We’re all about getting a good meal in a place with a fresh atmosphere, a convivial air and a reasonable price. It’s fun to seek out things off the beaten path and we do tend to like places that are harvesting from the local scene. The following is a hodge podge of places we’ve discovered. We’re out and about a fair bit, so this list will be an ongoing feature.
For ease, it’s divided into arrondissements. There will tend to be more entries for the areas near our apartment and our school. That’s life!
Villa Lys – 47 galerie de Montpellier, 75001 – A group of us went here one day after a tour of the 1st arrond. It’s in the Palais Royal gallery. Very very good. Beautiful setting. It was cold that day, but in good weather – outside seating would be the way to go.
Passage Choiseul – this old covered passage is in the process of a re-vamp – and it’s now full of little indie places to grab lunch – all kinds of food – Vietnamese, Thai, vegetarian, etc – full of biz types at lunch – bustling makes it even more fun.
Bistrot Vivienne – 4 rue des Petits Chaps, 75002 – in the Galleries Vivienne – one of the oldest covered passages that was the shopping area in the 19th century. I only stopped in for a drink on a cold afternoon – the atmosphere – you believe you are way way back in time. One of the most beautiful bistros in Paris.
Rue Montorgueil – full of inventive little restos and old familiars on this very hip pedestrian street: a few of them here:
Bistro Burger – 26, rue Montorgueil – they have cheddar fries and coleslaw on the menu, bitten!
Ekki – 59, rue Montorgueil – a French chain of healthy eateries, cafeteria style and Danish decor. Organic. yay! I’ve now eaten here several times by myself – it’s one of those kinds of places that you grab a tray, grab from the pre-mades or serve from the hot bar, or ask if it’s behind the counter. It’s easy, swift, tasty, good for you, and you can sit anywhere. Done!
Kapunka – 51, rue Saint-Sauveur – Thai canteen. It looks yummy and good Thai food isn’t always easy to find here. Back in November, my mom and I met a friend here and had lunch on tall stools with a nice waiter. It looks like a fast food joint but they do serve you at the little bar-stool tables. It was ok, you know. Good enough, but not great! Still searching Paris for great Thai.
Johana’s Fish & Chips – 30, rue Saint-Sauveur – Homemade fish and chips. Super cute looking place with a very long line, promises some good eats.
Jean Hwang Carrant – 84 rue d’Aboukir, 75002 – “simply extraordinary cookies’ her logo says. The cookies here are displayed under glass bell jars. They look rich. They are also quite pricey, but if you’re in the mood for a small taste of intensity, then this tiny store offers unique cookies.
MG Road – Met 2 of my girlfriends here for lunch one December day – it’s upscale Indian – very nice – if a bit pricey, but really good quality.
Matcha Cafe – I’m a bit mad for Matcha – you know – that Japanese delicate green powder that you mix and make tea – they have lots of matcha infused food here too, plus a matcha tea menu – decor is very minimalist – nice place to clear your head… ! Anytime you want to go, just buzz me.
Bob’s Kitchen – 74 rue des Gravilliers, 75003 – Paris’s famous vegetarian restaurant. On a side street, you walk in a tiny door into an aromatic space, grab a bench beside others and order the Veggie Bowl – it changes every day, and you have choices. It’s rice or grains, with roasted veggies of the day with your choice of sauces, depending on your mood… peanut Thai, curry, etc You can’t go wrong here. Smoothies too.
Swedish Institute cafe – 11 rue Payenne, 75003 – This is where you can go if you are wondering around the Marais and want to have a little break. The courtyard is nice. This cafe serves simple Swedish fare. Think salmon and dill sandwiches.
Corossol – Marche des Enfants Rouges – 33 bis rue charlot, 75003. Afro-Antillais & Cajun – Fresh vibrant food, reasonable, and a lively atmosphere. Need to go back in spring when the place is packed around 1:30pm with friends meeting up. How lucky!
Fondation Cafe – 16 rue Dupetit-Thouars, 75003 – I met up with a friend in town from L.A. here – it’s an itty bitty place with a terrace in an area that is hip/hot/trending. We had our kids, who weren’t particularly impressed because they were cold, but the coffee is fantastic, it’s what they are famous for, and once the hot spiced oatmeal arrived, the kids were congenial again… funny how that works!
