Food in Paris

I think this photo is pretty self-explanatory.

Paris Restaurants

I've tried to write this page for months and months but always get bogged down trying to think of every place I've ever been that's good, so I'm keeping it simple and just writing down the places that I either went to often, or only went to once but LOVED it. Obviously these are just my favourites, not the best haute cuisine restaurants in the city.

Chez Gladines (Basque)
30, Rue des cing diamants, 75013. Metro: Place d'Italie or Corvisart.
Apparently the are now three branches, but the original and best is on Rue des cinq diamants. When you go in, don't be put off by the big crowd round the bar- you just need to tell the barman how many you are and he'll put you down on the seating plan, then you can either drink at the bar or wait outside (no drinks allowed outside though) until your name is called. At weekends or weekdays after 9pm, expect to wait around an hour for your table. Order the duck in Roquefort sauce or you'll be sorry. Mains are about 12 euros and come in huge portions. And don't worry, the skinny old waiter with the glasses is rude to everyone.
PS. It closes for the month of July.

Les Parigots (French)
5, rue du Château d'Eau,7501. Metro: République
A bit more upmarket than Chez Gladines, but very affordable. The best thing on the menu is the HUGE slab of meat they do for two people, served with chips and salad. The burgers are also good, but I love the duck served on sweet risotto. Try the Speculoos tiramiso for dessert. They have a good wine list too and sometimes there's a little cat asleep behind the bar.

Seç (Turkish)
18, rue Jouffroy d'Abbans, Paris. Metro: Rome
It always looks a bit empty but don't be put off- the food is amazing. For starters get the vegetarian mezze to share and a couple of lahmacunspicy Turkish pizzas. They have a wide choice of meaty mains, like bagdat kebab- juicy lamb with mint and aubergine- and musaka.

Ravioli Chinois Nord Est (Chinese)
11, rue Civiale 75020. Metro: Belleville
There are a few restaurants in Paris that specialise in Chinese ravioli or dumplings (they're like Japanese gyoza) but this is the best. It's five euros for ten ravioli and they are made fresh. Fillings include chicken, egg and prawn, turnip and beef and chicken and celery. Have a wee before you go though, unless you like squatting...

Angelina (French)
226, Rue de Rivoli, 75001. Metro: Tuileries
You won't believe how thick and delicious the hot chocolate is until you've tried it. Angelina is pricey (fifteen euros for a hot chocolate and a macaroon) and at the weekends you have to queue up outside, but it's a beautiful restaurant, all faded velvet and mirrors with gilded frames. You can also get the hot chocolate to take away way and enjoy it across the road in the Jardin des Tuileries.

The famous hot chocolate and 'Olympe' at Angelina

Chez YiYi (Chinese)
34, rue de Ponthieu, 75008. Metro: Franklin D.Roosevelt
I've got to mention my Chinese traiteur as I went there at least once a week. Luckily for me, my local traiteur happened to be a really good one. You can sit in or take-away but if go there too late in the evening everything will be gone. My favourites were the Thai salad, the nem (springrolls) and cinq parfum chicken. The staff are lovely and it's just behind the Champs-Élysées, so if you're in that part of town, are starving hungry and want to avoid the overpriced touristy restaurants, turn off by the Disney Shop to find something cheap, quick and delicious.

Sheger (Ethiopian)
2, passage du Jeu de Boules 75011. Metro: Oberkampf
If you've not had Ethopian food before, this is a good place to try it. The food, served on pancakes for everyone to dig into, has lots of different, fresh flavours. Order coffee at the end of your meal- there's a special coffee ceremony, with scented wood burning to ward off evil spirits. It's a teeny restaurant so booking is essential.

404 (Moroccan)
69, rue des Gravilliers, 75003. Metro: Arts et Métiers
The decor is amazing- think Moroccan chic meets 16th Century Northern European banqueting hall. Out of all the traditional North African dishes on the menu, I think my favourite is the lamb, raisin and prune tagine. Considering the food if so good and the setting is so luxe, the prices are very reasonable- we went in a large group and had ten main courses and two bottles of wine, which worked out as twenty four euros each.

L'as du Fallafel (Israeli)
34, rue des Rosiers, 75004. Metro: Hôtel de Ville
Believe the hype- rue des Rosiers may be crammed with falafal restaurants but L'as du Fallafel really is the best. Don't be put off by the snaking lines, the queue moves quickly. Once you've got your falafel, the trick is finding somewhere to eat it, I used to go round the corner and eat mine in a little square, but if all the benches are taken it's worth walking down to the river so you can sit on the steps and enjoy your food in peace.

The Rose Bakery (English)
46, rue des Martyrs, 75009. Metro: Saint-Georges
This organic cafe ain't cheap, but they do a great brunch. The best time to go if you just want some tea and delicious cake is mid-afternoon, mid-week, when you won't have to queue. The staff are lovely, apart from the woman who owns the place (or maybe she's just the manager, I'm not 100% sure), who is psychotically rude.
An English breakfast at The Rose Bakery

Au Pied de Cochon (French)
6, rue de Coquillière, 75001. Metro: Les Halles
Ah, the last meal I ate in Paris- onion soup and white wine at 5am on the day I left the city for good. It's famous for being open all night and for serving pigs trotters. I'm not sure about the trotters but the soup was amazing, (probably because it was made with pigs trotters stock).

