As an American dating a French man who lives in Paris, learning about and exploring Paris through its food scene, has been a top priority for me. With so many cultural differences between the United States and France, (food and dining out being one of the main differences), I’ve made it a mission to learn about French cuisine and dining etiquette to better understand French culture. Now, I’ve eaten at over 30+ restaurants in Paris, which allows me to confidently say that not only have I discovered the very best restaurants in Paris; but I’ve also been able to learn about French culture and cuisine along the way. Here are my top recommendations on where to go on your next visit to the “City of Lights”…
The Best Restaurants in Paris
Along with my favorite restaurants in Paris, you’ll also find what kind of cuisine is served at each place, what to expect for the atmosphere, and which arrondissement each restaurant is in. In France, an arrondissement is a neighborhood. When choosing where to eat, take note of which restaurant is in which arrondissement and book based on what you’re doing for the day/where your hotel is located.
Also, I highly recommend making reservations in advance as the culture in France is to really slow down and take your time. For this reason, they don’t flip as many tables throughout the night because people tend to sit for hours, so it can be tricky to walk in and get a table.
Read more: The Best Cocktail Bars in Paris
Cuisine: French | Atmosphere: Fine-ish Dining ($$$)
Address: 16 Av. de la Motte-Picquet, 7th Arrondissement
Auberge Bressane is by far, my favorite French restaurant in Paris. It’s elegant, fun, and serves incredible traditional French food. The highlight of visiting Auberge Bressane is its soufflé-trio for dessert – a mix of salted carmel, chocolate, and Grand Marnier mini soufflés. You’ll want to order this at the beginning of your meal so the kitchen has time to prepare!
Aux Bons Crus
Cuisine: French | Atmosphere: Casual ($$)
Address: 54 Rue Godefroy Cavaignac, 11th Arrondissement
Similar to Auberge Bressane, Aux Bons Crus is also a traditional French restaurant, but it’s a bit more casual. With red, checkered tabletops and a lively atmosphere, Aux Bons Crus is the perfect restaurant to try if you’re diving into the world of French food.
BaraNaan Street Food & Cocktail Bar
Cuisine: Indian | Atmosphere: Casual ($)
Address: 7 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, 10th Arrondissement
This speakeasy type restaurant and cocktail bar is designed to be in an old, Indian train. Not only does the decor match that of a train with (fake) luggage scattered around, but there are also TVs on the walls that resemble windows and play videos of the Indian countryside as if you were traveling through India on train. It’s the perfect restaurant if you’re craving something other than French.
Bar du Central
Cuisine: French Bistro | Casual ($$)
Address: 99 Rue Saint-Dominique, 7th Arrondissement
With views of the Eiffel Tower as you walk up to Bar du Central, the restaurant can be a bit touristy, but I still think it’s well worth it. Not only is the food good (and they serve a mean espresso martini which is a rarity in Paris), but Bar du Central is the perfect casual spot for a drink, appetizer, or lunch with friends!
Cuisine: Creperie | Atmosphere: Casual ($$)
Address: Multiple locations throughout Paris
In my opinion, Breizh Café is the ideal restaurant to grab a table outside at lunchtime, order a glass of wine, and try traditional French crepes and galettes. There are tons of options from galettes stuffed with meats, cheeses, fish, or veggies; making it a great option for everyone.
Chez Alain Miam Miam
Cuisine: Sandwich Shop | Atmosphere: Casual ($$)
Address: 26 Rue Charlot, 3rd Arrondissement
In my opinion, Chez Alain Miam Miam serves the tastiest sandwiches in all of Paris (at least, that I’ve gotten my hands on). In an unassuming sandwich shop, located in one of Paris’s most exciting neighborhoods – Le Marais – you can enjoy traditional French meats, cheeses, and bread all together as one tasty sandwich. While you should expect a long line out front, I promise it’s worth the wait.
Cuisine: French Bistro | Atmosphere: Casual ($$)
Address: 2 Rue Roger Verlomme, 3rd Arrondissement
When I think of a typical, lively French restaurant… Chez Janou comes to mind. By far the most fun restaurant I’ve dined at in Paris, Chez Janou gives off the ultimate party atmosphere. With tables close together, a rather intimate setting, and loud music… it’s hard not make friends with a table nearby. While the food here is mediocre, I definitely recommend Chez Janou for its atmosphere and chocolate mousse. (Don’t miss the chocolate mousse). For the best time to visit, I suggest a late night, weekend reservation.
