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Solo dining in Paris

I wanted to get a little input from people on dining alone in restaurants in Paris. I've tried to get people to come with me on a week long trip in May, but no one is biting (I just don't get it ). I don't want this to affect my eating plans, but want to make sure that I'm not going to be out of place at places like Chez 'l ami Jean, Cafe Jadis, etc.

I know eating in France is a very social event and while I might miss some of this, I don't want it to hinder where I eat. Are there any other suggestions on this? Is this common in Paris?

Any input is much appreciated.

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  1. I went to Paris by myself in the fall - same deal, couldn't get anyone to come along with me (maybe Bostonians in general are just lame and don't like going on awesome trips...that's my theory?). I was apprehensive at first given that I'm a twentysomething female and thus probably not included in the "people you see dining alone and don't feel sorry for" category, but I ate in an assortment of restaurants from pristine white-tablecloth establishments to casual bistros and never once felt uncomfortable. In fact, quite the opposite - most places I went I was doted upon. Furthermore I often noticed other solo diners wherever I went...so I don't think this is at all an uncommon occurrence.

    1. You will have no problems. I used to work in Paris about 3 weeks a year, always went alone, ate at all levels, 3 stars down, never a problem. This should be the very last thing you worry about

      1. I echo the sentiments of the other two posters.

        However, there are quite a number of discussions on this subject in this forum. You might enjoy doing a bit of a search.

        1. I notice you plan to dine at "Cafe Jadis" I suspect you really want to eat at the hot new bistro called Jadis (208, Rue Croix Nivert) - it is the one getting all the great reviews.

          Be careful because there is a restaurant called "Caffe Jadis" which was visited by lonelyarethebrave - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6105.... I am not certain if they got mixed up and thought this was "Jadis" or whether it is simply coincidence.

          1 Reply
          1. re: PhilD

            I have had absolutely no problem eating as a singl at the best restaurants in Paris. Kind of surprising since I barely speak French. I have had enjoyable interactions with waiters, captains, and restaurant managers, as well as chefs, especially with Passard at Arpege.

          2. I have been in Paris several times on my own and typically will make lunch my main meal of the day and feel extremely comfortable dining alone. I admit, I feel most comfortable doing so at lunch in the finer dining establishments. I have found that as a single woman I am often shown to a nice table that would provide me a view of the dining room and/or window which leads me to believe the host/hostess is being very accomodative to my dining solo. I do not get the same treatment in the U.S. One thing I'd like to add about dining alone in Paris - spend your time people watching, soaking in the atmosphere and savoring the food. Try to avoid having your nose in technology for any extended period (just my opinion!).

            9 Replies
            1. re: vlfrance

              <having your nose in technology for any extended period (just my opinion!).>

              actually, it's not just your opinion. It is considered extremely rude, even when you are dining alone.

              1. re: ChefJune

                i am curious on this point as I will be alone for a couple of days later this month before my Husband joins me ( restaurant list to follow soon) ...is it ok to read a book but not to read a blackberry or respond to a text message? I know better than to use the cell phone feature.

                1. re: capeanne

                  Like capeann, I am curious about this. When traveling and dining solo, I usually like to jot down what I'm drinking, what I'm eating, what spices/herbs/whathaveyou I think are in the dish. I don't spend my whole dinner doing this, of course I gape at the people around me as well, but...

                  In the past I have used a small notebook but had been contemplating using an iTouch for my next visit. No way?

                  1. re: Leely2

                    I carried around a small notebook and generally wrote in it before I was served and between courses. It never really occurred to me that this might be considered rude, but I never sensed any disapproval from servers or neighbors about it. If anything, people were interested in what I was writing.

                  2. re: capeanne

                    In a cafe or casual restaurant no one will even notice. I was in Paris last year and saw lots of Parisians plugging in their laptops and surfing the net, reading and sending emails, typing, etc.

                    1. re: carolinadawg

                      I'm another one who LOVES dining alone in Paris, from 3 stars to the corner cafe. Have always felt comfortable. A short, discrete use of an electronic device would be acceptable, but I would strongly recommend against burying your nose in a book. If you pay attention to the room and subtly watch (and listen) to the other diners, you'll get more attention from the staff (and maybe something on the house), and you'll probably wind up talking to some of the other diners before the meal is over (yes, even in 3 stars).

                  3. re: ChefJune

                    I was just in Paris for a long weekend and saw many locals and tourists on their laptops, blackberrys..
                    Had several business meetings at Crillon and we all were 'plugged in'.

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      I suspect the comment relates to dining i.e. sitting at a restaurant table having a meal.

                      Certainly lots of people will use phones, laptops etc in cafes and bars, after al it is very pleasant to sit in the sun doing a little work and relaxing over a coffee. However, to me, it does seem rude doing this in a restaurant over dinner.

                      Were you really "plugged in" in the restaurant or were you simply sitting in the lobby/bar with a coffee /drink meeting colleagues?

                      1. re: PhilD

                        we were plugged in at the lobby/bar..I do agree that in a restaurant, that would be rude...some did pull out the blackberrys during dinner but briefly and discretely.

                2. BeanTownGolfer: I, like you and reneemarie, had to go to Paris alone but it was wonderful! What I did was find a short language class in the summer and went for 3 weeks. I had class during the day and went out evenings with my other classmates. I had instant friends, at least for the duration of the trip. For a week long vacation I suggest you attend a cooking class given by Patricia Wells. Her website is PatriciaWells.com. You could probably meet some other single travelers and have someone to dine with in the evenings. Seems like we single girls should band together and travel the world - together!

                  1. BeanTown, you may want to skip the cooking school. Classes are booked for this year and I just looked at the PRICES. What she is asking for a week I spent on three weeks for lodging, lunch 5 days a week plus language classes. I don't know about you but my pockets don't run that deep.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: midwesterner

                      Do you know of any wine schools in Paris? The justification to myself, if I need one, for this trip is to get some ideas for opening a restaurant in Chicago. I'm also thinking along the lines of a wine shop so I'd like to get some more experience with the wine outside of what I've been able to find in Boston. I've been reading the Judgement of Paris about the 1976 blind taste test between California wines and French wines. Does anyone know if L'Academie du Vin is still around or something similar? If no one sees, this I'll probably create another post about wine schools.

