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La Coupole
© Alexandre Duguer

Quirky restaurants

Time Out's favourite restaurants for dinners with a difference

By Time Out editors
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For dishes that are talking points in themselves, or décor with a difference, these restaurants go out of their way to stand out from the crowd. Dinner in the pitch black? Aphrodisiac menu? Cats on your lap through teatime? Penis-shaped bread? It's all here, and more. Think we've missed a great themed restaurant? Let us know in the comments box below.

Pierre Sang on Gambey

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants French Folie-Méricourt

The only thing that’s certain at Pierre Sang on Gambey is the number of dishes you’ll consume – two, three, four or six courses, priced between €20 and €48 at lunchtime and €49 to €88 in the evening. Once you’ve chosen, the wait staff bring your dishes, but don’t tell you what was in in them until you’ve finished. This sort of conceit makes the experience one big mystery, and means that every plate invites careful tasting and discussion...

Le café des chats

Restaurants Cafés Le Marais

Inspired by similar 'neko' cafés in Japan, Paris's first cat café, installed in the trendy Marais, offers a relaxed environment where you to enjoy your coffee and pastries in the company of felines, without the worry of litter boxes and vet's bills. The café is set over two floors with lots of comfortable sofas and a grand piano in the basement, and serves a range of cakes and pastries. Staff are young and slightly disorganised, but since everyone is really there for the cat therapy, it's fine...

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Le Wagon Bleu

Restaurants French Batignolles

The gloriously nostalgic ‘Blue Wagon’ in the 17th arrodissement is set inside a 1920s carriage from the legendary Orient Express. Cherrywood panelled walls and rich royal blue banquettes, set either side of neat wooden tables, look just as they did 90 years ago – even the original overhead luggage rack remains. On the menu, expect a mix of French classics like steak frites alongside Corsican dishes like figatellu rôti (roasted Corsican sausage)...

Chez Ramona Paris
© Time Out

Chez Ramona

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Spanish Belleville

The alleys of Belleville are a delightful mishmash, a labyrinth of little streets full of cafés that welcome night owls and lost souls. Among these there is Chez Ramona, the grand old lady of rue Ramponeau, and her restaurant is a local legend. The place has the air of a mini-market, with shelves and shelves crammed with ingredients and Spanish specialities...

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La Cantine Russe

Restaurants Russian Chaillot

A hundred yards along the Seine, just up from the flame memorial that marks where Princess Diana died, is a rather sober building that houses the grandly-named Sergei Rachmaninoff Russian Conservatory of Paris. This august establishment opposite the Eiffel Tower was founded in 1923, and continues to train budding musicians in French and Russian. But when the school closes up for the day, a more intriguing locale, La Cantine Russe, opens up in the basement...

Poulet-Purée

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants French Paris et sa banlieue

As the name (which basically means ‘chicken and mashed potatoes’) and faux-rustic décor would suggest, the menu is made up entirely of chicken and potato dishes, with the exception of one vegetarian lasagna. The simplest dishes are best, especially the buttery mashed potatoes...

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Legay Choc

Restaurants Le Marais

Run by two brothers (one gay, one straight) whose surname just happens to be Legay, this Marais boulangerie and pâtisserie is very popular. The pastries are delightful, and the lunch-hour sandwiches are generous, so expect lengthy queues. A satellite store, serving only sandwiches, is at 17 rue des Archives (01.48.87.24.61). For that special occasion, try their penis-shaped loaf...

Dans Le Noir

Restaurants French 4e arrondissement

Even if your loved one is gorgeous, total darkness is quite possibly the best way to discover (or rediscover) your partner over dinner. Revive your sense of touch, smell and of course taste, in Dans le Noir’s quirky darkened dining room, inspired by a blind charity...

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Derrière

Restaurants French Arts et Métiers

Derrière restaurant on the edge of Paris’ Marais district is a clandestine restaurant that is one of the hottest meals in town. First, locate the unmarked door between the 404 restaurant and Andy Wahloo that leads into a courtyard and from there into eccentric Derrière. Dining at Derrière is like dining in a restaurant and also in a friend’s boho-chic home. You choose if you’d like to sit in the living room with the live ping-pong table, the bedroom with the mosaic mirrored ceiling...

Le Dépanneur, Pigalle
DR / © Le Dépanneur

Le Dépanneur Pigalle

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants American Saint-Georges

All too often, 'Mexican' cuisine abroad is a byword for Americanised fast food. Not so at Le Dépanneur Pigalle. By the time you've taken a seat at one of the elegant wooden tables adorned with cacti, you'll already have forgotten you're in Paris. The menu sustains the illusion. We tucked into a starter of homemade tortillas stuffed with stewed pork shoulder, chipotle sauce, coriander and black beans, accompanied by a delectable cocktail...

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