One of the reasons that I love Paris so much is the french food culture and especially the extremely big selection of restaurants, cafés, bistros and brasseries that the city has to offer. I’m a huge foodie and since I currently don’t have a kitchen, I’ve tried a lot of parisian restaurants in the past 7 months.
This is a guide to what, when and where to eat when in Paris!
Breakfast and brunch
Admittedly, I rarely have time in the morning to make a healthy, filling breakfast – in typical french style, I usually just drink a cup of tea (okay, everyone else drinks coffee here, but I’m not a fan) and if I’m feeling fancy, I grab a croissant or pain au chocolat on my way to work. When buying baked goods, choose the small, local bakeries that are often both cheaper and better than chains, such as the Paul bakeries.
As for the weekends, I love meeting my friends for breakfast or brunch out in town.
My favorite is L’atelier du marché in the 17th arrondissement, which is located just around the corner from my place. There is a big selection of breads, vienosseries, fruit, cereal, eggs etc. You also get to choose between a burger or a (delicious!) brunch plate with scrambled eggs, tuna tartar and some salad. The brunch is 25 euro and very filling!
One of my favorite areas in Paris is Montmartre. I love to start a day in this neighborhood at Le Pain Quotidien, where you can choose between several brunch plates or you can opt for a la carte – I especially like their soft boiled eggs and granola.
If you are in or around Le Marais, head to Rue des Rosiers, for some amazing pitas filled with falafel and all kinds of veggies. L’as du Fallafel are famous for their falafel, but I prefer Mi-va-mi’s, located right across the street in a bright red building. Grab it to-go and enjoy it at the beautiful Place des Vosges or go sit by the river. There is also a great falafel-place called Maoz on 8 Rue Xavier, in the latin area. The place is tiny, so eat in on the square in front of Notre Dame.
If you’re in Marais, but want something more french than falafel, try Crepolog at Rue Neuve Saint-Pierre – they have a huge selection of sweet and savoury crepes.
If you happen to be in the 6th arrondissement, more specifically, on Rue de Sèvres, and you don’t want to spend 9 euros on a tiny sandwich at Bon Marché, don’t worry. Walk towards Boulevard Montparnasse, and you will find a tiny little gem called Kook on your left hand. They have a new menu written on the blackboard every day, but I can guarantee, that it is always mouthwatering! The restaurant is only open during the day and there is one big table for everyone – be aware that it will be crowded between 13. and 15., when people are having their lunch break from work. To me, that is part of the charm, as people tend to start conversations with strangers, when they are seated around the same table.
If you’ve spent all your money on shopping, go buy some baguette, cheese, fruit and wine and have a picnic in one of the many beautiful parcs the city has to offer. My favorites are Buttes Chaumont and Parc Monceau.
You can find pretty much anything in Paris, when it comes to food. From Tibetan to Mexican, no matter what you’re craving, there will probably be a restaurant that fits your needs.
If you’re in the Marais and need a break from all the falafel, follow Rue des Archives until you get to restaurant Hank. It’s a vegan burger restaurant and my favorite restaurant in Paris. Order a menu with fries, serve yourself some heavenly, vegan mayonaise and go upstairs, where you’ll find a nice, small dining room, with people sitting on all kinds of stools and pillows. It’s pretty cheap and a different and fun dining experience.
On the other side of Rue de Rivoli, in the narrow Rue Tiron, you’ll find the Italian restaurant Primo, that serves authentic pasta dishes, pizzas and other Italian dishes. The staff is very friendly and the food is delicious.
Cross the Seine and you will have hundreds of restaurants to choose from. Around St. Michel, you’ll find a lot of very touristic restaurants, serving “french” menus at a very cheap price. Most of them aren’t very good, but one of the restaurants in the very crowded Rue Xavier Privas, is actually very good. Samina is an Indian restaurant that serves a great vegetarian thali and other Indian dishes. The spicyness is adapted to European tastebuds, but if you’re brave you can ask for your food to be extra spicy.
Head south on the Rue Saint-Jacques and you’ll find a colorfully decorated Tibetan restaurant on your left. Himalaya has a very big menu, my favorites being spicy shrimps and vegetable curry. There are not many Tibetan restaurants in Paris, so I’ve been back there a couple of times and it’s always very pleasant.
French bistros can be found everywhere and are usually pretty good, if you stay away from the ones right next to the big attractions. Try an onion soup on a cold day or go for the classic dish, Moules Frites with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.