                      1. re: BeanTownGolfer

                        L'Academie du Vin is NOT around, but I do know of a knowledgeable young sommelier/educator in Paris, Olivier Magny www.o-chateau.com. I have taken a class with him and he is amiable, as well, and speaks and understands English very well. Mark Williamson of Willi's Wine Bar, a Brit who has long lived in Paris is very knowledgeable, as well, and loves to share.

                        1. re: BeanTownGolfer

                          L'Ecole de dégustation gets very high marks for wine classes from Le Figaroscope. In fact, am planning on signing up for their introductory course in June. It's three weeks, but they also offer 1-evening tastings. Only in French (but maybe you speak French).

                          The Cordon Bleu also offers a 4-week wine seminar.

                      2. Beantown, when are you going to be in Paris?

                        1. Buddha Bar behind the Hotel de Crillon. Great Bar, Great Music, Great atmosphere if you want to make friends----

                          3 Replies
                            1. re: bombayduck

                              Buddha Bar has fallen a long way from it's fashionable position as a hot bar/restaurant - was that 10 years ago? It is now well established on the corporate scene with lots of suits entertaining guests. How you like it will depend a lot on your personal style. Drinks are expensive, and the food doesn't have a good reputation (I only drank).

                              It has also developed into a global franchise (like Hard Rocke Cafe) with Buddha Bars in 10 cities including London, NYC, Dubai, Kiev, and Dublin. They have eve downsized the concept into "little Budddha Cafes" in places like Las Vegas, Viena and Amsterdam. In total the Buddha Bar brand (George V Restauration) now has 75 outlets across the world. Clearly a very successful strategy - maybe a visit to see where it all started is worthwhile.

                              1. re: PhilD

                                Now that excellent chef Rougui Dia, formerly from Petrossian, has taken over the kitchens at the Paris Buddha Bar, there is a chance that the food has improved.
                                Not tested since she got in, but worth mentioning for anyone who wishes to try.

                            2. i have to disagree. i'm planning a short solo trip to paris to practice my french and i can't help but remember how uncomfortable i was the last time i went to paris alone, about two years ago. i went to great places, had wonderful meals, but mostly felt stared at everywhere i went. i am a modern stylish woman who has travelled the world alone but paris is the one place i never saw another solo diner--for some reason, the french seem to always be in pairs or with their families. of course, i didn't let it stop me, i put on a brave face, whipped out my passable french and ate up a storm. but, it was not easy.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: jrnlmkr

                                I had 2 great solo meals 2 weeks ago at Fontaine de Mars and La Clarisse in the 7th and have dined alone very comfortably at La Chiberta . Agreed there aren't as many solo diners as I often see in NYC or Chicago or SF if I am traveling on business but I was literally fawned over and never felt stared at . And I too am female with barely passable ( but I try very very hard) French..

                                1. re: capeanne

                                  I have to second that La Fontaine de Mars is truly a great destination for a (modern, stylish, female) solo diner. To say that I was fawned over there is an understatement - to the point that after dinner various waiters kept bringing me unsolicited additional espressos to keep me from leaving!

                                  Really though, while I certainly understand the feeling of being stared at, I think often it's more self-consciousness than anything. I mean, how interesting can a woman dining alone really be?

                                  1. re: renéemarie

                                    " while I certainly understand the feeling of being stared at, I think often it's more self-consciousness than anything."

                                    Completely agree. And this degree of self-consciousness is baffling coming from a person who describes herself as a "modern stylish woman".

                                    I can't describe myself such. Those are adjectives that others may or may not want to use on me. Most importantly, when I dine alone, admittedly rarely, I am made to feel comfortable and don't notice whether others stare at me. If you don't stare at them first, how do you know they stare at you ?

                                    (And in recent months Parisians have been telling each other that they were stared at by an MSW. in restaurants. Mystery solved.)

                                2. re: jrnlmkr

                                  Sounds like your schedule is going to be flexible? Here are a couple of thoughts from another female who has spent a lot of time in France. When I am there alone, I have found more solo diners at lunch than at dinner. Since I am often coming from California, it also works better for me to have a more elaborate lunch than dinner, at least for the first few days when I am dealing with jet lag.

                                  Many of my French friends don't tend to go out to dinner in restaurants as often as they have or go to dinners at homes. Dining out is more of a special occasion, thus in couples or groups.

                                  Another general observation- people are more comfortable staring at others in France. It takes getting used to, but then becomes sort of fun to do the same.

                                  1. re: souvenir

                                    First, I would also highly recommend La Fontaine de Mars. I had one of my first meals in Paris there in 1983 and still remember it fondly. I last ate there two years ago and thought the meal excellent. I have had 95% of meals as a solo in Paris without any problems and I speak absolutely no French except the basics of hello, thank you, the food is good, etc.

                                  2. re: jrnlmkr

                                    I lunch and dine out solo all the time without any problem, but I'm neither modern nor stylish — that may explain it :)

                                    1. re: jrnlmkr

                                      I"m so sorry you've felt that way. I can tell you that I've never (to parrot Ptipois, even when I was modern and stylish) felt any awkwardness sitting alone while dining in Paris. I hope you give it another try.

                                    2. “We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf.” -Epicurus

                                      The day is over, the evening begins, and you find yourself alone and without plans. The need for sustenance lurks just beyond the horizon. What to do?  Go home, to your hotel room, and order room service. Or discretely smuggle in some clandestine takeaway. Eat it in front of your laptop or the television, maybe curled up on the bed with a book.   Go to a bar that serves snacks and, amid the television and noisy crowd, feel as much a part of the group as anybody else.  Pull out your tablet and on the internet navigate to one of the growing number of sites that can connect you with other people for dining companionship.

