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What are your favorite restaurants in Paris that don't cost a fortune or take months to get a reservation?

I'll be in Paris at the end of month with my 15 year old daughter and husband for 6 nights and I'm looking for some great restaurant suggestions - looking for neighborhood gems as well as memorable evenings. Life is too short to waste it on a bad meal.... Thank you for your suggestions!

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  1. There is such a huge choice in Paris. So help us help you by indicating your preferred style of cuisine, where you are staying, budget, etc

    1 Reply
    1. re: Parnassien

      Thank you Parnassien , with 2500 restaurants in say Pudlo alone, of which probably 2000 are reasonable and not hard to get into we need some narrowing of the field.
      As you read recent threads what appeals?

    2. Le Square Trousseau, L'Ardoise, le Cafe qui Parle.

      I make a point of going to the first two every time I'm in Paris.

      1. Little breizh on left bank is charming, good with teen. They don't take reservations, so maybe going on early side would be best.

        1. Establishing what "reasonable" means to you would be a big help.

          1. The Alain Ducasse restaurant "Aux Lyonnais" fits those criterion. Very reliable and comfortable.

            1. We are staying in the Marais but of course will be walking all over central Paris. We live in Los Angeles so are used to cuisines from around the world. While I'm hoping to sample some traditional french, I hope to try some new lighter, healthier cuisine too. I eat everything but my daughter is just starting to develop a broader range of tastes. The main thing is that it be high quality and flavorful. Budget for dinner 30-40 euros per person ?? maybe one bigger splurge?

              Thank you all for your suggestions!

              42 Replies
              1. re: Denise E

                With due respect, that does not really narrow it by much. When I visited Paris in January, I got a good deal of advice from CH Paris folks, and supplemented it with a couple of very helpful Paris food websites. You might look through these (for example), and perhaps follow up with more specific questions about particular places. On my trip, among other places,I went to Le Taxi Jaune, Bistrot Paul Bert, Mansouria, and L'As du Falafel, all of which I enjoyed and were "high quality and flavorful."

                http://parisbymouth.com/our-guide-to-...
                http://www.davidlebovitz.com/paris/

                1. re: MagicMarkR

                  Thanks for the link to ParisbyMouth--although now I am a bit overwhelmed!

                  I suppose since I am not really a cheese/bread person, I will just drink champagne the whole time and eat truffles (the mushroom) besides the occasional macaron or mountain of seafood.

                2. re: Denise E

                  Google John Talbott and read his list of excellent restaurants in your price range. He has never let me down. He might even write something special for you.

                  1. re: hychka

                    "He might even write something special for you."
                    Actually I have been struggling to write something but finding places in the 30-40 E range is not so easy.
                    Yesterday two of us ate at Les Nicois in the 11th for 60 E (with wine & coffees) and before that at Le Petit Mathieu in the 10th for 72.90 E..
                    http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...
                    http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

                    1. re: John Talbott

                      Chameleon, the one on rue René Boulanger
                      Playtime
                      Jeanne B (15 euro 2-course lunch menu that includes a great (quarter of) roasted poulet de Challan.
                      Even "Dans Les Landes", Pti and I have had a wine-less lunch there for 20 euro per head. We also, a few days ago, pigged out major, with wine, on 35 euro each.

                      1. re: John Talbott

                        I'm on a roll;
                        Today's meal for 2 at the 3-year old but just renamed Saut du Crapaud (ex-Bis) in the 14th was just under 70 E for 2 courses each and a shared dessert, a bottle & glass of wine & two coffees. http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

                        1. re: John Talbott

                          Thank you! Your blog is great, too! I see that it is a bigger challenge than I realized. I think we need to expand our budget a bit - would 50-60 E per person be more doable?

                          I also just loaded Patricia Wells Food Lover's Guide to Paris on my phone -so I'll have fun looking at that too! Years ago - about 25 to be exact, my husband and I ate our way traveling through France using her Food Lover's Guide to France. I still have very fond memories of eating at Troisgros in Roanne. On my last trip to Paris (8 years ago already - how time flies by!) we enjoyed a very different experience at Astier and the old Ambasade d'Auvergne - my children still remember how rich the aligot and the pot de creme were!

