It isn’t difficult to eat fabulously and pas cher in Paris—but it does require a little research and a good deal of exploring. We’ve done the work for you in our handy restaurant guide, compiled from contributions from Bonjour Paris readers and staff.
The list—which of course only scratches the surface of worthy Parisian restaurants—is organized by arrondissement and this story covers the 1st through 10th districts. Here are “of the moment” affordable Paris restaurants with character, listed by arrondisement. Bon appétit!
Every dish at this tiny, intimate resto is prepared before your eyes by the chef himself using fresh products from local markets. The chef is happy to chat about the menu, which changes daily but includes such staples as escalope de veau à la normande (€16) and magret de canard aux poires.
20, rue Saint Roch, Paris 1st
Métro: Tuileries, Pyramides
Bus: 68 (Pyramides-Saint-Honoré)
Vélib: 215 Rue Saint Honoré or 27 Rue Thérèse
Paris 2nd and 7 other Paris locations
Don’t be turned off by the fact that there are several Chez Papas in Paris—Chez Papa is a far cry from your typical chain restaurant. The portions may be American-sized but the cuisine is 100-percent Basque and the atmosphere convivial rather than touristy. Try regional specialties such as tartare with piment d’espelette sauce or the restaurant’s signature salads made with duck, cantal, and sautéed potatoes. Main dishes and salads range from €10-20, while menus (only for the truly famished) are around €25.
153, Rue Montmartre, Paris 2nd
Métro: Grands Boulevards
Bus: 85 or 39 (Grands Boulevards)
Vélib: 21 rue d’Uzès
This crowded bistrot in Saint-Germain-des-Prés manages to keep a certain Parisian authenticity despite plenty of tourists. The food is great and reasonably priced (entrée-plat-dessert €30). The staff is congenial, informal and patient with patrons who don’t speak the language. And they are open on Sunday!
16, Rue Princesse, Paris 6th
Bus: (Bonaparte-Saint Germain)
Vélib: 141 Boulevard Saint Germain
Le Mâchon d’Henri
Reserve ahead to get a table at this cozy, convivial restaurant specializing in cuisine à la Lyonnaise. Readers say, “We love the way the chef darts out of the kitchen to look things over, with a big smile on his face. As for the food, the house terrine, anything with lamb and the excellent fruit tartes are tops.” Three courses for €35.
8, Rue de Guisarde, Paris 6th
Bus: 87 (Bonaparte-Saint Germain)
Vélib: 27 rue Lobineau
A staple of the Montparnasse quartier, this old-time bistrot is the real deal: authentic zinc top bar, original mosaic tile floor, and impressive, carefully chosen wine menu. Well-known chef Thierry Coué’s cuisine is both traditional and gourmande. Stop by at lunchtime, when the menu is around €15.
10, Rue de la Grande Chaumière, Paris 6th
Bus: 91 Vavin
Vélib: 18 rue Bréa
Bistrot du 7ème
It’s hard to go wrong at this cozy, classy bistrot, which is far less pretentious than its posh neighborhood would suggest. The bistrot’s menu offers above-par renderings of classic French dishes—from escargots to truite meunière to crème brûlée. At €25 for entrée-plat-dessert, it’s a great choice for atmosphere, cuisine, and price.
56, Boulevard La Tour Maubourg, Paris 7th
Métro: La Tour Maubourg
Bus: 69 (Invalides-La Tour Maubourg)
Vélib: 1 Avenue de la Motte Picquet
This très hype neo-bistrot in the très hype neighborhood south of Pigalle is getting glowing reviews from foodies for mixing high-class cuisine with a laidback setting. Young chef Franck Beranger, a disciple of Christian Constant, prepares a refined yet hearty menu including oyster tartare, celery root soup and braised beef cheeks. Friendly service and a mixed crowd make the dining experience branché-mais-pas-trop. Three courses for about €30. See Margaret Kemp’s review in our BUZZ column.
3, rue Victor Massé, Paris 9th
Métro: Pigalle, Saint Georges
Bus: 54, 67 (Rochechouart-Martyrs),
Vélib: 1 rue Lallier, 38 rue Victor Massé
This diminutive, delightful little resto off the Boulevard Lafayette is a welcome break from steak-frites and poulet fermier. Hugo’s “creative and Provençal cuisine” features a delicious array of fruits, herbs, and seasonal vegetables, all prepared with organic olive oil. The menu includes surprising twists on traditional dishes including foie gras with figs, pain d’épice, carpaccio de Saint Jacques, and lavender sorbet with melon and basil. Classic enough for those seeking “true” French cuisine, and original enough for those in search of something special. Three courses for around €30.
12, rue Papillon Paris 9th
Métro: Poissonnière, Cadet
Bus: 26 (Square Montholon)
Vélib: 5 rue Bleue, 26 rue Montholon
Tucked behind the church Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, Chez Casimir (and its neighboring sister restaurant, Chez Michel) offers hearty, oh-so-copious French country fare in a relaxed setting not far from the bustle of the Gare du Nord. Renowned for its all-you-can-eat buffet brunches, Casimir also offers a delicious dinner menu: €29 for 4 courses, including a staggering cheese course. While the deco is simple and the staff less than fawning at times, Thierry Breton’s menu will have you astonished that you managed to finish it all.
6, rue Belzunce, Paris 10th
Métro: Gare du Nord, Poissonnière
Bus: 38, 39, 42, 43, 46 (Gare du Nord)
Vélib: 3 Boulevard de Denain, 24 rue de Dunkerque
This hip wine bar just off the Canal Saint-Martin is both a shabby chic bistro and a great cave-à-vin, serving up a wide selection of high-quality, little-known organic wine by the glass or bottle and traditional bistro food (including a beloved boudin noir). The food is simple and tasty, and the walls of the tiny cave are lined with bottles of wine. Locals scooter in and out to pick up a bottle, while Canal-dwellers and in-the-know travelers enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the dozen or so tables. Don’t be fooled by the casual atmosphere, however, this is one place where you always need a reservation. Wine from €4 per person, dinner for around €20-25.
67, rue de Lancry, Paris 10th
Métro: Jacques Bonsergeant
Bus: 65 (Jacques Bonsergeant)
Vélib: 14 rue de Marseille, 100 Quai des Jemmapes
Sadie Nachtigal is a Paris resident and former assistant editor at BonjourParis.
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