There are more than 44,000 restaurants in the French capital – so how le heck are you supposed to know where to start? The search for a decent place to eat may feel a little daunting here, but we think we can help. Whether it’s a gourmet bistro for a memorable night with friends, a grab-and-go lunch spot, a legendary junk food fix or a tasting menu skirting three figures, this hit list of the 50 absolute best restaurants in Paris should keep you going for months on end.
And how exactly did we whittle them down? We may have reviewed thousands of restaurants in our time, but to compile this bible of what’s what on the Paris food scene right now, we paid particularly close attention to criteria like creativity, warmth, buzz and service. Oh, and just what we personally like, too. We don’t review on a complimentary basis and we pay for everything we order, just like any other diner.
From €5 bao buns to elaborate lab-spawn creations you have to dress up for, we reckon this ultimate dining-out guide has pretty much all tastes and budgets down. So whether you’re after a killer cheap eat, you’re hankering after something vegan, or you actually care about your Michelin stars, you’re in for a treat if you follow our advice in the City of Light. Just remember to pack some baggy trousers!
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Best restaurants in Paris
What’s the deal? This is THE hottest table in town, curated by Bertrand Grébaut, one of the most talented chefs of his generation (and tutee of industry heavyweights Robuchon and Passard). We’ll never cease to be amazed by Septime’s ability to renew itself and push boundaries year after year. It gets our vote every time – for the perfect décor (raw wood tables, exposed beams), the spot-on but not obsequious service, and flavours that linger long after you’ve cleared your plate.
What should I order? Duck filet with Guéthary anchovies and laurel-infused jus.
What’s the deal? What you see is essentially what you get at this tiny restaurant-counter lined with fresh produce in the Marché des Enfants-Rouges. From his dinky kitchen, ex-Table chef Masahide Ikuta fires out some seriously killer dishes: our favourites include the veal tongue carpaccio, black scallops with wild garlic and pigs’ ears with ravigote sauce, pine nuts, fresh herbs and a Chioggia beetroot so finely sliced you can practically see through it.
What should I order? The Île de Groix mussels, swimming in a gorgonzola sauce with softened calçots, a type of green onion from Catalonia.
What’s the deal? Last year’s number one Mokonuts is still one of our most treasured addresses. Why? Behind that open counter, Omar Koreitem conjures up one-of-a-kind, globe-trotting dishes inspired by his Levantine roots. The to-die-for sweet treats baked by his business partner, Moko Hirayama, are unmissable. Glowing word-of-mouth reviews have done most of the leg work for Mokonuts, but it’s just as fresh and exciting as when it was born.
What should I order? The absurdly good za’atar labneh, slathered on freshly made pitta, or the roasted pumpkin, dipped in a creamy tahini.
What’s the deal? Come for the super-friendly service and leave with a belly filled with love. The wine list is written with as much care and passion as the modern bistro-style menu, putting a spotlight on small producers and natural wines. You’ll be coming back to Les Arlots again and again.
What should I order? The Les Arlots sausage and mash is just glorious. We’ll have two, please.
What’s the deal? This pocket-sized restaurant next to Poissonière is known for one thing in particular: its multi-layered, super-stacked, millefeuille-esque sandwiches, put together by chef Katsuaki Okiyama. Think grilled bread, a lovely rich sauce, a vegetable omelette, crusty breaded pork (‘tonkatsu’), sweet and sour cauliflower puree and soft cheese. The Japanese chef’s CV (Robuchon, Taillevent, Agapé) would be impressive even for someone far older, and with its understated Parisian décor, his own French-Japanese address is one not to miss.
What should I order? That tonkatsu pork sandwich.
What’s the deal? How could we leave Giovanni Passerini out of the top 10? Purveyor of Paris’s best pasta, Passerini’s cooking is precise, comforting and totally without airs. The tripes all’amatriciana is something else, and the €26 weekday lunch menu is a steal.
What should I order? Anything involving their fresh handmade pasta.