                          Thank you again for your suggestions for places that are uniquely french (or authentic to their own cuisine) and that leave a memorable impression for my daughter.

                          1. re: Denise E

                            "would 50-60 E per person be more doable?"
                            Indeed. That's my and my readers' range. I and my wife, mistress, sneaky movie-star lover or friend, expect to exit in that range. You didn't say where you were from, and I never pry, except with patients, but in the 10 biggest cities in America, the UK or Japan, can you dine so well for so little?
                            So how about putting up a new post about 50-60 E pp or 100-120 per couple?
                            It would get a great response and be a valuable resource for future searchers.

                              1. re: allende

                                "With or without wine?"
                                For me and my readers, it's 100-120 E for 2 for 2 or 3 courses, no bottled water, a bottle of wine and 2 coffees.
                                But recall, I'm a very old guy (some would say Vénérable) who only eats out at lunch and orders the second cheapest bottle of wine on the carte.

                                1. re: John Talbott

                                  You can certainly eat well in Paris for under 30 € at lunch. And for me, who only takes a glass of wine or sometimes just water because I have to go back to work, even cheaper.

                                  1. re: John Talbott

                                    John just so you know. I read a recent article about how the pricing on the second cheapest bottle of wine on a wine list is the one that the restaurant marks up the most. They know that most people do not want to appear cheap and order the least expensive bottle. They were talking about restarants in the U.S. so not sure if this is an international trend.

                                    1. re: steveburstein

                                      So let's go up one more to number 3.
                                      Thanks
                                      But today at the Ecailler du Bistrot we has the Cheapo Supremo and it was terrific (and the 19 E 3-course menu as well);
                                      http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

                            1. re: John Talbott

                              Another one for you Denise; Postiche in the 1st, 62 E a couple for 5 dishes, a bottle of wine and 2 coffees.
                              You may be asking yourself, why do I post these places that aren't in the guidebooks or CH faves?; a reasonable question. Answer: because they're just recently opened but I'm sure Parnassien can add his voice at some point.
                              Enjoy:
                              http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

                              1. re: John Talbott

                                John, adding my voice as requested. :) But I'm much more quartier-centric and métro-phobic than you so it's difficult (and increasingly so because there are so many possibilities bubbling up in my brain) for me to deliver shotgun blasts of random city-wide recommendations. Since there are so many choices, I get overwhelmed unless the OP provides some filters like convenience/ proximity, neighbourhood, whether this or that resto easily slides into sightseeing or other other activities, and can be sandwiched between some sort of before and after. For me, a restaurant is part of the "flâneur/ exploring Paris process, not as a holy-grail destination in its own right. I'm a bad bad BAD foodie. :)

                                Having said that, I'm loading the shotgun with some birdshot of random recs within the OP's budget:
                                Clandestino on the rue Crozatier in the 12th... superb value and creative French + "transgenre" cooking by a super-talented and very hip Japanese chef... and walkable from the Aligre hangout zone so not that difficult to fit in a before and an after;
                                l'Antre Amis on the rue Boulud in the 15th (but more 7th in tone and clientèle)... never any disappointments... lovely neighbourhood... and for lunch, just a few minutes walk from the excellent Marché Saxe-Breteuil (Thu + Sat morning)... 35 € for 3-courses/ awesome bargain for the quality.
                                Café des Abattoirs on the rue Gomboust in the 1st... for carnivores but not just gluttonous ones because they do half portion options.
                                Les Pipos on the rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève de la Montagne @ the rue de l'Ecole Polytechnique in the 5th... perfect intro to the Latin Quarter... live trad music at weekends... multi-generational clientèle... decent cuisine with a a few regional specialties... teens love it!
                                L'Ober-Salé on the rue Oberkampf in the 11th... in the neighbourhood gem category... one of my favourite go-to restaurants.

