Ranking your Favorite Restaurants in Paris
This is my first post; thanks to many of you for your insightful and passionate contributions re: restaurants in Paris (e.g Delucacheesemonger, PhilD, Parigi, mangeur, souphie and others- I’m stalking your posts :)
I’m planning a trip to Paris in September (my first time sans backpack). I’ve read several posts on this board but have yet to find a type of “easy” listing of the favorite restaurants, from many of the board’s most active and knowledgeable contributors, posted in one thread. (please let me know if I have missed this type of post somehow). If you have a few moments, please post your 5 favorite restaurants in each price category in Paris (dinner, without wine) based solely on the taste of the food (not ambience etc.) Any input for any price range is very much appreciated!
50 to 100 Euro
Less than 50 Euro
Luus - I feel your pain and wish the "restaurant" section of CH was more user friendly and compiled lists like this. Unfortunately that is not the case and maybe not really the intent of CH.
I am certainly not qualified or knowledgeable enough to help you out. But I can say that if you are willing to spend some time, dig around, and figure out how this site "works" you can find many recommendations that fit into these buckets.
I've found using the "France Board Recommendations" below the postings a good place to start in jumping from post to post to discover things!
Hi thimes, thank you for your reply. It just seems to me that this type of list would help several people visiting the Paris board, including me :) to cut down on some (not all) of the time searching and reading. I've read quite a bit on this board and people give excellent reviews about several restaurants but then it's hard to gauge which ones they preferred over the others, they also gave excellent reviews for. Or if they have been somewhere new recently and their number 2 spot has just been knocked down to number 3. If people listed their "favorites" more research about the restaurant, reading others' points of view would still need to be done. I thought of this as more of a starting point for people who don't have too much time to read through the board or for those who aren't the best a coming up with key words for their searches. If 6 people listed 2 or 3 of the same restaurants that would indicate to me it's probably one I should do more research on. David Lebovitz and Paris By Mouth have lists, which are great but I think it could also be great for CH to have some its most frequent posters do the same. But I guess that's for others to decide :) but thank you for taking the time to make me aware.
If you can talk the mods into maintaining FAQ fave lists, many will be thankful to you.
22I thought of this as more of a starting point for people who don't have too much time to read through the board or for those who aren't the best a coming up with key words for their searches."
You touch on 2 issues. Imagine that people who have contributed restaurant reviews are also as busy as the people who are searching. They are even more loath to repeating themselves and rewriting a fave list, only to be asked again 3 days later.
Regarding "people who aren't the best a coming up with key words for their searches", the last few times when I felt completely discouraged about responding to repetitve requests, I did try to put in the simplest search words, like paris + market, or Marais, and got pages of uptodate info immediately. Obviously it does not take people who are "the best" to come up with key words.
you wrote, "They are even more loath to repeating themselves and rewriting a fave list, only to be asked again 3 days later." I understand that, which was why I asked in my initial post for anyone to "please let me know if I have missed this type of post somehow" if it already exists so that others wouldn't need to rewrite it, only post the link(s) to point me in the right direction. As for searches, I did a search for "rank" and "list". "Rank" didn't return this type of post and "list" returned proposed lists from people, like me, who were/are planning to visit Paris.
Hi Ptipois, I disagree that lists are meaningless, esp. as a starting point and in this case. For example, after reading several posts I've seen that many are a fan of l'Ami Louis, Le Cinq and Gagnaire so those are places I plan to read more about, the ambiance, the staff etc. But I agree that a list, such as this, will change as I mentioned in my first reply. However, why couldn't this be a running thread or even updated every 6 months, or just whenever people feel like updating theirs? It would keep people from asking similar questions, maybe?
Thank you Delucacheesemonger. I saw the post you provided the link to a few days ago and found it very useful.
I have found all of your posts helpful, but it would still be great to know yours and others favorites, to see the overlap, because I do see a lot of raves for the same restaurants but I can't tell for example which of them you prefer over others... thank you for taking the time to post.
My intent wasn't to upset- only seeking advice in a way that would be useful for me and others perhaps...