What’s the deal? Chicken, fish, steak or veggie – whatever your go-to, roll up your sleeves and prepare to get messy with Miznon’s pitta artistry. The décor is devilishly baroque, with fruit and vegetables overflowing from the shelves, a dance-y playlist and cheery staff. It’s often rammed, but well worth the 10-minute wait.
What should I order? The lamb, and for dessert, the ‘tarte tatin’ pitta.
What’s the deal? Yet another hit from Septime’s Bertrand Grébaut – this time a seafood restaurant. The interior is a mix of fisherman’s hut wood, concrete and steel, and the menu changes with the tide. Ingredients are of unparalleled freshness and the wines are excellent. The only downside? It’s walk-ins only.
What should I order? The Breton barnacles are an explosion of spice and garlic.
What’s the deal? Decked out in raw wood and concrete, Dersou ticks all the Insta-friendly design boxes. But it’s not all show here – Japanese chef Taku Sekine whips up a winning menu, too. The concept is simple: each plate is paired not with a wine, but with mini-cocktails from mixology supremo Amaury Guyot. A lot of fun.
What should I order? The cockle ceviche, dusted with fromage blanc ‘snow’.
What’s the deal? We fell head over heels for Neapolitan pizzeria Da Graziella, which replaced Vivant Cave. The interior of this former bird shop is delightful – think Art Nouveau tiling in shades of emerald, chartreuse and lemon yellow. The dough is beautifully proofed, gooey and wood-fired to perfection. Toppings are top-notch, too: think San Marzano DOP tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil from Sorrento and anchovies from Cetara in Campania.
What should I order? The brilliantly indulgent Neapolitan fried pizza. And if you have room, the dessert version with chocolate sauce.
What’s the deal? With capacity for 100 across its two expansive rooms, you’ve got a good chance of bagging a table sans reservation at Waly-Fay, which serves far and away Paris’s best central and West African food. The raw wood and concrete décor is as cool as the bobo clientele. The wine list is also exceptional.
What should I order? The Cameroonian ndolé or Senegalese thieboudienne.
What’s the deal? He’s only 25, but Pierre Touitou already has a glittering CV (Plaza Athénée, Aux Deux Amis…) Now he’s set up his own address – and the menu brims with explosive and unconventional flavours. The candle-lit marble décor, phenomenal soundtrack and a 150-strong natural wine selection make Vivant 2 a must-visit.
What should I order? The gorgeous braised veal in mulukhiyah sauce.
What’s the deal? Imaginative dishes from Tatiana Levha (ex-Arpège and Astrance) and wines chosen by her sommelier sister Katia. Think raw cuttlefish with green mango and Patis chicken with white asparagus, a walnut crumb and chorizo. The setting is all gilded brass, ceiling mouldings and an open kitchen.
What should I order? The zakouski amuse-bouches, the tasty boudin noir wonton or Thai basil cockles.
What’s the deal? The latest opening from Phil Euell – the New York designer behind first-rate coffee shop Boot – C.A.M. is where to head if you like your finger food and you like it messy. Hong Kong-trained Korean chef Esu Lee serves pan-Asian dishes that are made for sharing.
What should I order? The exquisite shrimps with apple and hazelnut butter.
What’s the deal? Self-taught Basque chef Iñaki Aizpitarte runs this stylish bistro, where the cooking is at its most adventurous at dinner, with deconstructed dishes such as chunky steak tartare with quail’s egg, or asparagus with tahini foam and splinters of sesame-seed brittle. A much simpler (albeit cheaper) menu is served at lunch.
What should I order? The house twist on a tocino de cielo, with its lush custard centre perched on a dacquoise base and doused in salted caramel.
What’s the deal? We love Quinsou for being daring without a trace of pompousness. Chef Antonin Bonnet has a CV as long as his arm (Le Sergent Recruteur in Paris, The Green House in London and Languiole’s Maison Bras). Rustic, elegant and flavourful, Quinsou is one of Paris’s best restaurants – and it’s semi-affordable, too.
