If there’s one thing to know about most good places to eat in Paris, it's that planning and booking are necessary. Pourquoi? Because for one, restaurants are small and tend to have very short windows of operation: 12pm-2:30pm for lunch and 7pm-10:30pm for dinner. But also, unless it’s an all-day brasserie, they generally do one, maybe two seatings, and restaurants don’t really care about making another portion of steak tartare for you if it’s 10 minutes before closing time.
You, however, want to eat well—especially if you haven’t been to the city in a while. Thankfully, Paris is ready for you and this guide proves it. Be it an old standby with an impossible-to-reserve reputation or a new wine bar with a secret off-menu pasta, you’re going to want to bookmark—and probably actually book— these restaurants (and a hotel) for your next trip. Mangez bien, friends.
The Best Wine Bars In Paris
BUZZY & NEW RESTAURANTS
photo credit: Early June
This neighborhood wine bar that opened near the Canal Saint-Martin in early 2019 recently shifted its focus and now hosts visiting chefs from around the world to stay for a few weeks (or months) and cook a set menu. It’s taken off with pop-ups featuring the wildly varied cuisines of Myanmar, Denmark, Vietnam and more—check Instagram to know who’s next. The low-key space with wooden tables and white concrete walls fills up quickly and they don’t take reservations, so get there for an early dinner if you don’t want to wait. Or, go for the varied wine selection and linger with the cool kids on the sidewalk while sipping the likes of Les Dolomies, a Jura white, or an earthy red from the Languedoc.
photo credit: Sara Lieberman
If you’re in the mood for a glass of pet-nat and a handful of terrific shared plates, there’s plenty of that at Passerina—including the likes of octopus salad with potatoes and fish eggs or steamed cockles in a creamy wine sauce. But make sure you don't leave until the staff comes round to offer the off-menu pasta. Some nights it's risotto, others it’s rigatoni or tagliatelle, and the sauce is always different. Despite not being listed on the menu, the pasta is always a part of this Italian wine bar’s nightly shtick. And while the bowl of noodles is certainly tasty, it’s more about the anticipation: being asked about it, waiting for it while watching it being made, and then eating it all together as a big family (even the staff gets a portion).
photo credit: Sara Lieberman
On the quieter end of a popular block in the 11th Arrondissement, this new, minimalist spot for seasonal shared plates is packed nightly with crowds of young Parisians. It’s a casual setup—silverware comes in tin cans and everybody gets paper napkins—but the atmosphere is still chic thanks to dried flowers in glass vases and candles lit throughout. Dishes change frequently, but might include one giant, butter-and-cream-coated raviolo with mushrooms and almonds that you’ll wish came in multiples, or a colorful plate of grilled gem lettuce. There’s a superb natural wine selection, but if you're in more of a cocktail mood, get their mezcal, lime, and coconut milk slushy.
When it opened in 2019, Mokoloco was a low-key sandwich spot from the owners of the popular Mokonuts around the block. It’s since morphed into a neighborhood joint for rotating chefs to pop up and serve their own cuisine for a few months. Their first chef cooked up Palestinian classics such as kubbeh grilled on charcoal, while their second, who will be around through July 2022, is all about North African and Judeo-Arabic dishes like calf’s liver boulfaf and chickpea ragout. During the day, you have the option to eat one main starting at €17 and two or three courses for €20 and €24 respectively, while at night, it’s a la carte with small shared plates running between €9 and €11. At Saturday brunch, try the signature maghrébonne maakouda, a smashed fried potato pancake topped with an egg, lemon herb aioli, and harissa. Ask for extra napkins and wear stretchy pants.
You come to Bambino to drink really tasty natural wines, listen to great music (pulled from a giant wall of records spun on a player behind the bar), and to see and be seen—but not in a snobby way. There’s no pretension here and the atmosphere is energetic and friendly. The fact that they also serve really great bar food, things like a rotisserie chicken sandwich dripping in jus, spinach-stuffed calzones, and grilled corn covered in pecorino cheese and crushed hazelnuts, is a bonus. Their wine selection is extensive, but don’t bother with the list: Just tell the somm what you’re after and they’ll make a solid suggestion. If cocktails are more your thing, they’ve got a selection on tap, many highlighting digestifs, from a Negroni to a Cipran. The kitchen closes at 11pm, but they keep pouring wine until 2am.
