I'm travelling to Paris for a long weekend soon and I'm looking for a couple of great, inexpensive and better still vegan (but not an absolute must) restaurants where they speak a little English (I don't ask for much) in the Montmartre area for an evening meal. Or is there a good take-away/deli/street food van perhaps?
Any general tips for solo travellers in Paris would be great too.
I like all things quirky and off the beaten track.
I find that the french are extremely accommodating when dining out alone. If you desire, they may sit you with another single guest - or by yourself - your preference. Here is a list of restaurants that I especially like - are highest in quality and experience - but not necessarily in price and are especially accepting of a women travelling alone. Most aren’t fancy, but are places where you’ll find a good mix of Parisians with a few visitors in the mix as well. Most of them are reasonably if not moderately priced.
In Paris, it’s always wise call ahead to make sure they’re open and make a reservation. Restaurants in France like to know who’s coming in that evening and unlike major cities in the U.S., you can usually get a table the same day or week, unless the restaurant is particularly well-known. If you can’t make it, canceling your reservation is very much appreciated. Paris restaurants don’t often update their websites nor do they reliably respond to email, so it’s best to call or stop in to reserve a table.
45, Av Ledru Rollin, tel: 01 43 43 34 38, (M: Gare de Lyon). Two blocks from the Gare de Lyon train station. Not fancy but a lot of fun, and great food. Order one of the fixed menus and save room for the cheese course. For starters, try to get through a gargantuan salade Perigordine, topped with a big chunk of foie gras. Many game dishes depending on the season. Closed weekends.A la Petite Chaise
36, rue de Grenelle, tel: 01 42 22 13 35, (M: Bac or Sèvres-Bablyon). The oldest restaurant in Paris, classically-attired waiters bring food that is perfectly correct, but don’t expect more, or any culinary curveballs. Open every day, including Sundays.Restaurant Astier
44, rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, tel: 01 43 57 16 35, (M: Oberkampf) If you’re looking for a well-loved bistro slightly off the beaten track, Astier is your place. Open every day and night, the reasonable fixed-priced menu ends with a massive cheese board presented after the meal – you won’t walk away from Astier hungry!Bellota-Bellota
18, rue Jean-Nicot, tel: 01 53 59 96 96, (M: Invalides, or La Tour-Maubourg) Enjoyable tapas-style bar, more upscale than anything in Spain, with fabulous hams from wild acorn-fed pigs. For dessert, stop down the street at Secco bakery for an almond-scented financier.Bistrot Paul Bert
18, rue Paul Bert, tel: 01 43 72 24 01, (M: Faidberbe-Chaligny) Although you won’t be the only one in the dining room who’s discovered this gem, it still gets high marks for its sensible wine list and spot-on versions of French bistro food. The famed steak-frites can only be ordered rare, and the desserts rank right up there with the best pâtissieres in Paris. Reasonable three-course menus are scribbled on a blackboard. Their sister restaurant down the street, iLe 6 Paul Bert, s one of my favorite places to dine in Paris.Breizh Café
109, rue Vieille du Temple, tel: 01 42 72 13 77, (M: St. Paul or St. Sébastian Froissart) Terrific crêpes and buckwheat galettes, right in the middle of the bustling Marais. Using organic buckwheat and Bordier butter, wash your meal down with sparkling apple cider orlait ribot – Breton buttermilk. I start with an amuse-bouche buckwheat galette, rolled up with seaweed butter. Then end with a buckwheat galette with buckwheat ice cream and buckwheat honey, which is one of my favorite desserts in Paris.Chameleon Restaurant
70, rue René Boulanger, tel: 01 42 08 99 41, (M: République, Strasbourg-Saint Denis or Jacques Bonsergent). This friendly restaurant is located on a side street near the less-touristy area near Place de la République. The menu changes daily, hence the name, and features whatever is fresh and seasonal. I am particularly fond of the Plume Ibérique when it’s on the menu, a meltingly tender piece of Spanish pork that’s sautéed perfectly, with a crisp exterior. Onglet (hangar steak) might be served with braised root vegetables, Utah Beach oysters are offered when in season, and an Asian-inspired pork belly, caramelized with honey, soy sauce, and nori, further showcase the chef’s talents. For dessert, best to go with the cheese course, which varies depending on what’s best…and ripest. (Note that a new chef has taken over in the fall of 2015 and I haven’t been back. Will update after my next visit.)Le Chardenoux
