Because you aren’t interested in every place to eat, only the places to eat, right now… these are my top picks / short list in each of Paris’ arrondissements.
The tourist-heavy city centre with museums & monuments obviously has less options than the outer vibrant neighbourhoods where the locals live and hang out at hip small plate natural wine bars and casual restaurants run by young up-and-coming chefs. But no worries, if you are craving steak-frites, oysters and baller sandwiches or looking for outdoor food markets, the perfect cocktail bars and craft coffee shops, and want to know where to buy cheese, chocolate, patisseries, charcuterie and bottles of natural wine, I’ve got you covered.
My criteria is that they use only the purest high-quality ingredients, are fun, and are run by good people. In fact, this is my personal black book that I give my international food industry peers who, like you, are in Paris to eat & drink well without wasting time & money.
When you tire of the Louvre and its gardens, the Palais Royale, Sainte Chapelle, the high-end luxury shopping and tourists en masse, you can trust in the goodness served at Chef Daniel Rose’s Chez La Veille, Laura & Braden’s Ellsworth, La Pâtisserie du Meurice par Cédric Grolet and small plate wine bar Maison Maison by the river’s edge which is extraordinary for even Parisians to watch the sun set.
Home to Les Halles, Saint Sulpice and historic covered passageways – the main drag is from Les Halles along the pedestrian Rue Montorgueil (and its cross streets) where you’ll find cookware and (average) food shops. It is especially lively during aperitif hour with its numerous café terraces. Neighbourhood standouts are Experimental Cocktail Club, boozy Boneshaker doughnuts, the famous Rue du Nil where Greg Marchand’s Frenchie Restaurant, Frenchie To Go, Frenchie Wine Bar and Frenchie’s Wine Shop are side-by-side next to the fish, butcher and grocery shop(s) by Terroirs d’Avenir who source the fresh local products served in the top-quality restaurants. On the west side you’ll find the buzzing Israeli restaurant Balagan, and Sven Chartier’s 1-Star Saturne (sister restaurant to the Clown Bar). On the east side, stop at a fantastic Champagne bar Ma Cave Fleury run by Morgane Fleury whose family owns & makes the natural/biodynamic wine. On the northern edge on the Grand Boulevards in the covered Passage des Panoramas, you have two gems – Racines bistrot and Coinstot Vino (where you can find the food industry on Monday nights drinking a lot of natural wine & house pizza).
3rd Arrondissement – NOMA (the north Marais)
On your way to the Picasso Museum, you’ll find narrow streets filled with new wave coffee shops, Les Enfants du Marché natural wine bar inside Paris’ oldest covered market, and fashionable concept clothing & kitchen shops. Standouts are the great team behind Candelaria cocktail bar and sister restaurant Le Mary Celeste, the spicy Asian bowls at Trois Fois Plus, killer Bahn Mi sandwiches, Jacques Genin chocolats/patisseries/caramels and Brittany crepes at Breizh Cafe. The latest “it” restaurant on the scene is C.A.M. – a rock and roll late night with a roster of guest star chefs creating sharing plates with bottles of natural wine to a vinyl playlist of retro hits .
4th Arrondissement – SOMA (the south Marais)
Home to the pretty Place des Vosges (an Instagram-worthy square to picnic) you’ll find Chef Baptiste Day’s wonderful little gem Restaurant Capitaine (an Astrance, Arpège, Ambroisie, Le Servan alum) nearby, and just across from the rue des Rosiers’s touristed falafel place is Miznon where Celeb Israeli Chef Eyal Shani’s swoon-worthy stuffed pita / whole roasted cauliflower spot is beloved by locals. If you even have room for something savoury or sweet, stops at Fromagerie Laurent Dubois for aged cheese & salted butter and buckwheat kouign-amann and Madagascar-vanilla buckwheat millefeuille at Yves Couvreur’s patisserie is absolutely required. (FYI: The pastries have a low daily quota to ensure high-quality so get there early.)
5th Arrondissement – Latin Quarter
While the Pantheon and its very old surrounding streets is a charming walk about (where they filmed most of Midnight in Paris), this left bank area next to Notre Dame is a culinary void with the exception of the ultra modern Restaurant AT, (Pierre Gagnaire alum) Chef Atsushi Tanaka’s beautiful menus are stunning (just look at that Insta feed. Wowzer.) with an equally impressive natural wine list. AT is a celeb guest Chef at pop ups all over the world and is a huge fan of macerated wines.
6th Arrondissement – Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Once filled with world-class brasseries, bistrots & cafes, those days are long gone. Now you’ll only find pretty streets with high-end clothing and art galleries and food stops for tourists. At least you have one corner to find two fantastic natural wine & tapas bars to hangout in, both owned by legendary Chef Yves Camdeborde. L’Avant Comptoir has everything pork and L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer next door deals with everything seafood. Each have natural wines, adorable bartenders, mounds of salted butter on the counter for the hot Thierry Breton corn bread coming out of the oven and a crowd standing elbow-to-elbow at the bar. Bonus points? They are both licensed bottle shops so you can take wine up the street to the Luxembourg Gardens or down to the river if you want to keep the good times going. If incredible charcuterie products are your thing, a stop at Gilles Verot is a must. Need chocolat? Don’ took any further than the one & only Patrick Roger.
If you are looking for a place to eat near the Rodin Museum or Eiffel Tower, locals & visiting foodies alike swear by the coffee roaster Coutume, the pristine pastries at Des Gateaux et du Pain, star chef David Toutain, Stephane Jego’s lively & uber popular L’Ami Jean. His mission is to feed you like nobody’s business so wear your fat pants – because as well as you’ll eat, you aren’t allowed to say no to the rice pudding. Good luck with that.
