Foodie visitors coming to Paris to eat and drink well will be relieved to know that formal over-priced restaurants are a thing of the past. Younger entrepreneurial chefs are eschewing traditional clichés to create lively intimate venues serving fresh seasonal food in authentic neighbourhoods at affordable prices. Paris’s ultimate foodie, editor of thepariskitchen.com and “friend of the chefs”, Wendy Lyn has lived in Paris for the last 20 years. Here she opens her little black book to give her top tips for where to eat in Paris to get the best gourmet experiences.
Small Space, Big Experience: L’Avant Comptoir 9, Carrefour de l’Odeon 6th arr, M° Odeon Open 7/7
Celebrity Chef Yves Camdeborde’s wildly popular tapas-style wine bars are both tiny, side-by-side, and hidden behind a street level oyster shucker and crepe maker. Step behind the curtains to join the locals standing elbow-to-elbow at a zinc bar sharing affordable platters of fresh oysters at the L’Avant Comptoir de La Mer, or ham & artichoke waffles, duck confit hotdogs and glasses of local French wines next door at the original L’Avant Comptoir.
Insider Tip: Avoid peak meal times of lunch and dinner, opting for less crowding between meals.
Affordable Fancy Food:
Saturne 17, rue Notre-Dame des Victoires 2nd arr, M°Bourse Open lunch & dinner Mon-Fri
Chef-Owner Sven Chartier’s minimalist One-Michelin star restaurant is a refreshing modern alternative to the stuffy restaurants of yesteryear. With a 45€ lunch menu, a 6-course 75€ dinner menu showcasing seasonal ingredients and one of the most respected wine cellars featuring small winegrowers – visitors can taste their way through French seasons & vineyards without breaking the bank.
Insider Tip: Have the sommelier do a wine by the glass pairing for each dish.
Eat with the Locals:
Aux Deux Amis 45, rue Oberkampf 11th arr, M° Parmentier, Oberkampf Open Lunch & dinner Tues – Sat
Locals stay clear of tourist heavy central Paris – preferring to eat, drink and be merry in the authentic neighborhoods where they live. David Loyola’s lively retro bistrot by day (lunch 15€) and tapas wine bar by night (5€ per plate average) is the most popular local address on the right bank for sharing seasonal small plates and fantastic French wines by the glass.
Insider Tip: Go/Reserve early to get a terrace table outside in pretty weather.
Delicious Food Near A Tourist Monument: L’Ami Jean 27, rue Malar 7th arr, M° Invalides Open lunch & dinner Tues – Sat
Chef Stephane Jego’s bistrot is a rare gem among the many tourists restaurants, just a short walk from the Eiffel Tower. Incredibly fresh food direct from the farm & sea are served in an animated room full of local characters that don’t mind the close quarters or cheeky servers cracking jokes. It is part of its charm. Grilled whole steaks and mashed potatoes served in gut-busting portions followed by bowls of riz au lait pudding are why this restaurant is one of the top ten “musts” in the city.
Insider Tip: Jego’s menus are not for dieters or picky eaters.
Classic French Bistrot Worth The Trip:
Bistrot Paul Bert 18, rue Paul Bert 11th arr, M°Faidherbe-Chaligny Open lunch and dinner, Tues-Sat
Not all "bistrots" are created equal, serving frozen food to the masses. Not so at Bertrand Auboyneau’s beloved French bistrot, where every item is made in house. Don’t pass up the steak-poivre beef filet cooked in Cognac butter cream sauce served with crispy frites followed by the insanely delicious Paris-Brest hazelnut cream puff pastry for dessert.
Insider Tip: Stop by their brand new wine bar next door for a glass of wine with locals before or after lunch/dinner, open 7/7 all day.