Foodie's "Must Go" List for a Perfect Trip to France
France is famous for its delicious food, however there are so many touristic places in Paris that can disappoint you. We put together the list of the restaurants where you can experience French culture, great service, and amazing food (not necessarily French ;)! This list was created during the time when we lived in France and tried to find the best gastronomic places in Paris. Naturally, you won’t find English menus in most of these restaurants!
By Katie N. @bambinnio
December 3, 2015
1. Léon de Bruxelles
Léon de Bruxelles is a 100-year-old chain of Belgian restaurants, that serve mussels and typical Belgian dishes. The first restaurant in Paris was opened in 1989 and has conquered Parisians by its specialty – mussels, or ‘moules’ as French call them, cooked in numerous sauces and using different techniques: in a cocotte, en papilotte, à la plancha, or gratinées. All of these are delicious! It’s worth mentioning, that this place has an incredible quality control, mussels are always fresh and never frozen, no matter what time of the year you decide to pay them a visit. Try the blue cheese sauce, you won’t regret this!
2. La Cabane à Huîtres
Montparnasse – Bienvenüe (4, 6, 12, 13)
+33 1 45 49 47 27
4.2 / 12 reviews
I can assure you that La Cabane à Huîres has the best freshest oysters from Arcachon in the world. “Cabane” means shack in French and that’s exactly what this restaurant looks like: very rustic, authentic and French, feels as if you are not in Paris, but somewhere on the Atlantic Coast. I discovered this place purely by chance, looking for a nice place to have oysters. As I found out later, the founder, Francis Dubourg, never had a computer or a website. His guests would leave the best reviews and that placed La Cabane à Huîtres in the very first ranking of Google search. The story of this place is just amazing! Francis, a 5th generation old-school oyster farmer, would leave his oyster park in Arcachon (Aquitaine, the famous oyster region located near Bordeaux) every weekend to bring the true taste of the delicious and fresh oysters to Paris. Full of jokes and good humor, he would have a glass of wine with the guests of the restaurant and tell you a couple of anecdotal stories about himself. Sadly, on July 4th, 2015 Francis passed away after a long battle with cancer. His son Frédéric took over the oyster business to continue the family tradition. Frédéric is the last farmer in France who cultivates the oysters directly on the ground as opposed to iron platforms. The oysters cultivated in traditional way have more natural flavor or “goût du terroir” – definitely worth tasting with a bottle of good Bordeaux! This lovely and cozy 16-seat restaurant is opened only Thursday through Sunday.
3. Korean Barbecue
This place is not French by any means, all the dishes as well as the staff are Korean, and nevertheless, they serve excellent Korean barbecue and other traditional Korean dishes with a bottle of good French wine.
4. Roger La Grenouille
Odéon (4, 10)
+33 1 56 24 24 34
3.8 / 20 reviews
If you want to try frogs legs or looking for a traditional French restaurant, Roger La Grenouille is probably the best place to go. The restaurant is famous for its frogs legs in delicious sauces, such as garlic, à la provençale with tomato based sauce, or frog legs à la normande with apples, etc, as well as snails and traditional French appetizers, like foie gras.Situated in labyrinthine rues of Saint-Michel, the restaurant is hidden in an impasse off of rue des Grands Augustins. The ambiance is cozy and rustic, inspired by French décor and traditions. Be sure to make a reservation, as there are quite many fans of frogs legs in Paris!
5. Chez Clément Café Rôtisseur
+33 1 56 81 32 00
3.3 / 76 reviews
Chez Clément is conveniently located right next to Fontaine Saint-Michel. You might think it’s a very touristic place, however, Parisians come to this cozy restaurant on special occasions: birthdays, Christmas Eve, family dinners. This restaurant features traditional French cuisine: from fois gras to duck confi, to escargots. The ambiance inside is also very French. They have a small outdoor patio, where one can enjoy a drink or a meal. On Fridays, Chez Clément hosts small concerts. The music is always great, so is the food!
6. Chez Dominique
23 rue Danielle Casanova, 75001 Paris, France
This tiny place is owned and run by an amazing hospitable couple, true Parisians, Nadine and Dominique Fouace. The steak entrecôte and desserts are especially delicious here. Chez Dominique also has an excellent wine list, which attracts locals for an aperitif during the ‘cinq à sept’. Be sure to snoop around the place, take a tiny ladder to climb to the second floor! The interior of the place contains lots of history!
7. Café OZ Denfert
Denfert-Rochereau (4, 6, RER B)
+33 1 45 38 76 77
3.2 / 116 reviews
Café OZ is essentially an Australian bar decorated with typical Australian elements: the original decor and warm colors set the tone right away… Solid wood furniture, kangaroos, surfboards, giant crocodiles, didgeridoo, aboriginal paintings, Australian and New Zealand staff and a wide selection of beers imported from Australia and New Zealand guarantee a change of scenery.
This restaurant’s founders were inspired by UFO when designing its interior and décor: glass roof and walls, surreal pictures of Japanese women on the walls and furniture…
9. Ladurée Champs-Elysées
George V (1)
+33 1 40 75 08 75
4.1 / 286 reviews
One of the few touristic places in Paris, that is nevertheless frequented by the locals. Just because the macarons Ladurée are so delicious! Parisians give those adorable little boxes of macarons to their friends and family as presents for holidays.Something to keep in mind about this restaurant: even though there is a lunch and even dinner menu, it’s still a ‘pâtisserie’ (French for pastry shop) famous essentially for its desserts and pastries. A miller from the southwest of France, Louis Ernest Ladurée, founded Ladurée on the Rue Royal, Paris in 1862 as a bakery. During the Paris Commune in 1871 the bakery was burned down. After the fire, it was transformed into a pastry shop, decorated by the famous painter Jules Chéret. It was also him who designed the famous emblem. Ladurée became truly famous in 1930, when Ladurée’s grandson, Pierre Desfontaines, came up with the idea of sticking two macaron shells together with a creamy ganache as filling. Before that, the macarons looked like the simple cookies made of almond powder, sugar, and egg whites. Desfontaines also opened a tearoom at the pastry shop. In those days ladies were not admitted to cafés, which were exclusive for men. This was a big success with ladies, who enjoyed meeting in the freedom of the tearoom. Ladurée stores are now also present in Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Panama, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, UAE, UK, and the USA.
Traditional flavors include vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, pistachio, and coffee, but nowadays these little pastries are available in most astonishing flavors! To name a few: cherry amaretto, rose petals, and caramel au beurre salé (the caramel cream made with semi-sweet butter).
Fun fact: Ladurée sells 15,000 macarons every day!
10. Ciel de Paris
Montparnasse – Bienvenüe(4, 6, 12, 13)
+33 1 40 64 77 64
3.8 / 99 reviews / $$$$
Ciel de Paris is located on the 56th floor of the Tour Montparnasse. By the way, there is another, less famous (and naturally less touristy) Galleries Lafayette on the first three floors of the building.
Parisians often say, that the view from the top of the Tour Montparnasse is the most beautiful in Paris, since it is the only place from which you cannot see the tower.
The restaurant is famous for its traditional French cuisine and of course the most spectacular view over Paris!