8th Arrondissement – Champs-Élysées
This is Paris’ version of Times Square (although much more glamorous). With the luxe hotels, fashion houses, fashion show venues and over-the-top Michelin restaurants, the Kardashian-type celebs usually never leave this part of town. It just isn’t my scene to personal recommend anything.
Bordering Pigalle and Montmartre, you’ll find the Palais Garnier Opera House, grand department stores, music shops, concert halls, and an up and coming cocktail scene at Lulu White, Glass, Entree des Artistes and the artsy Hotel Amour. If you’ve overdone French food and crave Italian, look no further than Faggio Osteria for pasta or their sister pizza joint Faggio across the street, both with amazing natural wine lists. The cobblestone Rue des Martyrs will remind you of the rue Montorgueil in the 2nd with its many food shops.
10th Arrondissement – Canal St Martin
This is home to the Gare du Nord/Eurostar, but you really want to hang out at Arnaud Lacombe and Pierre Touitou’s standing room-only natural wine & tapas bar Deviant or Cyrille Rosetto and food critic Sébastien Demorand’s natural wine bar-tapas-grocery store Le Bel Ordinaire – both are delicious and a rocking good time. Natural wine bistrot Les Arlots, is famous for its saucisse puree but do check their insta account to be sure they have it on the menu before you go. Due east is the Canal Saint-Martin is where everyone picnics in pretty weather. Standouts on the west side are Christophe Vasseur’s bakery Du Pain et Des Idees (you’ve heard of the buttery pistachio chocolate snail buns?), lunch on the terrace of legendary natural wine bistrot Le Verre Vole (who has saucisse puree daily), Gravity Bar cocktails, and Anglo brunches at Holybelly Cafe. On the east side of the canal, stops at either Ten Belles or La Fontaine de Belleville cafés – and Tischenko brothers’ casual but gorgeous restaurant Le Galopin and their natural wine & tapas bar La Cave A Michel are industry favs and definitely worth a trip.
Eating & drinking through this hip northeast arr. can’t be accomplished in a weekend, it is literally the hottest area going, especially for the natural wine scene. Some restaurants and wine bars are owned by the same person taking up whole streets with flagship & site properties next door. Top suggestions are the Richard-Lenoir / Bastille outdoor market on Sunday morning, the classic Bistrot Paul Bert for steak-frites, their sister tapas wine bar/bottle shop Le Cave du Paul Bert next door, their sister restaurant L’Ecailler du Bistrot next door for oysters/lobster-frites, then Bertrand Grebaut & Theo Pourriat’s World’s 50 Best & star restaurant Septime (one of the hardest reservations in town), their sister seafood bar next door Clamato, their wine bar/bottle shop across the street Septime La Cave, followed by Brutos tapas & grilled steaks, duck pie at The Clown Bar, David Loyola’s rock and roll Aux Deux Amis tapas joint, Camille’s La Buvette Wine Bar/Bottle Shop, sisters Tatiana & Katia’s Le Servan, Inaki’s Chateaubriand wine bar Le Dauphin and Yard. Whew!
Hot Opening Coming Soon: The Clown Bar’s Chef Sota is opening on the rue St Hubert in September – which will be the hardest rez in town until next year. Stay tuned for opening details. Also, a branch of Terroirs d’Avenir is coming to the area.
Sidebar: If you are a visiting foodie, you want to rent an apartment here, sightsee Paris by day and then come back to the neighborhood, kick off your shoes, nap, shower and then take it easy walking from place to place.
12th Arrondissement – Bastille
Although I am sure if you dig deep enough you will find some worthy sweet little places in these neighborhoods, but there isn’t any one place I would personally recommend going to visit on a food trip to Paris with all the other incredible choices available.
18th Arrondissement – Montmartre
Hilly Montmartre is so much more than the pickpocket heavy Sacre-Coeur – in fact you should avoid the tourist hordes in front of the church go just to the west side to see how Parisians really live in the “village” studded with charming homes & flower boxes along the cobblestone streets. It is one of the prettiest neighborhoods in the city. Just follow the rue des Abbesses (lined with average food shops) and up/around to the rear of the church where you’ll even find a local vineyard. Standouts are Gilles Marchal’s pâtisserie (Crillon, the Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol, La Maison du Chocolat alum) for his lemon zest or Paris-Brest eclairs. Emily’s Le Grand 8 bistrot to the right side Sacre Coeur, has an outstanding selection of natural wines and incredible rooftop views (even from the restroom.)
The north of the Canal St Martin and east will bring you to working class Belleville, known for its Chinese dumplings. Le Grand Bol doesn’t have natural wine but is still an industry favorite for the fresh product, as is Ravioli Chinois Nord-Est. Craving Italian? Chef Michele Farnese’s little rustic spot Dilia has the prettiest outdoor terrace for summer dinners under the bell tower to enjoy sublime handmade pasta dishes & natural wines.
Hot Opening Coming Soon: Dersou’s Taku Sekine is planning a new opening there as well – he has been in his noodle labo getting them perfect before launching. I’ll update you on that soon.
Literally on the border of the 19th is the one and only Baratin – where chefs and natural wine pros from all over the world come to eat Raquel Carena’s comfort bistrot food paired with partner Pinouche’s wine list. It can be a challenge to feel comfortable as an outsider here since the entire place is literally packed with friends and family – but don’t let that bother you, the trek up there is so worth it.