Comme a Lisbonne – 37 rue du Roi de Sicile, 75004 – Love this area of town, the back streets are full of little eateries like this place that feel hidden and you just know they’re making it all by hand – I’ve yet to go here, but I keep thinking about it, so a lunch date is in order.
Les Petites Bouchees – Kind of place I’m drawn to. Small tables, original arty details. Single flower in a pretty vase, kind of thing. Went here by myself one day as I was exploring back streets. Turned out to be a delicious meal. A pleasant memory sitting by that window eating a burger, salad and fries…! Yes, I was hungry too!
Cafe St. Regis – 6, rue Jean Du Bellay, 75004 – This cafe is behind Cathedral Notre Dame on Ile St. Louis looking back onto the bridge that crosses between Ile de la Cite and this smaller island and is delightful in its old-style Parisian bistro way. It’s a busy area, of course, being in the heart of Paris, but there is also an elegance to this corner, with the bridge, the water, the buttresses. We had brunch. It was very very busy, but the waiter was swift and funny and the food excellent. I had the most delicious omlette des fines herbes, the best one I’ve had in this omlette-eating country. Our youngest had the brioche French toast with raspberry coulis. We all want to go back for brunch, I can just say.
Kraft Hot Dog – 15 rue des Archives, 75004 – We stopped by here one night during Fete de la Musique, as it’s right in the heart, and grabbed some dogs, with the throngs of people and the music thumping… they’ve got good cheap offerings. It’s a stand up kind of place, you can order from the street window as well and carry it around or there are 2 or 3 stools inside if it’s off hours. The guys who work there are chatty and there is a lot of street action to go along with your chili slaw dog.
L’Improbable – This is one of those places that’s hard to define. First – it’s hard to find! Off a side street, off a side street, if you know what I mean. But it’s in central Marais, so don’t get me wrong. I’d call it a – groovy stop-in. They serve sandwiches, soup, craft beer, craft sodas out of a VW bus inside the place. There are swings and hammocks and couches and ferns everywhere. At night there is music. It’s good.
Watt – 3 rue de Cluny – If you’ve toured the musee Cluny and need a place to have a sit down lunch, Watt is a good option. Right around the corner on a quiet side street, yet with a large terrace area overlooking the Cluny garden, Watt has a bit of everything.
Maison Sen – 22 rue du Sommerard, 75005 – If you are around the Sorbonne and need a quick inexpensive bite, this is a good choice. Fast casual Vietnamese. Wok rice bowls. Noodle bowls. Fresh and good.
Lenque – 31, rue de la Parcheminerie, 75005 – A subtle place, right beside the Canadian bookshop called The Abbey. It’s Japanese. I was there for lunch one day by myself before needing to go to the bookshop. The waiter/chef was very attentive and charming. The bento boxes are beautiful and delicious. Special treat.
Invitez-vous chez nous – 7 rue de l’Epee de Bois – A friend and I were wandering around then what do you know, it’s time for lunch, we look around, there’s a red door with no sign… we look in, there are tables, people seem to be eating, so we step in and end up having a perfect lunch. They offer 3 or 4 things daily. It’s pretty much like going over to your foodie friends house and getting fed.
Au Bon Coin – 21, rue de la Collegiale, 75005 – I love this bistrot. We went there with Andrew’s friends Pete and Kathy, they had made the reservation on a warm night in spring, and we had a lovely time. The chef is inventive within a traditional framework, classics ‘blend harmoniously with innovation.’ The servers were young, there was a hip vibe and a sense of purpose. I want to go back!
Le Rostand – 6 Place Edmond, 75005 – My cafe. When I lived in Paris in 2001, this was where I hung out day after day, sitting on the gorgeous terrace, watching people strolling into the Lux. Now, in 2014, it’s where I hang out. You know where to find me.
The Finnish Institute cafe – 60 rue des Ecoles, 75005 – Another cultural center with an airy cafe. It’s a great space, though not many food choices, but you can get a decent salad which you can’t always say about cafes in general. Nice locale across from the Cluny.
