setting of the Relais Louis XIII is stunning. Dining by candle light on the lower floor in the original building with cave-like stone walls, ancient oak wood beams, and relics from the monastery's history, you can imagine what is was like to live hundreds of years in the past when Kings ruled France.
Despite the historic setting, you dine at the Relais Louis XIII to experience the skills of master chef Manuel Martinez. The restaurant is one of the few in Paris granted a Michelin two star rating signifying the excellence of the cooking, presentation, and service. To ensure that his customers have the "meal of a lifetime", Martinez scours the Paris markets for the freshest fruits, vegetables, and meats then designs his inventive menus around the best ingredients. He also limits the meals he serves each evening to 40 diners. Order the chef's plate of the day and you won't be disappointed. Also, don't be surprised if the chef visits your table after the meal to ensure that you enjoyed yourself. Experiencing this level of perfection in fine dining is a rare treat, and an experience you won't forget. Budget 300 euros for dinner for two with wine. 8 rue des Grand Augustins, 6e.
7. Best Restaurant for "Cleaning Your Plate" in the Marais - Ma Bourgogne
Ma Bourgogne in the Place des Vosges arcade occupies a spot where a restaurant has existed for three hundred years. Loved by locals, this traditional French country restaurant is known as the "heart and soul" of this neighborhood. Chef and owner Aimè Cougoureux strives for perfection in his cooking and it is rumored that there is much explaining to do if a waiter brings back a plate to his kitchen that has not been "licked clean" by the customer. The specialties of the house include hand made Beaujolais sausages and the Steak Tartare, chopped raw when you order it- which you'll notice all the locals are eating. The selection of regional French wines is excellent. Dinner for two with wine is approx. 120 euros. 19, Place des Vosges, 4e.
9. Best Restaurant for a 'Revolutionary' Dining Experience - Le Pamphlet
An eatery that serves excellent food and doesn't scrimp on ingredients or service all for an affordable price, the buzz on Le Pamphlet was simply irresistible. The restaurant's name comes from the political tracts that were distributed during the 18 th century to condemn certain political issues. That should clue you in that this is a place that encourages lively conversation along with the food.
And about the food - Chef Alain Carrere (formerly at the restaurant at Le Crillion) creates dishes that are surprisingly modern and filling without being super rich, and the result is absolutely delicious. The menu is everchanging and the kitchen uses the freshest ingredients. The service doesn't scrimp on the details and the atmosphere/décor is much more upscale than you'd expect for the price you pay when "l'addition" (check) arrives at your table. By the time our desserts arrived, we knew we had found a place that quickly found its way onto our "must eat here" list. Budget 75 euros for dinner for two with wine. 38, Rue Debelleyme, 3e.
10. Best Restaurant where East Meets West - La Boussole
La Boussole means "compass" in French and the restaurants theme is to follow the Spice Route from East to West. Think Marco Polo meets French cuisine. Each dish uses an interesting blend of Eastern spices and are exotic as well as delicious.
The 24.5€ prix fix menu for dinner is one of the best meal deals in pricey St. Germain des Pres, and the stone-walled dining room is cozy and inviting. Try the steak with gingerbread sauce and five crèmes brulées with assorted spices. Perfect for dinner with friends or an intimate
Author: Cheryl Montgomery