With over 44,000 restaurants sprawled out across Paris, the task of choosing a dinner spot can seem daunting. But we can help to narrow it down: as part of our Paris countdown series we often visited several in each neighbourhood.
Here are our top picks for each arrondissement, with a focus on a good mix of either superb dining, eye-popping interiors, or unforgettable ambience. There’s also a healthy range of prices, from very cheap to very expensive.
1st: Le Meurice
If you want to splash out, the Restaurant Le Dalí is exceptional. We ate here to celebrate the end of the countdown season and had pigeon and octopus. A delight. Chef Amoury Bouhours has been on the podcast before talking about his cooking, and he even showed us into the impressive kitchen downstairs. See more here. @lemeuricealainducasse Address: 228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001
2nd: Le Grand Colbert
We stopped for a dessert at the “We were featured in Something’s Gotta Give!!!” restaurant and it was excellent. The restaurant itself is visually marvellous, the same floor tiles from the nearby Galerie Vivienne, and the waiters put on a grand show. @legrandcolbert Address: 2 Rue Vivienne, 75002
3rd: Le Progrès
This place offers classic people-watching on the terrace with traditional bistro food. It’s about. as Parisian as you can get. Address: 1 Rue de Bretagne, 75003
Bofinger might sound like a James Bond-themed restaurant, but it isn’t! It’s a charming French diner with traditional food (lots of seafood, especially) and a very photogenic interior. @brasserie_bofinger Address: 5-7 Rue de la Bastille, 75004
5th: Maison de Verlaine
It’s all about the story. Typical French food in the building where French poet Verlaine once lived… and where Ernest Hemingway once lived too! We had a memorable evening here… if those walls could talk! Address: 39 Rue Descartes, 75005 Paris
6th: Brasserie Lipp
A classic spot, just across the road from Cafe de Flore. There’s no messing about in this beautiful restaurant. Waiters zip around with classic French dishes for their customers, a spectacle that’s perhaps more impressive than the meal itself. @lippbrasserie Address: 151 Bd Saint-Germain, 75006
A French brasserie with a whole lot of class, check out Thoumieux for a romantic night out. At the weekends there’s live music from the piano in the middle of the room. And watch this space, they’re currently knocking a wall out and taking over the Irish bar next door. Big things ahead for this restaurant. @thoumieuxparis Address: 79 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007
This is the art-nouveau, fancy restaurant we talked about at length in the podcast episode. It’s a place where you will be paying for the experience and the story, perhaps just as much as the food. We thought the meal was quite good, but I was much more impressed by the building and its colourful history as a hotspot for celebrities (especially American celebrities) throughout the decades. @maxims.de.paris Address: 3 Rue Royale, 75008
9th: Dumbo Pigalle
On the other end of the dining spectrum is the wildly popular Dumbo. The menu only offers cheeseburgers and chips. In fact, it’s not even a restaurant, just a hole in the wall serving up some of the best takeaway food in town. @dumboparis Address: 64 Rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, 75009
10th: Bouillon Julien
This restaurant’s interior is an art nouveau wonder of Paris. 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
11th: Chambre Noire
This place doesn’t even have its name on the facade. We didn’t even know if we’d come to the right place, but hipster whispers by the Canal Saint-Martin had insisted this was the best local spot for dinner. A large wine menu and a fun tapas offering, try the cheesy asparagus for a good time. @chambrenoireparis Address: 137 Rue Saint-Maur, 75011
12th: Le Train Bleu
An icon and nothing less. This restaurant is simply the standard by which Paris restaurant experiences should be measured. 10/10. Here is a link to more info and many more pictures from our visit. @restaurantletrainbleu Address: Pl. Louis-Armand, 75012
13th: Impérial Choisy
The locals told us that you can’t really go wrong in the Asian Quarter, but then several people also recommended Impérial Choisy, so apparently you can go right! Good for a quick Chinese food fix. @imperialchoisy Address: 32 Av. de Choisy, 75013
14th: 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, but the seafood menu is a treat and the interior is charming. Read a lot more about our visit and see more of the interior here. @ledomemontparnasse Address: 108 Bd du Montparnasse, 75014
15th: Cafe du Commerce
This is the place we raved about in the podcast episode. Charming waiters, a fun interior stretched over three levels, and steeped in local history. No visit to the 15th is complete without a dinner here. @lecafeducommerce.1921. Address: 51 Rue du Commerce, 75015
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 kitchens and bars.
17th: Mamma Primi
Part of the famed Mamma group, this restaurant is cool and the staff were all on their A-game. This was the place where we got the Goodfellas welcome (mentioned in the podcast). Wonderful food, excellent ambience. Address: 18 Rue Boursault, 75017 @bigmammagroup
18th: Le Moulin de la Galette
OK this isn’t something you’d find in the Michelin guide, but the ambience is typically French, and the setting is remarkable – you’re under an ancient wooden windmill in the setting of a Renoir painting! @lemoulindelagaletteofficiel Address: 83 Rue Lepic, 75018
19th: La Rotonde Stalingrad
This is a very happening place, both day and night. Great energy, lovely food, and the building itself dates back to the French Revolution when it was a toll gate to the city. Address: 6-8 Pl. de la Bataille de Stalingrad, 75019 @larotondestalingrad
20th: Le Vieux Belleville
And finally, head to Le Vieux Belleville for the Edith Piaf singalong, though remember this is only on Tuesday nights. The food is fine, but you’re not going for the food, it’s all about the evening. Other nights have other music, check the schedule before you book and don’t be scared to sing! Address: 12 Rue des Envierges, 75020 @levieuxbelleville
And that’s it, happy dining! A big thanks to Augusta Sagnelli for many of the loveliest photos.
If you liked this blog post, or if you’re planning a Paris trip, you should check out our 2023 PDF guide to the city, which features hundreds of tips just like these ones. You can buy it via the icon below, or you get it free on signup to The Earful Tower’s Patreon member page.