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Paris Restaurants on a TIGHT budget


I am making my first trip to Paris next week and I am not even doing it on a shoe string. More like sewing thread. I would like some suggestions on restaurants that are that type of budget friendly. I prefer local fare not the touristy stuff if possible.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.


Posted by
8293 posts

You really need to tell us what you are budgeting for meals, then we can advise re restaurants. I will suggest to begin with that you take your main meal of the day at lunchtime when most restaurants have less expensive menus. For dinner you can buy something at Monoprix or someplace and eat in your hotel room.

Posted by
16883 posts

The restaurant listings in Rick's guidebooks (except the small Paris pocket guide) all give a good idea of the price range to expect before arriving there. Menu prices will always be posted outside. Crepes or falafel are typical cheap eats in most neighborhoods. Supermarkets, delis/charcuteries, bakeries, and outdoor markets also offer many prepared salads, quiches, sandwiches, and other very local picnic supplies. See also Europe-wide eating tips at You might also enjoy this recent article from the Guardian.

Posted by
10344 posts

Just so you know:
Rick at p. 407 of Paris 2014 guidebook says:
"Please note that Parisian hoteliers uniformly detest it when people bring food into hotel rooms. Dinner picnics are particularly frowned upon: Hoteliers worry about cleanliness, smells, and attracting insects."

Posted by
9 posts

Laura ,

Thanks so much for that great article from the guardian ! I will be sure to use it when I travel there in July !

Posted by
5792 posts

Picnics. One of our nicer meals was a picnic lunch on the Eiffel Tower.

Go vegetarian. You can get some good cheeses, bread and fruits in local markets.

Drink tap water. Its better for you than cheap wine from North Africa.

International flights generally allow one checked bag at no extra charge. Amazing how many snack you can fit in a duffle bag.

Posted by
552 posts

Yes, if you can't have yourself a room picnic without raising the suspicion of the staff, you don't deserve that.
Don't ruin it for those of us who know how to be stealthy.
Always, walk the 'after-party' refuse to a remote trash bin in a public park or such. And be sure to recycle the wine bottles...

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks for all the great suggestions.

As for my budget. There will be two of us and I would like to try to stay in the $60-70 (€ 52-61) range for the two of us. We will be there for her birthday as well as Valentines day, so suggestions for both of those, with the budget in mind, would be appreciated as well.

Thanks again!


Posted by
3580 posts

I eat a main meal at lunch-time at a Chinese "deli" most days in Paris. Sometimes I buy a quiche at a bakery and follow that with a yummy dessert, ice cream, or fresh fruit. The trick for saving money at the Chinese delis is to order the plat du jour. It usually consists of a main dish over rice and may cost between 4-6 Euros. Another budget meal is the Greek giros places or cafes that serve falafel. Very filling and inexpensive. In the Latin quarter there is an entire neighborhood that serves up ethnic food at a reasonable cost. You may consider some of this "touristy." It's tasty and filling!

Posted by
9929 posts

I'm with Laura and Swan on falafel being inexpensive. I tried to eat it frequently in Paris either at one of the chain falafel stands (Maoz where you can toss on your own choice of salad-y stuff) or one of the stands in the Marais. I didn't eat it because it was cheap, I ate it because I love it and Idaho isn't exactly known for falafel! (garbanzos yes, falafel no)

Posted by
145 posts

If you are into Indian food, you should not have any issues with that budget. There are buffets for less than 15 Euro near the La Chapelle station. We went a la carte off the menu and between the four of us - including two kids 13 and 9 - we paid less than 50 Euro (if we had hit the desserts, it might have gone a few bucks higher).


Posted by
672 posts

My wife and I mostly just buy stuff in the markets and eat in the place where we are staying. This works because we stay in Airbnb places where we have kitchen privileges (whether we are sharing an apartment with a host, or have the place to ourselves). Both the self-catering and the Airbnb make budgeting pretty easy (this May we will be <1 km from the Louvre, at $70/night), and free up funds for an occasional dinner out.

