Few cities can claim greater stature than Paris in the food and dining department. It may not be the place where the greatest culinary risks are taken these days, and some even accuse the gastronomic culture in Paris of being stodgy at best (and overrated at the worst). Nonetheless, gastronomes around the world continue to look to Paris as a model and inspiration, and the gourmet traditions established in this country of haute cuisine continue to be cherished, from how to achieve a perfect, golden baguette to pairing dishes with wines. Even vegetarian restaurants in Paris aren't half-bad these days. Read on.
Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images News
Food connoisseurs should always reserve time for a meal at one of Paris' top gourmet restaurants, world-renowned gastronomic establishments that have earned up to three Michelin stars for exceptional cuisine and service. Star chefs such as Alain Ducasse and Guy Savoy guarantee a gastronomic experience palates will savor for some time, serving up delicacies such as foie gras ravioli or wild Breton lobster. Learn more about which Paris restaurants have been awarded creme de la creme status
, and find out how to make space in your budget for these temples of taste.
Paris has more restaurants per square foot than you can muster. When you're on a budget and can't afford to fork out a fortune for a meal in a high gastronomic establishment, it can be a challenge to sift through Paris' many mediocre kitchens and find a spot where quality and budget are compatible.
2007 Adactio/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License
Browse this collection of Paris restaurant reviews to find a great place to eat out in Paris, regardless of your budget or desired cuisine.
Other Great Resources:
The Parisian culinary scene is a dream come true for committed foodies-- unless you're vegetarian. With meat the star attraction of France's world-revered cuisine, don't be surprised if your assertion of vegetarianism is met with confusion. Luckily, though, dig a little deeper and you'll discover a limited yet flourishing vegetarian (and dare I say it, vegan) restaurant scene. So don't fret if the sight of yet another beef bourguignon sends you packing-- these vegetarian and vegan Paris restaurants serve up good to very good menu items.
2009 Jeff Keen/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.
Street food in Paris can be absolutely wonderful-- take the case of the Marais district's famed falafels (pictured)-- or positively horrid and even hygienically questionable (mayonnaise-laced tuna sandwiches left to sit in unrefrigerated display windows comes to mind). Read more on where to find great, cheap, and even healthy fast food in Paris, and avoid the bad stuff.
Related: Best Crepes and Creperies in Paris
Romantic restaurants in Paris are easy enough to come by, but finding a combination of ambiance and quality may be a challenge. Assuming that you reserve ahead and avoid overly noisy or crowded establishments, dinner for two can be a highly romantic affair in Paris.
You might assume that eating out in restaurants with kids will be a nightmarish experience in Paris! but this needn't be the case. Consult this handy list of tips on how to keep young and picky eaters happy during your next trip.
Image courtesy of Cafe de la Paix.
There is nothing more French, or more specifically-- Parisian-- than taking a few moments out of your day to sit with an espresso in one of the city's thousands of cafes. Indoors on a cozy banquette or out on a sunny terrace, drinking and people-watching is one of the most cherished past-times in France. While there are charming and unique spots all over Paris, this list includes some of the classics, including renowned traditional brasseries such as La Closerie des Lilas, where they take the food just as seriously as the coffee and drinks.
©2009 Ayustety. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.
While a majority of Paris restaurants shut down for Christmas eve and day, several remain open, offering Christmas lunch or dinner service. A word of caution, though: you should always try to book ahead at least a month in advance, as spots fill up quickly. I've categorized the restaurants by price and prestige. The majority of these restaurants offer traditional French holiday fare such as oysters and shellfish, foie gras, stuffed goose or pheasant, but I've also listed a few Paris restaurants that remain open for Christmas and offer other specialties.
Most waitstaff at Paris restaurants know basic English, so ordering or paying is rarely a problem if your French is nonexistent. Still, to adhere to the "when in Rome" spirit, why not learn a few useful words and phrases commonly used in restaurants? You'll have a more interesting experience if you can use some of this basic Paris restaurant vocabulary, and may find the staff to be even warmer when they see you're making an effort to wield some French.