Paris is overflowing with restaurants. You can dine like royalty at three-Michelin starred places, and you can find bistros with food you wouldn’t feed to your own dog.
But we all know that the internet is full of recommendations for good food.
So instead, here are ten restaurants with a great historical backstory, a charm, a je ne sais quoi that makes for a good tale, or at least an interesting conversation point over dinner. We’ve linked to all the restaurants’ home pages, so you can find their menus and prices, and we’ve been sure to include a good mix of price points and dining experiences.
Note: all of the following restaurants are located in the 10th-20th arrondissements and we found them as part of our “Paris Countdown” explorations. We’ll be doing central Paris over the next few months, let us know where to go in the comments below.
An icon and nothing less. This restaurant is simply the standard by which Paris restaurant experiences should be measured. The interior of the restaurant is like a gilded museum, with homages to southern France throughout, from the time when diners would eat at the restaurant before taking the nearby train to the Riviera. Here is a link to more info and many more pictures from our recent visit. @restaurantletrainbleu Address: Pl. Louis-Armand, 75012
Up in Belleville, this restaurant offers an authentic singalong evening with talented French musicians. We went for the Edith Piaf singalong, which is only on Tuesday nights, but there are other themes on other nights too. Typical bistro food and not too expensive. The owner was born on the same street as the restaurant and will gladly share the local history with you, if you speak French 🙂 Address: 12 Rue des Envierges, 75020 @levieuxbelleville
3. Le Dôme
This iconic restaurant still has the charm. You can’t get a full meal for a dollar like you could in the golden days of Hemingway and Picasso (who both used to visit regularly), but the seafood menu is a treat and the interior is stunning. Read a lot more about our visit and see more of the interior here. @ledomemontparnasse Address: 108 Bd du Montparnasse, 75014
This building was once a train station on the petite ceinture railway line. You can see in the photos below, the diners sit where the tracks once ran, there are even tables on the “platforms”, and the ticket booths are now chef’s kitchens and bars.
5. La Rotonde
An elegant brasserie in a beautiful building. It’s a very Parisian vibe, with the interior decked out in walnut panels and Versailles marble, with top notch food to match. Address: 12 Chau. de la Muette, 75016 @larotondedelamuette
This is a very happening place, both day and night. It has a great energy, lovely food, and the building dates back to the French Revolution when it was a toll gate to the city. I snuck up a staircase to those square windows at the top, and was treated with a great view over the Bassin de la Villette. Address: 6-8 Pl. de la Bataille de Stalingrad, 75019 @larotondestalingrad
Old-school Paris at its best. Charming waiters zip about this fun restaurant, which is stretched over three levels and is steeped in local history. It used to be the local hangout for car factory workers who were fed in the hundreds. No visit to the 15th is complete without a dinner here. @lecafeducommerce.1921. Address: 51 Rue du Commerce, 75015
This restaurant’s interior is an art nouveau wonder. A truly beautiful old brasserie with surprisingly affordable food. Go for the experience, rather than the dinner, and you’ll be satisfied. @bouillinjulienparis. Address: 16 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010
9. La Coupole
We may have visited this place too late in the evening (or 100 years too late, perhaps), because it wasn’t exactly inspiring. But the historical side of this art deco restaurant was what drew us in, and if you’re also into chasing famous ghosts from the Lost Generation in Montparnasse, then this place is for you. @la_coupole_paris Address: 102 Bd du Montparnasse, 75014
OK this isn’t something you’d find in the Michelin guide either, but the ambience is lovely, the waiters are on their A game, and the setting is remarkable – you’re under an ancient wooden windmill in Montmartre, which dates back to 1622. More amazing still, the back garden was immortalized in the Renoir painting Bal au moulin de la Galette, which is depicted on the restaurant’s facade. @lemoulindelagaletteofficiel Address: 83 Rue Lepic, 75018
That will do for now! There are more tips in my Paris guide below (which is free if you’re a Patreon member). You can see inside all the restaurants above via our weekly YouTube videos, which feature a good glimpse at each Paris arrondissement. Bon appétit.