Cafe de la Nouvelle Mairie – 19, rue des Fosses St. Jacques – Intimate spot. A small garden across from it, you can sit at a table on the street and read books and day dream. It’s the non commercial 5th where the philosophers hang out. Only locals go back this far into the 5th. Try it.
Bonvivant – 7 rue des Ecoles, 75005 – We just found this place with some friends the other night after a movie at the cinema next door – what a great find. Craft beer, wines, and the most delicious onion soup – I’m not kidding. I’d go back just for that soup, plus it’s right beside a stellar movie house. What more do you need.
Hamlet’s Burgury – 12, rue Monge, 75005 – a burger joint in our old neighborhood, small, indie, yum.
Huguette – 44 rue de Fleurus, 75006 – Here’s a very cute veggie oriented place on the corner. Fresh, fast, healthy and in a great location.
Ressources – 16 rue Brea, 75006 – This little take out place is veggie oriented too. They have bento boxes with daily choices. Take it over to the benches at the Lux like I did one day and enjoy a quiet lunch under the trees.
Fuxia – 13, rue de Medicis, 75006 – an Italian cantina, very good spot right across from the Jardin du Luxembourg, with lots of outdoor seats. Zoe and I had lunch here the day before we were leaving for Ireland, and we had dropped off the dog at a friends place nearby. Zo had the eggplant parm, and now judges all dishes against this one – it was delicious. Another reason to go stroll the garden then lunch.
Les Deux Cigales – 8, rue Brea 75006 – A cool unassuming place in that awesome rue Vavin area. I had lunch here one day, passed it by chance, and walked in, got a little table. They served drinks in tin cups and have a great selection of salads, savory tarts, and burgers. Everything looked good and the service was great. Liked this place a lot, if you’re in the hood shopping. Went there a second time and it was even better. The people here are super nice and if you need to know – it’s very kid friendly!
Colorova – 47, rue de l’abbe Gregoire, 75006 – Lovely little spot on a quiet side street. They have great chairs! The kind with heavy woven colorful material that looks Mexican or Spanish. They serve nice teas and have breakfast, lunch, brunch and tea time.
Chez Coco – 18, rue de Fleurus, 75006 – I had seen their sign for homemade ice-cream, so the first time we went, that’s what we had. Great ice cream. Then the next time I went back, it was to have lunch – an omelette and salad (my usual these days) and it was very nice. A little espresso aftwards, hours later, lots of people-watching. We’re all happy.
Bread and Roses – 62 rue Madame, 75006 – An expat hangout in the Luxembourg garden district. Very pretty place to sit and have lunch or take something out to the garden. Pricey, but lovely. Roses in vases on the table. There is also one in the 8th I ran into this week. It’s at 25, rue Boissy d’Anglas, 75008 – a very upscale shopping area off St. Honore. Still pricey!
Mamie Gateaux – 66 rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 – lovely little light and airy restaurant for brunch or lunch. Usually full of ladies. Daily soups, salads and quiche. Our youngest loves this place. We lunched here one day and she had the daily soup offering with bread and was quite pleased.
Les Editeurs – 4 Carrefour de l’Odenon, 75006 – My cafe of the moment. Maybe because it’s January now and the red leather chairs and red walls feel warm. Location across from the theaters of St. Germain. Wood shelves full of books, nice lighting. Famous writers sitting on the terrace. Everyone looks like a writer or a filmmaker here. It’s the district after all. Typical French bistro menu. There is a very large upstairs that can accommodate larger groups. We’ve been here with Cat and Geoff, with the Saturday night gang, with Jan, Graeme, and Hugh. It’s a go-to place. The ‘seasonal’ salads are always good.
Le Nemrod – 51 rue du cherche-midi, 75006 – A nice corner cafe on two shopping streets so a good place to meet up. It’s near the dance school, so I wait here for the dancer a few hours every week. One waiter is very theatrical, he is always putting on a show for the patrons. I’ve been in enough that we know each other now. Nice atmosphere and good people watching spot.