Posted by
11292 posts

If you are eating in a restaurant, be sure to ask for tap water: "Une carafe d'eau, s'il vous plais" (roughly, oone kaRAFF doh, see voo play). If you ask any other way, you may get bottled mineral water, which you'll be charged for. Many of the Parisians will be drinking tap water too, so don't think you'll be in any way conspicuous.

Posted by
48 posts

Even the food in a bus station cafeteria is good in Paris. Two things we do: 1) don't eat in any restaurant with colored photos of the food in the window, and 2)seek out small places in the alleyways that post the day's menu on a chalk board. The locals eat this way and they don't have deep pockets like many dazed tourists!

Posted by
796 posts

I am presuming you are looking for recommendations for specific restaurants where you can eat well on that "sewing thread" budget. We have lived in Paris and go there several times a year in our work. Here are my specific recommendations:

(1) Creperie Bretonne at 67 Rue du Charonne Don't miss the meal sized ham, cheese and egg savory crepe and especially the Salted Butter Caramel sweet crepe.

(2) Frenchie's To Go- at 9 Rue du Nil You can get it to go or eat it here. They have sandwiches like a great pulled pork and pastrami on rye, hot dogs, breakfast items, sticky buns, coffee and chocolate drinks and a not to miss non-alcoholic ginger beer. I like their lemon tea.

(3) Le Petit Cler- at 29 Rue Cler I like the beef stew, roast chicken, and the creme brulee.

(4) Chez H'Anna at 54 Rue des Rosiers. Falafel heaven! Plus curried chicken, kabobs, etc.

(5) Dong Huong at 14 Rue des Rosiers If you aren't a Vietnamese food fan already, you will be once you eat here. Chicken kabobs, Vietnamese ravioli, and my favorite- Bo bun cha gio which is a mix of noodles, beef, onion, and peanuts. Try the mandarin orange or mango sorbet.

(6) L'Eclair at 92 Rue Cler Go for the burgers, salads, omelets, quiche, brownies, and cheesecake.

(7) Cafe Pere & Fils at 86 Rue Montmartre The servings are huge and the prices tiny.

(8) Nick's Pizza at 24 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre Huge yet cheap slices of the best pizza in Paris

(9) Croq 2 Dent at 156 Rue Montmartre has cheap prices and generous sizes of soups, sandwiches and salads

(10) Breizh Cafe at 109 Rue Vieille du Temple has incredible savory and sweet meal crepes. For dessert, try a pear crepe or chocolate mousse crepe.

(11) La Creperie de Josselyn at 67 Rue du Montparnass is another savory and sweet crepe place.

(12) Le Cafe du Marche at 38 Rue Cler serves everything from burgers to beef stew to steak and pasta. Salads are good too. Desserts are wonderful.

You can also hit the grocery stores, bakeries, shops (meat, cheese, etc), veggie and fruit stands, and other places to put together your own sandwiches, salads, veggie, and fruit meals.

Posted by
141 posts

Nick, I hope you will report back to us on where you ate in Paris, and how you liked it?

Thanks everybody for the recommendations of specific places to check out! I'm heading there next month and can't wait to visit some of these places.

Posted by
1340 posts

Terry-Thanks so much for this great list!! I am going to use it for our trip in October.

Posted by
15 posts

Sorry it has taken me a while to get around to responding to the request from riverain about the places I dined. Here's where I went in Paris.

A La Francaise
Cafe Rivoli Park
Cafe Panis
Le Rouge Lime
Bords de Seine
Paris Montparnasse Cafe
La Poule au Pot (A major splurge, but WELL worth it)

I also visited Nice while I was there. Here are the places I dined there.

L'Oliver de vallauris
Gelateria Pinocchio (Do not recommend. Was not that great)
Gustoso (Fabulous pizza and calzones)
La Lorraine
Melody Nice (OUTSTANDING Food)

Thanks for all your input and assistance.


Posted by
1127 posts

Cafe Panis, one of my favorites. Will be heading back there in May 2016, can't wait.

Posted by
216 posts

Chartier near the big department stores. Locals and tourists.

If you are staying in an apartment, it will be cheaper on food.