Food & Drink
Ellsworth — Small plates near the Louvre. Great for dinner and lunch (a good-value prix-fixe) with natural wines.
Les Philosophes — Classic, affordable brasserie in the very touristed 4th. Go for late-night eats.
Chez Janou — Provençal resto with a chill vibe and happy mix of locals and tourists. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Avant Comptoir du Marché — Casual, order-at-the-counter joint always hopping with locals, thanks to creative small plates by chef Yves Camdeborde and tons of interesting wines by the glass. Especially good for lunch or a late-afternoon pick-me-up. ☞ It anchors one side of the Marché couvert Saint-Germain, a good place to shop for provisions to take back to your rental.
Septime — Still hot, after all these years, and still one of the toughest rezos to get. I finally just went at 11.30am one day, before it opened, and got a seat at the bar for lunch. Worth the hype.
Chez L’Ami Jean — One of the best bistros in Paris, helmed by a Brittany-born chef. Deconstructed new bistronomie fueled by what’s in season, capped off with a legendary rice pudding for dessert.
Pierre Sang — Korean & French fusion served up at a long counter near Canal St Martin. An excellent break from all that classic French fare.
Bistro Paul Bert — Traditional, old-school bistro with seasonal classics and Grand Marnier soufflés for dessert. Call ahead to reserve. ☞ They also run a wine bar just down the street.
Épicure — Hands down, my favorite 3-star Michelin restaurant in Paris. ☞ Lunch (when offered) is excellent value.
Fleur de Pavé — New, modern, tasting-menu-driven spot that earned its first Michelin star within months of opening in Covid. Among my best meals of 2021.
Kitchen Galerie Bis (KGB) — Excellent ‘new’ bistro fare with an Asian influence and seriously great-value tasting menus offered for both lunch & dinner. ☞ A higher-end sister restaurant, Ze Kitchen Galerie, is just down the street.
Bouillon Chartier — Cheap & cheerful French institution with 3 addresses in town. Chartier is the original and has a beautiful space. Doesn’t accept reservations and there’s often a line to get in for lunch and dinner. ☞ Go outside of peak meal times to avoid the queue.
Le Grand Colbert — Mirrored walls, cozy banquettes, amazing seafood platters, steak, and wine. ☞ Yes, it was featured in the last scene of Something’s Gotta Give and attracts a lot of Americans as a result, but go on a weekday & you’ll find plenty of locals dining in.
Le Petit Italien — Charming little Italian restaurant on a quiet Marais corner up the street from the Place des Vosges. Strong on seafood & pasta or risotto combos. Genuine local vibe.
Le Bon Georges — Gem of a bistro, the kind you wish was in every neighborhood. Lovely tiled floors; a slate menu of daily, seasonal dishes; and a stellar wine list. Open for lunch and dinner; reserve ahead. ☞ Despite its small size, there’s even a dedicated sommelier.
David Toutain — On my list for a long time and finally made it for lunch in April 2022. Exceeded expectations. 2 Michelin stars and inventive tasting menus in a spare, modern space in the 7th. Reserve ahead; worth the splurge.
Clown Bar — A small boîte with a historic, patina’d interior and a reallllllly funky menu—brains! sweetbreads!—paired with natural wines (Pét-Nat has been a thing here for years.) Not for the faint of heart; definitely memorable.
Trois Fois + de Piment — Cheap-eats Sichuan restaurant dishing up spicy noodles—rated among the best in France—that can be ordered on a piquancy scale of 0–5. Multiple locations in town.
Café Varenne — Traditional brasserie with red-leather banquettes and distressed mirrors just down the street from Bon Marché. Does everything right and has a dedicated local clientele to show for it. Go for breakfast or lunch; even if there’s a wait, it never takes long.
Clamato — Buzzy, seafood-forward restaurant run by the same team behind beloved Septime, two doors down. Order a glass of Pèt-Nat, some oysters, and whatever’s fresh that day. ☞ It doesn’t take reservations. If there’s a wait, put your name down on the list, then go around the corner for a glass of wine at their wine bar, Septime La Cave.
Bakeries & Cafés
Du Pain et des Idées — Incredible pastries near Canal St Martin that regularly sell out by noon. ☞ There’s usually a line out the door. Go early in the morning.
Café Kitsumé — Coffee to-go is still a fairly new concept in Paris. One of the original spots to offer it beyond Starbucks is right alongside the Palais-Royal gardens. ☞ To order it, ask for café à emporter.
Les Deux Magots — Cliché & iconic for a reason. I still go here, almost every trip, especially for classic French breakfast (hot chocolate, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and a croissant). Fantastic people-watching all day long.
Pierre Hermé — Extremely creative macaron mix-and-match flavors. This is not Ladurée!
L’As du Fallafel — Traditional falafel joint amidst the Marais’s bougie restos & boutiques. The real deal.
Wine & Cocktails
Harry’s NY Bar — Divey cocktail spot that’s been going strong since 1911, near the swishy Place Vendôme.
Le Combat — Kick-ass bar run by a bad-ass woman mixologist in Belleville.
Le Pinardier — Delightful wine bar in the north Marais, away from the touristy throngs, with affordable charcuterie and cheese boards to boot.
Le Baron Rouge — Stellar wine bar in the 12th that’s especially worth visiting on Sundays from noon–4pm, when oysters are shucked outside and the nearby Marché Beauvau is in full swing.
Le Syndicat — Go for drinks made with French spirits and a good selection of natural & interesting wines.
Jacques — Cozy, Moroccan-themed cocktail bar located up the spiral staircase at the back of the Hoxton Hotel lobby. Excellent creations and a fun crowd. ☞ If you need a hotel in Paris, the Hoxton is one of my favorites.