I agree with everyone. Whilsts lists are subjective and change they are really useful, I am sitting in Singapore as I type this on a last minute business trip. No time to do much research and whilst there is tons of info it isn't well organised to cut through quickly. Maybe we need "Top 5" lists on our profiles by city. or at least a "home town" list and a best of the best list.
One of the problems though with a list is context. My best "palace" restaurant in Paris for that special occaision is very different to my Friday night after work place. CLJ, for example, for me is best for a Friday meal but I would never head there for a special meal. That doesn't mean it isn't good it simply means I have different bests for different purposes and circumstances and therefore my Top 5 needs lots of context and an understanding that it isn't in order.
I also find lists need to be read very carefully and it helps to understand the audience they are intened for David's list for example on his Blog is really slanted to his audience, he is a professional writer so he knows "what sells". Doesn't mean it is a bad list, and if you are in his target market it could be a great list, but it is structured to be quite a safe list. So whilst "A La Petite Chaise" isn't bad it also fits the stereotyype of a French restaurant for toursists (which are is main audience for the list).
Lots of lists (and recomendations) for Paris are like this, many bloggers and posters have professions that serve the food tourist in Paris thus their recomendations will be carefully targetted (after all it paert of their reputation) to their respective markets. It isn't to say they are bad or wrong but it mean they need to be read with an open mind. And I am afraid the best way to do that is do the cross referencing and work out who says what and try and align that to your taste.
One example of different tastes Dr John (since departed from this board) loved Ze Kitchen Gallerie. I hated it. But we are both 100% right, as it is all down to personal taste.
Ze Kitchen Gallerie
4 Rue des Grands Augustins, Paris, Île-de-France 75006, FR
"One example of different tastes Dr John (since departed from this board) loved Ze Kitchen Gallerie. I hated it. But we are both 100% right, as it is all down to personal taste."
Perfect example of why lists don't work.
One more: several of our top "never go off the list of favorites" are places where we have booked since they opened, watching and supporting their development, enjoying their recognition of our fidelity, forgiving the occasional mis-step in plates. Were I to put them at the top of our lists, would you enjoy or understand our quantification?
@Parigi, you wrote, “regulars do enough relisting of lists”. If many of these lists of favorite restaurants in Paris, primarily by taste, from regulars, exist could you post the link(s)? Because I’ve been unable to find them and wouldn’t have posted this request if I could.
What’s really being asked for are opinions, which is what many already give on hundreds of other posts. You and others give people your opinions on restaurants among other things, this would be the same- your opinion- but based solely on your taste preference for the price range- not the decor, the service, sommelier, conversation with friends around the table etc. And many of you and others do have lists, although of different criteria, I’ve seen them on your profiles. So I don’t see how this is a strange request.
Of course we all have different opinions and “mouths”, certainly, but as mentioned before I’ve seen quite a bit of overlap in the posts with raves about the same restaurants but in this type of format it would be easier to see patterns. If anyone listed a restaurant, people shouldn’t or wouldn’t simply go, because it’s merely an opinion. I, and hopefully others, would do further research on the restaurants to inquire more about them, to learn how many more people also love it vs. how many do not, if any, and most importantly why. This wouldn’t be “The Bible” but a reference for further research.
@PhilD , I fully agree with your comment, “Lots of lists (and recommendations) for Paris are like this, many bloggers and posters have professions that serve the food tourist in Paris thus their recommendations will be carefully targeted…” which is why I wanted to ask people from this forum, to, perhaps, avoid some of the commercial bias found in other blogs or guides.
@mangeur to your question, “… places where we have booked since they opened, watching and supporting their development, enjoying their recognition of our fidelity, forgiving the occasional mis-step in plates. Were I to put them at the top of our lists, would you enjoy or understand our quantification?”
My request was for restaurants based solely on taste in order to avoid opinions based on other factors. But yes, as alluded to above, I would understand why any person would list any restaurant, since it’s an opinion…
Thank you all for the discussion… I won’t argue my point further so that everyone can move along if they aren’t interested in the initial request.
"what's really being asked for are opinions" ... Opinions include comment, thoughts, personal points of view, feelings & may Include expectations & personal observations.