You can tell the chef is having a good time at this narrow, dimly-lit spot outfitted with giant dripping candlesticks. From behind the open kitchen, you can see them subtly bopping along to Prince and Led Zeppelin while plating the likes of an ikejime fish with a creamy cashew-nut puree and the most blow-your-mind broccoli we’ve ever had topped with green mole, peas, and herbs. While the menu shifts regularly at Vivant II, what’s been dubbed “The Bone,” a 3.3-pound beef rib, served—you guessed it—on the bone, is fast becoming a staple for those hungry enough to gnaw on a whopping €70 piece of protein. And if it’s on the menu, get the brillat-savarin cheese for dessert. It’s so whipped it looks like shaving foam on a plate, and tastes like whole milk except five times creamier.
If you want to know where all of the in-the-know people and chefs in Paris are eating, it’s down an unmarked, uneven cobblestoned alley in the 20th Arr. at Amagat, which means “hidden” in Catalan. Take a left at the end towards the brick, graffiti-covered walls and follow the rumba music blaring from the speakers to settle in. Order your tapas by checking off a printed-out menu of items and handing it to your server. They may all come in succession, one after another, leaving little room on the marble countertop for your napkin, but there’s no rush. Pour a glass from your pitcher of strawberry-rhubarb-cherry sangria and stay a while—the sommelier (who otherwise serves only Catalan wines) will take care of you. All the dishes are tasty, but the signature and tennis ball-sized bomba Barceloneta and the manchego bikini are standouts. It’s a fun scene, and if you’re like us, you’ll just want to continue eating and drinking to avoid leaving.
Opened in February 2022, this vegetarian-only restaurant highlights the best the garden has to offer, and does it with a wink. Tekès, which means ceremonial in Hebrew, is the newest hotspot from the same Israeli team behind Shabour and Balagan, serves creative dishes like yellow and purple beetroot kabobs and mushroom “foie de volaille” that lacks both foie and volaille. Both are excellent, but when the staff says not to skip the aforementioned mushrooms, listen to them. You will be sopping up every last schmear of it with one of the three types of bread that you should also save room for—along with a celebratory shot of Arak with your server.
Not to be confused with Marché des Enfants Rouges, the name of the market where this restaurant is located, this no-reservations, pull-up-a-seat-if-you-can-find-one spot is pretty remarkable given its setting. One minute you’ll get a waft of fat sizzling on a stovetop and the next you’ll catch a whiff of raw fish, all mixed with roses from stalls a few feet away. Plates like white asparagus with bottarga and grilled octopus in a chimichurri sauce come out when they’re ready, and don’t expect water unless you ask for it. It’s all about wine here. “What do you like?” the somm will ask, and minutes later she’ll return with three open bottles to taste—all of them spectacular. The stools in front of the cooks are ideal for being in on the fun, but the service is attentive even if the only seats left are around the bend, facing a blank wall.
QUINTESSENTIAL FRENCH SPOTS
So, you want to try at least one classic bistro during your visit, ideally where you can sit on a terrace in one of those rattan chairs? The best ones are often off random side streets in more residential neighborhoods or, say, overlooking the tracks of a major train station. Walking by Cafe Les Deux Gares in between Gare de l’Est and Gare de Nord, it appears to be like all the others, but the plates sent out of the glass-walled kitchen are distinctive—especially for lunch where a perfectly plump piece of fish served with roasted wild carrots and an apricot purée is only €15. Make it a meal by adding a starter and/or a dessert for €19 or €23, respectively. In the evening, dishes are meant to be shared and menu options change with the seasons. But that classic bistro ambiance remains, complete with mismatched wooden chairs found at the Saint Ouen flea market and addictive country bread from a neighborhood bakery.
photo credit: Sara Lieberman
Cafe De Luce
This spot in Montmartre, which is open for continuous service on Sundays, is everything you want from a corner café in Paris: rattan chairs, corner banquettes, classic cuisine like oeufs mayonaise, and tartare de boeuf. It looks like the kind of place you'd sit down with a book, and eat a solid meal without a fuss. But the food here is way better than many others of this sort, like a fresh salad of squash and goji berries, and a duck fat burger served with not-quite-skinny, but not-quite-thick fries. If your stomach starts growling while you’re strolling the hills of Montmartre, go ahead and stop by for lunch or dinner.
