As a young college student, I thought the most delightful part of eating in Paris was the abundance of fresh baguettes. Long after I returned from Paris, I would purchase baguettes from my local Italian grocery store, add some olives, and call it a meal. I even did that on our honeymoon in Paris. Sure, we tried 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 35 days in France over five separate trips in the course of a year and a half. Between two Paris food tours and an abundance of restaurant research, we started to enjoy our meals in France quite a bit more than I ever had previously. 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!
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Classic Paris Bistro Recommendations
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 supberb.
We definitely saw people without reservations being turned away so be sure to make a reservation for 7eme Vin. You can make reservations online.
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.
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!
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.
Classic French Steakhouse Recommendations
Sacree Fleur (18th arrondissement)
This is where to eat in Paris if you want a good steak. It is one of my favorite restaurants in Paris – hands down.
After you’ve climbed up (and down) the stairs to Sacre Coeur, head to Sacree Fleur for lunch or dinner. You will absolutely want reservations. We got the last table on a cold winter’s night, and 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 favorites in Paris!) They turned several people away after we sat down. 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 split the beef for two, which came with potatoes and three sauces. Dessert was homemade cake and completely delicious.
I was so disappointed that we didn’t make it back there on our December trip to Paris. For our July 2021 trip, I made reservations in advance. We enjoyed it so much that we made a second reservation within the week. 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.
The chocolate cake with black currant sorbet and the red wine were absolute highlights of our meals. Just thinking about it makes my stomach growl with anticipation of returning.
We go to Sacree Fleur every time we’re in Paris. You need to email for reservations.
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. It did not disappoint. Yes, the menu is entirely in French. (You’re in France.) However, the waiter was happy to explain everything to us (and every other table who had questions. There are a handful of meat and fish dishes available. I came here for the filet au poivre and I wasn’t disappointed. I highly recommend ordering your steak cooked saignant which is a delightful rare cook. Our steaks were served with fresh, crispy frites.
Beyond the perfect filet au poivre, the star of the menu is dessert. I loved the Paris brest, a round pastry filled with a delicious hazelnut cream. We also ordered the Tarte Tatin, 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.
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.
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.
Paris Italian Restaurant Recommendations
Gambino (1st arrondissement)
In 5 out of 7 trips to Paris, we’ve stayed at the Park Hyatt Paris. 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 Valentine’s Day 2019. 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.
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.
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 apertif or an easy dinner!
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.
Favorite Splurge Restaurant in Paris
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 our favorite splurge meal in Paris.
Bar Vendome (1st arrondissement)
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 the ultimate Paris splurge for dinner.
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 at Christmas…)
I love their filet au poivre and Tom likes to try their specials. (The chicken he had in July 2021 was incredible.) 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
I just had lunch, but am officially hungry again. And bring on the dessert <3