The Crème de la Crème
If you’re only in town for a short while, take a look at this list of my top restaurants & bars!
- Au Vieux Comptoir (1st) 17 rue des Lavandieres, Sainte Opportune, Tel. 01 45 08 53 08. Tripadvisor rates it in the top 10 out of 6,000+ restaurants in Paris and I know why! Excellent food & wine and wide and reasonably-priced selection of both, extremely friendly owner, authentic French bistro ambience. Don’t miss the burrata with truffles (aux truffes) if it’s in season. The salmon tartare and filet of beef with truffle mashed potatoes are also not to be missed. Open 10h00-0h00 Tues-Sat. Reserve ahead.
- Verjus (1st) 47 rue Montpensier (wine bar)/52 rue de Richelieu, Tel. 01 42 97 54 40, email@example.com. Wine bar: Mon – Fri, 18h – 23h, Restaurant: Mon – Fri, 19h – 22h. Adorable wine bar with a stone-vaulted ceiling and tasty small plates for under €10. But if you’re looking for one splurge in Paris, the restaurant upstairs should be it. 5-course set menu at €60 but do not miss the spot on wine pairings for €40 additional. It’s worth it. Very friendly and inviting, run by Laura and Braden of Hidden Kitchen fame. An evening at Verjus is not just a dinner, it’s an experience.
- Kong (1st) 1, rue du Pont-Neuf (5th floor of the Kenzo store) Tel. 01 40 39 09 00. French/Asian fusion. Pricey (€15-20 for appetizers, €25-35 for mains) but delicious food and a great view looking out through the glass roof.
- Pamela Popo (4th) 15 Rue François Miron, Tel.: 01 42 74 14 65. Open Mon – Thurs 12h–23h, Fri 12h–23h30, Sat 13h–23h30, Sun 13h–23h. Small bar downstairs (open every day 18h – 2h) and restaurant upstairs. Mix of cozy, traditional and a touch of modern. Friendly service, delicious food. The mushroom ravioli with French toast was especially good. Possibly the best café crème I have had in Paris.
- ChantAirelle (5th) 17, rue Laplace, Tel 01 46 33 18 59. Cute little place with a great terrace (reserve the terrace in advance!) Traditional cuisine from the Auvergne, sumptuous desserts, large assortment of wines and liquers from the Auvergne.
- Chez Lena et Mimile (5th) 32 Rue Tournefort, Tél: 01 47 07 72 47. Open every day 12h to 14h30 & 19h to 23h. Huge terrasse, great setting in a quiet part of the Latin Quarter but near rue Mouffetard. Mix of Spanish, French and Italian cuisine. The inside is cozy for winter. The linguine with shellfish sauce was especially good. A big hit with all my friends.
- Au Tournebièvre (5th) 65, quai de la Tournelle, Tel. 01 44 07 27 34, firstname.lastname@example.org. Open Tuesday – Saturday for lunch & dinner, Sunday for lunch only. An inviting spot for a quiet, intimate meal or for groups. Plenty of delicious choices in the €31 fixed-price menu, even for vegetarians. Friendly service, views of Notre Dame from the small terrace.
- La Ferrandaise (6th) 8, Rue Vaugirard, Tel. 01 43 26 36 36, email@example.com. Traditional Auvergne cuisine, excellent presentation, €32 3-course menu. One of the best French restaurants I have been to in Paris.
- Café Pères et Filles (6th) 8, rue de Seine, Tel. 01 43 25 00 28. Traditional French cuisine that is not too heavy. It’s becoming one of my favorite summer spots for the large outdoor seating area.
- Bouillon Racine (6th) 3, rue Racine, Tel. 01 44 32 15 60. The colorful, early 20th century art nouveau décor makes it one of the most memorable brasseries I have been too. Traditional French food but also great salads, soups. Neat little bar. One of my favorites.
