My daughter and son-in-law both in their early 30's have extended their trip in UK for a couple of days to see Paris. They are both foodies and want to experience one exceptional meal while they are there. Unfortunately, they have a somewhat limited budget so probably can't spend over $50-$75 each for a meal. They don't need a formal atmosphere (black tie waiters, etc.) In fact, they would probably prefer something more "funky" but the important thing is the food. They are staying in the Marais district but really any place in Paris accessible by subway or cab would work. Any suggestions for a memorable meal?
My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary last summer at Au Bourguignon du Marais.
These would be in their price range (and district):
(1) Bel Canto 72 Quai de l'Hotel De ville
(2) L'Ange 20 Restaurant 8 Rue Geoffroy L'Angevin/Hotel de Ville
(3) Baffo 12 Rue Pecquay
Albion, 80 Rue du Faubourg Poissoniere, just a block south of the Poissoniere Metro stop. weekdays only.
Bistro Paul Bert. Classic bistro dishes, big menu, huge wine list, I had the kidney with pasta and mustard seed sauce, others in our party had a fabulous steak and pigeon. Nice old school room, seamless service.
I really enjoyed Le Vrai Paris, http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187147-d967471-Reviews-Le_vrai_paris-Paris_Ile_de_France.html, Montmartre area, just down from Sacre-Coeur. After dinner they can continue down towards Moulin Rouge and get the traditional picture of it lit up at night. They would fit in with the clientele, a very lively and enjoyable place. The Duck was fabulous.
Being on a budget and having an exceptional foodie meal at a restaurant may be mutually exclusive. Maybe they should visit a street market where they can splurge on foodie items from specialty shops and vendors. I don't recall the market but I've seen mention of one that caters to gourmets.
My sister and I had a wonderful (yes pricey, but at lunch slightly better) meal at Bouteille D'Or (9, Quai de Montebello) beside the Seine looking at Notre Dame in summer of 2012. Food was excellent (huge desserts - share one), good service and off the tourist path.
Richard makes a good point, IMO.
You don't need to spend lots of money in a famous resto to eat well in Paris. I've never spent more than 30 euros ($40) for a meal there and have had MANY wonderful meals that cost even less! So check out the reviews on a couple of Websites and don't worry so much about spending a lot.
Try CRU, in the Marais's 4th district. Its in the Village Saint Paul at 7 rue Charlemagne. It's a neo-bistro with good food and reasonable prices. It should be within easy walking distance of any hotel in the Marais. You may find a weeknight deal at laforchette.com
Added sightseeing bonus - it's just next to one of the last remaining sections of the old wall that surrounded Paris at the time of Phillipe Auguste.
The Michelin Guide (Red edition, not Green) has been rating Paris restaurants for over a hundred years. There are probably a thousand or two thousand restaurants in Paris. 9 of them have earned 3 Michelin stars, 14 have earned 2 stars, and 74 have earned one star. The rest of the restaurants in Paris don't have a star to their name (but that doesn't mean the food won't "taste good", if that's your sole standard for judging a restaurant)--although an additional 66 are rated as Bib Gourmand (the Michelin budget category), which I think in Paris means they are 35 euros or less per person.
We just returned from Paris and had many memorable meals. Our favorite place was called Les Cocottes, 135 Rue Saint Dominique. It is in an area between Rue Cler and the Eiffel Tower. The Owner/Chef is a Michelin Star recipient who gave that up to open a more modestly priced restaurant. We were very well treated as we had 8 people in our party and they were very busy. We crammed into a corner table in the restaurant which added to the experience and ambience. The food was terrific....all the food is served in a casserole dish. There wasn't a disappointed face in our group and the price was right. They don't take reservations and the crowd you see outside the restaurant may be discouraging but they get people in there in a reasonable amount of time.
+1 for Les Cocottes. He actually operates three restaurants on rue Dominique, each in a different style and price level. A great mid-range choice!
Perhaps consider Le 6 Paul Bert or Restaurant Spring
I had wonderful meals at both restaurants when I was in Paris last year. However you must book in advance as both of these restaurants are extremely popular.
We like Bastide Odeon in the 6th arr. The food is southern France style and always delicious. And you can feel like a celebrity when you enter the restaurant by parting the red velvet curtains at the entrance!
Consult the Michelin Guide Red for Paris