100 best restaurants: Budget

Our pick of Paris's no-frills eateries

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Dersou - © Time Out Paris / Thierry Richard

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Dersou - © Time Out Paris / Thierry Richard

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Rachel's - © Time Out Paris / AW

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Rachel's - © Time Out Paris / AW

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Soul Kitchen - © Time Out Paris

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Soul Kitchen - © Time Out Paris

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Soul Kitchen - © Time Out Paris

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Siseng - © Time Out Paris / AW

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Siseng - © Time Out Paris / AW

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Bob's Kitchen - DR / © Bob's Kitchen

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Le Réparate - © Time Out Paris / EP

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Le Réparate - © Time Out Paris / EP

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The Broken Arm - © Time Out Paris / EP

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The Broken Arm - © Time Out Paris / EP

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The Broken Arm - © Time Out Paris / EP

A good restaurant isn't necessarily a classy one, and there's no reason dining out in Paris should mean shelling out. This page is dedicated to those venues that offer up simple, imaginative dishes, made from fresh ingredients and served at reasonable prices. They're mostly small-scale and snug, and deal generally (though not exclusively) in traditional French food. They may not impress your date, but they'll make you feel at home.

Balls

Critics' choice

If you're looking for a simple culinary concept well executed, come to Balls, the canteen that makes a great ballyhoo about blob-shaped food. Every dish served here is small and spherical, yet the chefs get an impressive amount of mileage out of the traditional meatball. You're presented with five recipes: beef (with persil and onion), chicken (estragon and lemon), lamb (coriander, cumin and pine kernels), pork (fennel and paprika) and veggie (aubergine and chick peas). You take your pick, and choose between yoghurt and tomato garnishes. Your order is taken, and your meal arrives before you can say 'bollocks'... Read more

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Eastern Paris

Soul Kitchen

Critics' choice

A little canteen snuggled up against the Montmartre steps, Soul Kitchen is a delightful café-restaurant overseen by three charming, inspired lady chefs – just the sort of place you’d want as your local. You’d come and drink a creamy coffee and read the news of a morning in the company of the local retirees, and come at midday to eat lunch in great company, choosing from excellent ever-changing menu of homemade recipes made with organic local produce. In the afternoon, you’d hang out with your laptop and a pastry, or just sip a good glass of red before heading on elsewhere. There’s a birdcage from which... Read more

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Mairie du 18e

Le Réparate

Critics' choice

A micro-restaurant just by the Gare de Lyon owned by a charming Southerner, Jean-Louis Lacaze, Réparate's blue walls and affordable cooking brings a shot of Niçois sunshine to the neighbourhood with its above-average range of salads, sandwiches and traditional dishes, including a 'socca' chickpea crêpe. Seated at a wooden table with a view of the chalkboard menu and the glass-topped bar, we enjoyed a hot pan bagnat sandwich overflowing with fresh vegetables, potatoes and succulent chicken for €8, a juicy pissaladière for €7 and stuffed vegetables drenched in fruity olive oil for €11.50. The traditional Niçoise salad... Read more

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12th arrondissement

The Broken Arm

Critics' choice

The Broken Arm concept store, founded by three bright young things from the Des Jeunes Gens Modernes lifestyle collective, is full of handpicked clothes, books, music, furniture and shoes, selected and laid out in the best possible taste. The price tags might give you pause (or make you run for cover in the nearest Guerrisol). But it’s OK to window-shop at least, or even better, to go through the little door that leads to the in-house café. Inside, pretty wooden tables are arranged around a light-filled room full of green plants. Coffee comes from a La Marzocco percolater, and the morning patisserie selection includes... Read more

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The Marais

Tuck Shop

Critics' choice

There’s an old bicycle parked casually out the front, plants climbing up the walls and a menu board brimming with pleasures. Inside, it's full of charming bric-a-brac; reclaimed, reupholstered and mismatched furniture books and posters – the overall result is a beautiful and studied chaos. The three Australians behind the place (and their beautiful coffee machine) brew up short blacks, delicious lattes and frothy cappuccinos from 9am, accompanied by pâtisserie (scones, nut brownies, cookies, banana bread, carrot cake). Lunchtime comes next, announced by the smell of soup (honey and thyme-roasted tomatoes... Read more

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Bob's Kitchen

Critics' choice

At vegetarian canteen Bob's Kitchen, everything is organic, healthy and beautiful. This small cafe-restaurant offers salads, soups, bagels and futomakis as well as a trademark "veggie stew" – a big bowl of vitamins which combines a cunning mix of vegetables, seeds, rice and guacamole. The smoothies, made from veggie milks, are also delicious. The menu changes regularly according to the best ingredients available at the market, the decor is welcoming and the prices are pleasingly low. A winner.

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Saravana Bhavan

Critics' choice

A veritable institution, this 80 seat restaurant is in an entirely different class from the rest; a chain with branches in more than 10 countries, specialising in vegetarian dishes from Southern India. But this isn’t a curried version of McDonald’s, rather the squeaky clean surroundings and fresh ingredients put Saravanaa Bhavan above the neighbourhood’s collection of greasy spoons. The attractive space is done out in design sofas, black tables and big windows, giving more of a Japanese vibe than anything else, though the metal drinking cups and flock of busy waiters feel more authentic. The menu comes with helpful descriptions... Read more

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10th arrondissement

Düo

Set in the low-key if increasingly trendy neighbourhood of Popincourt, Düo is a new gallery-bookshop-café hybrid whose self-proclaimed mission is ‘to shed light on the links between photography and contemporary art’. To this end, it puts on carefully curated exhibitions that change every five weeks or so, and offers a range of books and zines dedicated to the huitième art and the fine arts in general, with a substantial sideline in gender studies. The venue’s no stranger to provocation either: it opened in late 2013 with the show ‘Foutre’ (a title that connotes both sex and recklessness)... Read more

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