                                      In New York, the temptation of takeaway is sometimes embarrassingly hard to resist. In much of Spain, find a good bar or two with tapas, and your evening plans are made. In Italy, wander the streets until you find a lively looking place, and basta! you are no longer dining alone.

                                      But in Paris, it is a bit more complicated.
                                      Many of the room service options are either unappealing or surprisingly nonexistant.  Or breathtakingly expensive if not being reimbursed by a generous client. For takeaway, apart from sidewalk crêpes and "Turkish" Doner kebab (both to be avoided when possible) there are not a lot of other choices. The once ubiquitous traiteur is become harder to find (pushed out by competition from fast food) and even Hediard has recently turned the savory counter over to all-desserts. If you don't speak French, the web-generated meet-up might be more than you feel up to after a long day. Parisians, in the right circumstances, can be very friendly despite our reputation.  Still, we value our privacy. If you go to a formal restaurant and dine alone, you will most likely be exactly that; alone. In most places, dining is much quieter than in London or New York, so you need to be comfortable with that.

                                      (This is a longer post I wrote for Quora on this subject, over there it has lots of pictures and music to help you make it to the end...But since I decided to start formally contributing to Chowhound again I thought I'd add it here. If I am breaking any posting guidelines I apologise. And hello to some of you I remember from egullet a few years ago)

                                      Strategies for having a successful solo dining experience:

                                      (A long list of specific restaurants for each category follows the strategies section this answer).

                                      Sometimes, dining while letting your mind wander is ideal. No reading, or conversation. But how to remain relaxed and engaged, without being bored or lonely? Let the restaurant itself entertain you. Restaurants with open kitchens and counter-seating with a view seem tailor-made for the solo diner. And if that doesn't appeal to you, there's been a lot more good Japanese or Japanese-French fusion Izakaya (Tapas-like) style places opening recently. (Of the Sushi-conveyer type place there are none that can be suggested with anything more than a lukewarm recommendation).

                                      The city of lights has been famous for the easiest answer to the solo dining conundrum for a very, very long time. Can Can, anyone? And the Moulin Rouge is by no means your only choice There are still quite a number of entertainment curiosities that serve dinner and can amuse the solitary guest. From almost family-friendly to better-not-use-a-corporate-card racier options, particularly NSFW if your company looks through the itemized billing on your card.

                                      Other than that, it comes down to: Either damn Epicurus and embrace dining alone, or find an option that makes you feel less so. There are some good possibilities for both.

                                      If you don't want to feel alone in the vast wastes of a formal dining room, lose yourself in the bustle of one of the large classic brasseries of Paris. In the anonymity of the crowd you are neither alone nor dining with anyone else. These places, some famous for a century or more, started out as breweries (what brasserie means) that served food to go along with their beer. They catered primarily to people coming alone. They still do. You will not be a conspicuous, self-conscious solo diner in one. Sadly, they have mostly been bought by large food industry giants and the quality isn't what it was a generation ago. But a few are still ok.

                                      Why not try a place where you are likely to meet other people in the same situation? Go to a bar where you can eat. There used to be just a few in town, die-hard expat bars, but now in the cocktail scene these places are multiplying. Probably additionally fueled by the French take on the Italian Aperativo trend, the Cocktail/Apéritif Dinatoire. Search for this latter term on your favorite yelp-like site to find last minute happenings. 

                                      In Vino Veritas: Like the cocktail and expat bar, the wine bar is a great option for eating solo. There is often conversation around the bar, often with other anglophones. When bored, have a nice conversation with your wine about its terroir, provenance and the weather last year in the vineyard. I do. But then I am probably certifiable.

                                      There is no need to eat alone at all, if you want company. In Germany  approaching a table in a big crowded restaurant and asking if you can Zusitzen is not unusual. Pretty uncommon in France. But we have a surprising number of table d'hôtes; tables in a restaurant that are not reserved and shared communally by the guests.

                                      Or go underground. The Hidden Kitchen may have gone public by opening Verjus, but there are still unofficial restaurants out there. People running a place from their home kitchens. Small groups, usually mixed nationalities and you are usually immediately part of a dinner party.

                                      Very small neighborhood cafe-restaurants often have a regular clientele that live alone and take many of their meals there. (Sort of serving the same function as a diner in the states. If you sit yourself with regulars in a diner and chat with them and the waitress you feel at home instantly). These places were once jewels in the French culinary crown. Small family-run. The owner would go out to Rungis (the paris professional food market) before dawn to get the best and cheapest, freshest ingredients for the day. The wines would include affordable bottles of older vintages that the family bought from their friends the vintner every year on their summer holiday. No more. Industrial food distribution. Canned and a frozen ingredients. Tax changes in the 90's on wine. The venerable Café Parisien has suffered. Some are still ok, some have been reinvented. (Martijn Sjoorda's very good suggestions belong to this group).   A few still have that neighborhood feel and serve great-value, solid, real, if often stodgy fare.

                                      Fresh ingredients like these Cepes/Porcini are what French cuisine should be about

                                      Casual places that serve French comfort-food or regional specialties tend to be much more relaxed than your average French hostelry. And often livelier. These kind of places bring out the friendly inner-child in some Parisians and acquaintances are often struck up during dinner. Take your time over the meal, make sure you have at least a starter and a main, and with a few glasses of wine, you will find yourself fitting in.

                                      The foods of Auvergne and the Southwest were the staple of the dine-alone single working man's diet of Postwar Paris. It was good solid peasant fare that stayed with you (like Sausage and Aligot, the blend of cheese, garlic and potatoes which becomes a deep-craving food when winter sets in). A majority of cafés were at one time owned by people from the southwest. (One used to refer to the Auvergne Mafia meaning that subtly bonded group of the police and their small restaurant owner confreres. Though people don't behave like Phillipe Noiret in Les Ripoux anymore It will tell you more about the normal Parisian eating options than Babette's Feast). Now Southwestern fare is generally more a regional speciality food.