1, rue Jules Vallès, tel: 01 43 71 49 52, (M: Faidherbe-Chaligny) Chef Cyril Lignac took over this Parisian address and revamped the dining room and the menu. The menu feature updated French classics, and the desserts are particular standouts. Open every day of the week. Across the street is the excellent bakery, La Pâtisserie, which makes some of the desserts and breads for the restaurant.Le Bouillon Chartier
7, rue du Faubourg Montmarte, tel: 01 47 70 86 29, (M: Grands Boulevards) Folks come here for the value-priced meals rather than for fine dining. So if you stick to standards like roast chicken, frisée salad, and buttered radishes, you’ll be – well, um…okay. Just keep expectations low and enjoy the surroundings and brusque servers. The fabulous dining room is justifiably famous and it’s not uncommon to be seated at a table with other diners. No reservations but the line moves quickly.Chez Denise - La Tour de Montlhéry
5, Rue Prouvaires, tel: 01 42 36 21 82, (M: Les Halles or Châtelet) For those looking for a taste of “old Paris,” it’s hard to get any closer to the experience than at Chez Denise, also known as La Tour de Montlhéry. Open until 5am (but closed on Saturday and Sunday), you can eat at all hours in the manner of the long-gone marketplace, where butchers and others would pull up for dinner in the early morning hours, enjoying a glass of wine with their steak-frites. Large portions are a feature, as are close tables covered with red checkered tablecloths, and no-nonsense (but friendly) service. Long-braised French classics are on offer, foie gras, escargots, and casks of house red wine, resting on the bar – which are a good bet by the carafe.Joséphine "Chez Dumonet"
117, rue du Cherche-Midi, tel: 01 45 48 52 40, (M: Duroc or Falguière) Reliably good French bistro food, a genre that is increasing difficult to find in Paris. Friendly service and enormous portions (some of the dishes are available in half-sizes), the Grand Marnier dessert soufflé is a must, and the duck confit is among the best in Paris. Not a “budget” bistro, but the quality of the food merits the prices.Chez Michel
10, rue Belzunce, tel: 01 44 53 06 20, (M: Gare de Nord). During the winter, there’s a chalkboard with “hunters specials”, which features superbly fresh game. On my last visit, I had a mound of tiny scallops piled up in their shells, drizzles with luscious Brittany butter and herbs, then a succulent wild pigeon with foie gras, ending with an unfortunate chocolate soufflé with little flavor. Now I never leave without ending a meal with a classic Breton kouign aman which oozes and butter and caramel from every delectable crusty layer. Just a note that many items on the fixed price menu carry supplements, which have risen sharply upward in recent years. Reservations essential.Chez Omar
47, rue de Bretagne, tel: 01 42 72 36 26, (M: Filles du Calvaire) People are divided on Chez Omar, but the place has a lot going for it. It’s open every day but doesn’t take reservations, so you don’t need to decide to go weeks in advance (although the disorganized line is rather taxing), and you can have North African couscous or a pretty fine steak-frites. Service can be chaotic, and you’ll be surrounded by a big mix of people, from locals to out-of-towners. I stay away from the blasé first courses, saving room for the lovely pastries, which are from Bague de Kenza, a wonderful Algerian bakery in Paris. (Note: When presented with the large platter, you pay by how many you take.)Chez Paul
13, rue de Charonne, tel: 01 47 00 34 57, (M: Ledru-Rollin) One of the good, true remaining bistros in Paris that serves well-made French food. I like their giant Côte de Boeuf (for 2) as well as the dandelion salad with crisp bacon and a poached egg on top. Duck confit, steak-frites, and a few seafood selections are offered, as well as entrées like oeufs mayonnaise and plates of good charcuterie. The food is rustic, as is the atmosphere, but it’s a popular place with French diners, especially on Sundays when many other places are closed.Cuisine de Bar
8, rue Cherche-Midi, tel: 01 45 48 45 69, (M: Sevres-Babylon) and 38, rue de Debelleyme, tel: 01 44 61 83 40, (M: Filles du Calvaire) Open-faced tartines, or sandwiches, served on pain Poîlane, the famed bakery next door. I am addicted to the sardines and olive oil with crushed salt as well as the sliced chicken with garlic mayonnaise and capers. If the French had come up with the sushi-bar, it would be like this.Da Rosa