What should I order? The oysters in a Japanese dashi broth, or the Chausey Islands lobster.
What’s the deal? We’re obsessed with the Bordier butter pats on the counter at Yves Camdeborde’s L’Avant-Comptoir du Marché, and the cornbread is also totally addictive. Wash the rich pork dishes down with natural wines by the glass. On a budget? Your best bet are the tapas (€4-€10) and desserts (€2-€6).
What should I order? Pair the terrine of the week with a glass of natural red.
What’s the deal? Star pastry chef Pierre Hermé visits this cheerful little bistro and wine bar high up in Belleville at least every two weeks to fill up on Raquel Carena’s homey cooking (with the occasional exotic twist). Typical of her style, which draws on her native Argentina, is a tuna carpaccio with cherries, or the roast Basque lamb with new potatoes and spinach. If the food weren’t so fantastic, it’d still be worth coming for the (mostly) organic wines. Le Baratin attracts gourmands from all over Paris, so be sure to book.
What should I order? The very moreish calf sweetbread.
What’s the deal? It’s never been easy being vegetarian in Paris, but things are changing – and if you do want to go meat-free on your next trip, Otium should be first on your hit list. The grilled tofu burger (€8) with juicy tomatoes, crunchy lettuce and a killer BBQ sauce is as good as the real thing.
What should I order? That tofu burger is unmissable, and so too is the dark chocolate and fleur de sel cookie (€3).
What’s the deal? Part souped-up bistro, part Tokyo-style izakaya, this trendy spot near Montmartre boasts a dream team in chef Takao Inazawa (ex-Verre Volé) and sommelier Benoît Simon (Septime, Chateaubriand). The €18 midday formule is matchless, and the natural wines are impeccable.
What should I order? The maguro katsu, a fried tuna steak with celery and horseradish remoulade.
What’s the deal? We already loved chef Katsuaki Okiyama’s first address, cute Japanese bistro Abri, and his second opening is almost as good. We can’t get enough of its zen Japanese décor, wooden walls and concrete floor, but mostly we’re into the sublime buckwheat soba noodles, to be slurped in a hot or cold broth that’s delicate, flavourful and probably the best in Paris. The evening menu is more refined – think sake-steamed clams, miso pork roll salad and a short but perfectly formed wine list.
What should I order? Go straight in for the soba with tempura shrimp and vegetables.
What’s the deal? The pasta dishes at Kitchen Ter(re) are beautifully refined, and the desserts at Ze Kitchen Galerie Bis utterly moreish. But our favourite address from Michelin-starred chef William Ledeuil must be this, his HQ. Go at lunchtime and opt for the €48 three-course set menu. Expect smart, colourful, precise Asian-inspired cooking.
What should I order? The menu changes every month, but we liked the wagyu beef done two ways with parsnips and carrots.
What’s the deal? Ex-Dilia chef Simone Tondo’s cooking is comfortingly familiar, but there are some fiery additions to the menu at this lavishly done-out restaurant in the Passage des Panoramas. The Sardinian-inspired dishes are generously spiced and portioned, and the southern wines top notch – especially the Opi d’Aqui. There’s no set menu so get ready to flash your credit card.
What should I order? The starter of vitello tonnato (cold, sliced veal in a deliciously creamy sauce).
What’s the deal? Chef Stéphane Jégo takes Basque Country specialities and makes them very much his own. Intense and characterful, the veal shank with pearl onions and runner beans was our highlight. Filled with red banquettes and decked out in wooden panelling, the décor may be as old-school as the menu. Book in advance.
What should I order? The frankly enormous côtes de bœuf to share (€90 for two).
What’s the deal? The concept here is peculiar: a new chef takes the helm every six months, with a second-in-command who waits in the wings. Best of all are the prices – lunch formules are usually between €19 and €25. When we went, Alban Chanteloup (ex-sous chef at Neptune in Geneva) served an idyllic nine-course evening menu filled with flavours from his travels through Australia and Japan.