L'Estaminet des Enfants Rouges (French)
39, rue de Bretagne, 75003. Metro: Arts-et-Métiers
Enfants Rouges is an amazing food market near the Marais and L'Estaminet is a restaurant within. B took me there for my 24th Birthday Brunch. The 'brunch' is a huge plate filled with cheese, cold meats, scrambled egg, potatoes with sour cream and chives and salad with a sweet, fruity dressing. My top tip? As soon as you order the brunch they give you a coffee, a glass of apple juice and a pain au chocolat... Leave the pain au chocolat, save your stomach space for meat.

Eating in Paris Tips

Paris can be a daunting place, especially if you're struggling with the language. Here's some things I'd have liked someone to have shared with me when I first moved to France...

Late Night Snacks
Despite what you might think, you can get a late-night kebab in Paris, although only in certain areas like Menilmontant and Pigalle. The best kebab shop in Paris, however, isn't open late at night- if you live in Paris, you should definitely try it (not much point if you're visiting- even I don't condone travelling all the way to Paris just to eat a doner kebab). At Restaurant Bodrum (metro: Rome) the meat is spicy and fresh, served in thick bread with salad and yoghurt sauce.

Instead of kebabs, get a late-night savoury crepe. You can find creperies open all night long in busy nightlife areas like Bastille and Pigalle.

Or you could go for a sit-down meal if you're hungry (and drunk) enough. There are restaurants open in the Grands Boulevards area that serve food until the early hours, but my favourite was a brasserie on boulevard de Clichy, in between Place de Clichy and Blanche. Me and Kayt ate many happy late-night burgers, under the watchful eye of bouncer we christened Big Dave, who liked to sit next to our table and scare away drunk perverts.

Japanese Food
If you like Japanese food, head to rue Sainte Anne in the 2nd arrondissement which is lined with Japanese restaurants. Metro: Opéra

Traiteurs are a cross between delis and takeaways. You just choose what you want and they heat it up for you if it needs heating, then put it in a bag, then you pay. I'm telling you this because when I first moved to Paris I didn't understand what to do and was too scared to go in any traiteurs. In a lot of Chinese traiteurs you can sit in and eat your food once you've bought it. There's a really good Greek traiteur on rue des Abbesses (metro: Abbesses)- they do amazing sandwiches.

In Paris there's at least one bakery on every street, but not all of them are good. When I moved to Paris I was quite scared of going into bakeries- there'd be two queues, one for basics and one for patisseries and I didn't know which one I was supposed to be in and everybody was moving so fast... But don't be afraid, just be confident. Or hide round the corner until the queue's gone down. Be aware as well, that bakeries in Paris open and close whenever they feel like it, so check the opening hours and days of your nearest bakery as soon as you arrive.

When you live in Paris, there's nothing more satisfying than strolling home with a baguette poking out of our bag. If you can't speak French, just say 'une tradition'- once I asked for une baguette and the man behind the counter went siiiiiick, because I didn't stipulate which baguette I wanted. (I've since heard loads of people asking for une baguette so he was obviously just being an arsehole.) You can also ask for half a baguette, if you don't want to eat a whole one and have no self-control, or can't afford the other half (looking at all the au pairs out there). Also, while you're in Paris, whether it's for five years or five days, you have to eat a croissant every morning. Or else.

Meal times
Watch out if you want to eat a meal between 'normal' mealtimes and be very careful on a Sunday, especially in the Canal St Martin area, or you could be stuck wandering the streets of Paris in search of food for hours and hours.

Eating in Public
I don't mean in front of other people in a restaurant, I mean eating a chocolate bar on the metro, or walking round a pleasant jardin with your hands stuck in a bag of crisps- ca va pas.

When I worked in a restaurant, American tourists would always ask me how much they should tip and I used to (stupidly) tell them that they didn't have to. Some people tip, some people don't. Sometimes service charge is included in the bill but if it isn't, there's no need to leave a tip. People that did tip me in the restaurant would leave a couple of euros, no matter how much the bill was. If you're a friendly American who is used to leaving big tips, 10% is fine.


  1. I was just surfing the web for tips on becoming an Au Pair and came across yours. I'm from Australia and will be heading off to Bourg-la-Reine in August and can't wait to discover Paris. I love your blog because you're so honest! Because let's be honest, there's nothing worse then rocking up to a city and having an idea that's all sunshine and rainbow and then being completely shocked! But I love that you're sharing your favourite places and things to do!

    1. I'm glad you appreciate my honesty, I hope I haven't put you off au pairing. I also hope all my favourite places are still there- I haven't back to Paris for soooo long. Thanks for commenting and good luck with you au pair experience- you've got an adventure ahead of you...

    2. Haha no I've read about many bad and good experiences, and I've also been in contact with my host families previous au pairs and they have all had a great experience, so I'm sure I will too :) Thanks for replying