“He, who doesn’t cook for his guests, doesn’t deserve Friends” Jean-Anthelme Brillat Savarin
We, French, have a very strong culture of dining in, rather than dining out, this is why our Sundays roast don’t take place in restaurants and this is also why our meals last forever and sometimes longer than that. So when we go dining out we have two options, most likely we will go for ethnic food because this is the trickiest one to cook at home or on some occasions we will pick French Food. When we make the second choice we still need to decide what to go for, classic French food usually from a terroir (Crêpes from Britany, Salade Landaise, Basque Cuisine, Alsatian Cuisine etc.…) or a gourmet restaurant with a chef who is usually a star Michelin or a MoF (Meilleur Ouvrier de France aka Best Craftsman of France).
You should know that gourmet restaurants have a certain code (such as no jeans so check when booking), usually only two to three types of menus available for all the guests with sometimes a couple choices to pick from in each, the cooking of the meat is decided by the Chef and the sides can usually not be swapped or replaced, because the cuisine is based on fresh seasonal products the menu changes every month. In a gourmet restaurant, you entrust the Chef to play a symphony of flavours on your taste buds. Prices will vary from 100$ to 350$ without the wine. Yet for each rules you need an exception so let me introduce you to the “Escarbille”, 15/20 minutes by cab from the Eiffel Tower, a 1 Star Michelin at around 65$/person, this is the place we celebrated my grand-parents Diamond Wedding Anniversary and we have been going there on a regular basis ever since. Early booking is highly recommended.
On the other hand we do have great restaurants that do not require a monthly wage to pay the bill. For a 100$ max including wine, at “ l’Ambassade d’Auvergne “ in the heart of le Marais District, you can try regional dishes in a several hundred years old building and at least one must try the house’s classic, namely the Aligot cheese purée.
Metro Line 11 - Rambuteau
Everyone knows of the crêpes but fewer are the ones who enjoy during a trip to Paris its buckwheat version, the Galette, at "Crêperie de Josselin" you will be able to enjoy both types (usually buckwheat for savoury and white flour for sweets) in a fairly cramped but picturesque little corner of Britany in the heart of Paris. Roughly 50$ for a good selection of crêpes/galettes and cider.
Metro Line 6 - Edgard Quinet
Coming in winter? You will want to enjoy an Alsatian Sauerkrauts and the address to visit is “Le Bofinger”, this brasserie is an institution since the 19th century, ignore everything on the menu and focus on the sauerkrauts slowly cooked in their kitchen, accompany it with some Riesling wine and you will quickly forget about the weather. With wine you should be around the 60$ mark per person.
Metro line 8 & 1 - Bastille
My tip of the day as we have literally thousands of restaurants in Paris is to look for the label “Homemade” often found in pairs with the mentioning “seasonal vegetables” or “basket from the market”, this means that the cooking of the dishes has been done on the premises and to guarantee that the chef did not just open a can of beef stew from the convenience store.
Home Made label