Complete Guide of Restaurant in Paris: Dishes, Cafés, French Food…

What and Where to eat in Paris? Restaurants, cafés and typical Parisian dishes for every occasion.

French People and Food

It is well-known, the French cuisine has a special reputation in the world. The French cuisine is said to be delicate, tasty and innovative. French people are supposed to be well educated and healthy eaters. But are French people really gourmets ? Or is it a myth ? Do French people like to cook ? How often do they go to the restaurant ? 

Indeed, the French have a very particular relation to food. They are very passionate about what is in their plate and don't hesitate to spend hours in the kitchen to cook a dish. Eating tasty food is part of their culture ! They also love to greet people at home and cook meals for everybody. There is always a good reason to eat... and drink wine !

That's probably why their cuisine is so rich and full of taste. In fact, the best chefs of the world are French or have studied the art of cooking in France with famous French chefs like Paul Bocuse, Joël Robuchon, Gaston Lenôtre, Guy Savoy or Pierre Hermé. 

Going to the restaurant few times a month is a real pleasure and activity for French, specially the ones in big cities like Paris. French people enjoy to discover new tastes with friends and loved ones and have long discussions until the closure of the restaurant.

A French meal

The "gastronomic meal of the French" was acknowledged by UNESCO in 2010 as an immaterial cultural heritage. It is not for nothing that people say "food like God in France"... How is exactly this French meal ? During gatherings, French people spend long hours at the table, eating numerous dishes in order :

  • Apéritif : commonly called the "apéro", it is a drink with alcohol to start the meal
  • Entrée : the starter
  • Plat : the main dish, either a piece of meat or a fish with vegetables, salad or fries
  • Fromage : some cheese
  • Dessert : something sweet to end the meal
  • Digestif : A drink with alcohol to finish the meal

Obviously, each meal is not composed of so many dishes, only special ones are. For lunch, French restaurant will usually offer either Entré + Plat or Plat + Dessert options. For diner, they will add the cheese and the wine. If it is a gathering with friends or family, apéritif and digestif are essentials.

What to eat in Paris ?

You will notice a very large choice when it comes to restaurant options in Paris. In fact, there are more than 15 000 restaurants only in Paris region and more than 50 varieties of cuisines. So... what to pick and eat with all these choices ?

Traditional French cuisine

French cuisine is world-famous for both its quality and its richness. A trip to Paris can easily be combined with a gourmet tour of the best restaurants, a food tour of Paris' classic traditional restaurants.

An onion soup, French cheese with baguette and red wine are as much a part of Paris as visiting one of the many bistros in Saint-Germain or Le Marais. Also, a croque-monsieur as a snack is a nice option in the cafés in Paris.


Some very famous traditional French dishes are definitely worth trying during your trip to Paris. Here to name few :

  • Foie Gras
  • Escargots (Snails)
  • Steak Tartare (Raw Steak)
  • Canard à l'Orange (Duck)
  • Coq-au-vin 
  • Bœuf Bourguignon (Beef Bourguignon)

Original French cuisine is chic and elegant. You can find it on the Eiffel Tower or at the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, in the Michelin-Stared restaurants or in the best cafés of Paris... but keep in mind : Good French food is not cheap.

The must-eat food "only in Paris"

Even for a very short trip to Paris, there are some food you should miss trying because you will find them only in Paris. Here are some exemples :

  • Baguette, the typical French bread you can find in any bakery
  • Pasteries from the bakery
  • A sophisticated dish in a stared restaurant
  • Macarons, take some more to bring home !
  • The classical Steak-Frite with some red wine, at any bristrot in town, during lunch time. You will feel like a complete Parisian...
  • Crêpes, the best are on the Mouffetard Street !

Other types of food you can find in Paris

  • You can also eat a good steak and fries or some simple French food at any bistrot.
  • Place d'Italie and Quartier asiatique, the asian quarter in the 13rd arrondissement, offer many asian options. Other more sophisticated asian restaurants are spread around the city. Tip : the best Vietnamese restaurants are in Paris !
  • Le Marais gathers all the trendy restaurants with tasty innovative food (many vegan options). The most popular place is "Les Philosophese".
  • Canal Saint Martin is popular with African or "cantine" types of food. Simple and relax ambiance.
  • Arabic food ? Many Arab Parisians live in the Barbès district. Here you can also get Arabic groceries and sweet oriental tea.
falafel street food in paris

The French bakery : The bakery is a precious place for French people. Every morning, they stop by to get a hot drink and a croissant for breakfast. During a busy lunch, they get a jambon-beurre (a sandwich with ham and butter) and a soda. And before getting back home at night, they make a last stop to buy a baguette for diner. 

