It’s no secret: Paris is a mecca for foodie lovers, and holds some of the world’s most famous eateries, Michelin-starred spots and many a secret culinary gem still yet to be unearthed. Swap your berets for napkins and have your knives and forks at the ready: a feast of flavours awaits at these wildly different, yet equally tempting, restaurants, patisseries and cafés across the city.
Best for honest French fare and a great atmosphere: Robert & Louise
Tucked away on a side street in the chic Marais neighbourhood, this restaurant celebrates simply delicious, down-to-earth French fare cooked with a lot of heart: marvel at juicy cuts of steak and lamb grilling on an open flame as you snack on a pâté or escargot starter, and seal the deal with a plate of cheese or a slice of home-made chocolate cake – best washed down with a good glass of wine and an espresso coffee. The atmosphere here is second-to-none: expect a vibrant crowd, ultra-friendly staff and cosy decor that will take you from the capital’s cobblestone streets into the French countryside.
Location: Robert & Louise, 64 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris, France
Best for location: Le Poulbot
You’ll find a similarly laid-back and inviting atmosphere at Le Poulbot, a Montmartre must-try near the Sacré-Cœur basilica where the decor is adorable both inside and out – think traditional wood furniture, beamed ceilings and stone walls, all the perfect accompaniment to hearty, seasonally-changing dishes. The duck confit with its red wine coulis and house fries is a must-try, while the onion soup topped with croutons and cheese makes a flavourful starter to begin your dining experience with. Don’t miss a crème brûlée for dessert, infused with lavender for a quintessential taste of romance.
Location: Restaurant Le Poulbot, 3 Rue Poulbot, 75018 Paris, France
Best timeless bistro experience: Pharamond
Get your fill of bistro-style dining with friends at Pharamond, whose interiors stand out for their timeless charm and old-world elegance – think panelled walls, plush booths, heavy velvet curtains and lashings of deep red and gold throughout. Outdoor dining is available, too, for soaking up fresh air on fine days. Tuck into roast camembert with honey, andouillette sausage in mustard sauce, Charolais beef with shallots and wild bream with white butter sauce, plus tempting desserts such as tarte tatin, deliciously poached pears, and profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate.
Location: Le Petit Bouillon Pharamond, 24 Rue de la Grande Truanderie, 75001 Paris, France
Best for Michelin-starred indulgence: L’Ambroisie
Swap informal dining for three Michelin-starred extravagance at this haute cuisine eatery off Place des Vosges, which provides a stunning setting for a night of indulgence in the heart of Paris. Specialising in traditional French food, L’Ambroisie combines ultra-chic interiors fit for royalty with an equally sophisticated menu. Beneath the shimmering of chandeliers, you can expect to dine on beautiful dishes that combine sleek presentation with a harmony of colours and flavours – favourites include roasted Bresse chicken with truffle butter, and hot praline soufflé with mango coulis and Fougerolles kirsch for dessert.
Location: L’Ambroisie, 9 Place des Vosges, 75004 Paris, France
Best for chic interiors: Pink Mamma
The Big Mamma brand is something of an institution across London, Paris, Lille and Lyon, and the Parisian Pink Mamma outpost is a sensational spot in its own right: nestled in the ninth arrondissement, it offers an absolutely stunning setting filled with traditional Italian style – think a blend of modern chic and country rustic, all topped with plenty of foliage, bold 70s-style patterns and vibrant colour schemes. If these interiors weren’t eye-popping enough, you’ll not be able to take your eyes away from the food, either – from t-bone steaks to richly-topped pizzas, each is a riot of colour and fun that you’ll delight at tucking into.
Location: Pink Mamma, 20bis Rue de Douai, 75009 Paris, France
Best for breakfast and pastries to go: La Maison Plisson
Another ideal pick for a delightful breakfast or lunch is this restaurant housed within an upscale grocery store, which you’ll find in two central locations across the capital – near the Tuileries Garden, and on the outskirts of the Marais neighbourhood. If you’re coming for drinks, the coffee is good but the true star of the show is the ultra-rich and ultra-thick hot chocolate, served in generous portions – pair it with a butter-and-jam tartine and you’ll be set for a day of sightseeing. Pick up some provisions before you go – their choux and chic pastries are well-known, while their cheeses and saucissons are too tempting to pass up on.
Location: La Maison Plisson, 35 Place du Marché Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris, France
Best for a classic steak-frites: La Maison de l’Aubrac
If you have a hankering for a good old portion of steak-frites (and if you’re visiting Paris, you probably should), look no further than Restaurant La Maison de l’Aubrac. Located in the eighth arrondissement, just moments from the Champs-Elysées, it’s the perfect choice after a tireless day of retail therapy. Kick-start a meal here with a board of cold cuts, which will whet your appetite for an incredible portion of steak – go for the steak tartare if you’re feeling adventurous, and top it all off with a glass or three of red off the extensive wine list.
Location: Restaurant La Maison de l’Aubrac, 37 Rue Marbeuf, 75008 Paris, France
Best bar for nibbles and drinks: Cravan
Whether you fancy a light lunch or post-dinner thirst-quenchers and treats, head to Cravan – a too-chic café and cocktail bar in the upscale 16th arrondissement, home to the capital’s Fondation Louis Vuitton and Palais de Tokyo. A newcomer on the city’s drinking scene but already garnering a fair share of attention, this petite hotspot combines its charming interiors with class and style. Of course, the cocktails are worth making the commute here for, and are perfectly married with a croque madame or lobster roll.
Location: 17 Rue Jean de la Fontaine, 75016 Paris, France
Best for incredible seafood: Nana Fishbar & Bistrot
Treat yourself to a sensational seafood experience at this chic yet laid-back spot, where seafood is the order of the day alongside a selection of tempting options for meat-lovers. Expect great scallops from Normandy with ‘nduja and butternut, cuttlefish with miso, celery and a sprinkling of Japanese condiments, and chocolate brownies with poached pears and sorbet for dessert. The décor is pared-back and attractive, with white walls, a touch of rustic accents and streams of natural light – perfect for enjoying a meal and a colourful cocktail in a bright and inspiring setting.
Location: Nana, 10 Rue Breguet, 75011 Paris, France
Best for sweet teatime treats: Aux Merveilleux de Fred
Amazing French desserts are on offer at this patisserie, dotted in several handy locations across the city. Grab a few boxes of the chain’s famous meringue confectionery, affectionately named the Merveilleux – it’s a light and airy affair covered in flakes of chocolate and nuts, and available in an array of tempting flavours (The Incroyable is a beautiful celebration of white chocolate with speculoos, while The Excentrique comes with cherry whipped cream and a coating of crystallised meringue). You’ll likely also smell the delicious chocolate chip brioches wafting out the door – pick up one of these for a moment of wonderful bready indulgence.
Location: Aux Merveilleux de Fred, 24 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004 Paris, France