One of the things I love most about vacation is trying unique dining options that are different from the food I usually eat. In Paris there are many restaurants, cafes and pastry shops to choose from.
Things you should know about dining in ParisDining in Paris is a serious matter, meal time is for being with family and friends, not for sitting in front of the TV or grabbing takeout. In fact there are not many takeout restaurants in Paris and some restaurants don't have takeout options or give doggy bags. Many restaurants have in-house dining where you can sit outside facing the activity on the street and enjoy your meal and company at leisurely pace.
Fast food and buffets, not in Paris!In all the time that I was in Paris I only saw two mainstream fast food restaurants, a Subway and a MacDonalds but only a couple of them. There were no other fast food restaurants or chains in sight. Most of the restaurants are quaint little cafes where you can also order other types of food like pizza, burgers and fries. There are no drive-through windows, buffets or super sized meals. Everything seemed to come in proper portions and always with time to sit down and enjoy the meal. I loved this about Paris, I didn't miss any of those fast food chains because I don't eat at most of them.
If you are staying at a French hotel which serves breakfast then you probably won’t get a continental breakfast of eggs, pancakes, toast and some type of fried meat. My hotel served delicious fresh croissants with jam, cream cheese or butter, fresh crispy baguettes and sweet pastries with a hot beverage or cold fruit juice.
You can also have breakfast outside of the hotel and try some crepes with your choice of breakfast filling.
Street side cafes and pastry shops :
If you come to Paris there is no shortage of street side cafes. I loved stopping off to have a bite to eat right on the sidewalk while enjoying the sites. The prices are usually posted on the menus outside and costs will differ depending on the neighborhood. The croissants were delicious!
It isn't uncommon to see Parisians walking down the street while munching a plain baguette. Pastry and bread seem to be a big part of the Parisian diet.
This is the local bakery that was just steps away from the apartment we rented in Paris.
Close to the Eiffel Tower: Firmine Restaurant
If you are in the area of the Eiffel tower and want to grab a bite to eat while sitting out on the street and taking in your surroundings then Firmine offers some great options. They serve pasta, pizza, chicken, steak and a variety of other tasty dishes. I liked the pesto linguine and the pizza.
With the exchange rate it can get a bit pricey eating out all the time but there are numerous ways you can save money if you have a long stay in Paris. Since we rented an apartment in a very affluent neighborhood 3 minutes from the Eiffel Tower, there were many grocery stores and pastry shops in the area. You can buy just about anything and prepare a few meals yourself.
Lunch Time: Deli's Cafe:
There are some cafes in Paris that have great lunch specials available. I found one called Deli’s Cafe. Here you can get a delicious baguette sandwich (your choice of meat) with a drink and desert for just €7. Baguette sandwiches are a very popular lunch in Paris and the bread is crusty on the outside, soft on the inside and freshly baked.
There are also many fine dining restaurants in Paris so I suggest you do your research online and find ones that have great ratings and good customer reviews. There is also a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower which can be a great option for those who desire a wonderful view and a romantic atmosphere.
Located at the base of the Eiffel Tower there are also dinner cruises. This is not only romantic for couples, and a great idea for friends but the cruise is scenic and a great way to see the city.
Amorino is a popular little gelato shop which serves delicious Italian ice cream in delectable flavors like mango, coconut, pistachio, raspberry and many more. The gelato is very flavorful and you can taste the fresh ingredients. I would recommend stopping by Rue Cler and trying Amorino for yourself. There is also one located in the Latin Quarter.
Macaroons are very popular in France. You can find them at local grocery stores for a great price and you can also try them at high end bakeries like I did. These were created by the famous pastry chef Pierre Herme. For a review on Pierre Herme's shop click HERE
You shouldn't visit Paris without trying a freshly made crepe. I stopped at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower to have a crepe that was made right before my eyes. It was slathered with Nutella and topped with fresh strawberries. You can also have it with other toppings like banana, coconut and even ice cream. This is the BEST dessert I had in Paris. The Creperies by the Eiffel Tower range from 6-9 euros for a crepe depending on your topping preferences but they do have them all over the city including the Latin Quarter for a better price.
You can get wine just about anywhere in Paris, there are even guys walking around the bottom of the Eiffel Tower selling wine, champagne and beer. For the cheapest wine try the local grocery stores. I got good wine for as little as €4.50
If you are braver than I am and less picky about your food you can try some of the local delicacies like escargot (snails). They even sell them at the grocery stores. Of course I like to stick with the more delicious French foods like creme brulee! I also saw that they serve a lot of beef, roast chicken and duck on their menus.
The Latin Quarter:
The Latin Quarter is a great place to dine in Paris. The streets are jam packed with restaurants, patios and a variety of different cuisines including Middle Eastern, Italian and Indian. There is a lot of shopping and this is also a great place to buy souvenirs. The streets are very lively and there are also many bars.
We went to a restaurant called Le Jaridin du Roy on 28 Rue Huchette. Here you can get an appetizer, an entree and a desert for just 14 Euros. The French onion soup was delicious.
Whatever you eat I would recommend doing it Parisian style, outdoors and with a glass of wine.
To see more photos and info on my trip to Paris and other trips visit my TRAVEL SECTION