Paris’s reputation as one of the world’s culinary capitals is entirely justified. Food isn’t just a passion here, it’s as intrinsic to Parisian culture as summer evenings by the Seine, a love of understated fashion, and (of course) the right to endlessly go on strike. This is the city where two-hour lunches reign, prize-winning baguettes make front-page news, the coolest restaurants command month-long waiting lists, and bistros have refused to change for decades, maintaining the same time-honored menus year after year. In between, you’ll find seriously creative cooking that celebrates the simple beauty of French ingredients and produce, from artichokes and asparagus to prized Bresse chickens, with a farm-to-table focus few other places can rival. We’ve selected 11 of Paris’s can’t-miss restaurants—and what to order at each one.
Out in the far reaches of the 19th arrondissement, next to the sprawling Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, an inconspicuous corner restaurant serving elegantly modern seafood dishes has become one of the hottest adresses to dine in Paris. You’ll need to book in advance even to secure a bar seat at Soces, let alone one of the simple wooden tables, but the rewards are evident as soon as you sit down.
Start strong with its signature amuse bouche, a single oyster served with a spicy margarita shot, that sets the tone for the shellfish-heavy menu devised by Marius de Ponfilly (previously of Clamato, sister seafood bar to the Michelin-starred Septime). Plates are ideal to share and far more complex than descriptions suggest. Tuna tartare comes with Roman-style crispy artichokes and a ham gel. Fresh peas arrive warm with salty lardons.
On the meatier side, you might find an enormous pork chop to share for two, but it’s better to save room for cheese. A wedge of the triple-cream Brillat-Savarin and glass of natural cabernet franc is the perfect way to bring a meal at Soces to a close.
2. Brasserie Dubillot
Trust us, boudin noir (blood sausage) nuggets might be the culinary revelation you’ve been waiting for. You simply can’t order wrong at Brasserie Dubillot, one of the Nouvelle Garde group’s growing handful of funky brasseries, where the vibes rival the menu. Beneath belle époque–inspired posters and stained-glass light fixtures, meals deliver as much fun as flavor.
Everything is fait maison (made from scratch) by the young team, with ingredients sourced in the Parisian region wherever possible. Meats are the real specialty: steaks, duck breasts, and hunks of lamb cooked on a wood-fired grill and served with rich sauces (count on spending €30, around US$32, per person).
For dessert, save room for a towering Paris-Brest, a choux pastry wheel filled with hazelnut cream, before heading for drinks at one of the many dive bars nearby.
We’ll let you in on a secret: Vantre has one of the best wine lists in the city. This unassuming bistro is the place for Parisian long-lunch perfection, a succession of artfully plated dishes in a light and airy small dining room. Expect a big industry crowd for the wines, which run from somewhat out-of-place magnums of Dom to some of Burgundy’s most interesting premier crus.
Get at least two courses. To start, perhaps a light combination of roasted cauliflower and anchovies or the red pepper mousse, then the pigeon tart with chanterelles or a slow-cooked beef cheek. There are usually only a few options to choose from, each dish rich and flavorful without being heavy, generally making one ingredient the star.
4. L’Avant Comptoir de la Terre
Yves Camdeborde, the founding father of the bistronomy movement, has made L’Avant-Comptoir de la Terre the stuff of Left Bank legend. “No seats, no problem” might as well be its motto. Instead, you perch against the bar, carving off curls of butter from a shared boulder-size lump for your crusty bread. The menu dangles on cards from the ceiling.
Food is tapas style and meaty, although vegetarians might find joy in a truffled Comté croque monsieur or homemade fries dredged through tarragon mayo. Other options range from classic to creative depending on the day: beef tataki with asparagus, peas and (unexpectedly) peanuts, a superb pâté en croûte, or a pork burger with kale compote.
It doesn’t take reservations, so be sure to get there early or try its neighboring sister seafood bar, L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer.
5. Bistrot des Tournelles
Rarely has a new bistro become as much of an instant hit as Bistrot des Tournelles, which opened in July 2022. Apart from the hype, there are few giveaways that Édouard Vermynck’s homage to classic French dining hasn’t been serving steaks swimming in pepper sauce for centuries. (He previously ran the stylish bar-restaurant Entrée des Artistes in Pigalle, known as much for its vinyl record selection as its food.)
Behind half-height lacy curtains, you’ll find Parisian romance without a hint of cheesiness (unless you get the cheese course). Instead, it’s all about elegant French comfort food, cooked with passion. Mains hover between €30 and €40, the highlight the poulette des Landes (young chicken) with a cream sauce and morel mushrooms. You can choose among fries, mashed potatoes, or spinach on the side. New openings don’t get more traditional than this. New restaurants rarely deliver as much historic character and charm.
