Is it Tour Eiffel or french food? I don’t know which of those appeals to me more already.
Paris is a maze, a food-kind of maze. I love (purposefully) getting lost in Paris because every corner you turn into, there’s gonna be a few tantalising, retro-looking restaurants putting out their blackboard with their “menu à prix fixe” written on it. The food scene in Paris is as bustling as the city itself. Be it the clattering of the utensils or the mouthwatering aroma of freshly backed baguettes from the boulangeries, food is enough for one to fall in love with the City of Light.
Because my stay in Paris was relatively short, I figured that I wouldn’t be the best person to talk about restaurant recommendations in Paris. I got Michael, my favourite Parisian, to tell you guys his favourite places to eat! So here goes!
More than a century old (121 years or so), this popular French restaurant is incontestably a must-go when you are in Paris. Compared to other fancy French restaurant that you will go to, Bouillon Chartier leans towards the humbler side of the game. You will be eating in a large, legendary dining hall. How cool is that.
The food is typically the one you would found – or would have found – in homes in France, cooked by wonderful and loving grandmas. It’s not fancy, but it’s traditional. And we know that traditional cuisine is always good. For example, they serve grated celeriac, vinaigrette leeks, snails and other typical French meat dishes that you wouldn’t have seen in other restaurants. Please have Chantilly cream as your dessert. You will regret otherwise.
50 million meals served later, the à la carte still remains reasonably priced. This is such a Parisian foodie experience that you cannot miss.
Le Grand Colbert
Look at the name and it entails the classiness of the restaurant, don’t you think? Classical, elegant historical restaurant, one side of which is on one of the so-called “covered galleries” of Paris dating to the early 19th century. The tiles, the chandeliers, the boards covered with flowing words suggesting what’s the best thing for the day. Yes, dining in France is a total different experience.
Le Grand Colbert serves both traditional and innovative French food. I ate there once and enjoyed the whole experience, both visually and gastronomically.
The menu is more on the pricier side so if you prefer cheaper food, come at 12pm-2pm where they offer Slate Noon – Menu à Prix Fixe where you get 1 main, 1 dessert and a coffee for 19 euros. The dishes change all the time – they are offering sirloin steak with shallot sauce and the dessert is raspberry mousse now.
I (Michael) have been going on and off to Le Quincampe for years. The amazing owner, Chloé, and, later, her husband defy all the “all Parisians are snobbish and cold” stereotypes you can think off.
The place has an incredible “home-like” main room, invisible from the street – you can see a smaller room, from which there is a corridor leading to that one. It is in a probably 250-year-old building with visible wooden beams. There is a nice fireplace to get your blood going in winter. The decoration is warm and it’s perfected with a touch of North Africa artworks and decors, which is where Chloé comes from.
They also serve typical Northern African dishes, and some classic French ones. I revel in their “Assiette quincampoise”, with an entrée of Salmon gravlax marinated in beetroot, and voila – these make me feel alive again.
Since 1927 La Brasserie La Coupole has been a symbol of Montparnasse history. In an art deco decor, listed as a historical heritage, the chef offers essential French and non-French delicacies. The best thing here? The lamb curry.
Lamb curry has been sitting in the menu of La Coupole Indian since 1927. In the Golden Age, La Coupole appeared as a window open to the world that allowed guests to discover Indian lamb curry in a sumptuous Indian.
Get your camera ready because this restaurant is too beautiful. Make a reservation before going to avoid disappointment.
Le Select Montparnasse
In the case where you forgot to make a booking at La Coupole and couldn’t get a seat, head to Le Select instead. It’s just across the road. I accidentally stumbled upon it because of the same reason and it was a pleasant surprise.
Le Select was the rendez-vous for Montparnassian artists back in the days. Now, you can see more elders trying having meals or coffee there to sip some of their childhood memories. They offer typical, non-fusion French food so if you wanna really know French cuisine, come here.
An absolutely delicious kosher pastry (and bakery) shop, specialising in populat cakes in Eastern Europe such as their cheesecakes, the poppy seed cake, and the nuts strudel. It is also a café where you can drink a coffee and eat any of the cakes that appeals to you. If you come to Europe but, unfortunately, has not much time to go to Eastern Europe or the Balkans, I am sure that Korcarz will make you have a quick glimpse of how does authentic Eastern European food taste like.
L'As du fallafel
L’As du fallafel has both a restaurant and a takeaway counter which you can get amazing falafel and shawarma! The counter is kosher is good news to you who have a kosher diet! The serving there is huge and you can get it for a very cheap price, another good news for you who is travelling on a budget!
L'Art Brut Bistrot
Although this is not a restaurant but I though it’s worth a mention here. Next to Le Quincampe, there is this nice, atypical, small bar that is filled with people who want to try a different range of alcohol from the world. From Hungarian Palinka to Eastern European beers, this bar has it all! It would be a great place for you to wash down that piece of fatty salmon from Le Quincampe with some booze!
Obviously, there are many, many more restaurants that Michael hasn’t been to in Paris as I said, it will take more than a lifetime to try them all! If you have any suggestions which restaurants should one visit while in Paris please comment down below!
When I was travelling in Paris, Michel (the amazing writer of this post) who knows French food inside out was bringing me to the best places in Paris. He could tell me the story behind the food and the process of making it. There are just so many tourist traps (with reheated food) in Paris so if you wanna make sure you’re having the most authentic French food, join a food tour and I bet you will look at croissant and pain au chocolat differently after that!
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Where to stay?
Paris is ginormous and that’s why I recommend staying at Marais. That way, you don’t have to spend much time on commuting every day and the metro tends to be the hotbed for pickpocketing in general. Besides, you are close to many restaurants, bars and attractions.
Budget – Bastille De Launay is a rare gem as compared to other accommodations offered at the same price range. Breakfast here was beyond my imagination while I was staying here. Highly recommend!
Comfortable – The interior design of Hotel du Petit Moulin is impressive. It’s next to a market, a metro station, a beautiful park, a huge shopping centre and right above one of the best boulangeries in town… what more can you ask for?
High-end – I certainly think the Hôtel de Joséphine Bonaparte should be a tourist attraction itself. Be ready to be pampered like kings and queens (well, it’s named Bonaparte for a reason).
Born and raised in Malaysia, Aaron is a medical student that is deeply in love with travelling. He loves to inebriate all his readers with the crazy travel stories and personal travel tips that he has gathered throughout years of travelling experience. Learn more about him here!
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