L’Ami Jean is a lively French bistro in the 7th Arr., and it’s on the expensive side for this kind of casual bistro. But the food is excellent, exciting, and worth your time. The best way to do L’Ami Jean is the tasting menu, finished off with their famous rice pudding, which comes in a wooden bowl with a big wooden spoon that you will be tempted to use as your primary utensil. Do not resist that temptation. L’Ami Jean is popular, so make sure to book a few days in advance.
KIND OF FANCY PLACES
Sitting in La Plume, on the top floor of the Madame Rêve hotel, you might feel like you’re in early 2000s New York City. While it’s business casual and slightly sleepy during the day, at night you’ll find overly-eager service, lighting that forces you to use a flashlight to read the menu, and an all-out scene. In fact, the only thing typically Parisian about this Franco-Japanese hotspot is its amazing view of the gothic cathedral next door and other city landmarks nearby. The menu skews Japanese, with highlights like crispy fried avocado, a tangy Wagyu beef tataki, and a big bowl of watercress and mâche greens with cucumber wasabi dressing that’s just the light and refreshing thing you might need on a hot summer’s night.
photo credit: Sara Lieberman
At Granite, the staff wear matching beige pants and white button-downs and the silverware gets its own handmade ceramic holders, but there’s nothing stuffy about this new French spot around the corner from the Louvre. The inside feels very country-home-meets-contemporary-art-museum with exposed beams painted white, suspended decorative light fixtures, and white porcelain plates in the shape of bark. It’s tasting menu-only—three, five, or seven courses starting at €58—with flavor pairings like wood-fired scallops smothered in a smokey turnip, annise, and butter sauce, and saffron and mango sorbet for dessert that might just be the star of the meal. With only 26 seats, it’s an intimate, quiet space where you can comfortably spend the better part of an afternoon or evening.
Thanks to its status as the hottest/best restaurant in Paris for several years now, Septime is damn near impossible to get into. That means calling for a reservation well in advance of your trip is essential. But once you do get a table, you’ll be blown away by the quality of the food and the excellent wine list. The people here are nice too, so feel free to try out a few of those French words you’ve just added to your vocabulary. Actually, don’t.
NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANTS WHERE YOU CAN FEEL LIKE A LOCAL
Despite the fact that you’ll probably have to wave down a server for a menu, a carafe of water, or anything really, Robert is still worth visiting. The menu is full of seasonal vegetables grown at the restaurant’s farm in the Loire Valley, and you can choose from the €48 set menu that includes a mix of the chef’s favorites or à la carte shared plates. We have done the latter and tried raw tuna with watermelon, tomatoes, and chives, a cold ajo blanco soup with kohlrabi dumplings, and a creamy cauliflower risotto with goat’s milk and black cardamom that had our table fighting over who finished it. Newly-added street seating makes getting a table at prime time sans reservation a breeze, though this place does fill up. Still, if the online reservation system says there’s nothing available, give them a ring or just swing by to double-check.
There’s no shortage of choice for eating well on or off Rue des Martyrs in South Pigalle, and while Pompette isn’t necessarily a restaurant to cross town for, it’ll be worth it if you're in the area. People from the neighborhood flock here daily to sample the ever-changing menu of easy-to-share plates like housemade ricotta topped with cherries and almonds, and white bean hummus drizzled with olive oil and sesame seeds. Keep the bread around for the bowl of clams in laksa sauce because what is a bowl of fruits de mer if not for dipping a baguette once you’ve plucked the meat from their shells? They also do a more traditional, three-course “formule” for a very reasonable €22 per person. Either way, end with the ganache au chocolat with smoked chili pepper, and sea salt.
