Where to Eat in Paris: 20 Restaurants to Try

As a young college student, I thought the most delightful part of eating in Paris was the abundance of fresh baguettes.  After I returned from Paris, I would purchase baguettes from my local Italian grocery store, add some olives, and call it a meal.  We even did that on our honeymoon in Paris.  Sure, we tried a few restaurants and cafes, but we struggled to figure out where to eat in Paris because there are just so many places to eat (and fresh baguettes are so good).  

Then, we spent more than 100 days in Paris in less than 3 years.  After several food tours in Paris and an abundance of restaurant research, we enjoy our meals in France so much more. While my Paris restaurant list isn’t quite a long as my Florence restaurant list, with every trip, I find a few more places that I love and I’m comfortable recommending to you! I feel like it’s a fair mix of some of the more famous restaurants in Paris and places that we’ve discovered organically, so no promises for hidden gems here.

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links for tours and products I love at no additional cost to you.  You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Classic Paris Bistro Recommendations

Chez Fernand Christine (6th arrondissement)

On our most recent trip to Paris (March 2024), we decided to try a new restaurant in the 6th arrondissement. Since we were staying on the left bank, it only seemed right to find a restaurant on the left bank of Paris.

Chez Fernand is known for its beef bourguignon, which is one of Tom’s favorite dishes. (I was most excited about its dessert menu.) It also offers a variety of traditional French entrees, ranging from the familiar (onion soup) to the more exotic (bone marrow). We ordered both and neither disappointed. (Tom really wanted to try the roasted Camembert and honey, but I’m not a Camembert person, yet).

We split an order of bœuf Bourguignon so that I would have room for dessert. The sauce was rich and flavorful, and I definitely enjoyed submerging my baguette in the remaining sauce. The beef was tender enough to cut with a fork and the vegetables were cooked to perfection.

I ordered a Paris Brest for dessert. Not only was it huge, but it was also tasty. It was simple: choux pastry and hazelnut cream. Just the way it should be. The desserts here are quite large, so you can definitely split them. If you aren’t a hazelnut person, the tarte tatin looked amazing!

Perhaps the biggest surprise at Chez Fernand was how extensive the wine list was. We ordered a 2020 Margeaux from Bordeaux. It did not disappoint. (We were introduced to Margeaux during our most recent wine tasting in Paris with Erwan.) The waitstaff was kind, friendly, and happy to make recommendations on wine.

You’ll need to make reservations in advance and confirm the day before. They accept online reservations and do require a credit card to secure the reservation.

Journey of Doing - where to eat in Saint Germain Paris
Journey of Doing - Chez Fernand Christine Paris
Journey of Doing - where to eat in the 6th arrondissement Paris

Les Antiquaires (7th arrondissement)

When I was taking my second week-long baking class at the Ritz Paris in summer 2023, we challenged ourselves to try some new restaurants in Paris. Les Antiquaries was first on that list. This classic French bistro is located about a block from the Musee d’Orsay on the Left Bank. I made reservations online for Sunday night, which is a notoriously difficult night for dining in Paris. We were given the option to eat inside or outside. We opted for an intimate outdoor table, and it was absolutely lovely.

The service at Les Antiquaires is incredible. Our waiter was kind, patient, and happy to make recommendations. We started with a casual aperitif before moving to a bottle of 2019 Saint Emilion with our dinner. The boeuf bourguignon d’Aubrac is the star of the show here. Everything was tasty, but this beef bourguignon was incredible. It was well cooked with a rich sauce and fresh vegetables. The croutons added a nice crunch to the dish.

When it came to the dessert, we asked our waiter what he recommended. He chose the profiterole for us. It did not disappoint either. The chocolate and cream were the perfect balance of sweetness. It was a nice complement to finishing off the wine.

Journey of Doing - where to eat in Paris near Musee d'Orsay
Journey of Doing - Les Antiquaires Paris review

7eme Vin / Le Septième Vin (7th arrondissement)

I’m writing this recommendation about an hour after returning from 7eme Vin in February 2022.  At the end of our meal, Tom proclaimed it his favorite restaurant in Paris.  This restaurant is incredible.  They have a couple of formule menus – entree + plat + dessert or  entree or dessert + plat and they have extensive wine offerings.