- Eggs & Co. (formerly Coco & Co.) (6th) on Bernard Palissy. Tiny little place in a very old building. They specialize in egg dishes—best omelets ever. Good for brunch/lunch but reserve ahead. It’s closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
- La Crèmerie (6th) 9 rue des Quatre Vents, Tel. 01 43 54 99 30. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10:30am-3pm and 5 pm-10 pm (get there by 8:30pm!). Tiny place, need to reserve. Very friendly owner. Great selection of wine, very cozy old wine bar atmosphere, mostly appetizers to share. My mouth is watering just thinking about the burrata (tied with Au Vieux Comptoir for the best burrata in Paris in my book) and chocolate cake (which I most recently found out is only available on Fridays and Saturdays).
- Fish La Boissonnerie (6th) 69, rue de Seine, Tel. 01 43 54 34 69. Cute little restaurant with good seafood, but some meat on the menu as well. Set price meals €31.50 for appetizer and main or main and dessert, €36.50 for app+main+dessert. Good wine list and great foccaccia bread. Reservations necessary.
- La Ferme Saint Simon (7th) 6 Rue de Saint Simon, Tel. 01 45 48 35 74. Superbly prepared food and great variety of seafood, meats, seasonal dishes, wine. A bit on the fancy side and pricey to order off the menu but there’s a 3-course €35 menu option.
- Le Cinq Mars (7th) 51, rue de Verneuil, Tel. 01 45 44 69 13. Between cozy and trendy and excellent food and wine list. See Quai-Quai (1st) above, its sister restaurant.
- Les Truffes Folies (7th) 37 Rue Malar, Tel. 01 44 18 05 41, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. A must for truffle lovers. Small, cozy place (reservations needed) where almost everything on the menu has truffles and you can purchase truffle products to bring home as well. The crème brulée with truffles sounds odd but it’s a must.
- Le Béguin (9th), 2 Rue du Cardinal Mercier, Tel. 01 42 81 58 20. Le Béguin is one of my new favorite restaurants in Paris. The burrata is amazing and only €8 for one person or €10.50 for a portion serving two people. All ingredients are farm-fresh. Excellent soups and salads, inviting 1950s diner-meets-bistro ecclectic decor, very friendly service. Open Mon – Fri 9:30am – 2:00am and Sat 10:00am – 2:00am, closed Sundays.
- L’Huitrier (17th) 16, rue Saussier Leroy, off Marché Poncelet, Tel.: 01 40 54 83 44. Great for oysters, fresh seafood in general. Friendly service. I’m a big fan of the shrimp grilled in garlic sauce and the tuna tartare. For some reason, they have the best ice cream in the world—from a small shop in the 17th called Mr. Ice. Not cheap but a good deal for seafood.
- Le Gourmet des Ternes (17th) 87, boulevard de Courcelles (Metro Ternes), Tel.: 01 42 27 43 04. The best steak I’ve had in Paris (order the “spécial ‘pièce de boeuf’”). The meat is pricey (€32 for the spécial) and you have to order sides separately (will easily come to €50 per person with wine) and the waiter might yell at you in that authentic Parisian sort of way, but it’s worth it if you’re in the mood for steak. The baba rhum for dessert is an experience. Go with a few people if you can so you can share a bunch of sides.
- Caïus (17th), 6, rue d’Armaillé. Tel. 01 42 27 19 20. Closed weekends (open Mon-Fri 12-2pm and 7:30 to 10pm). Excellent 3-course lunches and dinners for €42. I especially enjoyed their seafood selections.
- Restaurant l’Ile, (Issy Les Moulineaux), 170 Quai de Stalingrad, Tel. 01 41 09 99 99. In the heart of the Parc Ile St. Germain, it’s not the easiest place to get to without a car (your best bet is the RER C to Issy Val de Seine (about 20 min from St Michel) then a 15 min walk or taxi) but well worth the trip, especially on a nice day when you can enjoy a walk around the park before or after. Beautiful setting with huge glassed-in and outdoor terraces. Large menu that’s cheaper than you might expect for a place that’s rather fancy like this.
- A Priori Thé (2nd) 35 Galerie Vivienne (off rue des Petits-Champs), Tel. 01 42 97 48 75. Innovative and tasty brunch—à la carte for €14-€16 euros but it’s worth it to get the full €30 brunch on Sundays and don’t miss the real American cheesecake. When you reserve, ask for a seat in the (covered) courtyard.