Cuisine: Filipino | Atmosphere: Casual ($$)
Address: 52 Rue Saint-Maur, 11th Arrondissement
Started by two sisters (who also own Le Servan), Double Dragon is an incredible Filipino restaurant in Paris’s 11th arrondissement. It’s casual but modern, and gives off the feeling that you’re dining in a close friends home. When you visit, you’ll definitely want to order the lechon kawali (pork belly); one of the best items on the menu.
L’As du Fallafel
Cuisine: Falafel | Atmosphere: Casual ($)
Address: 34 Rue des Rosiers, 4th Arrondissement
Located in the Jewish Quarter of the Le Marais neighborhood, L’As du Fallafel is famous for their falafels, shawarmas, and kebabs. It’s a simple eatery with both tables inside and a takeout window if you want to take your food to go. L’As du Fallafel is closed on Saturdays.
L’Avant Comptoir du Marche
Cuisine: Tapas | Atmosphere: Casual ($$)
Address: 14 Rue Lobineau, 6th Arrondissement
In the beautiful Saint-Germain district of Paris, L’Avant Comptoir du Marche is a fun and casual tapas style restaurant ideal for lunch. Belly up to the bar and observe their expansive wine selection as you wait on a few tapas style dishes to arrive to your table.
Cuisine: French | Atmosphere: Fine Dining ($$$)
Address: 170 Quai de Stalingrad Parc de I’Ile Saint-Germain, located outside of Paris in Issy-les-Moulineaux
Located outside of the center of Paris in the neighboring town of Issy-les-Moulineaux, L’île is one of Paris’s best kept secrets. Not only is the design of the restaurant incredible; but it’s also laid out in a park near the Seine with an beautiful, leafy, outdoor terrace. It’s the perfect restaurant to visit if you want to taste a more “local” Paris.
Le Clown Bar
Cuisine: French | Atmosphere: Fine-ish Dining ($$)
Address: 114 Rue Amelot, 11th Arrondissement
Known for serving veal brain, I knew that I couldn’t miss Le Clown Bar when I began visiting Paris. While the food is excellent and the restaurant is beautifully designed and intimate; it does draw more of an American crowd. If you’re looking to feel more immersed in French culture, I’d skip Le Clown Bar.
Cuisine: French-Asian Fusion | Atmosphere: Casual ($$)
Address: 32 Rue Saint-Maur, 11th Arrondissement
As mentioned previously, Le Servan is the sister restaurant to Double Dragon that was started by two sisters. Unlike Double Dragon, Le Servan serves an Asian twist on traditional French foods. You definitely can’t miss the blood sausage wontons.
Marche des Enfants Rouges
Cuisine: Multiple | Atmosphere: Casual ($-$$)
Address: 39 Rue de Bretagne, 3rd Arrondissement
Marche des Enfants Rouges is Paris’s oldest, covered food market located in Le Marais. There are multiple different restaurants here serving cuisines from around the world! Choose between Moroccan, Italian, Asian, or traditional French! The options are endless.
I suggest visiting Marche des Enfants Rouges at a time where you can leisurely stroll around, try out different dishes, and really taking your time. The market can be crowded with long lines, so you’ll want to go on a day when you have ample time to wait around.
You should also know that opening hours of the market change depending on the season. Make sure to double check before you visit.
Don’t miss: The Best Food Market in Paris – Marche des Enfants Rouges
Cuisine: Korean | Atmosphere: Casual ($$)
Address: 2 locations in Paris in the 3rd and 13th Arrondissements
Sweetea’s is another great option if you’re looking for a break from traditional French food. Sweetea’s is Korean, with two locations in Paris in both the 3rd and 13th arrondissements. It’s very casual and affordable, making it a great spot to grab a quick and easy dinner.
While I’m forever on the hunt to find the best restaurants in Paris, and trust me – I have so many more to try; this list is a great starting point whether it’s your first visit to Paris or third. If you have any questions about dining in Paris or have a restaurant suggestion, leave a comment below!
If you’re planning a trip to Paris (and also want to learn about dining etiquette in France), don’t miss: The Ultimate Paris Travel Guide