The onion soup is certainly the best I’ve had.  The cheese is seared and perfectly melted, giving way to a delicious broth that is perfect to warm up a cold winter evening.  It was so filling, but there was even more to enjoy after our entree.  Tom ordered the beef bourguignon.  This wine sauce on this is incredible.  It was almost as good as my favorite peposo.  I ordered the onglet de veau à l’échalote (veal with shallots).  Tom ate my potatoes (gratin dauphinois ) and LOVED them.  I have a feeling I’m going to be craving that veal!  

We ordered two deseerts: Compotée de fruits secs à l’Armagnac with vanilla ice cream and the moelleux au chocolat.  Both were incredible.

The other great thing about Le Septième Vin is that it has a great wine list.  We really enjoyed the Cote du Rhone wines on our most recent trip to Paris and our waiter provide a great recommendation.  I should have taken a picture of the bottle.  I don’t think you can go wrong with anything here.  The food and service were superb. (I’m pretty sure we ended up visiting the Cote du Rhone and Avignon because of their wine suggestion!) 

We definitely saw people without reservations being turned away so be sure to make a reservation for 7eme Vin Paris. You can make reservations online.          

Journey of Doing - 7eme Vin restaurant in Paris
I think this might be the best onion soup in Paris. Perfect for a cold winter evening!
Journey of Doing - Where to eat in Paris 7 arrondissement
Journey of Doing - Figuring out where to eat in Paris can be daunting due to the sheer number of cafes, restaurants, and choices. Here are 13 restaurants to try throughout the city!
Journey of Doing - Where to eat in Paris near the Eiffel Tower

Le Petit Chalet (5th arrondissement)

If you are looking for lunch or dinner near Notre Dame, you can’t get any better than Le Petit Chalet! It’s right across the Seine from Notre Dame (next to Shakespeare and Company), and it’s a far cry from the touristy restaurants that surround it. It doesn’t offer continuous service, so you probably will need a reservation, especially if you are hoping to reserve one of the tables with a view Notre Dame.

This cozy French bistro is tight. Tables are close together, and the owner will likely have to pull the table out so you can get up. Don’t let that dissuade you. The menu is written on the chalkboard, by hand, and updated daily. It does change quite a bit, so it’s hard to tell you what to get. We enjoyed the steak au poivre and the bœuf à la Bourguignonne, with a slight preference for the latter because of its beautiful flavors. We ended up being too full for dessert, but the profiteroles looked AMAZING.

We had a view of the open flame that they used to cook, and it provided great ambiance. We really enjoyed it. You will need to call for a reservation, as they do not have an online presence, and some basic French is helpful.

Journey of Doing - Le Petit Chalet at Christmas
Journey of Doing - Le Petit Chalet at Christmas
Journey of Doing - Le Petit Chatlet at Christmas

Bistrot Richelieu (1st arrondissement)

On the border between the 1st and the 2nd arrondissement, this classic Paris cafe is in the shadow of the Louvre.  This is one of my favorite places that we found on our Christmas trip.  The staff at Bistrot Richelieu is absolutely delightful.  Our waiter was happy to make recommendations for us on everything from drinks to the menu.  This is where we had our first French onion soup, our first traditional entrecôte, and Tom found a French beer that he really enjoyed.  He’s ready to go back and try the other French specialties, like the duck confit.

If you’re looking for a causal yet romantic cafe, Bistrot Richelieu is a great option in an area can be hard to find good restaurants!  (It is a great option for your first night in Paris during the winter, especially if you stay at the Hotel du Louvre!) You can call for reservations or request them on their website.

Journey of Doing - Bistrot Richelieu Paris

Josephine Chez Dumonet (6th arrondissement)

If you’re working where to eat in Paris that includes the Grand Mariner soufflé, you should head to Josephine Chez Dumonet.  This is a vintage Paris restaurant at its best.  The menu is classic French favorites – omelettes, duck confit, beef bourguignon, cote du bouef, and this unreal souffle that you need to order at the start of your meal.  

I loved the duck confit with its crispy skin, but the potatoes sautéed with garlic were absolutely delicious.  (There’s also a lovely green salad served with it).  The beef bourguignon is served with fresh pasta and Tom loved it.  We skipped wine in favor of the souffle, but they have an extensive wine list (both by the bottle and the glass).    

This is a tiny restaurant where you will see everyone from neighborhood regulars, business men and women from Montparnasse, and of course, tourists like me in search of this Grand Mariner souffle.  I found the service to be unassuming and polite.  You will need a reservation. I got mine through The Fork.  It feels like the type of restaurants where leisurely lunches are enjoyed.  There aren’t a lot of tables and you won’t want to miss it!      