Vegetarian trend : Some stylish and modern cantinas and conventional cafés are showing up around the famous districts of Paris. The concept of an exclusively vegetarian kitchen has become more visible in Paris. Even non-vegetarians enjoy these plates and places too. So they deserve to be seen as quite good gastronomical points of the city. 

Typically French Food

Le vin (wine)

Everybody knows that wine is an essential part of the French Cuisine. The best places to improve yourself about oenology are called “Bar à Vin” or "La Cave” in France. The Cave stores are all about wine but with a variety of types and regions. The “Bar A Vin” venues serves other drinks but first and foremost focusing on wine. These bars are usually serving small but tasty small plates with local food resembling to Spanish tapas in style.

For example, Le Barav, in-between Marais and Republique Square, is a favorite of locals if you are looking somewhere on the Right Bank. Across the river, in Saint-Germain area in the Left Bank, Bar Etna is a boutique wine bar serving in a tailor-made manner according your preferences. Their seafood plates are particularly recommended. Nearby the river, Le 5e Cru has a fantastic atmosphere and great selection of vines and cheese.

Fromage (Cheese)

Cheese is a precious dish for French people. They consume 30 kg of cheese per year and, among more than 1,000 types, camembert, goat cheese, comté and roquefort are the favorites. Many Parisian sophisticated restaurants will provide you a menu with a large variety of cheese available.

The plate of cheese, "Plateau de Fromage" in French, is usually the way French people choose to eat it at restaurants with friends. Indeed, before the desert, you can pick a special plate of your choice and the wine accordingly. It is a friendly moment to share and discover new tastes in small portion.


Be careful, some cheese, called blue cheese like roquefort, are very smelly and salty. They are the favorite ones of the locals, but if you are sensitive to it, you can ask the waiter to removed it from your plate.

Charcuterie (Cold meats)

Did you know about Charcuterie ? France is home to more than 450 charcuterie specialities. You shouldn't miss the opportunity to try these meat products prepared by French chefs. Among the most known charcuterie types, you can find bacon, ham, terrines, pâtés or sausages, primarily from pork. Originally intended as a way to preserve meat before the advent of refrigeration, they are prepared today for their flavors.

Charcuterie is even said to have "evolved from its traditional French appreciation for cooked meats to become a culinary art form focused on flavor, pairings and eye appeal."


You will find some options in any good French restaurant or even some bistrots.

Where to eat in Paris ?

In Paris, you will find so many types of restaurants. 

  • The most classy and expensive are the Michelin Stared restaurants and the ones where chefs are famous. These classy restaurants serve the finest cuisine of Paris and are quite expensive. 
  • Then you have the typical Parisian bistrots and cafés, serving typical French food. In bistrots, everyday is a different menu, written in a blackboard. Cafés have a more strict menu.
  • You will also have cantinas, very friendly and trendy places where the menu is composed of simple but tasty food home cooked. The prices are quite afordable. 
  • Burger places are also very popular, specially vegan ones.
  • In Paris, you will be able to taste all kinds of ethnical food from Turkish, to Indian or even Iranian or Costa Rican. 
  • As said previously, you can eat a sandwich picked up in a bakery of a ready to take place like Prêt à Manger, Cojean or Exxi.


Overall, you can find all kind of food in Paris as it is a very cosmopolitan city, full of diversity.


Here are the articles we prepared you with all the best addresses of restaurants and cafés you can find in Paris :

Book a table in Paris

To book a table easily in Paris, download The Fork app. You even have a section with special discounts of the day. Bon appétit !

Catering

For company events, trade fairs and large private events, we will gladly take care of the catering in Paris.


Here you can read more about our offer for group tours. 


Restaurant FAQ 

What do people drink with their meal?

Red wine and water are most often consumed with the meal, the water is served in carafes and is usually free of charge. After the meal the French serve a strong coffee with some chocolate and a cognac or something similar.

When do you eat in Paris?

Breakfast is usually served between 7:00 and 9:00, lunch between 12:00 and 15:00. Dinner is the main meal and is usually taken between 19:00 and 23:00.

How is the breakfast in Paris?

The French breakfast is rather modest: a croissant dipped in café au lait before taking a bite or baguette with butter and jam. Hearty things like cheese, sausage or eggs are not typically eaten during breakfast. 

How much do you tip in a restaurant?

In France, the tip, pourboire, is already included at 15% in the bill in restaurants, which is usually indicated at the bottom of the bill. You can also tip a few euros, although this is much lower than in Germany. 10% is the absolute maximum, usually 5% is enough. 

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