If you start craving pizza and pasta while in Paris, be bold and try a slice or bowl from Papi, where the sourdough crust may be topped with shiitake and shaved goat cheese and whose heaping bowls of “calabrese bolognese” are served over udon. Whether you go for lunch or dinner, sit out on their newly-constructed deck (complete with planters and plastic partitions) or in the cylindrical dining room wrapped in white tiles and raw wood. And make sure to order dessert—especially the “tiramisu au kinako” with caramel and black sugar from Okinawa, or ricotta ice cream topped with crushed pineapple, honey, and pistachios.
Åke - Table & Vin
Pronounced "Okey" for those who aren't Swedish, this tiny restaurant in the 10th Arr. is full-on Scandinavian when it comes to design and deco—from the raw wooden chairs and stark white walls, to the wildflowers on the tables. Natural wine and shareable dishes like mixed mushroom gnocchi in a parsley jus and pork shoulder in a soy dressing are almost too pretty to eat—but yet, eat you must. Save room for dessert, though, and pray the pavlova with cream, caramel, and candied ginger is still on the menu. It’s like an adult candy bar on a plate and is, quite simply, delicious.
Brutos is a sort of Brazilian steakhouse, except there isn’t an all-you-can-eat meat option on the menu. It's actually quite charming, and the food is simple and very good. The restaurant is appropriately small and adorable for the area, but it’s comfortable, and the three or four people that run the place are all very nice. Get the entrecôte steak for two or the roast chicken, and no matter what you do, get two orders of the fried tapioca to start.
photo credit: Jackie Gillum
Yes, one of the best restaurants in Paris is named after a tomato-clam juice mix that is sold at Walmart. Which makes sense, as it’s probably America’s greatest export. Owned and operated by the same people behind Septime, Clamato is another must-have restaurant experience. The menu is almost entirely made up of food from the sea, and every dish is a perfect example of simplicity and creativity coming together to make an impression you won’t forget. It’s a great spot for dinner, but we also like it for lunch on a day when you have a few other plans. Get a bottle of something sparkling (and natural of course) and start with a dozen oysters and whatever else looks fresh.
SPOTS FOR A CASUAL BITE OR DRINK
It’s often hard to choose between ice cream or a crispy, cool pet-nat on a hot summer day. Thankfully, the team at Folderol knows this and has therefore made it easy for you to have both in one place. This dessert spot and wine bar in the 11th Arr. is just a couple hundred feet down from their sister restaurant, the Japanese-inspired Le Rigmarole, and has become increasingly popular since opening in early 2021. If you stay to eat your scoop, choose from the flavors scribbled on the left-hand side of the mirror. To-go flavors, which tend to be the chunkier options—think strawberry shortcake, sesame brownie, and peanut butter crunch—are on the right. Wine from small, independent producers can also be taken to go or sipped around the horseshoe-shaped bar, and paired with olive oil-soaked focaccia.
Sure, you could just pop into any corner boulangerie for a quick jambon au beurre, but just like how New York pizza isn’t created equal, the same goes for sandwiches in Paris. (Or croissants, for that matter, but that’s another story.) If you’re after a quick, grab-and-go lunch, head to Penny Lane in central Paris where options include salads and soups, a fried eggplant sabich on a soft, challah-like roll, or a Tangier-inspired bowl of grilled black mullet fish over rice with candied egg yolk, harissa-soaked carrots, spinach, and coriander. Get there close to noon when they open because this place closes at a hard 2:30pm and will inevitably sell out. No reservations or weekends either.
Not looking to fight the crowds at L'as du Fallafel? Hit the slightly less busy Miznon around the corner for a pita sandwich. This casual restaurant comes to Paris from a famous Israeli chef, who opened the original Miznon in Tel Aviv, and now has locations in NYC and Miami. The menu changes frequently, but the lamb and cauliflower are our favorite versions of these excellent sandwiches. Miznon is also open Sunday and Monday, which is good to know since so much else in Paris is closed on those days.