                                1. re: Parnassien

                                  Parnassien, I have looked at Cafe des Abattoirs online menu and only see 3 course fixed price options and nothing about half portion options. Maybe that is just available at the bar?

                                  1. re: macdog

                                    MacDog, re Café des Abattoirs. My bad. I should have said "shareable" and not "half-portions". We typically get an array of starters for the table and then order a couple of main dishes and ask the waiter to serve two demi-portions on the same plate. Some mains are, of course, not suitable for Solomon's sword ... and if we don't realize that, the waiter will tell us what's possible.

                                  2. re: Parnassien

                                    Thank you! I will definitely look into these. Yes, it is helpful to have restaurants nearby locations of interest. I am hoping to make the trip a combination of a few of the major tourist highlights as my daughter was only 8 the last time we visited, but I also plan to make it a relaxing vacation - just meandering and exploring the city and having fun. We are staying in the Marais so that will be our starting point. I will let you all know which places I visit.

                                    One friend mentioned the restaurant located near the Branly Museum - Les Ombres - is this a restaurant you think worthwhile?

                                    Back to work for me! So excited to be in Paris in a few days - Thank you all again!

                                    1. re: Denise E

                                      We have been staying in the Marais in May for the last 5 years and I have some local suggestions. I tend to travel around the city during the day and like to stick a little closer to our neighborhood at night. Although haut Marais has some good lunches. Our last trip we enjoyed these spots-
                                      Poilane Cuisine de Bar-great open face sandwiches and salads and soups made from famous Poilane bread. Ate here for lunch twice. 38 Rue Debelleyme.

                                      Nanashi-good lunch spot with bento box food. 57 rue Charlot.

                                      The Broken Arm-great little cafe for cappuccino and food. Also has a dress store attached. 12 Rue Perrée

                                      Cafe philosophes is touristy but a good place to sit outside and get a salad. I also discovered Merci on Rue Beaumarchais-a very cool multi story housewares/clothing/cafe store that your daughter would love.

                                      Also love heading over to the canal st. Martin area and walking through the neighborhood. Cafe Prune is a nice local lunch spot where you can get lighter lunch.

                                      For dinner we have enjoyed Metropolitian (you can reserve online) le Mary Celeste for small plates and drinks, breizh cafe for crepes ( West Country girl seems to be getting more love these days) and cafe des Musees which is touristy but still good. For a change of pace you can get Italian at Grazie or Mexican at Candelaria. And the the fresh and prepared food market Marche des Enfants on Rue de Bretagne is very close. You can pick food out and then eat there. Lots of Asian.

                                      Sorry for how scattershot this is. I'm writing on my iPhone and copying and pasting from notes. I know some spots are touristy, but still decent, I think.

                                      1. re: macdog

                                        Also up towards St Martin, Verre Vole and L'atmosphere

                                          1. re: Denise E

                                            A couple more suggestions. I asked about good traditional French bistros to CH recently and Chez Denis was the winner. It's very walkable from the Marais. Another good spot nearby is Terroir Parisien in the 5th. It's a nice walk over the seine from the Marais and you can book online.

                                            Here is a good list of restaurants by districts.
                                            http://parisbymouth.com/our-guide-to-...

                                        1. re: Denise E

                                          "One friend mentioned the restaurant located near the Branly Museum - Les Ombres - is this a restaurant you think worthwhile?"
                                          I'm not Parnassien, though I wish I were, but I think Les Ombres is not worth a visit except for a cocktail during summer with a beautiful sunset.

                                          1. re: Denise E

                                            Denise,
                                            I heartily second Macdog's suggestion of Chez Denise. Will be slightly above your budget but the notion of a Denise E noshing at Chez Denise adds extra value, no ? And the buzz/ ambiance and the menu options will certainly appeal to your 15-year old daughter as much as to you and your husband.

