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Affordable Authentic French Restaurants in Paris Recommendations

Hi! I am going to Paris in early September and I was curious to see if anyone has any good suggestions on places to eat with authentic French Cuisine. We'd prefer it to be not overly priced, but it doesn't have to be super cheap either! Thanks in advance!

Posted by
1137 posts

We have three with authentic French cuisine, not microwave chefs. First and favorite is Au Petite Marguery, then Galette Cafe for buckwheat crepes, and also Allard. There are so many more like Les Ombres, very upscale but with view of the Eiffel Tower. You'll likely get many more suggestions. Bon appetit!

Posted by
1718 posts

In Emma's absence, I guess it's up to me to pick up her standard and march:

What is 'authentic French Cuisine'? Try substituting 'authentic American Cuisine' and then answer the question for a visitor.
How do you answer? Chicago Deep Dish pizza? Lobster sandwich? Biscuits and sausage gravy? California roll?
All of them are authentically American.

Same applies to France.

Posted by
19391 posts

The topic of restaurants in Paris has come up frequently in the past, though not so much in the last 18 months. I recommend scrolling back through the regular France forum to see whether you can spot some likely-sounding titles. You can also try the Search function (at top of screen, with magnifying glass, if you're using a desktop computer), but I find it just too frustrating to use.

You've posted in the area where people post trip reports. More people will see your question if you post it in the regular forum for France.

It will probably also help considerably if you tell us what part of the city you're staying in and and can be a bit more specific about your price range. Paris is a huge city; a more specific question will yield more useful answers.

Posted by
4061 posts

I've had one bad meal in France. It was at Mont St-Michel. We've never been disappointed in Paris. We tend to really like the bistros and brasseries. We've eaten at Cafe St. Victor (11 rue Monge) quite a few times. I like their escargot and onion soup, my husband always has duck confit. Nice selection of wine by the glass. It is in the latin quarter and about 5 minutes from the Notre Dame.

Posted by
2637 posts

If you are on Rue Cler at lunch time, pull up an outside table at Café du Marché and enjoy Canard Confit as the world passes by. Les Petits Papiers at 18 Rue Oberkampf is a family owned restaurant with husband Thierry doing wonders in the small kitchen. When I was there, I think I was the only non-Parisienne in the restaurant. A short stroll from the Oberkampf Metro station, just around the corner from the infamous Bataclan. If sea bass is on the day’s menu, it would be my first choice. Make reservations as this place is always full and turning people away.

Posted by
8054 posts

I got food poisoning from eating at Café du Marché. I realize this can happen anywhere, but I got it there and spent 3 horrible days on the bathroom floor.

Posted by
914 posts

Go to TripAdvisor, Yelp, Lonely Planet, Michelin, etc. and compare a restaurant's ratings. Asking for people's favorite restaurant won't help you. You'll get a different answer per person. Also, authentic is subjective to the region you are located. Paris has every cuisine you can find worldwide. Bon Appetit.

Posted by
5459 posts

It is a matter of personal preference, yes, but when in Paris, I find the food somewhat underwhelming. It is good for a dinner, but I can't think of any meal I had there that stands out, at least in a good way. Yes, I prefer the food of Spain, Italy, Portugal, heck, even Germany more, and any Frenchman would do me in for saying even London has a more dynamic food scene.

I think if you focus on smaller bistro's, off the tourist streets, with maybe just a chalkboard menu, or a few dishes on offer, you will do well. The tourist concession I will make is for "Le Relais de l’Entrecôte" for a simple Steak Frites. I also found a very small seafood bar that was top notch, small plates, fresh oysters, tried to locate it, but it may not have survived the pandemic.

Posted by
213 posts

wbfey1, I second your recommendations. Btw, to others, the OP made a simple request. There is no need to be existential about it.

Posted by
2504 posts

I'll just comment that Bouillon Chartier is indeed very "authentic", in an old-fashioned way, and that it is very affordable by Paris standards, but the food is average at best. Still a fun experience, but you need to adjust your expectations accordingly.
In a slightly modernized but still very authentic vibe, Bouillon Pigalle has significantly better food, at comparable prices.

Posted by
612 posts

My way of finding an authentic restaurant:

Take a bus or train to a non-touristy neighborhood (make sure it's safe, however) and see if there are tons of locals patronizing it.

I don't really use the Michelin Guide (most options are too expensive or too popular with tourists) or Tripadvisor (anybody can leave a review). I know my method sounds kinda stupid, but my experience has proved that it works!

Posted by
271 posts

I recently had lunch at Bouillon Julien, good and reasonably priced. And the decor is lovely, decorated in the Art Nouveau style. Afterwards I decided to walk part of the way back to my hotel. The neighborhood is quite eclectic with a variety of ethnic restaurants nearby and some beautifully dressed ladies in doorways.
In the Marais I enjoyed Chez Janou, a bistro with lots of outdoor seating.
Enjoy!

Posted by
4727 posts

If you're in or near the 7th, we've enjoyed Café le Roussillon. The food is good, the house wine is nice, and the staff is always cheerful and amazingly patient with my attempts at speaking French. This has become "our place" in Paris. Corner of Rue de Grenelle and Rue Cler. Sometimes we make a reservation; other times we just show up. We showed up a couple of years ago with a group of 7, and they seated us cheerfully.

I've never gone wrong with the seafood, and Stan loves the desserts.

Posted by
9858 posts

Best Boeuf Bourguignon ever at La Cave Gourmand, Rue des Martyrs. Order on portion for two of you with extra mashed potatoes and the baked goat cheese salad to share. Yum!