                                      No mention of French comfort food can be made without saying something about meat. Meat has a very special place in our hearts here. Big pieces of beef. Not ever bien-cuit (well done), seldom à point (medium), usually saignant (rare).  Or--with a surprisingly look of pure savage carnivorousness and delight on the face of your slight 5 foot tall blond dinner companion as she says--"Bleu!"(well, Blue. just introduce the meat to the fire but don't let them get intimate). It is funny, we call the English Les Rosbifs (roastbeefs) for historical reasons. But we are much more obsessed with a, well, "bonne viande" than anybody but Argentinian gauchos. There are not many steakhouses in the Anglo-American sense, but places that specialize in meat may cause our native residents to let their hair down more than anyplace else. There are meat restaurants where people have been known to extemporaneously sing Georges Brassens songs together with total strangers. (Another aside on meat. You might not like it. Americans tend to value tenderness above all in meat. American beef is often aged differently and longer than French beef, which produces big differences in flavor. The French tend to value certain flavors over tenderness and like beef to have a certain heft. Eating it rare means it still isn't too tough. Try French meat rarer than you like your steaks in the States and you might like it better).

                                      Try a real Crêperie Bretonne for eating savory buckwheat galettes from Brittany, slathered in salted butter, washed down with earthenware jars of hard cider, at an unfinished wooden table. Toast the owners and your neighbors with "Yermat!" (Cheers, Santé, Slainte in Breton).  If you can find the appetite, follow your "Complète" (ham, cheese, and egg) with a sweet crêpe stuffed with real salted-butter caramel.  "Usually one of the cheapest ways to have a sit-down meal in town as well. There are lots of these places, particularly concentrated down by Montparnasse where the trains from Brittany arrive. Some are very good, some not so. Everyone has their favorite. I like the ones with cheesy Breton names and decors.

                                      Fondue Savoyarde may be the ultimate winter dish. (Along with its companions Tartiflette as seen above and Raclette) Scooping out mouthfuls on bread from a big bubbling bowl of molten cheese and wine. The flame under the pot keeps you warm. Washing it down with a bottle of Chignin Bergeron. Some restaurants will only serve this dish for two people, some will sit you at a communal table. If there's a minimum, have the Raclette instead. A kind of piece-by-piece queso fondido. Or just order a Fondue for two and don't finish it. It will still be a reasonably priced meal. The quality of these places his up and down like with the crêpes. Most are just ok. You can look on Yelp to find one near you. When a perfectly balanced Fondue is made with the right wine, and a balance of, say, Cantal, Beaufort and Gruyere it is truly memorable. Fondue is probably second only to meat in producing a convivial atmosphere.

                                      Pizza is a subject, like religion or politics, that must be approached with caution. To say you like many kinds of Pizza will generally shock a New Yorker or a Neapolitan. And both are equally sure the other is seriously misguided on the subject. But Pizza is a good option for dining alone here, so, as the saying goes, "I look forward to your letters".

                                      Most pies in Paris will be unappealing to the various American, Canadian and Italian palates. Each country or region bends the recipe towards their own ingredients and tastes.  Some become unique culinary artifacts. The Perfect Slice on Mulberry in Little Italy or in Brooklyn. The Crunchy smoky pies from coal-fired ovens on Long Island. An intoxicating surfeit of thick satiating crust and cheese at Giordano's in Chicago. The instant Proustian recollection at each whiff of a thin crust in Spaccanapoli. Unforgettable raised Foccacia-like wedges topped wit cheese and sausage in Milano. The yeasty comforting pizza bianca served at dawn by the docks in La Spezia. The rolled, stuffed pierogi-pizza of Dubrovnik. In Paris, alas, the local adaptation just doesn't do it for me. As a teenager eating in Normandy, I liked the fluffy pastry dough with melted French Emmenthal cheese they served in the local pizzerias. But Pizza? In Paris it isn't as bad as that. But much of the Pizza has crust neither crisp nor yeasty, very little tomato and a lot of industrial French cheese. And they seem to have this twisted compulsion to put an egg on top. But Pizza is a dish some of us crave when alone. A big plate of a pizza is a great companion to a book at the dinner table.

                                      If these strategies and suggestions don't work or appeal maybe we can find some more.  Otherwise skip to the end of the list below for another option and more information.

                                      Bon Appétit

                                      The list:

                                      The Dinner as entertainment and Izakaya

                                      Braisenville NEW ADDED 11/24/2013
                                      Address: 36 Rue Condorcet 75009
                                      Nearest transport: Metro Anvers
                                      Hours: Lunch and dinner Mon-Fri Dinner Sat closed Sunday
                                      +33 9 50 91 21 74
                                      Not really an open kitchen but a countertop semicircular bar where you can see the bustle of the kitchen in back. Small plates place in the center of emerging uber-hip Pigalle dotted with mediocre spots that are all the rage. The place looks so hip it can't be good. But it is. Very. Small plates, from grilled vegetables to Black angus beef. The sea bass is fantastic. Almost every plate has a char-grilled element, hence the name, Braise, as in grill. Ate there again last night, decided it was still a great place and good for this list. So added on 11/24/2013

                                      Uberhip looking Braisenville is very good

                                      L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
                                      133 Champs-Élysées
                                      75008 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 47 23 75 75
                                      Le monde de Joël Robuchon‎
                                      Not sure I even like these places, but they will entertain a solo diner who wants to spend the money.

                                      Antoine de Montmartre
                                      7/7 Mon-Fri 18H00 À 23H00 Sat 12H00 À 23H00, Sun 12H00 - 15H00 and 18H00 in 23H00.
                                      102 TER, RUE LEPIC.
                                      75018 PARIS MONTMARTRE
                                      102 ter, rue Lepic. 75018 Paris Montmartre
                                      The Michelin-starred, convivial hardworking Mauritian chef Antoine Heerah created this place with its bar-stools, and open kitchen to showcase products he finds around the world that he reworks into tapas-like-portions. His Japanese second runs the place. The Wagyu-Kobe Beef Prosciutto is worth a trip.