Le Hibou – 16, carrefour de L’Odeon, 75006 – one of the best corners – always buzzing, day & night, but in a good way – just around the corner from the Odeon theaters – popular. We’ve gone here to have dinner – the inside is very woodsy, cozy, the upstairs like your own chic cabin, and we’ve gone just to sit outside on the terrace and people-watch. Great spot.
Marco Polo – 1, rue Saint-Sulpice, 75006 – if you’re looking for Paris fancy Italian – this is it. Very upscale, very popular with the neighborhood folks of the 6th – likely to see film directors, writers, and old patrons. Perfect for a night out with a group of friends. 8 or so of us went there one night – vivid memories of the 2 patrons in long leopard coats, one whose dog sat beside him all night at the dinner table and was very well-behaved… I’m told it’s where the Senators eat during the day.
Marlon – 159 rue de Grenelle, 75007 – “Californian Restaurant” – of course, this caught my eye one day s I was walking down rue de Grenelle. On a corner, lots of light, big windows, bare floors – thought to myself – gotta see what they’re offering – so met some new friends there one day – and was very excited to see they offer fish tacos, grain bowls, home made slaw, kale salad which I had, and like all good kale salads – spent the better part of an hour chewing it…. since then, I’ve been back 2 or 3 times. Very popular.
Chez Raja – 28 rue Surcouf, 75007 – I met a large group here one night and we feasted and chatted. The food was very good, and the waiters were super nice as were were there for quiet a long time and they offered us a night cap in the end. The atmosphere is cosy and comfortable.
L’Ami Jean – 27, rue Malar, 75007 – I went to lunch here one spring day with friends from Ottawa, as they knew about it, were back from a 2 week bike trip and were ravenous. They had snagged the window seat, with the large window open onto the street, the waiters are top-notch and funny and the food is the best! They are famous for their rice pudding which they serve in a large pottery bowl with wooden spoon and side bowls with spices, dates, raisins, etc. Very filling!
Treize – 16 rue des St. Peres, 75007 – When I walked in, the chef said, in a southern American twang, “Tell me everything.” That’s the trademark phrase that she said to new customers. It’s a cute southern food joint tucked away in a quiet courtyard. The menu changes by season. Open for breakfast and lunch. The biscuits are a m a z i n g.
Pain Quotidien – 25 rue de Varenne, 75007 – Communal tables, organic greens, nice brunch, detox juice, daily tartines, they make really nice soups, fritattas, and a banana oatmeal that’s great. But some people do just go for the bread basket overflowing with lots of different breads or even toasted baguettes solo. There is also an outpost in the Marais.
Capriccio – 26 rue du Monttessuy, 75007 – If you were to ask my youngest for the best place to eat lunch in Paris, this little Italian place would be her answer. She adores it. She recommends the pasta basilic – it’s an incredibly simple dish, but literally bursting with flavor. I’ve had the rolled up vegetable omelet which was delicious with side salad too and we’ve shared plates of roasted vegetables. It all looks good in here.
Bistrot le Champ de Mars – 45, ave de la Bourdonnais – a good place to sit, especially on a sunny day, a big sprawling corner cafe, we’ve spent many mornings and afternoons here while the girls are still in the library.
A la place St Georges – 60, rue St. Georges, 75009 – Sometimes when I take the metro up to the 9th, I’ll get out near this spot. Occupying a quiet corner point, a popular local cafe. We’ve stopped in for coffees many times before heading up to the higher 9th streets to shop or wander around.
Rose Bakery – 46 rue des Martyrs – been twice now, and will go back when I’m up toward Monmartre which is not every day as the place is a bit off the beaten, but the rue Martyrs area is hot shopping/foodie area. This bakery lunch spot is wonderful especially if you like really delicious inventive side salads which they change daily. Soups are fantastic too especially with a side salad medley. We’ve all eaten here and the whole family agrees on this place, which doesn’t happen all the time!
Terra Corsa – 42 rue des Martyrs – One sunny autumn day, Andrew and I decided to go for a walk then have lunch, just the two of us. After a nice walk around the area of the 9th, we stopped here and sat on the sloping terrace, tucked in among other weekend diners, and I had the most delicious local mushroom lasagna, every bite another bite of bliss!
