Essential food and wine experiences: Paris
Paris remains to us one of the most exciting and compelling food cities in the world. It is a city in which you can splurge hundreds or thousands of dollars on a single meal or where you can get a meal cooked by an expert chef for as little as 30 euros as you can at a restaurant such as Les Papilles or Aux Deux Amis. In recent years we have noted the emergence of classy wine bars and special places known as cave-à-manger where you can buy a bottle of wine to take home or you can take it to the table and have a simple meal. Examples are Les Papilles, Verre Volé, Coinstot Vino, Spring, Tombe du Ciel and La Cave de l'Os a Moelle. Soon, one of our favourite wine shops, La Cave de l'Insolite, will join this band as well - when we last visited the tables were in place and most of the preparations were underway.
Paris also has some of the best food shops in the world. And some of the best are not the traditional ones that everyone knows about such as Ladurée and Fauchon. Rather they are tiny jewels such as Pierre Hermé (try the ice creams as well) or Jacques Genin or Da Rosa where products of exceptional quality are available
Our favourite Paris restaurants
We have chosen the restaurants that provide a wide range of interesting and exciting dining experiences from three star dining to out-of-the-way places that are little more than a bar with a couple of tables.
Pierre Jancou's latest incarnation is buzzing! Great food based on perfectly-selected produce, an amazing array of natural wines accompanied by good service in an amazing, yet tiny space makes this a must-visit venue in Paris.
Read our review here: Vivant
This lovely, tiny restaurant is turning out beautiful food based on great produce. The wine list is carefully chosen and provides choices from throughout France - many of which are natural. The service is charming.
Our full review will be posted soon.
The little cousin of the amazingly popular Chateaubriand next door. We were delighted with the quality of the food and with the natural wine selection. The food is small plates but the servings are cleverly put together and represent amazing value for money.
Our full review will be posted soon.
This lively 'cave a manger' has tables arranged in front of the wine racks. You choose a wine and then settle back to enjoy a fixed menu of delicious food.
Read our review here: Les Papilles
For lovers of offal and natural wine this cosy restaurant in the 5th is a special favourite.
Read our review here: Ribouldingue Restaurant
Here you can enjoy great Basque-influenced cooking while enjoying one of the best-selected wine lists in Paris.
Read our review here: L'Ami Jean
Aux Deux Amis
Aux Deux Amis is a newcomer to the Paris dining scene. It is informal, lively and serves some of the best biodynamic and natural wines from throughout France. And the food and wine are very reasonably priced.
Read our review here: Aux Deux Amis
Le Cave de l'Os a Moelle
A lovely cave doing family-style service of good food. Buy your wines in the shop and drink them at the table.
Read our review here: La Cave de l'Os a Moelle
One of the hottest spots in Paris at the moment. In the top 50 list of best restaurants in the world. The wine list is excellent.
Read our review here: Le Chateaubriand
Some very good food here although we have had reports of indifferent service. The day we went it was very good.
Read our review here: Restaurant Itineraires
A regular spot for us. This is a great bistro with fair prices for the quality of the food. The wine list has some of France's natural wine treasures. Have a drink at l'Avant Comptoir (see Bars section) while waiting for a table.
Read our review here: Le Comptoir
Cafe de la Nouvelle Mairie
This cafe in the 5th serves good, honest, traditional French food in a lively atmosphere along with a long list of organic and biodynamic wines from throughout France.
Read our review here: Cafe de la Nouvelle Mairie
Le Repaire de Cartouche
Repaire de Cartouche is a gem of a restaurant in the 11th. The engaging owner directs proceedings to ensure that guests have a great time. The food is wonderful while being relatively reasonably priced.
Read our review here: Le Repaire de Cartouche
Le Jeu de Quilles
A particular favourite where the open kitchen invites conviviality. The food is very good, the wines interesting and the prices reasonable.
Read our review here: Le Jeu de Quilles
Spring is back in action at a new location. Run by American Daniel Rose this is a very good venue. There is a downstairs bar as well.
Read our review here: Spring
Le Baratin was one of the first bistros in Paris to move to an all-natural wine list. The food is simply presented and very good and the wine selection is amazing. Just leave the selection to the sommelier and you won't be disappointed.
Read our review here: Le Baratin
A great place for natural wine and some very good food. Some of the produce is sourced from the Arpege garden.
Read our review here: Racines
Another good value venue in the same 'passage' as Racines is the new Coinstot Vino. It specialises in tasty food from good producers and the best of natural wines.
Read our review here: Coinstot Vino
Astier is a very good place to experience a typical Parisian bistro. The food is very good and the wine list features wine from throughout France including Corsica.
Read our review here: Astier
The Alain Ducasse empire has taken over many restaurants in Paris. This is one of them. However, it has the feel of a 19th century bistro. The service is slick and the food an excellent representation of Lyonnais cuisine.
Read our review here: Aux Lyonnais
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
If you want a three star experience without the three star price tag then the small plate format here is a good place to dip your toes into fine dining.
Read our review here: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
If you want an informal meal at a reasonable price or if you are dining alone then Les Cocottes is a favourite venue.
Read our review here: Les Cocottes
Le Bistrot Paul Bert
This venue has the feel of a traditional bistro while having a very modern wine list packed with the stars of the natural wine movement.
Read our review here: Le Bistrot Paul Bert
Paris food shops
Paris is unequalled in the quality of its food shops. Other cities might have more, other cities may have bigger, other cities may have newer, but rarely do they match the consistent excellence of places such as Pierre Herme and Jacques Genin.
Many of the wine bars in Paris provide an excellent selection of wines from small producers throughout the country. Some, such as La Cremerie and Le Verre Vole specialise in 'natural wines' - those wines made without the use of chemicals in the vineyard or additives in the wine making process. Our latest discoveries are l'Avant Comptoir and the funky Tombe du Ciel.
One note here. Many guides mention Willis Wine Bar and Juveniles as places to drink, however our visits to these venues over the last two years have been desultory. There has been no spark from the staff, no excitement, no enthusiasm for taking you on a journey of discovery.
There are many good wine shops in the Paris. We tend to go to those specialising in natural wines or at least who stock some natural wines.
One of the great attractions of the Paris is the range of markets you can visit. We particularly like the President Wilson market which is one of the best fruit and vegetable markets you will find anywhere.