What should I order? We liked Chanteloup’s guinea fowl fricassee with tahini, courgette and leek confit.
What’s the deal? Cock-a-doodle-doo – Rooster marks super-chef Frédéric Duca’s grand return to the French capital. After four years in New York, this shape-shifting chef (ex-Passédat, Taillevent and Fouquet’s) is back in Batignolles whipping up delicate yet generous dishes that blend sumptuous French and Italian flavours. The Amaury Guyot-crafted cocktails are also killer.
What should I order? The homemade agnolotti pasta – whatever it’s with.
What’s the deal? One of many brilliant chefs who’ve done a stint at Fulgurances, Tamir Nahmias has now set up this Israeli-inspired deli-cum-restaurant on the charming Passage des Panoramas. The midday formule is excellent value at €20, and if you can’t bag a table in the 15-seater room, dishes are available to take away all day.
What should I order? It may not be adventurous, but their ras el-hanout chicken is brilliantly done.
What’s the deal? The open kitchen at Eels is the room’s focus, and the minimal décor is as on-trend as it comes – as we’d expected from Adrien Ferrand, who was trained by William Ledeuil and shares his love of fresh herbs, citrus flavours and spice. Grilled squid (€27) is served with spelt and watercress puree, and is made wedding-breakfast-perfect with lemon and Thai basil leaves. Desserts pack a gourmet punch, too.
What should I order? The smoked eel with matcha mousse – it’s, um, a matcha made in heaven.
What’s the deal? The seafood version of Yves Camdeborde’s Avant Comptoir de la Terre is predictably busy whenever you go. And with good reason – excellent small plates (from €4), creative mains and a very laid-back atmosphere have made this one of the coolest restaurants this side of the Seine. We especially like the set-up, whereby punters crowd around a central counter and ogle the chefs doing their magic thing.
What should I order? The pollack ceviche with cucumber, Granny Smiths and a petits pois jus.
What’s the deal? You can sink into the duck-egg blue banquettes seven days a week here – which, in Paris, is a true bonus. This high-end bistro is decently priced, with Wahid Sahed (ex-Bristol) in the driving seat during the week and Antonin Mandel (of Shangri-La and Kitchen Galerie fame) taking the reins at the weekend. Accompany generous, punchy dishes with picks from Guillaume Maugain’s wine list, preferably on the huge terrace.
What should I order? The grilled Basque octopus served with garlic mousse, dill and raw beetroot.
What’s the deal? Just around the corner from the Avenue de Clichy, this aquarium-like spot with huge windows fires out exquisite Japanese-French dishes from its open kitchen. Chef Taiki Tamao – formerly of Marc Veyrat – has a thing for precise yet indulgent plates that offer a surprising mish-mash of flavours. And he does it brilliantly. It’s hard not to gawp at his culinary handiwork. Bonus points: sommelier Mathieu Orazi has around 100 refined bottles in stock (from just €21).
What should I order? The Iberian confit pork with mashed potato and rocket.
What’s the deal? The area around Jules Joffrin was already well known among foodies (hello L’Esquisse, Au Bon Coin, Ô Divins, Sanguine)... and then along came Le Maquis. Paul Boudier has poached Albert Touton from their alma mater Chateaubriand; together they team modern bistro dishes with first-rate French reds and whites. The €16 weekday set menu shouldn’t be missed.
What should I order? The well-executed steak with spinach, green peppers, sage and ultra-tasty wild artichokes (€23).
What’s the deal? Arrive at this meat-centric address from Jean-François Piège, and the first thing that hits you is the glorious smoky pong wafting out of the open kitchen. Phwoar. And does it taste good, too? Very much so. Whether charcoal-grilled or cooked on skewers, everything’s done to perfection.
What should I order? The côte de bœuf to share, and the pineapple à la broche.
