A classic French brasserie dish, steak-frites (steak and fries) are nevertheless easy to get wrong. If the cuts of meat aren't of high quality, you're likely to find yourself gnawing on a tough, gristly, flavorless steak. If the French fries aren't hand-cut and freshly prepared, they can be bland and mealy. To avoid disappointment, home in on these fantastic spots in the French capital for the simple but delicious dish. Without further ado, these are some of the best places in Paris for steak-frites.
Le Relais de Venise l'Entrecôte
Known around the world as a destination for superb cuts of meats and delicious sauces to match, Le Relais de Venise l'Entrecôte is widely considered the place to head when you're after steak-frites prepared exactly to your tastes.
The restaurant, founded in 1959 by French restaurateur Paul Gineste de Saurs, has a unique no-menu concept. You instead simply choose how you'd like your steak prepared: bleu (ultra-rare), saignant (rare) a point (medium), bien cuit (well-done) or carbonisé (very well-done).
(Note that in France it's considered "standard" to eat one's steak rare or medium-rare. It's also not recommended that you order them very well-done, or risk gnawing on a leathery slab bereft of its native flavors and textures.}
Each lunch or dinner option comes with a green salad starter course, followed by the house's famous steak-frites.
Alongside its reputation for tender, choice cuts of beef and melt-in-your-mouth, double-cooked fries, the restaurant is famous for its house sauce. When de Saurs opened Le Relais, serving steak-frites with herbed butter was conventional. He instead garnished his with a secret, dark-green sauce melding herbs, spices, and condiments.
Still hungry? You can ask for seconds—a rare opportunity in Paris. The set menu also includes a selection of cheeses and homemade desserts. We especially recommend the house profiteroles, topped with decadent chocolate sauce.
In addition to the original Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecôte table on Boulevard Pereire, there are several restaurants operating around the city under the name "Le Relais de l' Entrecôte" owned by the same group and offering much the same formula.
Bistrot Paul Bert
The Bistrot Paul Bert gained global attention after the beloved, late chef and food connoisseur Anthony Bourdain featured it on his travel show "No Reservations." But locals have known for years what Anthony divulged to the rest of us: this is simply one Paris' finest bistrots.
If the old-world dining room didn't offer enough charm on its own, owner Bertrand Auboyneau’s painstakingly assembled menu of French brasserie classics certainly does. The ingredients are invariably fresh and locally sourced. And despite the restaurant's solid renown among foodies and critics, prices have remained reasonable—a real boon for the budget traveler seeking an excellent French meal.
While most restaurants reserve the entrecôte (ribeye) section of beef for steaks, the Bistrot Paul Bert instead serves a remarkably tender filet mignon for theirs. It's served encrusted in black peppercorns and is typically garnished with a Cognac-Armagnac butter and cream sauce that foodies consistently rave about. The hand-cut fries, golden-brown on the outside and satisfyingly mealy inside, are also reputed to be excellent.
Reservations are essential at this popular table. Wine lovers will appreciate the extensive and thoughtful wine list, too.
Aux Tonneaux des Halles
Hailed by pastry chef and cookbook writer David Lebovitz as "one of the last of the great bistrots of Paris," Aux Tonneaux des Halles is yet another coveted destination for excellent meats in the capital. Although the restaurant changed hands in 2016, it remains cited as one of the better purveyors of juicy, high-quality steaks.
At the bright, cheerful restaurant situated in the Montorgueil market district, choose among daily menu items scrawled informally on chalkboards. The "Butcher Beef" onglet steak with pepper sauce and fries is a regular classic and is known to be especially tender, juicy, and flavorful. Meanwhile, if you're dining for two, the rib of beef is a satisfying and delicious choice.
The wine list features a number of natural French reds and whites, which can pair wonderfully with the meats.
This intimate restaurant nestled in the fashion-conscious Marais district specializes in high-quality meats paired with wines. A relative newcomer—the table opened in 2010—L'Aller Retour serves top-notch cuts of meat sourced from some of the city's finest butchers.
If you're a discerning carnivore who's interested in a bit of variety, this is an ideal place for lunch or dinner. Here, choose among several cuts of choice meats grilled on lava stone and served with fries, fresh seasonal vegetables, or salad. From Charolais beef tartare to Simmental and Black Angus or Bavarian Filet, you'll be spoiled for choice.
The friendly staff is on hand to help you pair your plate with a glass of white or red. The extensive wine list highlights some of the finest regions and vintages from around France, including organic and biodynamic options.
If you're staying in the Latin Quarter, this family-owned bistrot in close reach of the Jardin des Plantes is a great choice when you're in a carnivorous mood. While it's not one of the most budget-friendly restaurants to make our list, the quality and service here are known to be excellent, and the focus on seasonal, fresh ingredients and locally sourced products will please diners concerned with environmental impact.
At the tiny restaurant helmed by owner and chef William Bernet, you can expect a meticulously prepared faux-filet steak topped with house pepper sauce and accompanied by fresh-cut fries full of texture and flavor. Simplicity is the name of the game at this lauded Latin Quarter table—and it does the job well.
Au Boeuf Couronné
This humble traditional restaurant tucked far away from typical tourist stomping grounds in the northeastern Villette district has won accolades for its quality beef, sourced from around France. Now part of a three-star hotel of the same name, Au Boeuf Couronné (literally, "at the crowned beef") opened in the 1930s. It has since attracted discerning meat-lovers to the edge of the city for fine cuts of Charolais, Salers, or Aubrac beef, native to French regions such as Burgundy and Auvergne.
As one of the city's oldest chop houses, it perhaps should come as no surprise that Au Boeuf Couronné serves some excellent steak-frites. Choose between an astounding 12 cuts of beef, from tender filet to ribs, sirloin, and rump steak. While the restaurant traditionally serves its house potato souffle as a side—and it's known to be delicious—you can, of course, ask for a heaping plate of crunchy hand-cut "frites" instead.