One trick to finding amazing French cuisine in Paris? Get off the beaten tourist path and eat where the locals do. Here are some top picks to get authentic French cuisine in Paris.
Try some foie gras while dining in Paris. — Photo courtesy of jlastras
This inexpensive yet delicious French bistro offers French delicacies such as foie gras and pig’s cheeks. Philou attracts an urban and stylish clientele, yet is still welcoming and unpretentious. Bonus: Philou is located near the tranquil Canal St. Martin, ideal for an after-dinner stroll.
Le Bistrot du 7éme
This restaurant is located in a residential area and offers a great value while staying elegant with posh, Parisian-inspired décor. It’s also reasonably priced with a 25 Euro prix-fixe menu. Dish to Try: Veal kidneys in mustard sauce.
La Cantine du Troquet
The menu at this charming bistro-style restaurant presents a simple menu on a blackboard in an atmosphere that is casual. This is a place where simplicity is done best and you’ll eat classic French food prepared to perfection. Important to Note: Reservations aren’t accepted so arrive early to avoid a wait.
Serving specialties from the Limousin region, this restaurant is conveniently located near the Louvre. The atmosphere here is laid back with a big table for those who are interested in socializing and meeting new people or smaller tables for those not interested in a communal dining experience. Dish to try: Duck Confit.
Le Stella Brasserie
Located in the upscale 16th arrondissement, Le Stella Brasserie caters to the well-heeled families who live there in an unstuffy and cheery setting. You will find oysters, escargot, Steak au Poivre and many other classic French dishes. Bonus: You’ll experience dining at one of the last independently owned brasseries left in Paris as most have been scooped up by chains.
La Cave du Chapeau Melon
Though located in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, a journey here is well worth it – especially for wine lovers. La Cave du Chapeau Melon is a wine shop that converts into a cozy restaurant at night offering just one four-course menu. It's like going to a good friend's home for dinner - great atmosphere and you eat what you're served. Bonus: They have an excellent wine selection.
Au Pied de Cochon
No matter when hunger strikes, you can find good cuisine in Paris at this brasserie open 24 hours a day. In operation since 1946, Au Pied de Cochon and its art-deco interior is a Parisian staple with indoor and outdoor seating. Dish to try: The restaurant’s namesake – the Pied de Cochon, aka pig foot.
A quintessential Parisian building where Au Pied de Cochon is located. — Photo courtesy of jay.tong
Le Coude Fou
Located in the Marais district, the name of this restaurant means 'crazy elbow,' and you can rest assured that the French food will be crazy good at this bistro and wine bar. Dish to try: Pork cheeks.
Au Petit Sud Ouest
The “mom and pop” welcoming atmosphere of this restaurant extends throughout your dining experience. Besides dishes that taste home cooked, Au Petit Sud Oest offers a special touch of toasters at each table for warming bread – perfect for pairing with the numerous foie gras options on the menu. Dish to Try: Anything duck.
Marché des Enfants Rouges
Trade in a traditional restaurant and expand your dining horizons by heading to Marché des Enfants Rouges, a food market located in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris. Mix and match your meal with cheese, oysters, salads, pastries or some of the Moroccan and international cuisine that's on display in this market. Bonus: You’ll be spending time in the oldest market in Paris.
A few more things to keep in mind when dining out in Paris is to make reservations when possible since many restaurants are small and to double check the days the restaurant is open – many establishments are closed on Mondays. When eating off the beaten tourist path, you'll find that the menus are all in French, so bring a translation book if you don't speak French and don't be afraid to take a few peeks at it if you don't know what something is. Trying to understand and speak in French instead of automatically expecting to converse in English will be appreciated by your server, who may or may not know English.