A list is a summary of choices, in series with a 'favourite' which eventually leads to a 'less' or least favourite.
'Opinions & lists' are an oxymoron.
@condor, if I ask someone "What is your favorite restaurant in Paris, based solely on taste?" and they reply "L'Ambroisie". That is by Oxford dictionary's definition, an "opinion": "1 a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge"
different from "opinion" in the legal or journalistic sense, which you have described...
and as mentioned elsewhere, I've already researched on this website and others, in depth opinions and reviews (by many who have replied to this post) about the restaurants listed here and others...
Okay - I know this is a hot topic on this board - maybe the CH moderators will consider something like this for this board . . . . I love this site but seriously Paris is such a HUGE food destination that maybe "France" is too broad of a board for Paris . . . . I mean we have 100s of US cities (most of which I would argue are hardly food "destinations") . . . .
But I think this board needs a "sticky post" like other boards/cities have with some 1) Key tips, 2) maybe some posts to start with, 3) some tricks to success.
something similar to what I just found on the San Diego board
If anyone considers that (I'm not kidding that it took me about a week of frustration to really figure out how to use the France board to find Paris restaurants, sounds silly but it is true.
Tips to think about:
1) Do NOT use the restaurant section of this site for Paris - avoid it
2) Do NOT put Paris in the location box of the search engine, you can put France but NOT Paris (even though that is where you are going and want to know about and think a food site would recognize Paris as a food destination)
3) DO use the "France Board Discussion" suggestions at the bottom of every post section
4) DO put the word "Paris" and then either a district or the word "restaurants" in the "Subject, Topic, or Question" box to help find things (all in that box, do not use the Location box other than for the word "France")
I think a few tips like this in the sticky topic area could be VERY helpful in using this part of the site!
Okay - that is my 2 cents - Thanks to all the posters who have been so generous in helping and posting! Now it is time for the CH moderating team to help them out! I think a sticky topic like San Diegos is well worth the effort for this board!
I am a very infrequent user of this board but it certainly provides information where friends, magazines & personal experience need a little extra support / guidance.
Bearing in mind the size & popularity of Paris, it would certainly benefit from its own listing.
Choosing a restaurant is never easy as there is so much choice, sometimes, no choice is often the best option when the standard is very good.
18 months ago I ate at Beurre Noisette in Paris' 15th arr. Local neighbourhood restaurant, unpretentious, two sittings, great value and superb memorable meal.
'Worse than the wrong decision, is indecision' & 'a disadvantage of privilege is choice'
Man, you ask a question and then there are twenty posts to explain why it's stupid!
This made me want to respond.
3. Le Cinq
4. La Grande Cascade
50 to 100euro
1. Chez l'Ami Jean
2. L'Auberge du Quincy
3. L'Auberge Bressanne
4. L'Angle du faubourg
5. La Régalade
Less than 50 euro
1. Chez Denise (if you're careful)
3. Au dernier métro
4. Génia (crepe stand)
5. Yong, rue de la Colonie
9 Place des Vosges, Paris, Île-de-France 75004, FR
Classifications are OK as long as it's understood from the start that they're done on a strictly personal basis, as is the case of Souphie's above. What I am suspicious about is any type of classification claiming to represent the average or the absolute.
One caveat is that I may come up with a different list next week, especially in the lower price range, for I have many favorite addresses on the cheap side.
In the present case, fire on:
150 and more:
1. La Grande Cascade
2. Le Cinq
3. Guy Savoy
5. Nothing else comes to mind (lack of experience in Paris high dining)
50 to 100 euro
1. Chez l'Ami Jean
4. Claude Colliot (actually on the less than 50-more than 50 limit)
5. Le Châteaubriand
I also could have put Saturne, Liza and Rino in the above category.
Less than 50 euro
2. Le Pré Verre
3. Dans les Landes
5. Aux Délices de Shan Dong
I agree, Phil. Frankly, I don't see how a clearly stated question would find answers more easily in a Paris only board. There are at the moment many ways on the internet to access reviews of restaurants in Paris. I appreciate Chow's comprehensive discussion about food-oriented subject tout France.