My Free Kitchen – It was raining and I saw the door. That’s how I ended up here. There was no one else inside (because it was off hours) but the guy was super nice and even though it’s a vegan place and I assume that food sometimes tastes like cardboard, my plate de jour was delice. Salads, roasted eggplant pate, some olive cheese gf bread, etc. Not bad for a walk by!
Salsamenteria di Parma – 40, rue Saint-Georges, 75009 – Just yells, “Authentically awesome Italian” – when you’re looking for it, here it is.
Zazza – 18, rue du Faubourg Poissonniere, 75010 – another place we walked by and thought “Wow, that looks great!” So, I haven’t been, but from the looks of it, it would be worth going. Sparkling lights, festive air, nice menu, good location, all that.
Sol Semilla – 23 rue des Vinaigriers, 75010 – A healthy eatery with family style seating. The guys next to me gave me pointers – it’s one of those places you feel virtuous going to, and the crowd are converted health nuts (ha) but it was a bit too healthy, if you know what I mean. Good vibes though and they sell herbs as well.
Flo – 7, cour des Petites Ecuries, 75010 – We walked by here one day after exploring the area – it’s in a side courtyard – and it’s very old-fashioned – it looked like great fun for a big group. Old style brasserie.
La Cantine de Quentin – 52, rue Bichat, 75010 – This place looks happening. Every table full of people dining. Check out their website to get the gist. It’s a resto, caviste, and epicerie too, wine bar and store, basically too.
Marcel – 90 Quai Jemmapes, 75010 – this Indian restaurant sits right on the Canal with huge windows looking out, and a very hip interior. It’s buzzing at night. They offer lovely Indian food and interesting cocktails. We went here way back last spring with a big group of friends and had the best time! It did, however take a LONG cab ride to get there and back… it was the weekend, so to be expected, alas.
Matiere a – 15, rue Marie et Louise, 75010 – another walk by I photographed and made a note to go back to, haven’t yet, but on the day I passed the tall windows were open to the inside and it was busy, very tiny place, so you’d think they must be making good food, or they’d be out of business with only 9 or 10 tables… cool side street too.
Andrew and I love the places around the Marche d’Aligre. And on market day, it’s especially fun.
UMulina – A Corsican resto where we met 2 other couples and had a blast. Coincidentally, one of the couples goes to Corsica every summer, so they were in the know about the charcuterie plates and the fish, and regaled us all evening with stories from their village in Corsica. Good times! Excellent food! Plus music in the warm months. Highly convivial.
cojean – at Beaugrenelle – It was a good day when we discovered this ‘fast food’ place. The veggie Thai salad is what I get almost every time. Maybe a matcha latte as well. The pre-mades never disappoint. It’s a chain, a good one.
le Regalia – 1 rue de la Convention, 75015 – Where I happened to wait for one of the kids while they were in a class, a local cafe in a very family type neighborhood full of people that know each other. A good place to wait for someone.
Le Recepteur – 3, ave Theophile Gautier – Awesome little bistro across from Radio France, on a nice quiet side street with a view of the gardens across the street and the market. Inventive fare. Hip service. Neighborhood joint for regulars.
Quarante un – 41 rue Mozart – a new cafe/brasserie on Mozart! Yay! And a very good one. Love the interior. Met my book club there one night and we really enjoyed it.
framboise creperie – 10, boulevard Delessert, 75016 – Nana and I took Ivy here for lunch during the school day. Long list of choices both savory and sweet. Yummy and swift service.
Le Polo – 109 ave Mozart, 75016 – around the corner from us, this place always makes me glad when I pass. Why? Because there are string lights twinkling, a nice awning, a good terrace, people are always packed on, and at night it becomes a real scene for the young kids in the neighborhood. Plus, I ate there one day and chatted with the young brothers that own the place. They serve burgers and fries. The beef comes from their fathers farm near Paris (forgot where) so it’s a family enterprise. Hip place!
Cafe Aero – 3 place du Passy, 75016 – This is the cafe where I meet all the school moms, where we have parent assoc meetings, and all that, so we’ve been here a ton. A regular cafe, no big deal.
These are a few we must try: Le Petit Retro – 5 rue Mesnil, 75116 and La Coincidence at 15 rue Mesnil, 75116