                                      Guilo Guilo
                                      8 Rue Garreau
                                      75018 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 42 54 23 92
                                      ‚­‚¸‚ľŠ„–B@Ž}˜DŽ}˜D guiloguilo
                                      Sit at the counter at watch your kaiseki menu be prepared in the kitchen in front of you, chat with the other diners. They frequently do some charming culinary puns like the Japanese Beef Bourginon.

                                      La Dame de Pic
                                      20 Rue du Louvre
                                      75001 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 42 60 40 40
                                      La Dame de Pic : le restaurant parisien d’Anne-Sophie Pic, rue du Louvre à Paris dans le 1er arrondissement, propose une cuisine raffinée et créative dans une atmosphère sereine et élégante.‎
                                      Open kitchen at the newish place from Anne-Sophie Pic, the grande dame of culinary dynasty from Valence. I have not yet personally tried and it is very expensive. But it looks great and her food from her other restaurant is the work a genius.

                                      Address: 9 rue d’Alger, 75001
                                      Nearest transport: Tuileries (1)
                                      Hours: Lunch and dinner, Monday-Friday; open Saturday for dinner only
                                      Reservations: Book a few days in advance
                                      Telephone: 01 40 20 72 00
                                      Asian-French fusion bistro or 2nd restaurant from one of the world's great chefs; Alain Dutournier of Carré des Feullantes. We've tried lots of "2nd" places, most of them just trade on the name and hype but aren't good. This is the real thing. One of the places we usually bring guests from out of town. Countertop seating facing the open kitchen.

                                      Gyoza Bar
                                      56 passage des Panoramas 75002 Paris
                                      12h00-14h30 and 18h30-23h:00
                                      Concept unique et original au coeur de Paris, Le gyoza est un plat emblématique de la culture japonaise
                                      Sit at the wood bar, drink beer or champagne and eat gyoza. Thats it. Only gyoza. And they are great.

                                      31 Rue de la Parcheminerie
                                      75005 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 46 33 75 10
                                      Wonderful food, great atmosphere. sit on a high perched stool. Small plates Japanese tapas. A STELLAR collection of great french wine from old vintages at ROCK BOTTOM prices. The owner is a what I call un ami du vin. If the wine isn't good, you can't send it back, but who cares?  If you can afford it try a 20 year old Margaux for 150 yo-yos a bottle that went for 1200 at auction last week. Or maybe for 50 something you've seen in a wine shop for 120.

                                      Dessert at Lengué

                                      Izakaya Issé
                                      45 Rue de Richelieu
                                      75001 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 42 96 26 60
                                      Just a great, tiny, friendly casual Japanese tapas place. Great selection of sakes. Good for single diners.

                                      Bar à vins

                                      Verjus Wine bar
                                      Address: 47 rue de Montpensier, 75001
                                      Nearest transport: Pyramides (7, 14)
                                      Hours: Monday-Friday, 6pm-11pm; closed Saturday and Sunday
                                      Reservations: not accepted
                                      Telephone: 01 42 97 54 40
                                      Cool little wine bar opened last year by a young American couple (they used to run a famous underground restaurant) who do good franco-american fusion tapas. Popular expat hangout. Great location hidden behind the palais royal.

                                      Lavinia wine shop restaurant
                                      Address: 3, boulevard de la Madeleine, 75001
                                      Nearest transport: Opera/Madelaine
                                      Hours: Monday-Saturday 12:00-15:00 for full lunch 15:00-20:00 for cheeses, charcuterie and snacks
                                      Reservations: a few hours before for lunch, unnecessary after 15h00
                                      Telephone: 01 42 97 20 27
                                      The largest and one of the best wine shops in town has a restaurant on the second floor. Very good food. Great paté, cheese, etc. Good wine list but you can also choose anything you like in the store and drink it at the table for the takeaway price. Probably stick to a half bottle if you are alone, but then maybe it has been a long day.

                                      O Chateau
                                      Address: 68 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001
                                      Nearest transport: Les Halles (4
                                      )Hours: Monday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-midnight (2 a.m. Friday and Saturday); closed Sunday
                                      Reservations: Reservations accepted only for parties of six or more
                                      Telephone: 01 44 73 97 80
                                      Average price for lunch: 20-34€
                                      Average price for dinner: 35-49€
                                      The largest of the new style wine bars, 40 wines by the glass, big expat hang out, snacks at the bar

                                      Address:  97 rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris
                                      Nearest transport: Duroc
                                      Hours: 12 - 23:00 Monday-Saturday
                                      Reservations: Usually not necessary
                                      Tél. : 01 42 22 19 18
                                      New wine bar with a full menu. Very typical of the current Paris restaurant scene, High tables and stools, casual.

                                      Bars with food

                                      W Lounge – W Paris - Opéra
                                      Address: 4 rue Meyerbeer, 75009 Paris
                                      Hours: 7/7 10h00 - 2h00
                                      Nearest Transport: Opera/Chaussée D'Antin/Havre Caumartin
                                      Reservations: Come early
                                      Telephone: 01 77 48 94 94
                                      Bars in W hotels are usually pretty hip, maybe too much so, but the new one here has one tremendous advantage; the staff. These people are the generally the friendliest and most professional we've seen in Paris hotel bars. (The heated bar terrace is a great place for a slow-tapas-cum-snack meal with a cocktail then a bottle of wine. Spanish chef Sergi Arola of the higher-end restaurant upstairs in the hotel created a nice well-rounded bar menu: Chorizo, Patanegra, ham or cheese croquettes,  mini spanish pizzas, other authentic tapas, and some international hotel fare salads, club sandwiches.)

                                      Not the W's Tapas, mine. Just trying to liven up the page

                                      52 rue de Saintonge
                                      75003 Paris
                                      01 42 74 41 28
                                      Have some rare edible tacos in Paris at the back room bar of this place or go next door for empanadas.

                                      CLASICO ARGENTINO
                                      56 Rue de Saintonge,
                                      75003 Paris, France ‎
                                      +33 1 44 61 00 56
                                      Clasico Argentino
                                      In the middle of the fast-growing cool district the upper Marais surrounded by bars is a great place to stop for empanadas between drinks.