Example: how many of Pti's excellent explanations of the historical and cultural roots of a food or dining practice raise an umbrella far broader than Paris alone. We shouldn't become just another restaurant rater like "Zagat".
Exactly. Which is why I wrote that I could come up with a different list next week. Actually it would move a lot in the low-price category, substantially so in the medium-priced category, and not much in the high-price category on which I have less experience than on the others and about which I do not really care for (except for Le Cinq and La Grande Cascade which, IMO, are good remaining examples of non-show-offy, artisanal haute cuisine, just for fun and enjoyment, very far from the Ducassian business plans and international jet-set fare).
Thank you for this posting Souphie
We always eat well in Paris because of you PhilD, Parigi, a few others on this Board.
I don't find it that difficult to navigate
Curious, you didn't put Rostang on your list.
I thought that it was a favorite of yours.
We have dined in all of the above two groups with the exception of L'Auberge du Quincy, so will make a Reservation
My last dinner at Quincy was not entirely positive, although still very enjoyable.
I blame myself for not ordering well. I ordered snails and frog legs, both of which are usually available only in frozen supply and are not fresh.
But dinner started and ended enchantingly.
The pre-starter charcuterie ardèchoise was excellent as usual. Irresistible Bobosse did his blue-flame performance with vieille prune.
I think Pti is right -- something changed at Yong. Still, I ate there last week and it was pretty good. But, based on this experience, indeed Traiteur Shandong (the new name of Délices...) is better. And there I would get fried pork intestine, hot pepper tofu.
My normal order at Yong would include soy-sauce eggplant, a big plate of ravioli (10 or 20), meatballs, "salt and pepper" shrimps.
Luus - I go to Paris at least every other year if not more often (alas, I need to play the lottery). Whenever I am there I NEVER MISS going to Les Fetes Galantes. Small restaurant owned by a French woman and a Lebanese man. I think he is the chef. There are only about 7 tables, it is off the beaten path but the food is always excellent and, in my opinion, very reasonably priced. The decor is a bit eclectic - the walls are decorated with postcards from all over the world from people who have eaten there and send the owners news of their travels and comments on the great meals they've had there. It's quiet, too, which I also like. You can actually have a conversation even though you are in close quarters. I also very much enjoy Notre Dame Degres and Pho67/Dragon D'Or.
I understand what you want as I looked for the same thing and resorted to compiling my own recommendation list. I started one for Paris in 2008 listing the restaurant, address, arrondissment, cost of a 3 course lunch, who recommended it and any additional notes of interest. I read lots of newsletters & blogs so, on my upcoming trip, I'm taking a list that has grown into a 6 page excel spreadsheet. At least I've got lots of choices.
Maybe better to organise it in a different way. I would suggest Top 5 dining experiences by type, then assess restaurants in each category, this is how I generally recommend restaurants to friends when they visit because it gives a good broad experience rather than five restaurants that may be great but are all similar. My "five" would be:
1. Try a palace or 3 star restaurant - only Paris does this level of dining like Paris. Choose the place that matches your budget or style: Le Cinq is reliable.
2. Try a "bistronomique", these were the new wave of Paris restaurants a decade ago and reinvigorated the scene: Chez L"Ami Jean, Le Regalade, Le Comptoir or Jadis (OK not that old) are good recommendations.
3. Go radical, OK Paris isn't that radical but there are chefs who push the envelope and its good to see who is leading the charge. As this changes frequently you need to research what is in the news, past faves include the first Spring, or early Frenchie, or Passage 53, or Yamt'cha.
4. Go traditional, not its not the same as a Bistronomique, it is old world old fashioned French food: suggest Josephine Chez Dumonet, Chez Denise, or L`Ami Louis.
