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Eat Well And Good for A Tasty Price In Paris



The top options for gourmet tastes and reasonable budgets in Paris are here on this list. For those looking for a bit of an ethnic experience in Paris, there's lots here on the list that fills that bill. From Bistro Paradis (French-Brazilian) to Itacoa  (French bistro with South American flair) to Chilam (Mexican) to John Weng (Asian fusion) to Le 1K you can travel from South America to East Asia and back again. Also Marclee, which offers Asian-fusion cuisine. Inka has mainly Peruvian dishes on its menu, an ethnic cuisine that has continued to fascinate the French here in the capital. They all offer terrific dining values.

More dining value for your money can be had at  the Marais go-to destination Le  Grand Coeur.  Where else can you enjoy the cuisine of a world-renowned chef (Exec. Chef Mauro Colagreco) at affordable French bistro prices? This famous chef, Mauro Colagreco, whose Argentinian roots inform his sophisticated cuisine, at Mirazur (just voted the #1 restaurant in the world by 50Best Restaurants) is executive chef at Grand Coeur. This restaurant is literally tucked in the heart of the Marais in an old cobble stoned courtyard.

And for those who are really worried about getting their money's worth at mealtime, a French phrase you will want to learn and keep your eye out for is à volonté, which means “all you can eat.”


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11th Arondissement - Bastille Ca
Obermamma
Photo courtesy of Obermamma


Come here when you're looking for a fun night out accompanied by excellent, authentic Italian trattoria food. Even though the French never eat dinner before 8, a crowd is already gathering by 7 p.m. - most likely because of the delicious smells coming from the wood-burning pizza ovens. do back home. The staff is all Italian and the service here is impeccable. Efficiency means they can turn the tables over to accommodate the long line of waiting guests, sure, but having your cocktail served just moments after you've ordered it is wholly refreshing. They can do that because the server taking your order punches in your request in her WiFi-enabled smart device which is instantly plugged into their system and immediately your cocktail arrives. Same goes with your meal order. One server takes the orders while another brings the food. There isn't anything like it in this city.

Recommended for Best Value because: Save room for dessert. Their divine "lemonmisu", tiramisu made with lemon, is an original.

Paige's expert tip: Come here when you're looking for a fun night out accompanied by excellent, authentic Italian trattoria food. Even though the French never eat dinner before 8, a crowd is already gathering by 7 p.m. - most likely because of the delicious smells coming from the wood-burning pizza ovens.

Read more about Obermamma →


9
3rd Arondissement - Marais


On a lovely tree-shaded corner just across the street from the side entrance to Les Archives, the national archives, sits this lovely local's caf�nd restaurant. The fancy isn't in the food but in the setting and there's really nowhere else like it in Paris. You can sit out on the large covered patio, the "terrasse" which occupies nearly the whole street corner and is graced even further by a last-century -working - stone water fountain. In addition to serving a light Parisian breakfast of caf�roissant/orange juice, they do brisk lunch and dinner services mainly catering to the many loyal patrons who work in the trendy shops and Marais businesses surrounding this location. An evening glass of wine during happy hour out on the sidewalk patio is unrivaled in terms of soaking up some true Parisian atmosphere.

Recommended for Best Value because: Perched on its tree-shaded leafy corner intersection of quiet Marais streets just across from the national archives, this spot is singular in Paris.

Paige's expert tip: Now that Les Archives, the national archives of France, gardens are open to the public, make this stop your before or after relaxation point once you've taken in the lovely, tranquil gardens of this formerly closed-to-the-public landmark grounds.