Journey of Doing - Chez Dumonet Paris
Journey of Doing - Chez Dumonet Grand Marnier souffle
This Grand Marnier souffle is the perfect example of a dessert that you have to try in Paris.

Bistrot Victoires (1st arrondissement)

Bistrot Victoires is home to one of my favorite waiters in Paris.  On a very busy Friday night in February, this young man took the time to review our itinerary and give us tips to maximize our experience in Paris.  He was excited to weigh in and share more about how to skip the lines, what not to miss, and what his favorite Parisian experiences were.  The French get such a bad wrap, but we’ve really had the best luck with Parisians.

Beyond that experience, however, Bistrot Victoires is a classic French cafe.  With mirrors, vintage decor, and a classically French menu, it’s easy to imagine you are in Hemingway’s Paris.  Tom certainly enjoyed his duck confit and I enjoyed my steak frites.  The steak was cooked to perfection.  Don’t overcook your steak.  The French do an excellent job with it when left to their own devices.  Prices are extremely reasonable.  We were able to get a table around 9:00pm on a Friday night after catching a late tour of the Louvre.  It was still very busy, even though it was February in Paris.  This is convenient to both the Hotel du Louvre and the Park Hyatt Paris.

Journey of Doing - Bistrot des Victories Paris
Journey of Doing - where to eat duck confit in Paris

Classic French Steakhouse Recommendations

Sacree Fleur (18th arrondissement)

Journey of Doing - Sacree Fleur Paris

 This is where to eat in Paris if you want a good steak.  It is one of our favorite restaurants in Paris – hands down.  We don’t come to Paris without making a reservation at Sacree Fleur.  

After you’ve climbed up (and down) the stairs to Sacre Coeur, head to Sacree Fleur for lunch or dinner.  You absolutely need reservations.  On our first visit, we got the last table on a cold winter’s night. I am so grateful that we did.  (If you visit in the winter, don’t miss their French onion soup.  It’s easily my one of my favorite versions in Paris!) 

This is a perfectly cozy and delightfully romantic restaurant in Paris.  It’s for carnivores.  If you aren’t a carnivore, you won’t like it.  If you are a carnivore, you will love it.  In addition to beef, they offer French specialties, including snails, frog legs, and duck.  Tom was all set to order the duck until they brought out the beef.  We always split the beef for two, which comes with potatoes and three sauces.  Dessert was chocolate lave cake with black currant sorbet.  In the summer, I order apple sorbet with Calvados.  (Did Sacree Fleur influence our trip to Normandy?  Definitely.)   

When it comes to wine, I cannot stress enough how important it is to defer to the affable waitstaff at Sacree Fleur.  They will not steer you wrong with recommendations on anything from wine to dessert.

We go to Sacree Fleur every time we’re in Paris.  You need to email for reservations.

Journey of Doing - Where to Eat Steak in Paris
Journey of Doing - Eating in Paris can be daunting due to the sheer number of cafes, restaurants, and choices. Here are 8 restaurants in Paris to try that we have tried and loved!
Journey of Doing - Eating in Paris can be daunting due to the sheer number of cafes, restaurants, and choices. Here are 8 restaurants in Paris to try that we have tried and loved!
Journey of Doing - Eating in Paris can be daunting due to the sheer number of cafes, restaurants, and choices. Here are 8 restaurants in Paris to try that we have tried and loved!
Journey of Doing - Eating in Paris can be daunting due to the sheer number of cafes, restaurants, and choices. Here are 8 restaurants in Paris to try that we have tried and loved!
Journey of Doing - Eating in Paris can be daunting due to the sheer number of cafes, restaurants, and choices. Here are 8 restaurants in Paris to try that we have tried and loved!
When eating in Paris, don’t forget to leave room for dessert!
Journey of Doing - Sacree Fleur sorbet and calvados

La Forge (19th arrondissment)

You’re probably wondering how we ended up in the 19th arrondissment since we generally stay in the heart of Paris. (I know the restaurant was wondering that.) After so many great meals at Sacree Fleur, we decided to ask our favorite waiter, Kendall, where he would recommend that we eat in Paris. After a bit of consideration, he recommended La Forge, which he said was similar to Sacree Fleur in terms of menu and experience.