                                      Marie Celest
                                      1, Rue Commines, 75003 Paris, France
                                      Today 6:00 pm - 2:00 am
                                      le mary celeste
                                      Call or email for a reservation
                                      From the same cool people as Candelaria one of the hottest dining cocktail spots of the moment. Changing menu

                                      Le Black Dog
                                      26 Rue des Lombards
                                      75004 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 42 71 22 27
                                      In Metal We Trust‎
                                      Call for a table or hang out at the bar waiting to eat a steak in back. You won't feel alone for one second.

                                      Carr's Irish Pub & Restaurant
                                      Address:  1 rue du Mont-Thabor, 75001
                                      Nearest transport: Concorde/Louvre Rivoli
                                      Hours:  7/7 12:00-00:30
                                      Reservations:  unnecessary
                                      Telephone: 01 42 60 60 26
                                      Page on Carrs-paris
                                      One of the oldest Irish pubs in Paris. The kind of place of which there aren't many left even in Eire. Expats, tourists, locals, a good mix. Perfect for an aperitif or after dinner drink. Music sometimes. Good place to meet people, ask questions of locals.  Also has a full kitchen, Irish Stew anyone?

                                      Corcoran's Pub
                                      110, Boulevard de Clichy
                                      75018 Paris
                                      And several more locations
                                      CORCORANS TRADITIONAL IRISH PUB ::::::...................................
                                      passable burgers, fish and chips, pub food in these lively chain of cookie-cutter Irish-themed pubs.

                                      The Bombardier
                                      Address: 2 place du Pantheon, 75005
                                      Nearest transport: Pantheon/Maubert/Luxembourg
                                      Hours: 7/7 12:30-2:00
                                      Reservations: unnecessary
                                      Small uncovered terrace where smoking is allowed
                                      One of the few remaining English pubs with real ale, a few tables outside right by the pantheon in the middle of the latin quarter. Expat hangout. Pub Grub.

                                      The Ambassade D'Auvergne has seen much better days
                                      If you can stomach the ok Chez Papa's chain food (I can't), the atmosphere will serve. 
                                      Chez Papa, restaurants  de  cuisine du Sud-Ouest à Paris

                                      17 Rue Laplace
                                      75005 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 46 33 18 59
                                      ChantAirelle 17, rue Laplace 75005 Paris. France. Tel 01 46 33 18 59. Ouvert tous les jours sauf samedi midi, dimanche et lundi soir. Restaurant chanterelle Paris
                                      Once a showcase of the promotional board for its region, still a really charming place. Beautiful garden in back for outdoor dining weather permitting. Good wines. Try the oeufs poches au four me d'ambert (poached eggs in blue cheese sauce), the smoked trout, maybethe best stuffed cabbage in Paris or the cheesy truffade. And have the made to order apple and armagnac taste for dessert.

                                      Ti Jos
                                      30 Rue Delambre
                                      75014 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 43 22 57 69
                                      Restaurant Crêperie Paris 14 Montparnasse
                                      One of the oldest and most typical, a great pub in the basement for after dinner

                                      Ty Breiz
                                      52 Boulevard de Vaugirard
                                      75015 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 43 20 83 72
                                      Page on Www
                                      Another of the cult-authentic places, always crowded.

                                      Creperie Framboise
                                      7 Rue de Ponthieu, 75008 Paris
                                      01 74 64 02 79
                                      Crêperie Framboise
                                      For a modern take on the experience, to replace the recently departed  La Compagnie de Bretagne in my address book

                                      My favorite has sadly closed to be replaced by a hipster cocktail-inspired place.
                                      Page on Www
                                      But if you want a REAL authentic fondue it would be worth the trip out to the suburbs to their new restaurant

                                      Le Chalet Savoyard
                                      58 rue de Charonne
                                      75011 Paris
                                      01 48 05 13 13
                                      Restaurant Savoyard Le Chalet Savoyard
                                      is pretty good. Authentic and reasonable.

                                      these are all Italian styles of Pizza. I've never had good NYC or Chicago style here. Be careful with Italian places in Paris. So many "Italian"-labeled places are run by people from other mediterranean cultures who haven't a clue about authenticity. They should be delighting us with their own culinary specialties. (There are surprisingly few really good couscous places around, much better to make your own when you get home)

                                      Pizza Chic
                                      13, rue de Mézières
                                      75006 Paris
                                      01 45 48 30 38
                                      Pizza Chic
                                      Very good standard italian thin pizza in a nice elegant atmosphere. Some good antipasti and choice of wines

                                      91 Boulevard Beaumarchais
                                      75003 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 42 78 11 96
                                      Ristorante Grazie - Benvenuto‎
                                      A more casual, livelier and louder cocktail-themed offering from the Pizza Chic people.

                                      La Pizzetta Piu Grande
                                      62 Rue Caulaincourt
                                      75018 Paris
                                      01 46 06 29 83
                                      Authentic Italian thin Pizza, an uneven but sometimes good calzone. Occasionally a great Vitello Tonato as a started. Some good wines. Nice modern atmosphere

                                      Da Mimmo
                                      39 Boulevard de Magenta, 75010 Paris, France ‎
                                      +33 1 42 06 44 47
                                      Contact, mail, plan d'accès, parking, restaurant italien, trattoria, pizza,mimmo
                                      Really old-fashioned, traditional authentic Trattoria with Pizza and

                                      Da Franco et Giacomo
                                      115 avenue Jean Jaurès
                                      75019 Paris
                                      01 42 00 04 77
                                      First time I ate here there was a table of really-well dressed people who looked out of place. Italian dining companions assured me it was Marcello Mastroianni. It certainly looked like him.   Hmm, what is he doing in this out of the way little dive? Now it looks like I've been eating here for over twenty years and the only times i have been disappointed is when they were training new pizzaiolos. This is the only place in town, and one of the few I know outside of Italy, to do the special kind of pizza you find in  only in rare restaurants (I've only seen them in the north, in Lombardy and the Piedmont). Often confused with Sicilian pizza. Or American. Completely different.  The wine list isn't so good anymore, but you can make do. They take good care of single diners. And They do a salad of carpaccio, mozzarella, lettuce, vegetbles and sautéed mushrooms that balances out the pizza perfectly.