Read more about La Terrasse des Archives →




Though the name may imply an Asian flair, what you'll find here is a fun and fashionable South American vibe. It seems that Peruvian cuisine has been the food du jour for some time now, and here it takes on its own comfort food twist. And everything on the menu is comfortingly affordable, too. Start off with some cheesy nachos; how about add to that a side of guacamole and a small taco or two. The mains are a smoked salmon steak and ceviches,but the house specialty of basted, bbq short ribs will have you demanding a second order, they are so good. Maracuja - aka passion fruit - is another featured player on the menu here and their tiramisu maracuja is pretty much another raison d'etre to keep coming back. Unless you're a wine geek; you might overlook the wine list which would be a mistake. Even the bottles of wine here are ever so sweet to your pocketbook, with some coming in at the same price of a cocktail in a high-end hotel bar. Yes, French wine!

Recommended for Best Value because: hen we think of food from Latin America the tendency is to lump it all together with 'Mexican.' But here you have some nice Peruvian and Asian-influence twists.

Local Expert tip: Week days, lunch and dinner this place is packed. Weekends, too. But the casual atmosphere, the good (affordable!) food and the laid back vibe of the servers make it worth the wait. It's also in a great location, just a hop skip from Paris' 'foodie street', Montorgueil. I would say any of the appetizers, the short ribs and the passion fruit tiramisu are all sure-fire winners. And their quinoa salad is a vegetarian diner's love fest.

Read more about Tigermilk →


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7
2éme Arrondissement


Newly opened by chef Rafael Gomes after putting in his 3 solid years as chef at the Grand Coeur (in Paris Marais), this attractive spot in the up-and-coming 'start-ups central' area of Paris is an instant hit. Here, the Brazil-born, U.S. trained (Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park both NYC top restaurants) is free to do as he wishes and follow his inspiration. Lunch is a good time to stop in to try the singularly delicious roasted avocado salad. You'll also find daily specials that include market fresh ingredients like artichokes and asparagus blended with a perfectly creamy but light risotto served with generous white-breast filets of Bresse chicken. A generous steak is also on the menu and there are also vegetarian choices which makes this a super choice for dinner, too. The signature dessert here is a white chocolate served with passion fruit granita and a coulis sauce of passion fruit. All is house made and all comes from the sheer passion and delight the chef has for his chosen profession. The interior decor is rustic and laid back with a gorgeous central table for group seating. Service is friendly and international but all seem to share that Brazilian touch of warmth.

Recommended for Best Value because: This chef has worked in some of the world's finest kitchens ranking on the world's 50 best lists. Now he has his own restaurant.

Paige's expert tip: You really can't go wrong with the special of the day since the chef knows what's best for which season and has an eye for sourcing the top ingredients at the market. Two things not to miss are the cheese balls as a starter which are so super cheesy inside that they knock the traditional gougeres out of the playing field. Another not to miss are the fresh juice blends, all signature and all healthy and delicious. And then of course the white chocolate and passion fruit dessert. Just try to find that anywhere else.

Read more about Itacoa →


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4éme Arrondissement


There was a time, back in the mid-80s when Mexican food, or, more precisely, Tex-Mex, was a big trend in Paris. Then, as happens in big cities, food trends shifted elsewhere. But now it's back, Mexican food that is. And this time it's the authentic Mexican food that is getting its day in the sun. Chilam is decorated reminiscent of the famous Blue House, the museum in Mexico dedicated to Frida Kahlo. Reproductions of her paintings adorn the walls here, including an all blue modernistic tableau the exact color blue of the famous museum. The menu has also gotten an upgrade at this new location of the restaurant, just near the Bastille. Yucateca (chicken), Michoacana ( pork & beans) and also heaped full pulled, marinated duck tacos are on offer for starters. Pair these with a piled high bowl of housemade tortilla chips and rich, delicious guacamole and you've got yourself a meal. But if you do have a bigger appetite, go for the spicy, grilled gambas (marinated prawns) of the smoke-charred and grilled beef filet. There are also two types of margaritas, spicy and regular and each are served in a salt-rimmed glass, blended with ice. For the warmer months, this is an ideal stop for lunch, afternoon snack or dinner.