                                            And yes, Les Ombres at the Quai Branly can be a bummer. I often have to eat at places not of my choosing. And of my 4 obliged meals at Les Ombres, one was magical (food, weather, buzz), two were mediocre and made tolerable only by the view, and one (on a rainy day) was dire. For Eiffel Tower visits, a walk across the river to Aux Marches du Palais on the rue Manutention in the 16th is much more enjoyable... and if you combine that with a pre-lunch browse of the outdoor market on the avenue Président Wilson (Wed + Sat morning) even better. For a light lunch, snack or even light dinner, Carette on the place Trocadéro is the perfect fit for Eiffel Tower folks.

                                            "Walking all over central Paris" is not a very efficient way of experiencing Paris. While it's a very walkable city, lots and lots of time is wasted from getting from A to B on foot... our transport system is superb and in many ways offers their own little sightseeing excursions... I'm not a fan of being cocooned underground on the métro but, with a judicious use of buses, taxis (the cheapest in Europe and no tips required), and Vélib (free bikes for short-distance trips) you can see more of Paris and get around quicker and more enjoyably.

                                            With a 15-year old in tow, you probably need to limit your walks in the monumental Paris of the tourist zones to a minimum. Young eyes can only take so much of museums, palaces, historic churches, iconic landmarks before they begin to glaze over. And she's probably already too familiar with chain stores so no need to spend much time on the horrible Champs Elysées. Certainly it's an unavoidable part of the Paris experience but, in the end, a lazy afternoon on the terrace of Au Petit Suisse or le Rostand or Le Flore after a stroll in the Luxembourg or shopping frenzy in Saint Germain des Prés is what memories are made of.

                                            1. re: Parnassien

                                              Thank you! yes - I agree, the metro is efficient but you can see so much more by using the bus! Vélib sounds like fun too - I'll have to investigate. My 15 year old can probably handle the art museums longer than my husband! ha! so I'll have to give them some exercise and of course some good food. and I also agree - I've never liked the Champs Elysees!

                                              1. re: Denise E

                                                I agree with Chez Denise, heartily agree with no Champs.
                                                However, after a good meal, I can never get into the metro. I can't let any bad smell sabotage all the good vibes. I love to walk it off, even if it means a long walk back to my home in the 9th, from as far as the 5th's Dans Les Landes, or the 7th's restaurant whose name some venerable hound does not allow me to mention.

                                                1. re: Parigi

                                                  I always feel like a broken record, but whenever anyone posts about taking teens to Paris I also always recommend Chez Denise, as it was the hands down favorite of my 3 teens several years ago. We took them to many different kinds of restaurants too...
                                                  Maybe it was the Baba au Rhum? :) I sure needed to walk back after that meal. So glad to see it still recommended.

                                                  1. re: Parigi

                                                    "the 7th's restaurant whose name some venerable hound does not allow me to mention."

                                                    This from the Venerable One, no less? He, who lectured me long ago on a forum far away about the inappropriateness (ethics and futility) of withholding addresses in the internet age?

                                                    Talk about ringing people's chimes. You've plucked their heartstrings. ;)

                                                    1. re: mangeur

                                                      Allez, like everyone eles, I'm secretly in love with him, alors…

                                                      1. re: Parigi

                                                        Ooops. Did not mean to expose your affair.

                                                    2. re: Parigi

                                                      Parigi "the 7th's restaurant whose name some venerable hound does not allow me to mention."
                                                      Mangeur "He, who lectured me "
                                                      No secrets me.
                                                      Parigi is complaining that I got on her case for always mentioning a place in the 7th not that she was keeping it secret which was the subject of my lecture to Mangeur.

                                                      1. re: John Talbott

                                                        Just checking, John. It's all because of you that I am now the Queen of Kiss and Tell. :)

                                                        1. re: mangeur

                                                          As you know, my philosophy is that ever since Al Gore invented the Internet, there are no secret places; one may be a day late and a dollar short, but at least in Paris, everyone reads everyone else's blogs and a secret lasts a microsecond. And I can cite chapter & verse.
                                                          The thing I think is scummy is cut and pasting your stuff on their blogs and calling it their own.