- Sugarplum Cake Shop (5th), 68 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, Tel. 01 46 34 07 43. An inviting space for a cup of tea and good old American baked goods. The carrot cake is delicious. They often hold special events such as book signings. And if you are in the market for a personalized cake for a special event, this is the place to come.
- Ellis Island Café (7th), 5 rue Perronet, Tel: 01 40 49 08 08. The best American diner in Paris I have found yet, and they even know how to do eggs correctly. It’s been open for more than 20 years and still doing a booming business – be sure to reserve at least a couple of days in advance for weekend brunch.
- Cosi (6th) 54, rue de Seine, Tel: 01 46 33 35 36. Best sandwiches ever (on focaccia bread) and great salads too. I go here way too often, it’s embarrassing. The Cosi chain in the U.S. is supposedly a knock-off of this one. Good for take-out (picnics on the Pont des Arts!) but they do have tables upstairs. Open 7 days/week 12 noon until 11PM.
- La Cuisine de Bar/Poilâne Paris – Cherche-Midi bakery (6th) 8 rue du Cherche-Midi, Tel 01 45 48 42 59 Opening hours: From Monday to Saturday, 7:15 am to 8:15 pm—famous bakery, also a great shop next door for lunch, though it gets crowded. They have a great lunch special—just €12.50 for a tartine, small salad, glass of wine or mineral water and coffee & cookie.
- Eggs & Co. (formerly Coco & Co.) (6th) on Bernard Palissy (see above under “French”). Also has a little bagel stand next door.
- Bread & Roses (6th) 7 rue de Fleurus, Tel. 01 42 22 06 06. Bakery for take-out or to eat there. Pricey but excellent (especially the quiches and tartes feuilletés).
- Mariages Frères (6th), 13 Rue des Grands Augustins, Metro St-Michel, phone: 014-051-8250. A bit pricey, but an institution. Famous for the 100s of varieties of tea; the snob salad and tea-infused desserts are great. Other locations as well (Marais—4th, Faubourg Saint-Honoré—8th).
- Ladurée (6th), 21 Rue Bonaparte (for the famous French macaroons and other sweets). I prefer it for lunch. The mains are pricey but they have great salads and reasonably priced club sandwiches. Other locations as well (place Madeleine, Champs-Elysées—the Champs-Elysées location is my favorite).
- Musée Jacquemart-André (8th) 158 bd Haussmann, Tel. 01 45 62 11 59, Mon-Sun 11h45-17h30. The magnificent dining room with a beautiful terrace for outdoor dining would make this restaurant worthwhile, but the food is also surprisingly good. They offer just one hot meal and one quiche option each day but also about 10 different salads (including quinoa and pasta salads) that are innovative and flavorful. The desert cart is also impressive. Special brunch menu on weekends. They do not take reservations.
- Olio Pane Vino (1st) 44, rue Coquillière, Tel: 01 42 85 27 33, Mon–Sat, lunch; dinner on Thurs and Fri only. This cozy and friendly spot has a small selection but everything is fresh and prepared to perfection. Surprisingly good value for your money.
- L’Alimentari (4th) 6 rue des Ecouffes, 75004, Hours: Lunch and dinner, Monday-Saturday; closed Sunday, Tel. 01 42 77 24 59. Cozy atmosphere under centuries-old exposed beams. Fresh and authentic Italian food. The burrata and linguine alle vongole (clams) were especially delicious.
- Chez Lena et Mimile (5th)—see above under “French”.
- La Bocca della Verità (6th) 2, Rue du Sabot, Tel. 01 45 48 96 65. Very friendly, classy but still cozy décor, perfectly cooked pasta, new inventive truffle menu.
- Au club des Siciliens (6th) 18 rue du Dragon, Tel. 01 42 84 16 08. My other go-to place for Sundays and late dinners. Oreo tiramisu…need I say more?
- Santa Lucia (6th) 22 rue des Canettes, Tel.: +33 1 43 26 42 68. Not as quiet as some of the other Italian restaurants in the area but it may be slightly cheaper as well. The antipasti and pizzas are great and if they have the truffle pasta in a parmesan cheese bowl special, don’t pass it up. Open on Sundays.
