There may be a fair few snails, slabs of red meat and curious bits of offal in our selection of the 50 best dishes in Paris, but there are also things that will surprise fans of French cooking. Cannelloni? Ramen? Cari from Réunion? Sauerkraut? Today, Paris's timeless bistros and brasseries rub shoulders comfortably with hundreds of restaurants, cafés and canteens serving food from all over France and from around the world. This snapshot of just 50 dishes out of thousands of possibilities gives an image of cooking and eating in Paris at its best: full of tradition and invention, talent and enthusiasm, generosity and greed.
These are our editors' favourite dishes (and the restaurants that serve them) in that they're what we consider essential to getting a rounded sense of the city 's food scene. Have we missed one of your favourite Parisian dishes? Think you know a better version than the one we've chosen? Join the conversation in the comments box below.
Honoring classic dishes that have been served by lamplight in the oldest Parisian canteens. Simple, filling and comforting dishes: snails, steak tartare, eggs with mayonnaise, croquet-monsieur, shellfish platters, ham sandwiches, frites, sole meunière, pressed duck and roast chicken. Because Paris will always be Paris.
The best Parisian bistro food is in a class of its own, both unique and characteristic; and it always manages to stay ahead of trends, as bistro menus are constantly reinvented by some of the city’s most talented chefs. So the handwritten chalkboard menu might contain some surprises among the familiar names: veal liver, pâté en croute, onion soup, entrecôte, calf’s head, pheasant pie, tentation de Saint-Antoine, pot-au-feu, saddle of rabbit and veal blanquette.
You can eat your way around the gastronomic inventions of France’s different regions from the comfort of a few choice restaurants in Paris, from deepest Auvergne to far-distant colonial islands. So ready yourself for tastebud trips to Corsica, Brittany, the southwest, Savoie and Réunion.
A tour of cusines from around the world that have only added to Paris’s gastronomic richness. All aboard for Japan, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Vietnam, Kurdistan, Israel and the US – because Paris is nothing if not cosmopolitan.
There is nothing as sweetly satisfying as a good dessert to round off a meal in style – though even in Paris, that slice of carrot cake, lemon tart, rum baba, chocolate mousse, Grand Marnier soufflé, millefeuille, rice pudding, pain perdu or profiterole might come back to haunt you if you over-indulge.