Recommended for Best Value because: Parisian people finally have a great place for real corn tortilla tacos made with fresh ingredients served with real guacamole.

Paige's expert tip: Seating is light and airy in a blue room adorned with Frida Kahlo masterpiece reproductions. The frozen margaritas here are the best I've tasted in the city. Much on a big bowl of tortilla chips washed down with a cold cerveza while watching the hipster Marais folks saunter in, and this is pretty much Mexican heaven in Paris.

Read more about Chilam →


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3rd Arondissement - Marais


The wave of Peruvian-inspired cuisine has already been crashing upon the shores of restaurant culture for some time, now. So to lend a fresh twist to this trend takes some ingenuity, a dash of talent and some seasoning of creativity. At Inka, the Mexican-born chef Juan Carlos Recamier, has brought all three of these essential ingredients to his kitchens here in Paris. The menu is inspired by the Nikkei influence of second generation Japanese immigrants that Peruvian culture is famous for. So here you'll find dishes like Yakitori grilled octopus with that hibachi-induced smoky, charred flavor. But the stars of the culinary choices here are the ceviches. They come in varied incarnations, including a fairly audacious shrimp ceviche. Be sure to try the bone marrow dish drenched in healthy fats.

Recommended for Best Value because: Peruvian cuisine may or may not be on your radar. Whichever the case, here Chef Recamier serves up inspired ceviche and tantalizing roots-to-tip vegetable incarnations.

Paige's expert tip: For fresh caught fish from small Atlantic fishermen served ceviche style with just the right amount of spice, this is your go-to. In Paris, that's a fairly rare combination, even with the wave of hot-spot Peruvian cuisine venues. The adjacent bar serves Pisco-inspired cocktails, which pair very nicely with the main courses and especially the appetizers, perfect for sharing.

Read more about Inka →


4
10éme Arrondissement


This is one of those Parisian bistros where the chef, after toiling long and hard for celebrity French chefs (Christian Constant and Ducasse) followed his dream and opened up his own little piece of paradise. Aptly named, as it stands squarely on rue Paradis, this little Bistro offers a fixed lunch menu at a price that is terrifically affordable. Especially because the food itself is even more than terrific. Heralding from his native Brasil, Chef Alexandre Furtado takes inspiration from the day's market fresh ingredients to whip up his offerings for a very loyal lunch crowd (as in get there early because tables fill up by noon). The fixed menu offers things like grilled steak served on homemade gnocchi or fresh fish grilled and served over a bed of pureed sweet potato, drenched in a lime-cilantro sauce. Desserts range from coconut flan to fresh, seasonal fruits. For dinner, the tasting menu is also fixed and the chef serves you up 5 dishes minimum where you get to work your tastebuds through. Service is masterfully coordinated by his partner Yoann who with his ethnic mixture of French, Spanish and Vietnamese rounds out the cultural flavorings of this quintessential Parisian Bistro.

Recommended for Best Value because: When the chef loves what he does you feel it in the taste/quality of the food. This is what makes Bistro Paradis a standout.

Paige's expert tip: A sure sign of quality here is evident when you glance at the wine list. For such a modestly priced lunch/ dinner menu, the wines are glorious and include Roederer Brut by the bottle and other equally impressive selections from Pommard and Pauillac but also Minervois.

Read more about Bistro Paradis →


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11th Arondissement - Bastille Ca


A perennial favorite of international foodies, the steak-for-two here that comes with handfuls of house-made fries is a hands down, no-brainer, top-notch winner. But so is just about everything else on their menu. This bistro has been incessantly talked about by the international foodies for at least a decade now. It's not where the French chefs go on their days off. But it is worth experiencing since the ancient zinc counters, the antiqued mirrors and old b&w photos of Paris that decorate the walls set the perfect stage for your market fresh fare. It is fun to wander into this area of Paris, an area that is prized by the edgy hipsters for what was once considered edgy, but which has now become gentrified. The wines here, served by the glass or by the bottle, are organic and biodynamic and can include pleasant choices such as Domaine Gramenon, Cotes-du-Rhone.

