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Where to Eat in Paris

This time of year I am often asked where to eat in Paris, France. Folks are going on vacation and are curious for my suggestions on where to eat and what to do.

This is by no means a definitive list, but a list of places we have really enjoyed the past few years.

I try to search out restaurants off the beaten path and I love trying cuisine other than French. Crazy, I know. Paris is a major metropolitan city with a population representative of that, and also has well-established enclaves made of citizens of former French colonies. Give some of those foods a try. And, the neat part about eating “foreign” food in Paris is that it’s cheap — which allows for balancing things out with extravagant, expensive splurges at Michelin-starred restaurants such as L’Arpege, Le Meurice, Benoit, or Pre Catalan.

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Paris Cookware Shop

You can’t eat there, but let’s start with shopping for cookware. Dehillerin will be crazy crowded, the purchasing system is strange, and the salesmen are typically gruffly French, but it’s been open since 1820 and the best cookware store in Paris. It’s located in the area of Les Halles that used to be where the main food markets were from 1183 until the market center was demolished in the early 70s. (It only makes sense that there are cookware specialty stores near the markets. Chefs would go into town and buy both food and equipment.) When I was an apprentice working in Paris I would save my money for weeks and weeks to afford one copper pot. Now, life has changed a bit, and I can afford to buy more than one pot — but I’ve maintained my tradition — and restraint!

Dehillerin
18 et 20, rue Coquillière
75001 Paris

In regards to food shopping, there are more places than you can possibly imagine. However, make sure you also pop into Maille, Hediard, and Fauchon for goodies to bring home — as well as your provisions for your charming picnique at the Tuileries.

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The seafood at L’Ecume St. Honore is beyond phenomenal. It’s an actual fish market and Parisians can buy seafood to take home and prepare, but they also have a few tables, as well. It’s kind of pricey, but well worth it. I have seen and tasted unusual seafood there that I’ve never seen before or since. The owner and workers are a friendly bunch. (You’d be friendly, too if you had a packed restaurant selling at those prices.) The food is fresh, fresh, fresh and just amazing. The first time I was there, I saw super chef Alain Ducasse standing in line like a mere mortal! Then, and I am not making this up, the next year I saw him there again! Maybe he thinks I am stalking him.

L’Ecume Saint Honore
6 Rue du Marché Saint-Honoré
75001 Paris, France

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Le Cuisine Traditionelle

We enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Bistro Paul Bert with Anne Willan — at Dorie Greenspan’s suggestion. Major double whammy with the French cuisine experts.

Bistrot Paul Bert
18 rue Paul Bert
75011 Paris, France

More old-school French. It’s not quite as fabulous as it was, but Ma Bourgogne is still really good. They waiters can be a seriously grumpy, but the Frisee au Lardons is pretty much worth it. It’s at the Place des Vosges, with lovely shops and galleries. Make sure to check out the Dammann Freres Tea Shop just up the block – tea merchants since 1692. It’s exquisite.

Ma Bourgogne
19, place des Vosges
75004 Paris, France

Willi’s Wine Bar has been around a long while. The food is solid and the best thing is that the whole experience is easy. Even though most Parisians speak English, sometimes it can just be tiring trying to navigate a menu and a dining experience in rusty French. Willi’s solves all that for you.

Willi’s Wine Bar
13 rue des Petits-Champs
75001 Paris, France

We adore this old-school restaurant that features rustic food from the Auvergne. The aligote potatoes are absolutely out-of-this-world. The Chocolat Mousse needs its own fan club. Great service and seriously awesome food.

L’Ambassade d’Auvergne
22 Rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare
75003 Paris, France

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Les Exotiques….

Morocco is a former French colony and there are some amazing Moroccan restaurants and cafes throughout Paris. Zerda not the easiest place to find, but well worth the search. The photo above doesn’t do it justice, as the hand-rolled couscous was light as air and positively microscopic. Paired with tender, rich, and delicious lamb, it was a feast of flavor. I cannot recommend this restaurant enough. Go.

Café Zerda
15 rue René Boulanger
75010 Paris, France

The Vietnamese food in Paris is beyond stellar. At Le Bambou you will be jam-packed at a table with strangers. The restaurant is very loud and French spoken with a Vietnamese accent is nearly impossible to understand. Lastly, it’s a trek to this part of town, but it’s all well worth that first satisfying bite. Give it a try.

Le Bambou
70, rue Baudricourt
75013 Paris, France

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Sapporo ramen house was our very 1st stop when we last arrived in Paris! It was cold and snowing and the warm, comforting ramen absolutely hit the spot after our overnight flight.

Sapporo
276 Rue Saint-Honore
75001 Paris, France

Supposedly there are over 40K restaurants in Paris so I could go on and on, but I think this will give you a taste of some fun places to try. I love doing the research and seeing what other chefs and food writers have to say!

Other folks to check out for suggestions include Betty Rosbottom, David Lebovitz, Cowgirl Chef (no, that’s not a typo), Dorie Greenspan, and Patricia Wells (she has a Food Lover’s Guide to Paris Food App). You can also take a peek at Bon App’s list, the NY Times, or LeFooding.com for more advice.

I hope if you travel to Paris this summer, you will enjoy my suggestions. Let me know what you discover and I’ll add it to my list!

Bon Appétit Y’all!
VA

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Copyright © 2013 Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc.

Photo credits – Virginia Willis