                                                          1. re: John Talbott

                                                            So I have tried in vain to find the thread, amidst the sea of wonderful information on Paris on this site, in which the name of this restaurant in the 7th was actually written... I am thinking it could be very convenient for me on my trip where I will be staying a block off of rue Cler, and now that it has been spoken of in such hushed tones, it makes me all the more curious to peruse its website...

                                                            1. re: DolceStilNovo

                                                              "name of this restaurant in the 7th "
                                                              It is Chez L'Ami Jean.

                                                              1. re: DolceStilNovo

                                                                "I will be staying a block off of rue Cler"
                                                                Someone will have to explain to me how the Rue Cler has become "the" street to stay on or near.
                                                                In the meantime, a 49 percenter (that's the time he and his charming wife spend in Paris not Mitt Romney's evaluation of them) and Colette and i ate once more at the Bistrot Belhara, one block away.
                                                                It was again super (esp the asparagus & morilles and ris de veau), the price is right (a 34 E "menu") albeit with several supplements and there are no pesky fellow Yankees.

                                                                1. re: John Talbott

                                                                  I think Rick Steves talked up the area years ago and Americans listened. Not my cup of tea, prefer right bank.

                                                                  1. re: macdog

                                                                    Rick Steves has a way of making tourists feeling falsely like a native. Smart marketer. But so wrong about so many things.

                                                                  2. re: John Talbott

                                                                    John It's near that tower thingy, and has a cute market every day...plus lots of weekly rental apartments in the area (well lots compared to the other side if the 7eme and the 6eme).

                                                                    1. re: John Talbott

                                                                      This part of the 7th is prosperous, rather dull and monotone, near the Eiffel Tower, seems safe, and has lots of other Americans. Perfect for check-list tourists who come to Paris to view the sites rather than experience the lifestyle.

                                                                      And a big thumbs up for Bistro Belhara.

                                                                      1. re: Parnassien

                                                                        The market (actually not a market but a market street, it's important to grasp the difference) is also nothing to write home about. But the area is rather pleasant to stay in.

                                        2. It will not make any of the trend setting lists, but bistro ille de st louis [I hope I have the name right], right across the bridge from the back of notre dame, is a pleasant place for alsatian fare, great location, convenient to the Morais. Also see this thread, from awhile back:

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/783495

                                          1. Correction: reading the link I sent you, its brasserie Ille de St. Louis, not bistro, but its really not a brasserie in style, more bistro-ish. Read the link I sent you carefully; lots of very good recs in it ...!

                                            1. and one more: its more a traditional brasserie, and perhaps more touristy since the Nicholson/Diane Keaton movie "As Good As It Gets," ended with it, but we have a fine meal a few years back at Le Grande Colbert .... If your daughter hasn't been to Paris, pull up the movie and watch the restaurant scene to prepare her for Paris ....

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: RxDiesel

                                                "As Good As It Gets,""
                                                You mean "something's got to give".

                                              2. Denise, you have me looking back at my notes from Summer 2012! check out this thread; Le Geigne [sp.] in the Marais is one you want to catch. Good discussion and link to it buried in the thread

                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/681516

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: RxDiesel

                                                  Le Gaigne is no more. Closed in 2013. The Paris restaurant scene is not preserved in aspic and so I would use more recent threats... and lots of them for the OP to browse.

                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9172...
                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/961298
                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/963103
                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/931181

                                                  1. re: Parnassien

                                                    Thank you for the links - I've begun researching the restaurants and have already found some that I hope to visit. One of them is Saotico that you all recommended.

                                                    1. re: Denise E

                                                      Saotico - one of our favorite meals on our trip in December. Very friendly staff, local clientele that work in the area at lunch. Thank you John Talbott! We used his recommendations for many our restaurant selections. A very memorable trip!

                                                      1. re: CMichaelis

                                                        As Parnassien would say "Blush, blush".

                                                  2. re: RxDiesel

                                                    Thank you for all your suggestions - great to get a spot on the Ille de St. Louis! and I hope to find more time to read through the other threads to educate myself more. The biggest problem is running out of time - I should have started this process months ago!

