A low-lit Moroccan mainstay where locals and fashionable out-of-towners go to share spicy tagines and sill rounds of sweet, minty mojitos. For a change of scenery under one roof, take a spin through kitschy watering hole Andy Wahloo next door and cozy Le Derrière restaurant in the back.
A bustling and usually packed local favorite from the team behind Le Richer, in the middle of the lively pedestrian street where everyone's happy to wait outside for their table. (And they will wait.) The room is minimalist — cement and stone walls, wood tables and chairs — as is the French menu, which only lists a handful of appetizers, mains, and desserts. The long wine list includes many natural and biological selections. Open from breakfast until midnight everyday.
One of the city's best, so reservations are impossible. (Start calling two months ahead.) Chef Pascal Barbot trained with Alain Passard at L'Arpège and earned three Michelin stars for his innovative French cuisine. There's no menu; the meal is tailored to every diner's tastes.
The swanky bistro serving classic French fare with a tapas-style twist is great for groups. You'll want to order everything on the menu, but your waiter speaks great English and will make excellent recommendations along with suggested wine pairings.
Act like a local at this saucy bistro. Order the honey-roasted Camembert and a bottle of wine, then discuss really semi-important poetry or whether or not to have the the pot de crême by the flattering votive candle light (the answer is yes). Open late.
Along with Les Deux Magots, one of the most epic cafes in town. Rife with literary history, its patrons could fill a who's who of Parisian history. Politicians, actors, fashion designers — everyone hangs out here alongside the welcomed tourists. Flore has been cool for so long, it's immune to trends.
A clubhouse for Russian aristocracy in the twenties, a designer reservation no less splendid today. It's easy to imagine the legendary of the Ballet Russe troubling waiters with more chichi requests, but the baked potato with caviar is certainly on point.
When you close your eyes and imagine the movie version of the classic old Parisian bistros, this is it, down to the efficient waitresses who probably inspired the ones in Amelie. Excellent steaks, frites, and other traditional French dishes that remain pretty much unchanged since Julia Child was a regular.
Take one French chef and stick him on the line with Jamie Oliver in London. Once service has finished, plant him back where he can surround himself with seasonal ingredients, a handful of local purveyors, and a few choice bottles of wine from around the world. Then pray for a reservation and the chance to try a few refined-yet-rustic plates.
The modern Izakaya spot shines for both excellent sashimi and chic ambience. Its proximity to the city's Golden Triangle doesn't hurt either.
A perfectly preserved turn-of-the-century French brasserie serving piping hot bowls of Japanese udon. Tables are packed with notables of the fashion, music, and media sets.
The epic, cheap falafel place in the Marais with take-out in front and tables in the back is a great counterpoint to the French cuisine you'll gorge on during a visit. L'As is so popular, it supports competitors on the block who lap up the spillover. The harissa makes a great souvenir. (Read more on Fathom: Paris in a Pita.)
A super local restaurant that serves French classics like duck confit and soufflé. Full of local families and couples. Anti-trendy and very delicious.
Everything you think a Parisian bistro should be. Locals and tourists congregate here for comfort French food and neighborly vibes by trendsetting chef Yves Camdeborde. If it ever feels like too much, make your way down the street to Le 6 Paul Bert for much of the same in a more communal setting.
The influence that chef Iñaki Aizpitarte has had on modern Parisian dining since he opened in 2006 can't be overstated, and many credit him with inventing the neo-bistro trend. The foodie crowd comes for the innovative, vegetable-centric, Basque-inflected menu (€70 prix fixe) and for the anything-can-happen vibe. If you can't get a table, try Aizpitarte's tapas joint next door, Le Dauphin.
A wonderfully grand and discreet restaurant in a former mansion that's now La Reserve, an equally grand and discreet hotel. The Michelin-starred dishes are exquisite to behold and delicious, nuanced, and light with hints of the Japanese influence that has gripped so many French chefs lately. The staff is warm and accommodating, adding to the utter joy of a meal here. Come early or stay late to spend time in the hotel's opulent bar.
Chef and co-owner Tatiana Levha brings her Michelin-star experience (L'Arpege and L'Astrance) and Manila roots to her inventive and trendsetting menu. Her sister and co-owner Katia, manages the front of the house, keeping the atmosphere casual and friendly in the bright, airy space. It's a tough reservation to get, and not only because it's closed on weekends.
The iconic bistro/cafe that's been popular since long before Hemingway, Picasso, Sartre, and their ilk chain-smoked and binge-drank their way through their croque monsieurs. Just as epic is Magot's friendly long-standing (since the 1800s) rivalry with neighbor Café de Flore. They're both super touristy, but still super cool.
Bento boxes by a backer of Le Baron and the backbone of Rose Bakery. A healthy, earty, organic lunch is easy to grab on the go.
A laid-back trattoria in the 11th arrondissement serving some of the best Neapolitan pizza in town. The sister restarant to the equally popular East Mamma in Bastille.
Macarons are on high alert. Cream puffs are looking to oust them from the #1 treat spot, and this narrow storefront bakery is leading the charge with classics like vanilla and dark chocolate with rose, pistachio, and salted caramel on backup.
Down a narrow lane just off the République metro stop is a cozy bistro where Alain Pramil serves excellent French fare for surprisingly affordable prices. The self-taught chef's passion for cooking and playing with rare ingredients shine through his unpretentious dishes. Ask for a table at the back: You'll feel like a special guest of the chef.
Paris is obsessed with Italian food at the moment, maybe because they're finally getting decent versions of it. This popular and low-key spot serves Emilia-Romagna specialities: salumi, stuffed pastas, polentas, and a selection of Parmesan-based sauces. Think of it as a neo-trattoria to rival the neo-bisto trend.
Locals flock to the design-driven industrial space for delicious market-fresh dishes prepared in the open kitchen at the back, listed on the menu as "raw," "fried," and "from the oven" and available in full and half portions. The grilled shiitake mushrooms are a must, the wine list is amazing, and the vibe is always relaxed and convival.
Easily one of the best spots in town. Chef Bertrand Grébaut, an Arpége alum, serves a market-driven modern and beautifully executed French menu. You get three courses for 30 euros; six for 65. Unsurprisingly, it's not an easy dinner reservation to get. They're closed weekends and only take reservations three weeks in advance. Try coming at lunch or try their nearby spots which are open on weekends, Clamato and Septime La Cave.