- Il Sorrentino (7th) 4 rue de Monttessuy, Tel.: 01 45 55 12 50. Great penne all’arrabbiata (which I always get with a Nero d’Avola wine) and pizza with truffle oil. Famous for the pastas with cognac/grappa and foie gras prepared in a bowl of parmesan cheese (at least one person in your party must order this!) But save room for the tiramisu and zabaglione desserts.
- Sassotondo (11th) 40, rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, Tel. 01 43 55 57 00. Open for dinner only, closed Tuesday & Wednesday. Authentic and hearty but not heavy Tuscan fare in this cozy, modern bistro. Friendly service, all Italians. The €34 four-course fixed-price menu is an exceptional value.
- Anahuacalli (5th), 30 rue des Bernadins, Tel. 01 43 26 10 20 (just north of Blvd St Germain, Metro Maubert), open for dinner every day and lunch only on Sundays—one of my favorite Mexican restaurants anywhere, not just in Paris! (My parents both insist on a visit to Anahuacalli whenever they are in town from the U.S.) Authentic cuisine (I’m a fan of the tú y yo appetizer plate, the enchiladas verdes and the mole), great margaritas, very friendly service.
- Baan-Boran (1st) 43, rue de Montpensier, Tel. 01 40 15 90 45. Slightly more expensive than some of the other Thai options, it may be the best Thai restaurant in Paris. Rue Montpensier is also a great place to go to dinner, with wine bars such as Verjus and Willy’s Wine Bar nearby for after-dinner drinks.
- Silk & Spice (2nd) 6 rue Mandar, Tel.: 01 44 88 21 91. Open 7 days/week (closed for lunch Saturdays and Sundays). Sleek, upscale setting but without ridiculous prices (€29 for appetizer + main dish), excellent quality and tasty food and friendly service.
- Suan Thai (4th), 35 rue du Temple (formerly at 41 rue Ste Croix de la Bretonnerie between rue du Temple and rue des Archives), Tel. 01 42 77 10 20. Reasonable menu deals and my favorite Thai restaurant in Paris. I especially like their red curry and coconut flan. Open every day.
- Au Petit Thai (4th) 4 rue roi de Sicile, Tel. 01 42 72 75 75. In a traditional 17th century house, cozy but at the same time lively atmosphere. The food had more of a kick, more flavor than most Thai restaurants. Excellent wine and cocktail list, friendly neighborhood feel.
- Asianwok (11th) 63 rue Oberkampf, Tel. 01 43 57 63 24 / Mobile 06 29 27 10 48. Closed Sundays. You would never suspect that this little restaurant out in the 11th would have such incredible and authentic Asian food. Thai food is the specialty of the warm and friendly owner, Cédric Ung. You can’t go wrong if you ask him to pick your dishes for you. But my favorite item is not the food at all. It’s their secret recipe tea-infused champagne.
- Maison Marais (4th) 3 Rue Ferdinand Duval, Tel. 01 48 87 28 15. Cozy, excellent bibimbap in a warm stone bowl, reasonable prices.
- Restaurant Bibimbap (5th) 32 Boulevard de l’Hôpital, Tel. 01 43 31 27 42, email@example.com. The best Asian food I’ve had in Paris that doesn’t blow the budget. €23 – €28 will buy you a plentiful 2-course meal with fresh ingredients and efficient service. Open Sundays as well.
- Ferdi’s (1st ) 32, Rue Mont Thabor, Tel: 01 42 60 82 52. Best burgers in Paris (get the MacArthur). It’s actually a Spanish tapas place too with good mixed drinks, but the burgers are what it’s known for.
- Schwartz’s Deli (4th) 16 Rue des Ecouffes (and other locations), Tel. 01 48 87 31 29. Open Tuesday 12h–15h, 19h30-23h. American deli favorites done right: pastrami sandwiches, mac n’ cheese, burgers, cheesecake. They don’t take reservations.
- Big Fernand (9th) 55 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, Tel. 01 47 70 54 72, Open Mon – Sat 12h – 14h30 and 19h – 22h30. Probably the best burgers in Paris; possibly the best burgers anywhere. Pick one of their classics or build your own burger (beef, chicken or veal). Don’t be scared off by the line – it moves quickly.