62, rue de Seine, tel: 01 40 51 00 09, (M: Mabillon or Odeon) and 7, rue Rouget d l’Île (1st) A favorite place to sit and have a lunch or dinner, grazing on the best Spanish hams, simple salads, and the best olives and wines from France, Italy, and Spain.Ellsworth
34, rue de Richelieu, tel: 01 42 60 59 66, (M: Palais-Royal, Pyramides) Excellent contemporary cooking with well-sourced and market-based ingredients. From the team that created the popular Verjus restaurant, reserve in advance at this popular restaurant. The casual, friendly vibe makes it a great place for lunch or dinner.La Buvette
67, rue Saint-Maur, tel: 09 83 56 94 11, (M: Saint-Ambroise) This teensy wine bar serves a small menu of charcuterie, cheese, and a couple of other small plates. What the place lacks in space, it makes up for in charm and an amazing, and well-edited, selection of wines. Because of the size, it can get rather busy during peak hours and it’s more of a place to grab a glass and a snack rather than make an evening of.La Rôtisserie du Beaujolais
19, quai de la Tournelle, tel: 01 43 54 17 47, (M: Sully Morland or Cardinale Lemoine) Spit-roasted meats spin continuously, at this Seine-side restaurant. Roasted game and chicken are good bets. Open Sunday.La Régalade Saint-Honoré
106, rue Saint-Honoré, tel: 01 42 21 92 40, (M: Louvre-Rivoli) This outpost of the other La Régalade (located out in the 14th) has good, reliable food, skillfully prepared. A pre-fixed menu hovers around €33 with supplements for special fare, such as various game dishes in season.L'as Du Fallafel
34, rue des Rosiers (M: St. Paul) closed Friday pm and Saturday. Join the crowd clamoring at the window while they prepare your fallafel with lightning-fast speed. Certainly a dive, and definitely popular. (I wish they would cook the fries more, though. Who wants soggyfrites?) Fans of the fallafel might want to cross the river and hit Maoz, which makes a worthy (and dare I say better?) adversary.Le Bambou
70, rue Baudricourt, tel: 01 45 70 91 75, (M: Tolbiac or Maison Blanche) A very good, bustling spot for Vietnamese food. Inexpensive and authentic, expect your find yourself jammed elbow-to-elbow with fellow diners. Closed Monday.LE BON GEORGES
45, rue Saint-Georges, tel: 01 48 78 40 30, (M: Saint-Georges) The classic bistro has been updated with well-sourced meats and vegetables and this now-popular neighborhood restaurant. Good steak tartare and steak frites are on the blackboard menu (note that they will only cook steaks rare and medium rare, as they feel that the quality of their meat it too good to cook it any more), but there are fish dishes (fish sourced from Terroirs d’Avenir) and sides of roasted vegetables.Le Garde Robe
41, rue de l’Arbre Sec, tel: 01 49 26 90 60, (M: Louvre-Rivoli) This wine bar serves ‘natural’ wines and the friendly staff is happy to help you with suggestions. Although it gets crowded at peak hours, if you snag a table, you can order board of charcuterie and cheeses to make a nice meal.Le Rubis
10, rue du Marche Saint-Honoré, (M: Tuilleries. Authentic Parisian wine bar and a great place for a rustic lunch or simple sandwich at the counter, washed down with a glass (or two) of wine. I like to stop in late afternoon for a sip or two, accompanied with a most generous plate of their good charcuterie.Le Square Gardette
24, rue Saint Ambroise, tel: 01 83 76 04 70, (M: St. Ambroise) Just off this scenic square, this corner restaurant serves truly market-fresh food, sourcing from the best purveyors in Paris. Don’t expect everyday fare; the cooks here are very talented and the plates are a lot more refined and well-prepared than the comfy interior will lead you to expect. Friendly service and an engaging sommelier make this neighborhood place a favorite.
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Hey Kat! Nice to see a familiar face :) For vegetarian/vegan friendly in Montmartre try Soul Kitchen, they have great lunches so I imagine dinner is great too. Also this might be worth reading before you head here: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/04/tips-for-vegeta-1/
I had a decent lunch at La Maison Rose, which is on a corner, near the Montmartre vineyard. It's not outrageously good but perfectly acceptable. The staff when I was there spoke excellent English and, if you're there when the weather is decent, it's very pleasant to sit outside.