Where to Eat Out in Paris: Complete Food and Dining Guide

Restaurants, Shopping, Street Food, and More

Few cities can claim greater stature than Paris in the food and dining department. It may not be the place where the greatest culinary risks are taken these days, and some even accuse the gastronomic culture in Paris of being stodgy at best (and overrated at the worst). Nonetheless, gastronomes around the world continue to look to Paris as a model and inspiration, and the gourmet traditions established in this country of haute cuisine continue to be cherished, from how to achieve a perfect, golden baguette to pairing dishes with wines. Even vegetarian restaurants in Paris aren't half-bad these days. Read on.
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    Baked Apple Dessert L'ATELIER DE JOËL ROBUCHON. Paris, France. 11.26.10.
    ••• sackerman519/Flickr/CC By 2.0

    Food connoisseurs should always reserve time for a meal at one of Paris' top gourmet restaurants, world-renowned gastronomic establishments that have earned up to three Michelin stars for exceptional cuisine and service. Star chefs such as Alain Ducasse and Guy Savoy guarantee a gastronomic experience palates will savor for some time, serving up delicacies such as foie gras ravioli or wild Breton lobster. Learn more about which Paris restaurants have been awarded creme de la creme status, and find out how to make space in your budget for these temples of taste.

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    Chez Gladines is a Basque-style French restaurant in Paris.
    ••• Chez Gladines is a Basque-style French restaurant offering very solid cuisine for reasonable prices. Courtney Traub/2007
    Paris has more restaurants per square foot than you can muster. When you're on a budget and can't afford to fork out a fortune for a meal in a high gastronomic establishment, it can be a challenge to sift through Paris' many mediocre kitchens and find a spot where quality and budget are compatible.
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    Le Relais Entrecote in Paris is a favorite restaurant for steak.
    ••• Le Relais Entrecote in Paris is a favorite restaurant for steak. 2007 Adactio/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License

    Browse this collection of Paris restaurant reviews to find a great place to eat out in Paris, regardless of your budget or desired cuisine.

    Other Great Resources:

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    The Parisian culinary scene is a dream come true for committed foodies-- unless you're vegetarian. With meat the star attraction of France's world-revered cuisine, don't be surprised if your assertion of vegetarianism is met with confusion. Luckily, though, dig a little deeper and you'll discover a limited yet flourishing vegetarian (and dare I say it, vegan) restaurant scene. So don't fret if the sight of yet another beef bourguignon sends you packing-- these vegetarian and vegan Paris restaurants serve up good to very good menu items.
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    The Marais district in Paris is famous for its delicious falafels.
    ••• The Marais district in Paris is famous for its delicious falafels. 2009 Jeff Keen/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.

    Street food in Paris can be absolutely wonderful-- take the case of the Marais district's famed falafels (pictured)-- or positively horrid and even hygienically questionable (mayonnaise-laced tuna sandwiches left to sit in unrefrigerated display windows comes to mind). Read more on where to find great, cheap, and even healthy fast food in Paris, and avoid the bad stuff.

    Related: Best Crepes and Creperies in Paris

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    Traditional Paris brasseries can offer a setting of quiet romance for a meal.
    ••• Traditional Paris brasseries can offer a setting of quiet romance for a meal. Georges Alexandre/Gallopin
    Romantic restaurants in Paris are easy enough to come by, but finding a combination of ambiance and quality may be a challenge. Assuming that you reserve ahead and avoid overly noisy or crowded establishments, dinner for two can be a highly romantic affair in Paris.
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    ••• Pasta with mlld cheese is a favorite dish for kids in Paris restaurants. Accidental Hedonist/Creative Commons
    You might assume that eating out in restaurants with kids will be a nightmarish experience in Paris! but this needn't be the case. Consult this handy list of tips on how to keep young and picky eaters happy during your next trip.
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    ••• Image courtesy of Cafe de la Paix.

    There is nothing more French, or more specifically-- Parisian-- than taking a few moments out of your day to sit with an espresso in one of the city's thousands of cafes. Indoors on a cozy banquette or out on a sunny terrace, drinking and people-watching is one of the most cherished past-times in France. While there are charming and unique spots all over Paris, this list includes some of the classics, including renowned traditional brasseries such as La Closerie des Lilas, where they take the food just as seriously as the coffee and drinks.

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    A platter of oysters is a traditional Christmas starter at many restaurants in Paris.
    ••• A platter of oysters is a traditional Christmas starter at many restaurants in Paris. ©2009 Ayustety. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.
    While a majority of Paris restaurants shut down for Christmas eve and day, several remain open, offering Christmas lunch or dinner service. A word of caution, though: you should always try to book ahead at least a month in advance, as spots fill up quickly. I've categorized the restaurants by price and prestige. The majority of these restaurants offer traditional French holiday fare such as oysters and shellfish, foie gras, stuffed goose or pheasant, but I've also listed a few Paris restaurants that remain open for Christmas and offer other specialties.
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    ••• The main dining area at Brasserie Gallopin. Georges Alexandre/Gallopin

    Most waitstaff at Paris restaurants know basic English, so ordering or paying is rarely a problem if your French is nonexistent. Still, to adhere to the "when in Rome" spirit, why not learn a few useful words and phrases commonly used in restaurants? You'll have a more interesting experience if you can use some of this basic Paris restaurant vocabulary, and may find the staff to be even warmer when they see you're making an effort to wield some French.

