By Sarah— Living in a great city like Paris we often receive the questions: where do you recommend us going to eat? which are your favorite places? Looking back on the last two years and all the delicious meals we’ve eaten, sublime wine we’ve sipped and fantastic atmospheres we’ve enjoyed we have acquired quite a lengthy list of worthwhile places. So here we have our favorites, not necessarily the best in all of Paris, but definitely the locations we frequent. This list is composed of the places we have found to be the most interesting, most consistent and best value for the Euro that we have experienced… so far.
After no more ado, here are our Paris favorites arranged from most to least expensive.
L’Amie Jean: Not overly expensive but not cheap either, this little French bistro delivers a quality and authentic dining experience. The chef Stephane Jego subscribes to idea that haute cusine does not have to be a budget breaker. The menu focuses on traditional French cooking but Stephane dishes it out in a new and inventive way. If you are looking for good French food with an interesting twist, we highly recommend this place. Expect the bill to tally around €120 (for two) with a decent bottle of wine and after dinner drinks. A reservation is required.
Monjul: A meal here will run around €110 for two including wine, but the Asian + French fusion warrants the price. This is one of my favorite restaurants not only because I have enjoyed many meals here but because of the, “this is the best meal ever!” comments that our guests make. My only complaint is that they change their menu infrequently so I tend not to back as often as I would like to. Each dish is unique and interesting in ways even a hardened foodie will find interesting, with such delectable treats as the silly sounding, yet scrumptious, porky-snacky they have so many things right that they do not need to change their menu often. Recommendations necessary.
Le Comptoir de Relais: Classic sidewalk cafe in the heart of Sant Germain des Pris, which is an area that is great for people watching and relaxing. Perfect for an afternoon of eating traditional French pates, cheeses and meats while enjoying one of Paris’ most famous neighborhoods without the hefty price-tags of the more famous Cafés just down the street.
Au Sergent Recruteur: All you can eat: Mid-priced classic French country cooking (and a lot of it). We were a bit hesitant to go here the first time, but it was a fun experience. If you have a good group of people and like to not worry about running up the bill with wine then we fully recommend this rustic food barn reminiscent of what you might expect to find in the French countryside after a long carriage ride in the 19th Century. The food is hearty and plentiful meal starts with a huge basket of fresh veggies and a tasty vinaigrette. That segways into an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord board of meats, salamis and pates. Wait! There’s more! Then there is the main course which is followed by a board of cheeses. Oh, did I mention that limitless wine is included? Sure you will be hard pressed to find a Frenchman in here but this place is perfect for getting a good meal and not worrying about running up the bill as the cost is €47 per person without any “surprises” at the end. Reservations should be made but you can often get a table without.
Chez Gladine: Cheap, Basque, Lively. In Buttes aux Cailles, this off-the-beaten tourist-path bistro is at maximum capacity every night with French students. If you arrive any later than 8:00 be prepared for a 30 plus minute wait outside. But don’t worry, push your way to the bar and order a bottle of wine or beer and enjoy the party outside. Even though it seems chaotic the staff is friendly (they do speak enough English to put your name on the list and make recommendations), yet efficient at handling the volume of people. The food is good and basic and there is a lot of dishes so you can’t go wrong. The salads are huge, the duck is delish, and the gateaux basque is sweet. Don’t be intimidated by the wait or the chaos. Chez Gladine is a great experience.
Le Pot de Terre: Cheap, French, Touristic. If you are a foodie – don’t bother with this place; however, if you in the mood for decent food without a hefty price tag, then give it a shot. This is a no fuss, no muss restaurant that some would consider very touristy but there are also always a lot of French customers as well. We always leave satisfied. No reservations necessary.
Au’Petit Grec: Cheap as it can be, Creperie, Standing room only. On Rue Mouffetard, you can’t miss Au’Petit Grec because it almost always has a line even if the other adjacent creperies are vacant of even a single customer. The most interesting crepe place we have found which serves up the French staple with a Greek twist. I like to get here at least once every two weeks for Friday night dinner. My favorites are the tarama, feta, olives with tomato and lettuce, the bolognese, and the savoyarde. All around good and copious food.