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1st time to Paris-Restaurant Suggestions

Hi everyone. I'm headed to Paris for 5+days in May and need restaurant suggestions...I love smaller hole in the wall places..and we will probably splurge a couple of times for dinner too. Thanks!

Posted by
2000 posts

I hate to be obvious, but the restaurants that Rick recommends in his guidebooks are usually all good. Of course you are likely to see other Americans there, as they will be popular with US tourists. Just strolling the city you will come upon places that interest you. Usually with touring around it is hard to get to destination restaurants, you just tend to eat at a place close by at mealtime. You are likely to have a nice meal wherever you chose.

Posted by
1821 posts

I found that when I chose places that were convenient and busy that it was a sure bet, I was usually wrong. I had some awful meals. After a bit I solely relied on RS for restaurants and ate much better. Tear out the sections of the book and only carry the portion for you current location. Either plan ahead by finding a restaurant near an attraction or just use the map based on where you are when you decide to eat. I am an inexperienced Europe traveler so relying on RS really worked for me. If I was there long enough to explore and meet locals I would be more adventurous but for a safe bet RS is a good way to go. The one caveat is that you won't be the only American there because you have the book. It's like being on a guided tour with a lot of others but you are not stuck with a schedule or people.

Posted by
2788 posts

The previous "posters" have mentioned RS guide books. Do you have the RS Paris Guide Book? If so, that is a good place for answers to your question. If not, you need to get one soon. I have been to Paris several times and have always been lucky in finding good restaurants thru his guide book.
Happy travels.

Posted by
541 posts

For any place in France, and a chunk of other Western Europe countries, I use the Michelin guides. Also use TripAdvisor & yelp. I haven't had the best of luck with RS restaurant recommendations but I give him props for last years 2011 Paris list. Had a couple of fantastic meals. Sorry, not sure where! Wine must have been good too. I find the TA list pretty spot on and check that before I head out or on my iPhone. This is the one place you will be glad to splurge a couple of times for dinner too. I always figure that into the budget as 'attractions'. Marais has fantastic hole in the wall type eateries. If interested, try Vietnamese in Paris. It's fantastic. Have a fun trip!

Posted by
541 posts

We found a few great Vietnamese places in the 3rd. Lots of great & cheap everything in the 3rd too. Unfortunately I can't remember any names though. On an earlier trip that involved some late nights at the bars, it was the only thing open near the apartment so we took a chance as it was a true hole in the wall but busy and it was awesome. Tried another again a couple days later to make sure it wasn't just all the cocktails and it was even better. Now we don't go to France without going to a Vietnamese restaurant. Arles has one of the best I've ever been to so far. I'm sure there's some bad ones, just lucky not to discover one yet. Since I've had my iphone these past couple of years, it's been rare to end up at a bad place. It's worth the roaming charges for a few minutes for me.

Posted by
2987 posts

Leslie - Do you have any specific recommendations for Vietnamese food in Paris? I figured that with the former colonial relationship between Vietnam and France that there would be a relatively large Vietnamese population in France and some fantastic food, but despite my Google skills I was unable to come up with a lot of recommendations or discussion at all about Vietnamese food in Paris (most food blogs about Paris focus on French food...) Unfortunately I have not had a lot of money to spend on any of my trips to Paris so most meals have been price-or-convenience based and fine but not worth going out of the way for. (I had a lovely meal at a nice little place near the big cemetery where Jim Morrison is buried that I can't remember the name of right now, but unless you're going that direction I wouldn't schlep all the way out there for it). The one I can recommend is La Boutique Jaune, a Jewish deli in the Jewish quarter. It's a good mix of Ashkenazi/"New York"ish and Middle-Eastern food, really delicious, moderately priced for Paris. Great for lunch.

Posted by
565 posts

I truly enjoyed Chez Pommette, high up on Rue Lepic in Montmartre. They spoke English, but I didn't feel it was overly touristy and I heard a lot of French as well. It is next door to a beer and mussel joint that looked mighty tempting as well. I mostly ate cheaply and really didn't go wrong with little cafes, especially one on Rue Mouffetard called Tournbride. Their salade de chevre chaud was magnifique!
I do have to confess to repeat eating at the felafel stands in the Marais. Cheap (for Paris) and amazingly delicious.

Posted by
8396 posts

@Sarah the Vietnamese restaurants are everywhere, but for a concentration go to the area around the tall apartment buildings in the 13th, near the Boulevard Exterior, or on top of the hill in Belleville. The Asian community ended up in the 13th because when the tall apartment buildings went up in the 1970s, the French didn't want to buy those apartments. So the incoming Vietnamese refugees moved there, as did Chinese.

Posted by
875 posts

It would be helpful to know in what area of Paris you are planning to stay. If you're staying in the 6th, I can recommend a few places. PM me if you want.