In early 2024, we took the 7 from Hotel du Louvre to the 19th arrondissment to try something new. This is a huge feat for us because we are regulars at many of the same restaurants in Paris. It’s so hard to branch out when we love so many places so much.

Our meal started with fresh baguette, housemade sausage, and cold butter. We ordered the shrimp with avocado and mango as our entree (appetizer). These were the biggest shrimp I’ve ever seen! They were dense, meaty, and delicious. We ordered the cote du bouef for one, as well as the entrecote. Tom declared his steak as one of the best he’s ever had. The cote du bouef stole the show and could have easily been for two. Steaks were served with a gorgonzola sauce, an au poivre (pepper sauce), and a shallot sauce (my favorite). The fries were fresh, crunch, and delicious.

We were so full that we skipped out on dessert in favor of a walk. The wine list was very fairly priced, and we enjoyed a Montagne Saint Emilion from Bordeaux that was highly rated, paired perfectly with the meat, and quite inexpensive. (I will never get over how fairly restaurants price wine in France and Italy.)

La Forge is a great option if you are dining with a group that wants a traditional French steakhouse experience but also needs additional options. They have fish, lamb, and duck on the menu, which isn’t something that Sacree Fleur offers. The menu is only offered in French, but they do have staff that speaks English… just don’t expect to hear much of it. We were the only English speakers in the restaurant that night, and it was absolutely lovely.

Journey of Doing - where to eat in the 19th arrondissment of Paris
Journey of Doing - La Forge Paris

Bistrot Paul Bert (11th arrondissment)

One of the hardest things about spending long weekends in Paris is that there are never enough meals.  In February 2022, we called three weeks in advance and secured a reservation for Friday night at Paul Bert. During summer 2023, we were told to call 10 days out. 

Paul Bert never disappoints. Yes, the menu is entirely in French. You’re in France. Americans, please stop being rude to the French about this. There’s an app on your phone to translate it if the waiter cannot. I’ve had the carpaccio as an entree several times, and the summer version is one of my favorites. It’s served with thinly sliced parmesan, fresh mushrooms, and olive oil. I started eating mushrooms at Paul Bert and never looked back.

There are a handful of meat and fish dishes available.  However, I come here for the filet au poivre and I am never disappointed.  I highly recommend ordering your steak cooked saignant which is a delightful rare cook.  Steaks are served with fresh, crispy frites. 

Beyond the perfect filet au poivre, the dessert menu is superb.  I love the Paris brest, a round pastry filled with a delicious hazelnut cream.  (It was created for a bike race and the shape is to emulate a bicycle wheel.) I love the tarte tatin in winter, which I first tried at the Winter Garden at the St. Regis Florence.  This version was completely different.  Delicious, but different.  If I had to choose one, the Paris brest is the way to go, if you haven’t had a Grand Marnier souffle yet.

We tried a couple of wines by the glass and settled on a lovely Cote du Rhone red for our dinner.  

I don’t get the bad reviews.  Paul Bert is delicious.  Make a reservation, bring a little French, and enjoy!   

You have to call Paul Bert for reservations. There is no other way to get them.

Journey of Doing - Where to eat steak in Paris - Bistro Paul Bert
Journey of Doing - best place to eat in Paris
Journey of Doing - Figuring out where to eat in Paris can be daunting due to the sheer number of cafes, restaurants, and choices. Here are 13 restaurants to try throughout the city!
Filet au poivre at Bistro Paul Bert in Paris
Journey of Doing - Tarte Tatin Paris
Journey of Doing - Paris Brest at Bistro Paul Bert

Robert et Louise (3rd arrondissement)

Robert et Louise is a traditional French steakhouse in the Marais.  This is one of the first restaurants we visited on our honeymoon in Paris, and I think it’s a great introduction to the French restaurant scene if you aren’t an experienced traveler.  They serve simple, delicious food, and they are especially good if you want to try various cuts of meat.  

The ambiance reminds me of some of the more rustic restaurants that we’ve visited outside of Paris, rather than the trendy Paris restaurant scene.  There’s an open kitchen and open fire, which is a real treat to experience.  The staff is patient and kind, but you’ll want to make reservations in advance.  It helps to have a bit of French ready to go when you call, otherwise you can get your hotel concierge to help with reservations.

Journey of Doing - Eating in Paris can be daunting due to the sheer number of cafes, restaurants, and choices. Here are 15 restaurants in Paris to try that we have tried and loved!
Duck confit is a French specialty that you’ll want to try a traditional Parisian bistro!

