If a country can take ingredients like frog legs and snails, and turn them into delicacies, you know that they must be good with
self-delusion food -- hence the fact that paring down Paris's eateries to only its eight best is no easy task at all… but we managed it somehow, and here they are:
Mexican food might be a kind of a rarity in Paris, but Candelaria more than makes up for it -- fronted by a small, boxy green storefront that announces "Tacos" in electric pink lettering, the decor itself might be pretty unspectacular but the food certainly is, boasting delicious soft- & hard-shelled tacos expertly stuffed with the likes of 'shrooms, chicken, carnitas, and cactus.
2) West Country Girl
Serving crepes almost exclusively, WCG's menu is split up into savory options w/ ham, cheese and egg, etc., or sweet options like dark chocolate sauce -- and depending on the day, they might also serve undecorated plates full of fresh oysters at market price. Its collection of connected rooms host small candlelit tables for an intimate vibe, while collages & framed artwork decorate the walls.
3) La Taverne de l'arbre Sec
A bistro specializing in traditional French cuisine, La Taverne de l'arbre saddles the corner of Rue Saint-Honore and Rue de L'arbre Sec (where it takes its name from) right next to the Lourve museum. You can get a masterpiece of your own thanks to a meat-laden menu filled with the likes of filet mignon, Côte de boeuf (the French version of prime rib), or steak tartare.
4) L'as du Fallafel
Existing on a street where several vendors claim to have the best falafel in Paris, L'as du Fallafel is the only one with the endless line (they've even had to develop a system for keeping the queue moving with a combination of tickets & pre-pays). Reach the end, and you'll find yourself the proud owner of some falafel w/ curry sausage, grilled chicken livers, schwarma, or even schnitzel.
5) Chez Omar
Practically an institution, Chez Omar has occupied its spot on rue de Bretange for years, serving up a wealth of traditional Moroccan food alongside a smattering of French dishes. It's a no-reservations spot, and's famed for its couscous, Moroccan lamb sausage, rattatouille, and even steak.
6) Al Taglio
Slinging maybe the best 'za in the city, Taglio serves it in square pieces, and literally charges for it by the kilo (converted to imperial units, that's… a lot). Toppings get inventive with the likes of potatoes & truffle cream, or salmon & walnut pesto to complement traditionals like prosciutto & speck.
7) Lao Siam
Located in the center of Paris' Asian district of Belleville, Lao Siam may be on top of a hill, but that doesn't stop the chow-seeking crowds from coming in droves; it may not take too long to be seated, but a line out front is a pretty common sight. Serving traditional Thai & Laotian options, highlights include the grilled calamari, and the pineapple fried rice w/ torched squid.
8) Beef Club
True to its name, Beef Club
is a place where people get together to have arguments focuses on the beef; from the folks behind vaunted drinkery The Experimental Cocktail Club, a full variety of steak cuts like sirloin & entrecote fill its upmarket menu (alongside veg and fries). On weekends, the spot offers a raved-about, full-on Champagne-fueled brunch, and there’s also a hidden ballroom a floor below w/ two dedicated cocktail bars.
1. Candelaria52 Rue de Saintonge, Paris
2. West Country Girl6 Passage Saint-Ambroise, Paris
3. La Taverne de l'arbre Sec109 rue St. Honoré,
4. L'As du Fallafel34 Rue des Rosiers, Paris
5. Chez Omar47 Rue de Bretagne, Paris
6. Al Taglio2 Bis, Rue Neuve Popincourt, Paris
7. Lao Siam49 rue de Belleville, Paris
8. The Beef Club58 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Paris
Candelaria, in the 3rd arrondissement, is a practically 24hr taqueria that's got all the Mexican goodness you could want, plus a brunch menu and a ton of cocktails, including more than a few filled with tequila. The coolest part of Candelaria is the spot's well-hidden second half: behind an unmarked white door by the kitchen you'll find a DJ spinning alongside the bar that's now considered among the top four cocktail bars in the world according to Tales of the Cocktail.
When you think of Parisian food, one of the first things that comes to mind is (or at least should be) crêpes. West Country Girl is serving them almost exclusively from a menu that's split along traditional savory & sweet lines. Despite the casual food, the restaurant itself is surprisingly intimate, thanks to its connected rooms with small, candlelit tables and framed artwork-adorned walls.
Located only a few blocks from the Louvre, La Taverne de l'arbre Sec is a St. Honoré spot that specializes in traditional French cuisine. So if you're looking to dig into filet mignon, steak tartare, and/or côte de boeuf, this is the place for you.
Rue des Rosiers has a number of places that claim to have Paris' best falafel, but we'll let the fact that L'as du Fallafel is the only one with a seemingly endless line speak for itself. This famous Marais spot serves up enviable pita sandwiches with freshly fried falafel, requisite creamy hummus, mild pickled red cabbage, fried eggplant, and more. The real L'As experts know to order french fries on top of their mass of chickpeas and veggies.
In what is surely good news for you, this spot is not the home of the Baltimore Robin Hood we all came to love on HBO. Instead, Chez Omar is practically a Parisian institution at this point. It's occupied its Rue de Bretagne spot for years now, serving up tons of traditional Moroccan food alongside a decent amount of French fare, too. Although it doesn't do reservations, you should definitely be willing to wait solely for Chez Omar's amazing couscous.
Just because you're in Paris doesn't mean you can't fill up on the Italian staple that is pizza. Al Taglio is serving up what may be the best slice in the city, but they do things a little differently in France: in this restaurant, in the heart of Popincourt village, you'll be eating your 'za in square form. (The name of the place is named for the style in which the pizza is baked.) But while the shape may be different from your usual style, the flavors are still all there, which you'll be assured of when you order any of their delicious offerings, which include margherita, prosciutto parma, and one that's topped with potatoes and truffle cream.
Lao Siam is located at the top of a hill in the Belleville district, but you shouldn't be put off by the decent trek it takes to get there -- others certainly aren't, which is clear by the seemingly ever-present line outside this restaurant. If you're looking for traditional Laotian, Chinese, and Thai food, this is the place for you, where you'll get delicious plates of grilled calamari, pineapple fried rice with squid, and loads of curry.
Despite its name, The Beef Club is not a place where rappers gather to air out their issues with one another. Instead, this place is an amazing steakhouse a few blocks from the Louvre that occupies a former butcher shop. The restaurant is run by the guys behind the Experimental Cocktail Club and inspired by a farm-to-table ethic, a dedication reflected in the fact that all the meat comes from a celebrated farm in Yorkshire that has what many consider the world's best cattle. The high-quality meat forms the base of a killer menu that includes entrecôte, beef tenderloin, sirloin, and more. And just in case you're not enticed yet, be sure to check out the hidden ballroom and cocktail bar on the floor below.