What’s the deal? Three minutes from Rue Mouffetard, in the heart of the Latin Quarter, you’ll find a turquoise façade with frosted glass. Step into this little cocoon to see the two young chefs grafting over a tiny open kitchen and preparing dishes packed with quirky flavours, somewhere between street food and haute cuisine. The gua bao, steamed buns stuffed with melt-in-the-mouth braised pork belly, elicit all kinds of appreciative moans.
What should I order? Garnished as they are with marinated mustard leaves, and sprinkled with crushed peanuts, those bao are unbeatable.
What’s the deal? Headed up by a Tuscan chef and a Neapolitan sommelier, Au Nouveau Nez is a quaint little cave-restaurant decorated with apple-green walls and mismatched furniture. The menu features two starters, two mains, two desserts – and that’s it. The yellow plaice with grilled endive and preserved lemon is divine, but that should come as no surprise; chef Alessandra Olivi only works with super-high-quality ingredients from small producers.
What should I order? The gnudi dumplings with buffalo ricotta, orange flower water and sundried tomatoes.
What’s the deal? Welcome to the most beautiful (and discreet) restaurant in the Marais. Just around the corner from the Pompidou, and yet very much tucked away, the restaurant’s interior is just as understated – all stone, light wood and contemporary furnishings. Self-taught chef Colliot weaves Japanese influences into his well-curated menu, while sommelier Chantal – his wife – draws on an impressive wine selection.
What should I order? Anything from madame et monsieur’s own kitchen garden.
What’s the deal? This restaurant from basque chef Iñaki Aizpitarte (Chateaubriand) feels a bit like an experimental food lab. Done out in mirrors and Carrara marble, the décor is clinical yet classy, with a trendy clientele served by stylish staff who come across experts. The small plates, almost tapas-esque, stick to the basics, with the marvellous squid ink risotto (€12) the clear, almost impossibly good highlight. Come for lunch and you can expect quite the U-turn: the midday menu has a South-East Asian theme.
What should I order? The squid ink risotto is pure bliss.
What’s the deal? You may have seen this one on Instagram – it’s airy, understated, ultra-modern, so a shoo-in for any foodie photographers passing through. Their luscious comfort food is just as photo-worthy: the scrambled eggs, served on a huge toasted brioche (€9), are excellent, especially when paired with Mexican chorizo or gouda on a English muffin (€10). Don’t miss the homemade chilli sauce.
What should I order? That Mexican chorizo and scrambled egg sandwich.
What’s the deal? From the outside, this Bastille restaurant is certainly unassuming. Nothing but the name L’Amarante and the words ‘Cuisine de France’ are printed on the glass. Yet inside, its burgundy benches, white walls and hanging bulbs feel oh-so on-trend. We loved dishes like the beef cheek, simmered for 30 hours so you barely even need a knife to cut it. The finely sliced veal tongue, served with homemade mayonnaise, is just as sublime.
What should I order? The reinvigorating tripe with olives and mash.
What’s the deal? Just around the corner from the Gare de l’Est, this new opening from Hugo Blanchet (ex-Atelier Robuchon) and mixologist Arthur Combe is chicly done out with bare stone walls, old-school wooden furnishings and gold-rimmed tables. And the food is predictably excellent. If it’s nice out, try for a spot on the small terrace.
What should I order? The signature bone marrow.
What’s the deal? This deli from David Azoulay (founder of Pizza di Loretta) is quite hard to pin down. There’s no telephone, no online menu, and it doesn’t accept reservations. You just have to turn up and pray one of the 20 or so seats is still going. Chances are, it will be – few tourists have cottoned on to this excellent Israeli address… yet. The vast menu brims with generous, hearty dishes, and all at decent prices. Get down quick.
What should I order? Shakshuka or the fab sabich sandwich (€8.50).
What’s the deal? If you like cocktails that pack a punch and are partial to a Japanese plate or two, you’re in the right place. With its wicker lampshades and daintily patterned banquettes, chic and cosy are the name of the game at this Saint-Germain-des-Prés hotspot. Pull up a bar stool and admire the chefs at work in the kitchen.
