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Young 30s couple looking for can't-miss Paris restaurants.

We are looking for gem restaurants that are approx $150 (for two) or under. We are staying in the 2nd, but would love any suggestions within walking distanace or short train ride away.  Classic French cuisine, but also open to others! I'd also love to know if we need reservations. What can't we miss?  Visiting in December.

8 Answers

top answer by
Pamela from New Canaan, Connecticut

For the best, classic French, steak frites you'll ever have, don't miss L'Entrecôte (L'Entrecôte).  The only decision you have to make here is how you want your steak cooked, and if you want red or white wine, because steak frites is all they serve...with a secret green peppercorn sauce that's to die for. As soon as you've eaten everything on your plate, your waitress comes back and heaps it up with seconds...but save room for dessert.  Highlights include an ice cream and meringue tower, and, my personal favorite, the best profiteroles ever.  Go on a weekday, and go early...but even if there's a queue, it's worth the wait!

(For more of my favorite Paris restaurants, see the Sourcebook on my blog.)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. L'Entrecôte (restaurant)
4 thanks

answered by
John from Carlsbad (California)

You can eat very well in Paris within your budget.  I would recommend you make reservations for dinner each night, even if it is the same day.  To be safe, it's better to make them a week or so ahead and confirm the day before by phone.  I think you get better service and a better table if you do.  If you reserve before 8:00 or 8:30 p.m., you will see more tourists although in the winter with short days, people tend to eat a little earlier.

One place we tried this past June is Pramil, an intimate, unpretentious restaurant in the 3rd, which is walking distance or a couple metro stops from anywhere in the 2nd.  Three courses are 33€ and there are six choices for each course.  The food and service were excellent and the chef watches the dining rooms carefully to make sure everyone is happy.  The cream of white asparagus soup with foie gras ice cream is terrific.  With one of the reasonably priced wines, you will be under budget.  You can make reservations on their website by clicking on "Reservations". 

A short metro ride away in the 7th, Chez Les Anges is a stylish place with a 35€ three-course menu that includes good choices and vegetables from Joël Thiébaud and a cheese plate from Marie Quatrehomme.   If you are adventurous, there is a five course surprise menu at 55€ and a la carte menu that is more expensive.  Nice wine list, too.  We have always found the food and service to be excellent.  Also in the 7th, its sister restaurant, Au Bon Accueil has a view of the Eiffel Tower just outside and a similar three-course menu for 32€ and a 4 course for 50€.  Same great food and service.  Reservations can be made for both restaurants on their websites.  Ask to be seated in the front dining room.

Just down the street from Au Bon Accueil, Le Clos des Gourmetsserves excellent three course menus with six choices in each course (some dishes have small supplements) for 38€.  They also have a three courses with two choices per course for 34€.  Excellent, creative menu and very good service.  You can email them for a reservation on their webpage.

In the 6th, La Ferrandaise offers 3 courses for 37€, with small supplements for some beef and veal dishes, which are a specialty here.   Near the northeast corner of the Luxembourg Garden, its an authentic bistro featuring the products from the Auvergne and an interesting wine list with good prices.  Good cheeses.  Reservations can be made by email from their website.

Near La Ferrandaise, La Bastide Odéon is a smart bistro serving very good food inspired by the South of France.  At dinner, 2 courses are 30€ and 3 courses are 37€. They have a reasonably priced wine list.  Reservations can be made in real time on their website.

Also in the same area, La Méditerranée also has sunny cuisine from the South, as well as a beautiful interior.  They have a three course menu for 36€ with three choices for each course.  A la carte will up the price but offers more choices.  Booking available on their website.

For a very traditional Parisian bistro, I recommend Restaurant Joséphine Chez Dumonet, which is off the beaten path in the 6th.  (The small map seems to have it misplaced on this page.)  It is a gem.  You will be served a complimentary glass of wine and amuse when you sit down.  The chef, Jean-Christian Dumonet, is third generation at this restaurant and you will probably see him patrolling the dining room during the evening.  It can be expensive if you order certain dishes, but if you order carefully, you can come in at budget and it is well worth what you will pay.  This is a place to forget your diet.  The dishes are rich and the portions are huge, although many of the dishes come in half-portions large enough for anyone.  I would recommend you order two appetizers to split from the following:  ½ order of Saumon Fume, ½ order of the Morilles Farcies (stuffed morel mushrooms which are sinfully rich but expensive), half order of Terrine Maison.  Follow with Confit de Canard Maison, ½ order of the Boeuf Bourguignon, the Millefeuille de Pigeon (superb) or the Cassoulet (huge portion).  Split the Grand Marnier Soufflé, the Apple Tart or the Millefeuille Jean Louis to end if you are still hungry.  Ask the waiter to recommend a wine in the 40€ to 50€ range- the wine list is a little confusing and don't be surprised when they bring the bottle to the table already opened- they do that with everyone.  If you stick to that plan, you will get out within your budget or very close to it.  Reserve well ahead which will have to be by phone as far as I know.
Have a great trip and let us know how things went when you return.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pramil (restaurant)
  2. Chez Les Anges (restaurant)
  3. Au Bon Accueil (restaurant)
  4. Eiffel Tower (attraction)
  5. Le Clos des Gourmets (restaurant)
  6. La Ferrandaise (restaurant)
  7. Luxembourg Garden (attraction)
  8. La Bastide Odéon (restaurant)
  9. La Méditerranée (restaurant)
  10. Restaurant Joséphine Chez Dumonet (restaurant)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Mei & Kerstin from Larochette