                                                  3. And, we want to hear from you as to what choices you made and how well you think you made them and why. Pictures get extra points!
                                                    Enjoy your trip!

                                                    1. My fave is Le Florimond in the 7th..

                                                      You can never go wrong with John Talbott rec's.

                                                      1. Since you are staying near rue Cler , on our most recent trip, we enjoyed our first night's dinner a Le Casse Noix. Very friendly staff, warm and cozy kind of place. It is in the 15th, just on the other side of the Eiffel Tower from the 7th. We had a very enjoyable evening there. Think you would find good reviews for the restaurant.

                                                        1. I really enjoyed La Regalade Saint Honore. It's a wonderful traditional bistro in a traditional Parisian neighborhood and a bit off the beaten path (but easily accessible by metro). I remember the fixed price menu was around 35 euros for three large courses. If you don't mind avoiding wine you could probably stick to under 40 euros/head at many of the mid-range bistros.

                                                          If you're worrying about budget a great way to eat cheaply in Paris and still feel like you're having a great French experience is to go to a cheese shop, get several slices of cheese, pick up a good loaf of bread from a boulangerie, get some tomatoes and cucumbers, and make a picnic in a park (I always bring a knife with me for this purpose). We've done this a few times and it's always enjoyable and saves money for the more expensive evening meals. At farmer's markets there's always a stall or two selling whole rotisserie chicken very cheaply and they're quite tasty too and can complete your picnic.

                                                          Someone else already mentioned Cafe Breizh. It's a lovely Breton creperie (the crepes are made out of buckwheat flour, so they have a tangy flavor). They offer savory crepes with myriad fillings, usually involving spinach, cheese, bacon etc, and eggs, of course. Excellent quality and very reasonably priced and don't forget to order some alcoholic apple cider to drink. I must confess that on our last trip to France (which included a lengthy stay in Normandy and Brittany) we drank a lot more of the alcoholic apple ciders than wine, not necessarily because it was cheaper than wine in restaurants, but because they were wonderful.

                                                          1. One more to throw at you:
                                                            Le Servan in the 11th - 77 E for a couple for one of the most inventive meals of the year (7.5/10).
                                                            You will need a reservation even for lunch - today it was packed with journalists, bloggers and fellow restaurateurs who will get the word out soon.
                                                            http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: John Talbott

                                                              I'll top Le Servan with my meal at Yard in the 11th today - a 7.2 costing 62 E a couple for 3 courses and a bottle of wine plus 2 coffees. It's not posted on my blog because Typepad seems to be under attack this PM.

                                                            2. Or a Brazilian chef at OKA in Daniel Rose's old digs; interesting ingredients, interesting food for 66 E for two with wine and coffee.
                                                              http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

                                                              1. For neighborhood places, I've recently recommended Chez Imogene on Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud in the 11th and Cafe de Mars in the 7th.

                                                                Chez Imogene is a small restaurant with crepes/galettes and I've loved each of my choices on various visits. Reservations don't need to be made months in advance, but it's probably best to make dinner reservations a day or two ahead, or maybe that afternoon. Tables are taken quickly and people seemed to frequently walk by and get turned away because of reservations that were already made. Lunch might be better for walk ins - I don't know.

                                                                Cafe de Mars is mostly French cooking, though they usually have a burger on the menu, which is chalkboard and I was told changes frequently. The menu usually lists four or five choices in each category. We walked in once, and made reservations the next time. Good flavor and obviously quite fresh ingredients.

                                                                I'm sure (I have seen it mentioned in reviews) it gets some wandering walk-in traffic from the Constant restaurants, as it's on a side street not far from those restaurants. I think some of those don't take reservations. But it still seemed the French speakers appeared to be more common on our two visits, and by 9 it was full.

                                                                My preference of the two is Chez Imogene, but again, as a neighborhood place to have as an option while visiting in the 7th, Cafe de Mars was quite nice. (Also note that Cafe de Mars and Cafe du Marche on Rue Cler are different places. The latter didn't look appealing.)