Where to Eat Souffle in Paris

Le Souffle Paris (1st arrondissement)

While we’ve found more than a few amazing dessert souffles throughout Paris, if you’re wanting to try savory and sweet souffles in Paris, look no further than Le Souffle.  This restaurant is tucked a block away from the Louvre and the Tuileries gardens.  You’ll want to make a reservation because it fills up.  I was able to email through the website to secure a reservation without any issue.

We ordered a formule and supplemented our dinner by ordering from the menu.  Our formule included a starter + main course + and dessert.  We ordered a second plat (main course) and dessert.  The menu is classic French cuisine.  We started with escargot and cheese and herb souffle.  I ordered the duck breast as my main course and Tom ordered a cheese souffle.  (He LOVED it.)  We ordered a classic chocolate souffle and a Grand Marnier souffle for dessert. On subsequent visits, I have ordered the filet au poivre and the red fruit and white chocolate souffle. It was UNREAL.  

Personally, the dessert souffles are my favorite.  I’d go back to try the hazelnut souffle for sure.  I am also intrigued by the lemon souffle.

You can request a reservation at Le Souffle on their website.    

Journey of Doing - Where to Eat Souffle in Paris - Le Souffle 1 arrondissement
A story of two cheese souffles: cheese and herb (left) and cheese souffle as a main course (right)
Journey of Doing - Grand Marnier Souffle Paris
Journey of Doing - Best chocolate souffle in Paris

Le Recamier (7th arrondissement)

My sister recommended Le Recamier specifically for their souffles. Located in the 7th arrondissement, it was the perfect restaurant for dinner after our favorite Paris wine tasting. You can make reservations on their website. We visited in the summer and opted for a table of the terrace. It was quite warm, as we were in Paris during the heat wave, but the ambiance was quite lovely. Everything is plated beautifully. There is an element of French style to Le Recamier that we were missing at other restaurants.

We enjoyed a leisurely aperitif before moving on to the menu. As far as the menu goes, it is similar to Le Souffle with a few extra French specialties. The Burgundy snail and herb souffle ended up being an unexpected delight for Tom. Some of their souffles change with the season, but we’re rather predictable. We opted for the Grand Marnier souffle, and I ordered orange sorbet to try and cool down a bit before walking home.

Recamier reminds me of a different time in Paris. The diners are older. Many seem to be American expats who speak perfect French; professors, diplomats, and people with a million stories to share. It’s easy to see why my sister loves it.

Journey of Doing - Best souffle in Paris
Journey of Doing - where to eat Grand Marnier souffle in Paris
Journey of Doing - Le Recamier Paris review

Paris Italian Restaurant Recommendations

Gambino (1st arrondissement)

We’ve stayed at the Park Hyatt Paris a lot.  Gambino has been a go-to restaurant to beat jet lag on the first night.  It’s a short walk from our hotel, and since our trips tend to be in the winter, it’s the perfect meal for warming up!  Beyond that, the service incredibly friendly, and the food is absolutely delicious.  

Gambino does complex flavors really, really well.  Our first trip to Gambino was on a trip to Paris for Valentine’s Day.  I ordered the raviolini with prosciutto, asparagus, and a white truffle cream sauce.  Tom ordered the lasagna.  Both were tasty, and it was the perfect way to warm up on a cold February evening!  Our second trip to Gambino was in December (right before Christmas), and I ordered the pizza Genovese.  This pizza included pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and buffalo mozzarella.  Tom still talks about how good this pizza was.

Journey of Doing- Gambino Paris
Journey of Doing - Gambino Paris

Racina (5th arrondissement)

This is another one of my favorite restaurants in Paris.

I discovered this Sicilian restaurant on our Christmas trip to Paris.  It was pouring down rain and I was desperate for a warm meal.  Located deep in the Latin Quarter, Racina fit the bill perfectly.  I loved it so much that we went back in February 2020 on our one night in Paris.  This is a family-run restaurant with an absolutely delightful staff.  On our first visit, we asked for recommendations from our waiter.  He was happy to provide them.  When the cook, who we assume was our waiter’s brother, brought our food, he insisted that we not add parmesan to his food.  This resulted in quite the  discussion between the brothers.  Our waiter came back and said we could add parmesan if we wanted to.

