Street food: a simple concept, almost as old as streets themselves, which is now taking off in Paris despite a slow start. Prepared and/or sold on the city’s pavements (to the extent permitted by the law), and designed to be easily eaten on the fly, this not-so-haute cuisine runs the gamut from sandwiches to kebabs, empañadas to dim sum, without ever breaking the bank. Read on for our picks of the crop, or head here for a fuller list.
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Enjoy simple street food from around the world in Paris
Sample a short menu of dishes (tuna sashimi, marinated mackerel) or snack on one of chef Adeline Grattard’s signature steamed bao buns, which come in a variety of seasonal fillings. Served from the open air stand outside, or at a big wooden communal table inside the boutique – the better option, as you bask in the Michelin-quality service while paying just €4 a bun or €16 for five. Order the signature bao stuffed with stilton cheese and amarena cherries – daring, but it really works.
It's a bit of a scramble around Montmartre's stairways to get to this little Venezuelan restaurant, but it's more than worth it. Expect traditional Venezuelan cornflour flatbreads, here filled like sandwiches. Staff enthusiastically explain the arepas concept and various fillings, putting you immediately at ease. Arepas are between €6 and €8 – stuffed with things like duck, mango, mint, red onion and Peruvian chili, or chicken and avocado, or black beans, beef and Venezuelan cheese. Expect huge portions with chips (potato, sweet potato or plantain) and fresh guacamole.
Fermier Gourmet, a quick service ‘rustic grill’, serves carefully sourced, excellently cooked cuts of meat, along with fresh veg and salads. Peruse the various set menus above the counter, including the house speciality ‘barquettes’ (literally, ‘baskets’), to eat in or take away. Choose any main of meat; undercut of beef, chicken breast, duck tenderloins or a fillet of salmon. Grab a side of veg and well done chips, plus succulent home made sauces, like the creamy mushroom or the mustard, honey and dill (a perfect match for the duck). Portions are generous, but leave room for a dessert, like the mascarpone, dotted with strawberries and Oreo cookie crumbs.
We love this New York deli-style takeaway sandwich bar, all in a simple and soigné décor of stone, wood and metal. It's the latest addition to the Frenchie family by Grégory Marchand and his team, so naturally wildly popular – come early to avoid the queues, and place your order at a large bar loaded with scones, cakes, cookies and muffins. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a seat inside, but more likely you’ll end up on one of the peaceful benches set around the streets and squares of Paris's ‘Little Egypt’...
This follows in the footsteps of Yves Camdeborde's extremely popular Avant Comptoir - this time focused on seafood. You eat standing up, and everything happens at the bar – from ordering to getting stuck in to the quality wines and tapas-style dishes. It's got a relaxed, old school atmosphere where it’s easy to make friends with the other diners. Ordering at the bar can be a scrum, but it’s all done with a cheerful Southern humour. Point out your choices from the priced pictures over the bar (€4-€20 each) – fish ceviche with green apples and cucumber; tuna tartare with raspberry, buckwheat and coriander; Palamos shrimp carpaccio – and many more.
Just minutes away from the Rue des Rosiers and the every-popular As du Falafel, Miznon has wisely decided to stick to what it does best – pitta sandwiches – rather than try and compete with its chickpea-cooking neighbours. The original restaurant in Tel Aviv has been wining over customers for some time, and the Parisian branch follows the same formula – a charmingly basic décor featuring lots of boxes of fruit and vegetables.
SAaM is more low-key than its sister Ma Kitchen, nestled on Rue de Lancry behind a pretty natural wood façade. Like Ma Kitchen, this genial little eatery serves Korean and Chinese-inspired cuisine with a creative touch. Order a few mains to share, such as a platter of buns, marinated beef Boulkgogi, flavoured soy, homemade green salsa and Kimchi slaw, fried tofu, shallots and truffle with sautéed shiitake and buchu in a mango and Asian basil sauce and the ‘banchan’ of the day, a hodgepodge of micro-meals at €8, including veggies and fish pâté.
Japanese cuisine seems to be becoming better and better presented in Pigalle; Momoka, Ito and Tsubame all opened in 2013 within a few streets of each other, and now here's Peco Peco. We came at lunchtime to try a donburi (€8.50), balls of rice filled with meat and vegetables – salmon, shiitake mushrooms, egg and peas, for example, or sweet and sour beef with rocket and ginger – paired with a bowl of soup for €3.50. Or if you want to really go for it, perhaps a Katsusandwich (€4.50).
Fashionable Paris has swooned for burger vans, hot dogs and tacos, but perhaps the best of the street food was always here; in a Kurdish sandwich shop.Hidden away in the heart of Strasbourg Saint-Denis, Urfa Dürüm is a tiny wood-panelled venue where you are greeted at the entrance by the owner, flour and rolling pin in hand, busily preparing the flatbread dough. Further inside, meat grills in the stone oven.
On the surface, Yemma looks like any other trendy Parisian canteen – red brick walls, industrial lighting, mismatched formica tables – but it doesn’t forego good quality food in its bid to be hip. Here it's all about Moroccan, by reputed TV chef Abdel Alaoui. The counter is piled high with sweet-smelling breads, msemens (a cross between a crêpe and a flatbread) and bowls filled with colourful salads and different varieties of couscous. The sandwiches are unmissable, filled with your choice of chicken marinated in black cumin, grilled méchouia, kefta (meat balls), merguez (spicy sausage) or merkouda (potato pancakes).