What should I order? The California-style salmon with avocado, jalapeños and sriracha.
What’s the deal? It can be a bit of a task actually squeezing in – but what wonders await inside. Minced and aged in situ, Paris’s best burger steaks come from Finistère via Le Ponclet, provider to only a handful of Parisian restaurants. The chips are brilliantly done. And to drink, there’s natural wine and a range of 19 craft beers, ‘from Montreuil to Sri Lanka’.
What should I order? The Golden State of Mind, with a Le Ponclet patty, cheddar aged 18 months, smoked bacon, tomatoes and traditional French mustard.
What’s the deal? Chef Adeline Grattard’s plump steamed bao buns are made with wheat flour and stuffed with whatever takes her fancy: comté, curried onions, vegetables, crab, Basque pork and Sichuan aubergine. It’s €16 for five bao and – unlike Michelin-starred sister restaurant Yam’Tcha around the corner – the rest of the menu is fairly priced, too.
What should I order? The stilton and amarena cherry bao.
What’s the deal? Couscous aficionados should make a beeline for this cool-as address in the 11th. We love the ‘Arabian Nights’ décor, cocktails – one’s a compelling concoction of curaçao, fig liqueur, orange juice and mint – and the superb selection of natural wines. Plus the tagines, of course, which Yves Camdeborde says are the best in the city.
What should I order? The couscous special with a range of meats. The semolina is hand-rolled and super-fine.
What’s the deal? Up in affluent Batignolles (and out of reach of the tourist hordes), this is the fourth opening from Paris’s finest Breton mini-chain. It’s the perfect snug Sunday night dinner destination and the ingredients are first-rate: Guémené Andouille sausage, organic buckwheat flour, ham (with absolutely no sodium nitrate), artisanal organic ciders like P’tit Fausset and Jean-Yves Bordier butter.
What should I order? The galette with tomme de savoie, smoked pork belly, organic scrambled eggs, cream and vitelotte potatoes.
What’s the deal? Katia and Tatiana Levha have struck gold again with this restaurant a few doors down from Le Servan (at number 13 on this list). The décor may be similar, but the menu this time places a focus on high-quality Asian fusion plates. A superb alternative if you can’t get a spot at the Levhas’ other address.
What should I order? The generously spicy fried chicken.
What’s the deal? Krishna Bhavan’s gloriously kitsch décor almost makes up for the elbow-to-elbow setting. The northern Indian vegetarian menu is one of the best in Paris, and everything’s reasonably priced. Bliss without breaking the bank.
What should I order? The cheese paratha, a popular Indian flatbread, with three excellent veggie curries (€8.50).
What’s the deal? A few steps from concept mega-store Merci, this Sichuan restaurant remains easily owner Monsieur Cheng’s best work – though Trois Fois Plus and Cinq Fois Plus are excellent, too. Now done out in stylish light woods and industrial-style furnishing, it’s far removed from the run-down takeaway it once was. Expect delicate, refined dishes overflowing with bold flavours and lots and lots of spice.
What should I order? The simple pork dish with spring onions shouldn’t be missed.
What’s the deal? This beautiful vintage brasserie has remained relatively unchanged since 1832. A mix of Parisians and tourists flock to Pharamond both for its glamorous décor – think red velvet booths, giant crystal chandeliers, gleaming white tablecloths – and the phenomenal bistro food. You may have to queue up outside, but trust us, it’s worth the wait. Dishes come quickly, and you really can’t argue with a two-course dinner, including wine, for under €20.
What should I order? Everything. But especially the beef bourguignon, chicken terrine with pickles, and the haddock brandade.
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Thanks to the dozens of speciality wine bars, craft beer dens and cocktail temples cropping up in Pigalle and Strasbourg Saint-Denis, Paris’s drinking scene has quietly become one of the best and most diverse in the world. These are the bars that should go straight in at the top of your boozy bucket list.