Famous for their buckwheat crepes from Brittany, Breizh Cafe is a perfect affordable lunch for when you’re feeling like one more meal of nouveau French cuisine might kill you. The Marais location means it’s always packed with tourists, but it’s still worth your time. Make a reservation. Get the one with chorizo in it. Be pleased with yourself.
photo credit: Sara Lieberman
Most rooms at this hotel in between Pigalle and Montmartre are small and simple, but they’re still well-appointed and trés comfortable. See: super soft sheets, feather pillows, and extras such as earplugs “tested by Parisians.” Some, like Room 610, even have spot-on views of Sacré Coeur just up the hill. But if you can’t see this basilica from your bed, not to worry: The hotel’s 9th-floor rooftop boasts 360-degree panoramic views of it, along with the Eiffel Tower and other city landmarks. It’s the perfect place for a sunset snack and sips in the warmer months. Back on the ground floor, meals are served in a high-ceilinged brasserie with art deco details such as giant etched mirrors and plush ochre-colored banquettes. While you can skip breakfast in favor of nearby bakeries such as Mamiche or Babka Zana, lunch and dinner are definitely worth checking out with menu items ranging from terrine and beef cheek and lamb shoulder to lighter items like ceviche and salads that’ll change seasonally. Rooms from €190.
photo credit: Sara Lieberman
There is nothing typically Parisian about this 31-room hotel designed like a Morrocan souk—at least, not in the way tourists envision the capital. But those who know the city well, or live here, will say it's quite quintessential given its location in the city’s bustling Belleville neighborhood, sandwiched between dumpling bars and Tunisian cafés. The hotel’s neighbors are recognized, too, courtesy of tea and coffee provided by nearby purveyors, not to mention a special Saturday lunch where the “mamas of the quartier” get carte blanche to take over the kitchen. The rooms themselves are contemporary with custom-made textile headboards and exposed closets constructed of copper and wood. Rooms from €120.
Hotel du Sentier
Not only is this hotel close by cuisine street Rue de Nil (home to Frenchie and Terroir d’Avenir epicerie, butcher, and fishmonger) and market street Rue de Montorgueil (home to Fou de Pâtisserie and À la Mère de Famille chocolate), but its 30 rooms are surprisingly spacious. They even come with a bistro table and chairs. What’s more, those like No. 505 built into the front-facing Egyptian facade dating back to 1826 have incredible views of Hausmanian buildings across the way and get late daylight perfect for a post-lunch nap. Also, there’s a top-floor suite with a spiral staircase to a private rooftop. Rooms from €200.
Hotel les Deux Gares
Situated between two of Paris’s biggest train stations in the 10th Arr., this new-ish hotel is hyper-local and commuter-friendly. In fact, room No. 404 has a spot-on view of the tracks—in a cool, “I wonder where they’re all going?” way. And not to worry: The windows are double-paned so you won’t hear any choo-choo-ing as they pull in and out. The property from the Touriste Group (with three other Paris hotels, and one soon to come in London) boasts more patterns and colors than a Crayola box, along with line drawings of visionaries like Henri Matisse, Oscar Wilde, and Angela Davis in the hallways. Even bathrooms feature bright yellow wall tiles, mint green toilets, lilac walls, and black and white checkered floors. There’s also a cheery 24-hour basement gym with floral wallpaper, a sky-blue ceiling, and one very chic wooden treadmill. Rooms from €120.
In between hip South Pigalle and historic Montmartre, this new 22-room property sits at the top of yet another food-friendly market street: Rue des Martyrs. HOY means “today” in Spanish, but may also stand for “House of Yoga,” which explains the fitness and wellness objective throughout the hotel. Calming rooms are outfitted with things like mini ballet bars instead of televisions, handmade ceramic mugs designated for either “uplifting” or “relaxing” tea blends, and all-natural toiletries. There are three dedicated relaxation areas to book reiki, reflexology, four-handed prenatal massages, and chiropractic sessions and, of course, a huge yoga studio where hotel guests receive a special rate of €25 for classes (instead of €30). The property’s Mesa restaurant, which sits under a sunlit atrium, is fully vegetale and open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also do weekend brunch where the nut butter and banana-stuffed stack of corn pancakes topped with fruit and coconut flakes will keep you full for hours. Rooms from €195.