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    For wine lovers, Paris offers no shortage of wine bars where you can both buy or taste wine and pair great vintages with delicious cheese, charcuterie or full meals. Learn more about where to develop your palate here.

    Read related: Paris for Wine Lovers (and Amateurs)

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    ••• Wine bar in Paris, France. Owen Franken/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty
    Whether you're craving a good Bento box, bowl of steaming udon or ramen noodles, or a good Japanese omelet followed by green-tea ice cream, we've got the lowdown on the best Japanese eateries and groceries in Paris, all concentrated in the "Little Tokyo" around rue St Anne.
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    Paris may not be suspected as one of the world's best places to score great falafel, but there are several restaurants here to prove that all wrong. Whether you prefer the Israeli variety, featuring a thick pita filled with falafel balls, crunchy veggies and warm slices of fried eggplant, or the Lebanese or Syrian version with lavash bread and tabbouleh, we've got the lowdown on where to head for the best of these prized Middle Eastern, naturally vegetarian sandwiches.
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    Bulk spices at the Galeries Lafayette Gourmet food store in Paris.
    ••• Bulk spices at the Galeries Lafayette Gourmet food store in Paris. 2009 Drinksnapple/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.
    If you need to hunt down a can of truffles or foie gras to bring back with you on the plane, stake out high-quality produce, cheeses or charcuterie, or find unusual or "exotic" items that are clearly not available at typical supermarkets in the city of light, head to one of these top-rate gourmet Paris food shops.
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    Paris boasts dozens of temporary outdoor food markets every week.
    ••• Paris boasts dozens of temporary outdoor food markets every week. ©2009 Kevin Gessner. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.
    Many Parisians (especially among the older generations) abstain from buying fresh produce, cheese, meat and fish from their corner supermarket, and for good reason: traditional Paris food markets count in the dozens, with several open one or more days a week in every neighborhood. Market products are often fresher, more flavorful, and less expensive than supermarket counterparts. It can also be a lot more environmentally friendly since the fresh fruit and produce in particular tends to come from local farms. Find complete directories to temporary farmers' markets in each neighborhood of Paris by reading further.
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    A fromagerie on Rue Daguerre in Paris, a permanent market street.
    ••• A fromagerie on Rue Daguerre in Paris, a permanent market street. ©2009 Rhian VK. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.

    In addition to dozens of temporary food markets that spring up around the city on select days of the week, Paris counts a number of permanent market streets offering gaggles of fresh, high-quality produce, fish and meat, cheeses and other goodies. These Paris street markets are usually situated on pedestrian-only streets, making them particularly pleasant for a leisurely stroll. Grab a basket or large bag, come with an appetite (you'll want to nibble on baguettes, pastries, fruit or other samples) and get acquainted with these permanent open-air markets, which are highly coveted by Parisians.

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    Poilane is one of the finer bakeries in Paris.
    ••• Poilane is one of the finer bakeries in Paris. 2007 Tjeerd/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.
    Even visitors who aren't terribly food-oriented could not fail to be enthralled by a first encounter with a Paris boulangerie shop window. Despite the recent emergence of Starbucks outlets and "McCafés", Parisian boulangeries-patisseries have managed to withstand globalization and mass production, by continuing to produce quality breads, pastries and cakes that are eye-catching, sumptuous, and often downright decadent. With one on virtually every corner, you will never go croissant-hungry, but if you're looking for that extra-special baguette or raspberry tart, here's a guide to ten of the best bakeries in Paris.
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    Croissants in Paris bakery
    ••• GirlsofNY/Creative Commons
    Paris boasts some of the world's most divine pastries, cakes, and viennoiseries, from buttery croissants to delightfully chewy macarons and elegant, rich cakes and eclairs. Look no further-- we've shortlisted some of the very best spots for delicious patisseries in the city here. Take note: the best bakers don't necessarily make the best pastries, and vice-versa!
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    ••• Meg Zimbeck/Creative Commons

    Being one of the culinary capitals of the world, Paris counts an honorable share of artisan chocolatiers-- cocoa experts who bring genuine artistic flair to their chocolate, and concoct the finest in both traditional and eclectic recipes. Dark chocolate is a specialty among French chocolate artisans, as are ganaches: chocolates with rich, creamy centers.

    See Related: Best Hot Chocolate in Paris

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    Laduree macarons in Paris France
    ••• Betsy Webber/Creative Commons

    These coveted round biscuits made of almonds, sugar, and egg whites and produced in countless classic and creative flavors have become an emblem of Parisian elegance. Find out where to head for the best macarons in town, including Ladurée and Pierre Hermé.

    Read Related: 6 Wonderful Places for Afternoon Tea in Paris

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    ••• A macaron filled with chocolate ice cream at Berthillon. Word Ridden/Some rights reserved under Creative Commons.

    Paris counts several excellent glaciers (ice cream artisans) who make fresh ice cream and gelato onsite daily, using only a few natural ingredients. Find out where to head for some of the best.