- Liza (2nd), 14 rue de la Banque, Tel. 01 55 35 00 66. Fabulous décor, quiet restaurant, excellent authentic Lebanese food.
- Pitzman (4th) 8 Rue Pavée, Tel. 01 42 71 17 17. Slightly more traditional than L’As du Falafel. Excellent falafel at only €5.50 to go or €6.50 eating in. Various other kosher dishes as well.
- Le Bois Le Vent (16th) 59 rue de Boulainvilliers, Tel.: 01 45 27 62 23. This Lebanese restaurant delivers all over Paris, and will even cater for larger parties. They offer a good variety and the food is fresh and tasty.
- Kong (1st) 1, rue du Pont-Neuf (5th floor of the Kenzo store) Tel. 01 40 39 09 00. See above under “French”.
- Isami (4th) 4, quai d’Orléans (Ile Saint-Louis) Tel. 01 40 46 06 97. Expensive, but the quality and variety of the fish is noticeably better than at the other sushi restaurants. Reservations essential.
- Azabu (6th) 3 Rue André Mazet , Tel. 01 46 33 72 05. More than a meal, it’s an experience. I recommend going with just one other person and sitting at the bar so you can see the chefs preparing the meals. You must reserve in advance. It’s not cheap but the food is incredible and copious.
- Wrap N Roll Sushi (9th) 10 rue Budapest, Tel. 01 56 92 02 13. It was very tempting to keep this place a secret, but reluctantly I am sharing. For everyone who misses “California-style” sushi (spider rolls, dragon rolls, etc.) this is your place. And the prices are amazingly cheap for the high quality of the fish.
- Les jardins de Takako (17th) 9 Rue Brey. 01 53 81 77 40. My new favorite lunch spot. There are only 3 tables with 4 seats each. Fresh sushi dishes and cooked mains as well. Their signature miso eggplant side dish is addictive. Very friendly atmosphere.
- Guilo Guilo (18th) 8 Rue Garreau, Tel. 01 42 54 23 92. You must reserve far in advance for this authentic Japanese eating experience. Everyone sits at the counter here (so best to go with smaller groups), and the menu is fixed. It’s pricey but well worth it. You will not go home hungry. The restaurant staff has an amazing process of feeding everyone efficiently with minimal food prep space. And they certainly make you feel welcome.
- Le Bambou Royal (17th) 8 Rue Troyon, Tel.: 01 43 80 86 06. Neither the interior nor the location are anything special, but it’s the best Chinese food I’ve had in Paris. Don’t get the fixed price menu – order à la carte and don’t hesitate to ask for the dishes spicy (épicé) if that’s your style. I especially like the shrimp with black mushrooms and the sizzling shrimp or sizzling scallops. The wonton soup (soupe aux raviolis de crevettes) is also quite good.
- Pozzetto (4th) 39 Rue du Roi de Sicile, Tel.: 01 42 77 08 64. I don’t know how it took me so long to try Pozzetto. The selection is smaller than at some other gelato places in Paris, but it’s because the gelato is made fresh daily (and the shop is run by real Italians). Pozzetto also has a selection of coffees and a couple of tables for those who want to eat/sip sur place.
- Amorino has the widest selection of Italian gelato. In the 6th (rue de Buci or rue Guisarde by St. Sulpice)—the 5th (rue de la Huchette and rue Vavin), 3rd (rue Vieille du Temple), Ile-St-Louis (rue St. Louis) and a bunch of other locations as well….
- Grom (6th) 81 rue de Seine. Grom is pretty close to the real thing and has a few tables outside on rue de Seine for great people watching.
- Verjus (1st) 47 rue Montpensier, Tel. 01 42 97 54 40, firstname.lastname@example.org. Wine bar: Mon – Fri, 18h – 23h, Adorable wine bar downstairs from the restaurant with a stone-vaulted ceiling and tasty small plates for under €10. See above under “French”.
- Caveau Montpensier (1st) 15 Rue de Montpensier, Tel.: 01 42 60 12 89. Along the Palais Royal, this French wine bar meets Moroccan lounge is cozy and spacious at the same time. A friendly place to grab a drink both pre-dinner and post. Be sure to say hello to “Blue”, the resident Dalmatian.