                                      Pizza di Loretta
                                      62 Rue Rodier
                                      75009 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 48 78 42 56
                                      Pizza di Loretta
                                      One of a growing number of Roman pizza-al-taglio-style places popping up around the city. But this one is very good. And they some good wines and antipasti which is unusual in these pizza-by-the-slice places. Casual, relaxed but very good in the middle of fashionably hip SoPi (South Pigalle).

                                      Table D'Hôtes

                                      The Pain Quotidien chain has many of them
                                      Bienvenue à notre table commune.


                                      Chemin Des Vignes/ La Guingette d'Issy
                                      Address: 113 Bis Avenue Verdun, Issy-les-Moulineaux
                                      Nearest Transport: Tram T2 Les Moulineaux RER Issy
                                      Hours:  Monday-Friday Lunch and Dinner, Saturday Dinner
                                      Reservations: The day before
                                      Telephone: 01 46 38 11 66
                                      Huge uncovered terrace in season, fireside table d'hotes dining in winter. ‎Very good traditional food with a Burgundian influence, great wine list, dine in a vineyard in the city.

                                      The only ones I know of right now are called la Table de Cybele and Guinee pigs supper club But as they are underground they change all the time.

                                      Spectacles and curiosities

                                      Le Cercle Suedois
                                      Swedish Club (Svenska Klubben)
                                      242 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France ‎
                                      +33 1 42 60 76 67
                                      If it is wenesday, there is weekly Jazz entertainment, usually with swedish food to accompany . Check out the program in French,
                                      Svenska Klubben | Cercle Suédois | Paris | Programme

                                      Le Petit Journal Montparnasse
                                      Address:  13 rue du Commandant Mouchotte, 75014
                                      Nearest transport: Gare Montparnasse/Gaîté
                                      Hours:  7/7 07:00-02:00
                                      Telephone: 01 43 21 56 70
                                      Small uncovered terrace where smoking is allowed
                                      One of the better remaining jazz clubs in town. ok cafe food, better for aperitif on the Terrace around 19:00. Walked by recently, haven't been in years, but it still looks as fun as ever.

                                      Nos Ancestres les gaulois
                                      THE FEAST | Nos Ancetres
                                      Cheesy, funny, touristy join the Ancient Gaul themed buffet party and you will not be alone. You may wish you were.

                                      The shows, from mild to extra spicy
                                      Moulin Rouge
                                      Moulin Rouge® Official website

                                      Le Lido
                                      Cabaret Lido Paris - site officiel - 01 40 76 56 10 - Champs Elysees - Bluebell Girls - Lido

                                      Nouvelle Eve
                                      CABARET LA NOUVELLE EVE PARIS

                                      Paradis Latin
                                      Cabaret Paradis Latin Paris

                                      Crazy Horse
                                      Cabaret Parisien, le Crazy Horse propose des spectacles sur Paris.

                                      Neighborhood style places and bistros
                                      Les Pipos
                                      2 Rue de l'École Polytechnique
                                      75005 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 43 54 11 40
                                      Bar à vins - Les Pipos
                                      Join the party over dinner. Usually crowded, friendly, sometimes there is music. French bistro fare

                                      Paul Bert
                                      75011 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 43 72 24 01
                                      The Paul Bert is more a reinvented bistro. Cooking of the Bistronomy movement The wine list extensive you will hear a little more english than french. Sometimes hard to book but usually solo diner friendly
                                      Aux Crus de Bourgogne

                                      La Marlotte
                                      Address: 55 rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris
                                      Nearest transport: Sevres Babylone, Saint Germain
                                      Hours: Monday-Saturday 12h - 14h30 and 19h30 - 22h30
                                      Reservations: Usually not necessary but it might be good to call a few hours before
                                      Tel : 01 45 48 86 79 - reservationlamarlotte@gmail.com
                                      Small uncovered terrace
                                      Good Traditional french fare, almost a parody of a french bistro, red-checked table cloths, etc, Green bean and Mozerrala salad is a nice starter... good Irish sourced meat, some good bargains on the wine list

                                      Chez Marianne
                                      Address: 2 rue Hospitalières St Gervais, 75004
                                      Nearest Transport: Saint-Paul/Pont Marie/Hôtel de Ville
                                      Hours: Mon-Sun 12 pm - 10:30 pm
                                      Reservations: You can wait in line for a table and always get one, reserve if you don't want to wait
                                      Telephone: 01 42 72 18 86
                                      Small uncovered terrace
                                      For a change of pace: The queen of the marais medieval jewish quarter's restaurants. Cheap, cheerful and quite an experience.  Middle-Eastern. Mostly Sephardic food, falafel, hummus, tarama, fried eggplant, salads,etc. Proverbs and sayings painted across the windows.  You try four, five, or six item and accompany with one  of the bargain-basement  wine. Cute scenic stone terrace overlooking the church. Falafel sandwiches are available for takeaway.

                                      Le Restaurant du Comptoir
                                      Address: 34 rue Montmartre, 75001
                                      Nearest transport: Les Halles, Etienne Marcel
                                      Hours: 12h-23:00 Monday-Saturday
                                      Reservations: Usually not necessary
                                      Telephone: 01 42 33 31 32
                                      Small uncovered terrace
                                      Great spot for casual dining or lunch
                                      small shop selling French culinary specialties (paté, cheese, wine etc) that also serves a daily menu  at a few outdoor tables. They recently opened a small enclosed restaurant space next door. This area is just north of Les Halles, Zola's "Stomach of Paris" the old market hall demolished and moved to the suburbs a generation ago. But right around this restaurant is whatever is left of the old food center. If you like Professional Kitchen and Food stores, or just like to look at one of the world Mecca's of gastronomy you can check out the astounding  old fashioned emporium of De Hillerin (Accueil : E.DEHILLERIN), the smaller but precise Mora (MORA, le spécialiste des ustensiles de cuisine, boulangerie, patisserie, coutellerie, taillanderie) and the very chic La Bovida:
                                      (La bovida)

                                      A La Cloche D'Or (unsure of summer holiday closing, usually open before most other restaurants or doesn't close)
                                      Address: 3 rue Mansart , 75009 - Paris
                                      Nearest transport: Pigalle/Blanche/Place de Clichy
                                      Hours: Monday-Saturday 1930 - 4:00 (all night)  Closed Sunday
                                      Reservations:  Luchtime for dinner or the day before
                                      Telephone:  01 48 74 48 88 reservation@alaclochedor.com
                                      The Sardi's of France, traditional french fare, good wine list of old vintages at bargain prices, the walls are covered with autographed pictures of all of the French theatre community who eat here after the show. The spectacle here is people watching and late night dining.