Where do you find good Italian food in Paris? Passerini, helmed by perhaps the city’s best-known Italian chef, Giovanni Passerini, near one of the city’s best markets, the Marché d’Aligre in the 12th arrondissement, is the elegant answer.
The modern and low-key setting—big picture windows and scant decoration other than wine bottles stacked on high shelves—lends itself to easy dining. It’s a welcome antidote if you’ve been swimming in onion soup, cream sauces, and rich pastries.
Authentic fresh pastas are the essential order, with three on the menu most days. Don’t miss the tortellini in brodo or tagliolini with lamb meatballs, if you’re lucky enough to spot them. To follow, old-school recipes such as vitello tonnato might appear alongside plats making the most of the day’s freshest fish or fowl (think turbot with an onion and fennel gratin or a whole pigeon, served in two courses).
You’ll find Amagat hidden down a cobbled, fairy-light-lit pedestrian alley in the 20th arrondissement, in the far east of the city. You’re way off the tourist trail here, but plenty of Parisians and visitors alike find their way to this not-so-secret tapas spot.
It’s at once utterly Parisian (the buzz of the service, the outside tables) and pleasingly Spanish (the untranslated menu, the padron peppers sizzling on the grill).
Sharing, of course, is a must. Mix tapas crowd-pleasers—jamon iberico, croquetas, patatas bravas and a tortilla—with more elegant small plates. Add the baked Jerusalem artichokes in miso butter and the presa ibérica marinated in gochujang and you’ll have a feast for two.
This Left Bank seafood restaurant could have been picked up straight from a chic seaside resort on the Brittany coast and dropped in central Paris. Seafood rules at the sidewalk tables beneath Huguette’s striped awnings, where friendly staff in Breton-stripe tees navigate pedestrians while balancing towering platters of oysters, lobster, and crab with frosty champagne buckets.
You can practically hear the waves crash as you scoop mignonette (a sauce of finely chopped shallots and red wine vinegar) onto a dozen fines de claire oysters. It does have some nonshellfish options (ceviche, poke bowls, and the like), but the old-school delights of the raw bar are the real draw. But make an exception for the fried calamari or fritto misto.
9. Kodawari Yokocho
At Kodawari Yokocho, steaming bowls of ramen are only half the appeal. The wildly but wonderfully over-themed decor—a veritable forest of paper lanterns and bamboo screens that evoke the spirit of a moonlit Tokyo alleyway—is as much of a reason to come.
This is a ramen joint unlike any other in the city, inspired by the spirit of a typical Japanese izakaya. The menu is based around six different ramen choices, including one veggie option with a sesame, miso and cauliflower base, each customizable with toppings (nori, extra chashu pork, spicy sauce, and so on).
Everything is freshly made and ingredients impeccably sourced, the wheat for the noodles even grown and milled right outside the city.
10. Le Servan
French Filipina sisters Tatiana and Katia Levha have been running Le Servan for nearly 10 years, but their menu feels as inventive today as when they opened this small yet special restaurant in 2014. Their cooking draws on Asian influences as well as French techniques, with seasonality and sustainability always front and center.
They made their name by turning veal brains and sweetbreads into Paris’s must-try (and must-photograph) dishes. Equally exciting are an elegantly simple soft-boiled egg with ponzu jelly and trout eggs or their version of a magret de canard (duck breast), served with a carrot puree and spicy jus.
Dinner here is a bit of a splurge—expect to pay $60–$70 per head before wine—but well worth it for the lovely dining room (check out the ceiling moldings), memorable dishes, and charming service.
11. Le Doyenné
A short drive, or RER (the suburban trains that extend beyond the metro) and taxi journey, outside Paris in the small village of Saint-Vrain, Le Doyenné more than merits a detour on a primarily Parisian culinary adventure. This farm, restaurant, and rooms from James Henry and Shaun Kelly (previously of Au Passage and Yard) epitomize the field-to-plate movement, vegetables grown outside the magnificent conservatory-style converted stables where you dine on rough-wood tables.
On the menu? Whatever the potager has yielded that morning, along with wild game, seafood, and sustainably reared meats. Once you’ve made it this far, you might as well go for the carte blanche (€95 plus €70 for wine pairings), a skillful four-course introduction to its philosophy.
Since it scooped a Michelin green star, you’ll need to book well ahead for a table, even earlier if you want to stay overnight in one of the 10 rustic-chic rooms, too.
Eleanor Aldridge Eleanor Aldridge is a writer based in Paris and the author of Paris: A Curious Traveler’s Guide. She specializes in food, travel, and (often natural) wine.