I recommend any of the Sicilian pastas.  The tortelli rosso pesto is my favorite, but there is a spaghetti that is absolutely delicious.  When Tom ordered the arribiata in February, they asked if he could handle the spice.  (He could and we did.  It was delicious.)  I also love the black olive bruschetta. Both the homemade tiramisu and chocolate cake are delicious.  House wine is cheap, plentiful and very sessionable.

We returned in the summer and fall of 2021, and it was just as amazing as we remembered – if not more so!  In the summer, we sat outside and enjoyed the longer days and the energetic ambiance of the Latin Quartier on our first night in Paris.  In the fall, we had a delightfully cozy evening that started with wine and ended with pistachio tiramisu.    

Journey of Doing - Racina Paris

Toscanino (5th arrondissement)

On a Sunday night in Paris during the summer, we found ourselves without dinner reservations and all of our favorite places were closed.  (That’s a real thing.  Make sure you check that while trip planning.)  We were wandering the Latin Quarter in search of food when we saw what appeared to be a walk-up panini window.  I thought Toscanino would be akin to our favorite sandwich shops in Florence.  It ended up being different yet also completely delicious.  

While you can certainly order a panini, we ended up ordering two charcuterie boards and a bottle (or two) of wine and grabbing a table outside.  The ambiance was lively, the meat and cheese was fresh and delicious, and the price can’t be beat.  It was one of my favorite new meals in Paris during our summer trip.

Prices are incredibly reasonable.  It’s perfect for an aperitif or an easy dinner!

Journey of Doing - Toscanino Paris - Figuring out where to eat in Paris can be daunting due to the sheer number of cafes, restaurants, and choices. Here are 11 restaurants to try throughout the city!

East Mamma (11th arrondissement)

After reading about East Mamma in my favorite Paris guide book and on Mackenzie’s blog, I knew it had to be on my list.  We made the trek in December from the Park Hyatt, through the Marais, and ended at Bastille – just in time for dinner.  (We were in Paris during the transportation strike.)  This is probably the most trendy and atmospheric restaurant of the Italian restaurants I have recommended.  It is a small restaurant that doesn’t take reservations, so you’ll want to be there when they open.  There was a line starting to form when we arrived.

I kicked off my meal with a limoncello spritz (worth it) and Tom ordered a beer.  Tom ordered the pizza, I ordered their famous truffle pasta. (Pizza crust dipped in truffle sauce?  DELICIOUS.)  We skipped on appetizers for dessert and we should have ordered only one dessert – not two.  The desserts are HUGE.  I’ve never met a profiterole as big as these were.  The nocciola pizza was absolutely delicious, but it was very, very rich.  It’s a good thing that the 11th arrondissement is so far from the first because we definitely needed to walk that meal off; I don’t know that I’ve ever been so full in my life!

We went back in July 2021, and the truffle pasta was just as tasty as I remembered.  I didn’t leave room for dessert, but I did enjoy the zig-zagging through Paris on the walk back to the Place du Vendome.

Journey of Doing - East Mamma Paris
Leave room for the desserts at East Mamma. They are huge and delicious.

Best Restaurants in Paris for a Splurge

I think dessert has surprised me the most about eating in Paris.  I’m not used to ordering dessert with my meal.  I usually need the digestive break to walk off my meal.  And, while I certainly enjoy checking out all the perfect French pastries, most bakeries aren’t open late in the evening.  You have to really plan for dessert, which isn’t something I’m that good at, honestly.  Even finding ice cream can be challenging.  (Your best bet is to head over to the Ile St. Louis and find some Berthillion before 8:00pm!)

Over Christmas, however, I was reading a magazine at Le Spa.  The article was discussing the most artistic takes on the traditional bûche de Noël (yule log) Christmas dessert.  One description, in particular, stood out to me and that’s how we found ourselves at the Bar Vendome at the Ritz Paris.  It was such an incredible experience that it’s become one of our favorite places for dessert and a nightcap.

Journey of Doing - Bar Vendome Paris

Bar Vendome (1st arrondissement)

However, if you want a truly memorable dining experience in Paris, get a reservation at Bar Vendome for dinner.  In the days leading up to Christmas, we thought we might be able to walk in without a reservation.  We couldn’t.  They did, however, offer us a reservation for later in the evening.  Now, we always try to get our Bar Vendome reservations in advance.  With waiters in tuxes, women in smart dresses, and live piano music, this is one of the best restaurants in Paris to splurge on a nice meal.