                                      Chez Les Anges  (Usually closes for a month in summer)
                                      Address: 54 boulevard de la tour Maubourg, 75007
                                      Nearest transport: La Tour-Maubourg
                                      Hours: Monday-Friday 12H - 14H30 and 19H00 - 22H30
                                      Reservations:  Luchtime for dinner or the day before
                                      Telephone: 01 47 05 89 86 reservation@chezlesanges.com
                                      Small uncovered terrace where smoking is allowed
                                      Go sit at the counter and enjoy the people watching. Typical 7th arrondissement crowd, few tourists. Very good wine list. The 35 euro menu is one of the most elegant and best values around. The 40 even more so with first rate amuses bouche, appetizer, main and 2 desserts.


                                      Meat cooking prep in an open kitchen

                                      2 Rue Làplace
                                      75005 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 46 33 68 49
                                      This is also for when your budget is in trouble. Just the cheapest friendliest charcoal grilled meat in town. If the clients aren't students, they will those of us who have been eating there since we were. Blue cheese salad, aioli and pain poilane, a steak and bottle of St. Joseph

                                      La Maison de L'Aubrac
                                      37 Rue Marbeuf
                                      75008 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 43 59 05 14
                                      Restaurant Maison de l'Aubrac‎
                                      One the biggest, most casual loudest old steak houses in town. Very good wine list.

                                      Boucherie Roulière
                                      24 Rue des Canettes
                                      75006 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 43 26 25 70
                                      Restaurant owned a by a family of ranchers as a venue to show off the quality of their meat. They succeed.

                                      Le Gavroche
                                      19 Rue Saint-Marc
                                      75002 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 42 96 89 70
                                      Convivial, loud classic place for a cote de boeuf (Think sort of French prime rib on the bone). Haven't been for years though I was once a regular. Have heard it has got good again. At one time it had a fabulous wine list.

                                      Some Brasseries

                                      Brasserie Thoumieux
                                      Address: 79, Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris
                                      Nearest transport: La Tour-Maubourg/ Invalides
                                      Hours: 7/7 lunch and dinner
                                      Reservations:  Luchtime for dinner or the day before
                                      Telephone: 01 47 05 49 75
                                      No Terrace
                                      THIERRY COSTES - Thoumieux
                                      Despite the maddening website, the crowded, close-spaced tables and the hype, this is one of the best of the large brasserie-style restaurants in town. The culinary superstar Jean-François Piège took over this old hotel-restaurant in 2009 and with Costes support tastefully redecorated keeping the soul of the place in tact. He shows he can do a great traditional parisian cafe food with some modern touches in the Brasserie while upstairs in his much more expensive eponymous restaurant he shows off his gastronomical fireworks. It can get loud and very busy, but the service is surprisingly efficient and friendly. Some affordable bottles of good wines on the list.

                                      Restaurant Flottes et Flottes O'TREMENT
                                      Address: 2 rue Cambon 75001 Paris
                                      Nearest transport: Concorde Louvre Rivoli
                                      Hours: 7/7 12h00-24:00 or a bit later
                                      Reservations:  usually unecessary
                                      Telephone: 01 42 60 80 89
                                      Small Terrace
                                      Page on Www
                                      Traditional brasserie that still has some higher-end products, (belotta ham, truffles) but has old-fashioned fare done competently (onion soup, sausage with Aligot, etc) and a reasonable wine list with a good range of choices. Service can be hit-and-miss. Clientele a mix of tourists, suburbanites coming in to the city and VIP's. Maybe less a brasserie but too big a place for me to think of as a bistro.

                                      le Terminus Nord
                                      12 Boulevard de Denain
                                      75010 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 42 80 20 00
                                      Brasserie mythique Paris 10, Gare du Nord
                                      One of several candidates for the best brasserie now owned by the Flo group. Right across the street from the Gare du Nord. Hence the name. A little art deco,  a little nouveau
                                      Cuisine et décor alsaciens, Paris 10

                                      Le Wepler
                                      14 Place de Clichy
                                      75018 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 45 22 53 29
                                      Brasserie Wepler
                                      Once Henry Miller's favorite restaurant. The quality goes up and down over the years, but bring a copy of Anais Nin, have some oysters and really lament the fact that you are alone.

                                      Le Dôme Café
                                      108 Boulevard du Montparnasse
                                      75014 Paris, France
                                      +33 1 43 35 25 81
                                      Go for the decor and the seafood. It can get pricey.

                                      If none of this works for now is the time to start: Embracing eating alone

                                      Now for those of you that have the temerity to naysay such a reliable guide as Epicurus and seek out your inner totemic Wolf or Lion: You should eat in anyplace that is good and damn the consequences. There lots of places to look for them. You can ask me. Or John Talbott, Petitpois or the others here.

                                      And Paris, my intrepid, solitary and contented diner, is your oyster. Or your Soufflé de Poulet de Bresse. Really whatever you like.

                                      And apart from a strong recommendation for Michelin Bibendum winners

                                      You can look here to pick your poison

                                      Paris by Mouth
                                      Paris restaurants and cafés – Time Out Paris

                                      Guide FOODING®

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: phrederic

                                        Wow, thank you for the incredibly detailed report.