5. Go to a brasserie, OK the food is generally sub-standard but it is atmospheric and very Parisian, I think I am the only person to like Brasserie Lipp (probably because I was a regular), but others are Balzar, Bofinger, or most of the flo group (and you can add Le Train Bleau)
Just to add a few more on the lower end as I am in Paris monthly...Le Saturne, Le Chateaubriand and Le Dauphin (forgive the La and Le mistakes.) Everyone is going natural wine these days. Even Lavinia has a curated section by Marc Sibard from Cave Auges. Try Le Ze Kitchen Galerie for Asian French and they have a next door restaurant as well.
thanks PhilD, actually, this is how I am creating my own list - I didn't want others to have to do all of the work so I asked only about "taste" - which is most important to me personally (other factors might be more important to others). I am putting this information into my excel spreadsheet which is broken down by columns which I score from 1-5. And the columns are also weighted, with taste being most important. The current columns are "taste", "courtesy/professionalism", "atmosphere/decor", and "notes" (mostly for specific dish recommendations and sources) Of course I would love to know your overall favorite experiences but thought that would probably be too much to ask...
I spend time regularly in Paris and love to eat. You don't say what your priorities (age group, preferences) are, so I may be barking up the wrong tree. We spend our time in the East (Marais, 11th, 10th, 20th) far, far away from the polished brass of the 7th and the 16th.... Anyway; I have plenty of ideas about the sub-50 Euro category.
I am no connoisseur, no gourmand, no expert: I love fresh, simple, good value food. I'd rather eat oysters from the tray at the markets on Blvd Richard Lenoir on Sundays than off a silver platter at Georges V... that's just what I enjoy!
I guess my wife and I are young(ish) and possibly care more about an enjoyable, rustic, authentic or 'fun' atmosphere that some contributors. Sometimes we want somewhere that has great (comparatively simple) food AND is a fun place to get a bit tipsy and do some great people watching. That is valid too, no?
I have no idea what the finest Michelin joints are (I have the money, I just don't necessarily enjoy the atmosphere), so I will leave that discussion to the others. But I did notice that none of MY favourites are in the lists...
Anyhow, if you want somewhere fun but good to eat in the style I have described, why not check out some of these:
Le Verre Vole: A tiny restaurant & bottle shop where all food magically appears out a kitchen the size of a rug and is prepared in a stack of toaster ovens! I cannot explain how amazing the dishes are. Heaps of 6-8 euro tasting plates plus a few mains change each day. Reservations (a week ahead) are a must for dinner but you should be able to lob in at lunch. Organic wines available by the glass.
La Patache: Great bar & restaurant with a warm tavern/ski lodge vibe. To be honest the cooked food was a bit so-so, but go for the awesome charcuterie platters (served on wooden boards) and have a few beers. Great vibe on weekend nights. This is also a good place to have a drink while you wait for your table across the street at Le Verre Vole
Derriere: Zany but wonderfully inspired hipster restaurant. Wild, drunken fun with a table-tennis table, lots of laughter and a bar in a wardrobe... The food is not incredible, but this really is a MUST go place - esp on weekends with a bit of a gang (not on your own or on a romantic date). If you're 18-40, have a few friends in Paris, this may be dinner for you.
Cafe Charlot: Really good, reliable place for lunch or dinner. Trendy fashion crowd. Friendly service. The burgers are very good as long as you order them WELL DONE (or they will arrive leaking blood on your plate). Great place for a lazy afternoon.
Le Baratin: If you Google this place you will find 1000 reviews that say it better than I can . Not exactly FUN as such: run by classic French misanthropes (yes I know he is Argentinian !!), but I will never forget my meals there!
Chez Imogene: We love Chez Imogene. An excellent creperie always full of cute boho Parisians and the food is great. It's run by two very sweet gay guys who turn out some damn fine food at great prices: At lunch you get a savoury gallette plus a sweet crepe plus salad and wine/beer for 9.50E - dinner menu 15E. C'est chouette!
Chez Omar: Although its mainly a cous cous joint, they have AWESOME grills including a killer steak au poivre.. dont get upsold to the filet (they think all English speakers want filet), just the steak - best i've ever had in Paris (yes even after going to Robert & Louise)... get there at 7.30 latest to get a table as the place is always rammed.
Hope this helps! Have a great time!!
re: Cosy Cool
thanks Cosy Cool with 2.5 weeks in Paris, we are looking for several different experiences - this is only my first request :) more to come for sure after I've done more reading - but thank you very much for your recommendations! I sleep in 5 & 6 star hotels and I also sleep outside with nothing but a mosquito net (yes I'm serious) - I like fine dining and street food as well :) it's all about the variety of experiences that makes travelling fun!