We always have a table in the dining room with a glass roof.  It never gets old for me.  I love looking at the warm lights above us.  It is hard to imagine a more romantic place for dinner in Paris.  (It also convinced me that we need to stay at the Ritz one day.)   The service is flawless and kind.  Every single person we encounter is determined to ensure that our visit is perfect.  When I didn’t see the dessert I was looking for on the menu, the waiter escorted me to the case to explain each dessert.  These desserts are works of art!  Everything is made fresh; we saw them consistently bringing in fresh pastries during our visit – including that buche de Noel.

And, they didn’t bat an eye when we ordered a second bûche de Noël.  (When in Paris for Christmas…)

I love their filet au poivre and Tom likes to try their specials.  (The chicken is incredible, too.)  In addition to the incredible buche de Noel, we’ve tried the mille-feuille with hazelnuts and caramel, the madeleines, Francois Perret’s marble cake, the mille-feuille with salted caramel and candied pecans, and a blackberry tart.  I especially love the mille-feuille.     

The other thing that I love about the Bar Vendome is the cocktail menu.  It’s creative, fresh, and seasonal.  In November, I ordered the Art & Co and The Parisen. The summer specialties were completely different.  They are beautifully presented and delicious.  

Journey of Doing - buche du Noel at Ritz Paris Bar Vendome
Journey of Doing - Figuring out where to eat in Paris can be daunting due to the sheer number of cafes, restaurants, and choices. Here are 11 restaurants to try throughout the city!
Journey of Doing - Bar Vendome cocktails
Journey of Doing - dinner at Bar Vendome
Journey of Doing - Ritz Paris desserts
Journey of Doing - Fall cocktails at the Ritz Paris

Ritz Paris Le Comptoir

If Bar Vendome isn’t in your travel budget, the Ritz opened a pastry cafe behind the hotel, the Ritz Le Comptoir.  It gets REALLY busy on the weekends, but it’s worth picking up a couple of pastries to try.  We bought a buche du Noel for Christmas in our room in 2021.  I have no regrets.  I love their big cookies with hazelnut and chocolate, and the pain et chocolat is a modern take on classic French pastry.      

If you’re really ambitious at home, Francois Perret published a Ritz pastry cookbook and it’s gorgeous.  Be warned: It definitely will convince you to go to Le Comptoir or Bar Vendome.  Taking a pastry class in Paris at the Ritz Escoffier should b on your list, too.         

Journey of Doing - Ritz Paris Le Comptoir buche du Noel

Le George at the Four Seasons Paris (8th arrondissement)

One of Tom’s favorite restaurants in Paris right now (February 2024) is Le George at the Four Seasons. This was our last meal after spending 3 weeks in France, and it lived up to all our expectations. We loved it so much that we went back twice over Christmas at the end of 2023 and again in February 2024.

How did we find ourselves at a Michelin starred restaurant in Paris? It probably started after my incredible birthday dinner at Il Palagio at the Four Seasons Florence. If you are looking for a restaurant to celebrate a special occasion in Paris, Le George is a lovely option.

The service at Le George was next level. I was definitely nervous that it might feel stuffy, especially compared to the restaurants where we are so comfortable in Paris. The staff could not have been more kind or helpful. Tom enjoyed it so much that he was ready to change (or add) Paris to our 10th anniversary trip, just so that we could have another meal at Le George. That’s high praise.

The meal started with an amuse bouche of tiny shrimp and parmesan crackers. For our entree, we ordered the carpaccio with summer truffle. It was absolute perfection. The truffle was not overpowering and it was complemented by fresh olive focaccia. Tom loved the focaccia so much that he ordered another one. Like the Bar Vendome staff, they didn’t blink. I loved the olive oil and thought it had a beautiful flavor.

We ordered two pastas for our first course: the ricotta tortellini with fresh mint and lemon and the braised veal agnolotti. The tortellini were the perfect summer pasta. The agnolotti reminded me of our amazing dinner at Villa Cordevigo last winter. We split the beef tagliata for our second course. It, of course, was cooked to perfection. (Our waiter definitely approved of my saignant request.)

For dessert, I ordered an oversized raspberry tarte that was served with fresh cream, ice cream, and a shot of raspberry liqueur. They also brought us a second dessert for being so kind. That made me feel some kind of way, simply because I had witnessed a lot American being quite rude at restaurants over the previous week. I don’t think I could have eaten another bite, but it was incredible.