 Le Montparnasse 1900 is wonderful restaurant serving traditional French cuisine. Both the Art Deco style and the food is great. Their menu "Belle Epoque" for 35€ per person is a delight, and very copious, especially compared to what's served in other Parisian restaurants. Check out their website to see the menu and some pics of the interior design:

We lived in Paris for 8 years, and used to go there for romantic dinners. When friends and family came to Paris, we would take them there too. From the 2nd arrd. you can easily catch a metro to the Montparnasse station. It's better to make a reservation if you know the exact day you want to go there. If not, be there around 7pm and you might get a table :) If you do want to make a reservation, make sure to call them instead of doing it on their website. 

Bon appétit and enjoy Paris! :) Feel free to contact us if you have more questions or need info about Paris. Always happy to help.


Mei & Kerstin from

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Le Montparnasse 1900 (restaurant)
  2. Paris (city)
3 thanks

answered by
Emi from San Francisco

You MUST go to Le Refuge des Fondues in Montmarte. Best meal ever!! See more of our Paris favorites here:


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Le Refuge des Fondues (restaurant)
2 thanks

answered by
Michael from Tacoma

I just thought of another reasonably-priced Parisian restaurant, l' Écurie, 2 rue Laplace, Sorbonne/Panthéon, 5ème. It's located near 

5e arrondissement – Panthéon and Rue Mouffetard, one of Paris' oldest neighborhoods.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. 5e arrondissement – Panthéon (attraction)
  2. Rue Mouffetard (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Naomi from Newcastle upon Tyne

La Mère MicheleLa Mère Michèle in the 7th arrondissementis my favourite. It's small, so definitely make sure to make a reservation but it's authentic, cozy and the service is great (contrary to the norm in Paris). The fois gras is delicious too.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. La Mère Michele (restaurant)
  2. 7th arrondissement (neighborhood)
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answered by
Michael from Tacoma

I agree with Ben about Le Bouillon Chartier. I've eaten there many times. The restaurant opened in 1896 and attracts Parisians as well as tourists. Expect to be seated wherever there's an open chair. If you find yourself at an empty table for four, expect the other three seats to be filled before long. The last time I visited I struck up a conversation with a Spanish family. On other visits, I dined across the table from locals who dined silently. I have the impression that the French are often respectful of others privacy, not unfriendly, but not intrusive. You should find a basket of bread, a carafe of water and that day's paper menu resting upon the butcher paper tablecloth. Regular visitors often write their selections on the butcher paper for the benefit of the busy waiters. Reputable Parisian restaurants take pride in offering a reasonably priced, very drinkable house wine. I usually order a 1/4L carafe or pichet of vin rouge, blanc or rosé.  Your meal will be delivered promptly. I usually order the steak au poivre vert avec frites (steak with green pepper sauce and fries), but would order cuisses de grenouilles (frogs legs) or a half-dozen escargots if they were available that day. Bring along a slim Marling Menu Master book (available from Amazon, Target and numerous other sites for $8 or less) to help you decipher less well-known dining options. Salad options are varied. Leave room for dessert, perhaps a Crème brûlée or a Mystère (vanilla ice cream coated in nuts with a meringue in the centre). I'm a budget traveler who appreciates good prices on traditional French cuisine. I'm sure my next visit to Paris will include a return to Restaurant Chartier.

Another must-visit dessert location is Berthillon for amazing ice cream and sorbets. The Berthillon tea-room is located in the heart of 

Île Saint-Louis behind Notre-Dame de Paris. I usually stop at a store-front location on the street that runs from the cathedral to the tea room. If you ascribe to the philosophy, "Life is short, eat dessert first", Berthillon is the place to go.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Le Bouillon Chartier (restaurant)
  2. Berthillon (attraction)
  3. Notre-Dame de Paris (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Ben from London

I would throw in Le Bouillon Chartier for a unique French foodie experience! It is very inexpensive, good food & wine and a great experience.  You will have to queue for dinner, but lunch is usually less queues

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Le Bouillon Chartier (restaurant)
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