I honestly think that there is no easy way out of doing a whole lot of painstaking research about eating in Paris. While lists can be useful quick summaries of information, they just do not replace the building excitement you get from reading, and cross-refererencing, and checking, and reading some more....this site, all the main blogs, food and travel magazines, whatever you can lay your eyes on....and these days, that is pretty damn easy. But then YOU have to do the hard work, the whittling down, the crossing off, the reinstatement of places you had crossed off but then you read a positive review on here so you go searching for other reviews...
I read these boards for at least six months and, in the end for about 10 months prior to my recent visit. I ate, in the end, food that suited me, at places that made me happy. The time I spent in planning was a part of my journey, and I would never want to take short cuts for fear of what I might miss on the way.
And, I am as busy as anyone else, full time job, studying for another degree, mother of 2 children, and planned a wedding at the same time. ....can you tell I miss CH France since I am still reading it??
Thanks again all, just as an update...
thus far I've booked:
waiting on confirmation from:
will try for:
-Pierre Gagnaire closer to the date
-Spring via our hotel concierge
-Chez l'Ami Jean via our hotel concierge
-Frenchie via our hotel concierge
7 selected; 27 to go...
Thank younfor posting the question and for the informative responses.
We are heading to Paris in a couple weeks time and have only now begun researching restaurants. That is woefully behind for us. Yet, in truth, I'm finding research for Paris about as difficult as any place. Even with this Board, and the many Paris food blogs, the information out there is overwhelming. Add to that the need to cross reference the recommended spots and finding spots for quitea few days is a heck of a task. The pricing divide looks like a good way to address spots. And, some FAQ list I think would be great.
And, for one restaurant question: what about Frenchie?
We aren't going for months yet. I have done a fair amount of research for a two week trip that is centered on museums. We are renting an apartment, lunching out and doing dinners in, except for three nights. I have information on 200 restaurants, aggregated from here, guidebooks, etc. Some lunch places are even sorted by district, to facilitate touring during the day. If you would like, I will forward my document to you. I need your email.
re: trail 6
Hi centralmental & PennyLayne111,
Based on my research, cross referencing all of the following websites and guides:
-Simon Says: http://francoissimon.typepad.fr/simon...
-Chocolate & Zucchini - http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archi...
-Louis Vuitton Paris Guide - http://www.louisvuitton.com/uk/flash/...
-Wallpaper City Guide
-LUXE City Guide Paris
-and chowhound, of course
I've come up with the following list of places based solely on raves about the food: (Note: I will be going to other restaurants, such as Alain Ducasse Plaza Athénée, Gordon Ramsay au Trianon, 1-star Michelin Chef Tateru Yoshino dinner on the Seine, and L'Espadon etc., not for the cuisine but because hotel packages we've booked come with these dinners/lunches for next to nothing due to our credit card reward programs. We will also be eating at a couple of places like Le Grand Vefour, solely based on their history, again, not for cuisine)
-Chez l'Ami Jean
For chocolates, cheese and baguettes and pastries etc. (also cross checked among multiple sites and in no particular order)
-La Patisserie des Reves
-Le Bac à Glaces
-La Maison du Chocolat
-Des Gâteaux et du Pain
-Pain de Sucre
-Breizh Café creperie
-Fromagerie Laurent Dubois
-Le Bonbon au Palais
-Un Dimanche a Paris
You can check out a few of the restaurants, I have dined at, by clicking on this link:
Out of approx. 35 of them, many of which are considered to be "the best" in the US, I've only found 4-5 of them impressive and neither Per Se or The French Laundry are included in those 4 to 5, if that gives you an idea of how hard I am to please when it comes to delicious food. :) I still have a few more restaurants to select...
Thanks to all of you, again, who have contributed to helping me come up with my list.
oops forgot these, for chocolates, cheese and baguettes and pastries etc.
Dubois et Fils
Hugo & Victor
Jean Charles Rochoux
Du Pain et des Idées
Jean Charles Rochoux