We ordered a bottle of 2020 Nebbiolo from Piedmont with assistance from the sommelier. (If you love wine, you should spend a few nights in Piedmont! We loved staying at the Palas Cerequio wine resort!) It paired so perfectly with our entree that we impulsively ordered a second bottle of 2015 Brunello di Montalcino to have with our steak. Both of the wines were exceptional and paired perfectly with what we ordered. We bought several bottles of the 2015 Buon Tempo Brunello when we were in Montalcino in November 2023.

You can make reservations online. If you want to sit on the terrace, you’ll want to request that in advance.

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Picnic Supplies in Paris

Le Melodie des Fromages (15th arrondissement)

Located not too far behind the Eiffel Tower, Le Melodie des Fromages is a cheese shop with incredibly fresh French cheeses at very fair prices.  There is no comparison between the grocery store cheese and the cheese you can purchase from a local fromagerie.  Two of my favorites from Le Melodie des Fromages are the 18-month Comte (a great beginner French cheese) which is a harder cheese with a nutty flavor and the Reblochon, which is a softer cheese from the Alpine region of France. 

Both of these cheeses pair very well with wine and a baguette for a simple picnic option.  You will need a little bit of French to order here, as they speak limited English.  It’s completely worth it though.  The cheeses are truly exceptional.    

Davoli (7th arrondissement)

On both of our 2021 trips to Paris, we headed over to Rue Cler for a bit of sightseeing.  While I found it to be lacking in some authentic character, we did pick up some very tasty meats and cheeses from Davoli.  Davoli is part Italian deli, part Italian grocery store, and part Italian takeout.  You can get prepared foods like arancini and lasagna, but if you’re staying in apartment, they have fresh pasta and sauces that look very tasty!    

The staff is incredibly helpful and friendly.  They are happy to make recommendations on things that would pair well together.  We also found that they were happy to slice some of the products that we bought which made picnicking so much easier.  All of the salumi and prosciutto we purchased were fresh and delicious.  I also enjoyed my pecorino and parmesan, too.  I love their truffle salumi and their thinly sliced parmesan.  

Rue Cler is a short walk from the Champs de Mars, so you could easily pick up your Davoli and head over to the Eiffel Tower for a picnic with a view.           

Journey of Doing - Davoli Paris

Tips for Eating in Paris

Embrace the sauce

I listened to a podcast that explained that one of the best things about French cuisine is the sauces that complement the food.  I’m becoming more and more convinced that the French do sauces (all sauces) like no one else.  While Italian cuisine tends to be focused on simple flavors, the French really shine with complex flavors.  Regardless of cuisine or dish, I can always count on the French to make a delicious sauce.  Don’t shy away from them.  

One of my favorite dishes is steak au poivre, but I also love trying a chef’s recommendation for a sauce, too.  Most recently, that led me to a delicious shallot sauce and Tom ended up with a delicious blue cheese sauce.

Try all the Breads, Pastries and Desserts

Real talk:  I did not like croissants until I went to Paris.  Nor did I like macarons.  In the United States, I found croissants too greasy and macarons too dry.  Turns out, you need to try the real thing when you’re in France.  Calories be damned.  You can walk enough in Paris to make it worth your while.  My favorite breakfast treat is an almond croissant.  That said, when the bakery was out of almond croissants, we asked for their recommendation.  I ended up trying all sorts of delicious French pastries through our food and wine tours, and I enjoyed them all.  

I still love the almond croissant, but I’m not afraid to order something new.  Ask for recommendations!

Sit Outside

We’ve spent a lot of time in Paris during the winter, but one of the best things about Paris is the people watching.  I love Parisian cafe culture.  When we’ve been in Paris in April or in the summer, it’s been the perfect time to grab a table outside and watch the world go by, regardless of the time of day.  If that’s not your speed, grab some picnic items and head down to the “beach” on the Seine.  These makeshift beaches typically pop up in July and August and close in early September.  It’s probably the most epic Paris people watching location.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure to enjoy it.  Eating in Paris has become one of my favorite things to figure out.  No matter how many places I love and want to go back to, there are so many more flavors to explore.  I hope to create a Paris restaurant list that rivals my Florence list. I try to keep this up to date after every single one of our trips to Paris, just so that you can find more Paris restaurant ideas.

Drop your favorites below!

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