Recommended for Best Value because: Even though this makes every single best bistro list you've ever read about Paris, it is still worth having at least one meal here.

Paige's expert tip: If you go for the daily lunch special, you'll get the best deal. You might be served something like a grilled white fish, delivered from Brittany that morning, covered in a butter-lemon sauce served alongside spinach al dente. But if you go for the next tier, double the price, you'll get something even more unforgettable. Wines here are organic and biodynamic, with outstanding gems among the choices.

Read more about Bistrot Paul Bert →


2
13éme Arrondissement


This is Tomy Gousset's newest restaurant. He opened it here in the 13th arrondissement which is otherwise known for its landmark Butte aux Cailles and its famous Little China Town. This restaurant has nothing to do with Asian food, however. It's all about inspired Mediterranean cuisine. Chef Gousset's other Left Bank restaurants,including the one in the7th arrondissement, earned him a Michelin star not long ago. So, you can expect the same quality and attention to provenance of best quality ingredients here, too. In fact, he even cultivates all of his own vegetables in a garden just outside Paris and has the produce delivered fresh, daily. Chet Gousset worked at Daniel in NYC before opening his own restaurants here in Paris. He is also a graduate of Paris' biggest cooking school, Ferrandi. After graduating, he did a decade worth of stints at Taillevent (3 Michelin stars) and Le Meurice. But cooking wasn't his first career training. In fact, he spent several years at university before recognizing that his passion for food is what he wanted as his life's pursuit.

Recommended for Best Value because: Here you'll find the Chef Gousset signature of generous portions coupled with creative and imaginative flair such as the rice pudding with pomegranate and pistachios.

Paige's expert tip: As an appetizer, be sure to have a taste of the hummous with green peas and mint. Here you'll find dishes made with goat cheese, pomegranate, lemon and olive oil - all the classic Mediterranean flavor profiles, but done with the Gousset flair. What's the Gousset flair? Generosity and creativity combined to make unexpected flavor profiles from regular ingredients. Be sure to try the mackerel which is cooked and served in its own cast iron miniature griddle. The potato starch lightly tempura fried octopus is another must have. Portions here are generous and and perfect for sharing.

Read more about Marso & Co →


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4éme Arrondissement
Grand Coeur
Photo courtesy of Grand Coeur


When stepping into this cobblestoned courtyard in Le Marais, Paris' "SoHo" district, your attention is instantly gripped by two things: the resounding sound of dancers practicing their jazz/ballet/modern dance steps which echo from the second floor courtyard windows that house the Dance Center of the Marais, and the vast outdoor terrace seating of this restaurant fixture that has welcomed hipsters and food-lovers here for decades. The Grand Coeur is however altogether a new restaurant in this beloved location and one that is pedigreed. None other than Executive Chef Mauro Colagreco. Dishes here vary from delicate and refined such as the carpaccio of octopus, to simply flavorful, the pesto crust raw tomato tarte, to rich and satisfying, the signature lamb shoulder main slow-cooked for 14 hours, then crispy flash fried with dates and roasted walnuts.

Recommended for Best Value because: Chef Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur is executive chef here and oversees the kitchens when he's not at his Top world-ranking restaurant, Mirazur, in Menton.

Paige's expert tip: Here they offer gins from France, the US, Germany, Italy and England. And then they add the precise ingredients, like Sichuan peppers or Menton lemon zest, to bring out the liquor's inherent characteristics. Locals love it. Oh and the wine list is stellar, too, specialized in biodynamic and organic wines.

Read more about Grand Coeur →


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Meet Paige Donner

Paige's latest book, The Romantic Couple's Guide To The City of Love, Sexy Paris follows her earlier guidebook Paris On 4 Paws, A Dog Lover's Guide To The City of Light and her acclaimed...  More About Paige

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