Great Lebanese at Restaurant Libanais Les Cèdres du Liban. Afterall, there is a strong connection between France and Lebanon historically. No pesky English menu so it is fun to decipher the names of the familiar Lebanese dishes in French. (They'll help you.)

Posted by
3565 posts

I am delighted to read that Pottoka has survived. Its distinct personality and attention to details make for an entirely satisfying experience. To be clear, its French authenticity rests on the cuisine's dedication to imaginative yet basic kitchen talent, not any quest to seem authentic to tourists. As you can see through its link, a three-course meal will cost something around $60US before wine, reasonable for Paris. It is so small that reservations are not only essential but a confirmation may also be required. Reservations can be made through The Fork, a Tripadvisor site which functions in English and often seeks out customer reviews after the visit.

Posted by
117 posts

Best Boeuf Bourguignon ever at La Cave Gourmand, Rue des Martyrs. Order on portion for two of you with extra mashed potatoes and the baked goat cheese salad to share. Yum!

I second this joint - and had the same meal, too.

Posted by
57 posts

One of my favorite restaurants is in the 10th arrondissement, La Marine. It is located along the Canal. The last time we were in Paris we found a great seafood place with fresh oysters and shellfish towers. It's called Bar a Iode. There is a location in Saint Germain and Charonne.

Posted by
78 posts

Hi! We were in Paris this summer for a quick three night stay. We had our teenagers with us as well as my in-laws (who had never been). We chose Le Polidor for an excellent Parisian bistro (and it was magnifique!). Our other dinners were a small Vietnamese restaurant that we had walked by on our way to Le Polidor (it was also great, but probably not what you have in mind with this thread), and a picnic on the Champ de Mars to watch Madame Eiffel put her lights on. All three dinners were quite distinct, and all three were lovely. It’s hard to go wrong in Paris - especially if you stick with local bistros. https://www.polidor.com/en/home

I will also mention that the different Bouillons that many have mentioned here were in fact created precisely to offer good French food, at a reasonable cost. I belong to an on-line French club of sorts, and our tutor (who is a Parisienne), recommends them highly! We had originally hoped to try the Bouillon Racine on our recent trip, but were concerned that our somewhat picky 15 year old might not find anything that he would eat. That’s how we discovered Le Polidor, which we loved (and where our son surprised us by trying escargot! 🤷🏼‍♀️).

Enjoy your trip - and enjoy your dinner!

Posted by
12400 posts

Hi,

I know you are back from your Paris trip.

As to an answer to your question, I would be hard pressed to think of a bad, disappointing meal in Paris, one that served French cuisine, not Polish, Italian, Chinese, or Moroccan. (that was in Clichy), even though I've had those in Paris a numerous of times too.

These French meals were neither super cheap nor pricey, just normal medium range, no problems Most of the restaurants I went to serving French dishes were not in the so-called tourist areas, obviously some were. The cuisine is one primary reason for being in Paris in the first place. One saw there a good mixture of locals or French tourists, not merely international tourists or Americans.

I recommend , if you want cuisine from Alsace, "Chez Jenny" in the Place Republique area. Whether simple or pricey I don't believe you can't go wrong.

Posted by
2504 posts

Fred, Chez Jenny was a casualty of Covid... It did just reopen under the name "Bouillon République" but it is too early to tell if it is any good.

Posted by
8054 posts

A friend who knows Paris well said Bouillon République is very good.

Posted by
12400 posts

@ Susan...That is very welcome news, good to know. Did the focus on the cuisine change as well?

Posted by
79 posts

Susan, I bookmarked both those for our upcoming trip - thanks for sharing! :) Of particular interest to me is that they both have dedicated vegetarian plates. Not always easy to find, although it seems much more common than the last time I was in France (2016).

Posted by
8054 posts

balso you were right about Chartier.

We just got back from Paris… ate at Bouillon Chartier and Bouillon Julien. Bouillons are a fun experience, but the food at both was not good. Some dishes were inedible, some were just ok. I will say though, the green beans at Chartier were the exception, they were very good.

Fun experience, but I’m done with Bouillons now. I’m not a foodie, but I do like high quality food. Simple, but high quality. These two Bouillons were not quality at all. But I think that’s the whole point of Bouillons, cheap food at cheap prices.

Posted by
8054 posts

Jane, I agree with you about Café Roussillon, it’s very good. I ate there with friends last week and really enjoyed the Coquillettes!

Posted by
7854 posts

Bouillons are the rage because they are founded on food grandma made. Since I'm now grandma, it's the traditional cuisine I learned from the elders in the 1970s, even if the bouillons add modern dishes.
The trend in new bouillons started just before COVID. Examples: Julien was an expensive, noted, upscale restaurant, the one in Montparnasse was a large white-tablecloth brasserie. But they are now distinguishing themselves and giving people what they want. I haven't been to any of the new ones, but bon appetit.

Posted by
4727 posts

Susan, thanks for the update. We'll be in Paris (fingers crossed!) next spring, and Le Roussillon is in our plans.

Posted by
8054 posts

Sounds great Jane.
We also each ordered a “Salade Mixte” which is not on the menu. It was incredibly good, and large enough for 2. Just lettuce and tomatoes but super fresh, high quality lettuce and tomatoes with a balsamic dressing.

Posted by
467 posts

we love Café Roussillon as well and eat there several times when we are in Paris. Love their boeuf bourguignon and fish and chips! Always friendly staff, and never disappointed.