- Ô Chateau (1st) 68, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Tel. 01 44 73 97 80, email@example.com. Formerly for wine tastings only, they recently opened a wine bar with wine by the bottle or by the small, medium or large glass, and a limited food menu. It’s a great way to try out new and nicer wines. Tasting rooms open for private parties or sign up for a group wine tasting.
- Le Café Marly (1st) in the Louvre (Tel. 01 49 26 06 60, technically 93 Rivoli but it’s in the courtyard of the Louvre by the big glass pyramid). Great view of Louvre from terrace. Really a restaurant but you can grab a drink on the terrace during non-peak hours. I recommend going to catch sunset and then staying to see the lights come on around the Louvre.
- Wine by One (1st) 9 rue des Capucines, Tel. 01 42 60 85 76. An absolutely brilliant concept whereby you purchase a debit card that allows you to serve yourself from among 100 different wines and champagnes, ranging from very inexpensive and quite expensive. See my post for more details.
- Le Gobelet d’Argent (1st) rue de la Petite Truanderie. In this quieter corner of Les Halles, this tiny laid-back bar is an ecclectic mix of near-haunted house and retro.
- Harry’s New York Bar (2nd) 5, Rue Daunou Tel. 01 42 61 71 14. Really two bars in one: upstairs it’s a traditional, tin-ceiling bar; downstairs a piano bar with red velvet seats. Definitely worth a visit.
- L’Ivress (2nd) 5 Rue Poissonnière, Tel. 01 42 21 90 26. Despite the name (“Drunkenness”), this wine bar is actually a relatively sophisticated (yet unpretentious) venue. The staff is quite friendly. Just beware that they close on the early side for a bar (generally around 11pm).
- Le Barav (3rd) 6 Rue Charles-François Dupuis, Tel. 01 48 04 57 59. My favorite new wine bar: run next door to buy a bottle of wine from their shop and for €5 more, they will open the bottle for you in the bar. They serve food as well (including excellent salads).
- Pamela Popo (4th) 15 Rue François Miron, Tel.: 01 42 74 14 65. See also above under “French”. Small bar downstairs (open every day 18h – 2h).
- Les Pipos (5th) at the corner of the Rue de la Montagne Sainte Geneviève and rue de L’Ecole Polytechnique, in front of the Place de l’Ecole Polytechnique. Great for wine & latin quarter ambience (though serves food as well).
- La Cremerie (6th) 9 rue des Quatre Vents, Tel. 01 43 54 99 30. Great place to grab a glass of wine not during meal hours but can you really go and not get the burrata?
- L’Hôtel (6th) 13 rue des Beaux-Arts. Tel.: 01 44 41 99 00. A quiet, relaxing atmosphere to grab a drink and sit and stay a while, beautiful décor, though pricey (€11 for a glass of wine). They have started holding concerts on certain Mondays (see website for more information).
- Ralph Lauren (6th) 173 Boulevard St Germain, Tel. 01 44 77 76 00. The setting for food or just drinks is unbeatable, both inside and out. Sit back and relax on the large terrace or try the wood-paneled bar inside. If you’re lucky, they will give you some homemade caramel popcorn with your drinks. The only caveat–you need to arrive during non-meal times if you are just looking for a tea or glass of wine.
- Apicius (8th), 20, Rue d’Artois, Tel. 01 43 80 19 66. A restaurant/tea room/bar in an old château (though modern décor inside). Great for a drink on the terrace on a summer evening. Closed weekends (open Mon-Fri Noon-3:30pm, 6:45pm-1am).
- Le Café Carmen (9th) 22 rue de Douai, Tel: 0145 26 50 00, www.cafecarmen.com. It’s a former private home turned brothel turned private home again, and now an historic monument; it’s where Georges Bizet wrote Carmen, hence the name. A bit expensive but they have innovative cocktails and the décor is well worth the visit. Best mid-week as it gets crowded on weekends.
- CopperBay (10th) 5 Rue Bouchardon, Open 6PM – 2AM Tuesday – Sunday. My favorite cocktail bar! See my full post here and 52 Martini’s post on the secret menu.