Posted by
164 posts

Hi Mika, My husband and I have been to Paris twice and both times we've had lovely meals at Le Marche restaurant on Place du Marche Sainte-Catherine in the Marais district (closest metro stop is St Paul - walk east on rue de rivoli, turn left onto rue de Sevigne, walk one block then turn right onto rue d'Ormesson) The first time we found it, it was in Rick's guidebook...not sure if it's still listed or not, but we were just there in April 2011 and the food was still yummy! Place du Marche Sainte-Catherine is a delightful little square with lots of restaurants - I'm going to Paris in February with my daughter and can't wait to take her for a meal! happy eating!

Posted by
164 posts

Hi Mika, My husband and I have been to Paris twice and both times we've had lovely meals at Le Marche restaurant on Place du Marche Sainte-Catherine in the Marais district (closest metro stop is St Paul - walk east on rue de rivoli, turn left onto rue de Sevigne, walk one block then turn right onto rue d'Ormesson) The first time we found it, it was in Rick's guidebook...not sure if it's still listed or not, but we were just there in April 2011 and the food was still yummy! Place du Marche Sainte-Catherine is a delightful little square with lots of restaurants - I'm going to Paris in February with my daughter and can't wait to take her for a meal! happy eating!

Posted by
262 posts

We love Cafe Marly in the front of the pyramid at the Louvre. Great people watching and delicious food. A treat for sure, on the expensive side but really worth it. Always look forward to this meal. Once on a week's visit and twice on a two week visit! Happy Travels!
Debi

Posted by
137 posts

I just found a cool little book from 2004 in a thrift store called "Historic Cafes/Restuarants of Paris". Gives the location and a synopsis of it's history, etc. If you're interested in more detail, respond back and I"ll get the author, etc. Makes me want to go back to Paris! Lucky you!

Posted by
11450 posts

Les Bouquinistes,, its a Guy Savoy satellite restaurant, but very reasonable and easy to find, on Quai Augustins( hmm, that may be spelt wrong) but just down a few blocks from St Michels fountain, facing the river( but no real views). Google for their menu, I went for a nice lunch, cheaper then dinner( but still not super cheap) but the food was very good, and the service was lovely. Seemed to be alot of french business people on lunch there,, account lunches no doubt, lol but still it won't be filled with other tourists( you won't be the only one, but you will not be in the majority),, not that there is anything wrong with other tourists, i am just saying this place does not need to be in a guide book to do a brisk business. Also if you want over the top atmosphere and decent food, ( not great, but I am picky) then look at Le Train Bleu,, its an amazing place, really.

Posted by
12040 posts

Au Cadet du Gascogne, on the square a stone's throw away from Sacre Coeur. The food is of good quality, if nothing spectacular. But the attraction is that there will often be a singer or pianist, or both, performing just the sort of music you would want to hear in Paris. I haven't eaten in Paris since discovering the Michelin Red Guide, but it's never let me down elsewhere. Even if you don't want to splurge for one of the high-end "starred" restaurants, there's plenty of good recommendations for lesser budgets. Personally, I find Rick Steves' restaurant recommendations more safe than memorable.

Posted by
2023 posts

In the seventh I can recommend Cafe Constant, Le Petit Troquet, and a less expensive Constant restaurant, Les Cocottes. Not that CC was expensive but with bottle of wine it was 100 euros. We enjoyed the Orangerie on Ile St Louis but it may now be closed. Le Pre Verre near the Cluny is good and under 100 euros. It was at one time possible to find reasonable wine in restaurants but now seems to run 30 euros per bottle and up so that will add to the tab fixed price menu or not. Le Timbre in the sixth is truly a tiny hole in the wall place and is good-hard to find though. Astier in the Rue Temple area had a fun atmosphere and nice menu. We eat lunch at Las du Fallafel on each trip to Paris. You should get a book on dining in Paris and see what appeals to you because it is entirely possible to wander into a restaurant and have a bad meal-a real waste in Paris.

Posted by
334 posts

My favorite every time I'm in Paris is Cremerie-Polidor ay 41 rue Monsieur-le-Prince, 6e, cash only, opened for lunch noon-230 then 7pm. Food is traditional French w beef bourguignonne, roast chicken & duck; good house wine; great desserts, lemon & chocolate tarts my favorite. Locals from the University frequently there, busy on weekends. Stay away from neon establishments.
Look in for locals eating and what their eating.

Posted by
283 posts

If you are a true foodie, DuCasse is huge. The Jules Verne in the Eiffel tower, the Hôtel Plaza Athénée (VERY pricey both). I like Benoit near the Hotel De Ville is wonderful, expensive, and a fantastic and authenicl Paris experience. Please, have fun and eat well!

Posted by
175 posts

Our most memorable dinner in Paris was at a creperie in the 15th called Josselin's. It's on a street lined with creperies, and when we showed up, they were all empty, except Josselin's, which had been recommended to us. We didn't have to wait, thankfully, and we had a nice server (didn't linger, but was helpful and not cold), and delicious crepes! They only take cash--if you go, be prepared.