Here at Zesty PDX we not only know where you can eat and drink in Portland, but also in many locations around the globe! This is my best friend and frequent travel partner's review of Paris. We both went together and she fastidiously took notes before and after eating. I'm delighted to have the wonderful Colleen Valles tell you all about our gastronmic journey on our wonderful trip to Paris.
Paris is a city of delights. The art, architecture, style, food … each incorporates aspects from around the world to produce something uniquely French. These delights inspire wonder and awe and keep Paris one of the top tourist destinations in the world. To experience them is like being let in on a secret: you feel you know what no one else does, and it’s hard to keep it to yourself.
There is so much to do, see and eat in Paris that choosing just a few during a trip there can seem impossible. Luckily, ZestyPDX has done some of the work for you, and like everyone else, we just can’t keep this to ourselves.
Below are some recommendations for places to eat in Paris, each tried and approved by Zesty.
15, Rue des Petits-Champs
Metro stop: Pyramides
Phone: +33 1 42 97 53 85
Top on the list has to be Maceo. This restaurant has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. It’s a little expensive, but it's nice if you can get here for a date with your significant other, your bestie or whomever you just met that day. This meal is so good, it deserves to be shared with someone. I had the vegetarian prix fixe because the non-veg option had shellfish, which I'm not all that fond of. It was, of course, a veggie meal to die for. The pea soup was what I imagine pea soup will taste like in heaven, it was that divine. Make reservations online and be prepared to have your taste buds doing little dances all night long.
Metro Stop: St. Sulpice
Phone: +33 1 43 54 47 77
Best macarons in all of France. He’s an artiste, and everyone knows it, so you'll have to get there early to get a wide selection. Also, get the Ispahan croissant, if he's still making it -- you’ll thank me for the rest of your life. The one on Rue Bonaparte is his pastry shop. He has a bakery on the Rue Cambon, and a chocolate shop at 18 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie. I suggest trying out all three places. You're in Paris, after all. Enjoy the carbs.
L’As du Fallafel
32 Rue des Rosiers, in a little green building
Jewish quarter of the Marais district
Phone: +33 1 48 87 63 60
This place has delicious, cheap falafel and some other Middle Eastern fare. It’s near shopping in the Marais, so it’s a nice place to stop for a quick bite. The guys out front take your order, you pay them, and a few minutes later, you are walking down the street, chowing down on a giant, tasty falafel. You can sit inside, too, if you like, but it's pretty cramped, and the line is generally long. It moves quickly, and it's definitely worth it.
Phone: +33 1 42 72 28 41
This bistro has a large indoor space as well as a terrace for dining in fine weather. It serves food from Provence, so for more Mediterranean fare and a fun time, venture here. The staff is friendly; the food is good; the crowd is lively.
Le Comptoir du Relais
9, Carrefour de l'Odeon (Relais St. Germain Hotel)
Metro stop: Odeon
St. Germain District
This is a typical French bistrot: the food is awesome, if a little meat-heavy. It’s tough to get into, though, if you go when everyone else is eating. It’s best for a late lunch (3-4 p.m.).
109, Rue Vieille du Temple
Metro Stop: St. Sebastien Froissard
Phone: +33 1 42 72 13 77
Widely known as the best crêpes in Paris. It specializes in galettes, which are buckwheat crêpes, and serve both sweet and savory. This place is tough to get into – Zesty and I got lucky, but we got there a little early, around 7 or 7:30 p.m. They serve hard cider in bowls, since galettes are Breton, and they drink cider in Brittany. It’s all yummy. We got the buckwheat crepe dessert with buckwheat ice cream, and it was delicious, despite sounding too buckwheaty.
La Petite Place
16, Rue du Parc Royal
Phone: +33 1 42 71 75 86
This little café is where we had breakfast in the morning. It has typical French breakfasts that you’ll get at any café, but the lunches are good, and include vegetables, which may be easier to come by depending on the season you're there. We were a little early for much to be in season, but you can get big ol’ salads here, and their tartines and quiches are good.
8 Rue du Cherche-Midi
Phone: +33 1 45 48 42 59
Reputed to be the best bread in Paris, and anyone who serves it will brag about it. The bakery is on this street, so you can see for your own selves.
Things to note for Paris newbies:
- In cafés and many restaurants, you sit where you want if no one greets you.
- Tip for small meals like breakfast is the change. Tip for dinners, etc. is 5-10 percent. The waiters don’t rely on tips like they do in the United States, so don’t worry too much about it.
- In restaurants, you’ll most likely be asked if you want an aperitif. Get Kir. It rocks.
- Get street crêpes: Shops with windows open to the sidewalk, and you just walk up, order your crêpe, which they’ll make right there. Best thing ever.
- Tartines are so much more than bread and butter. Explore the world of tartine.
- The Louvre: It’s overwhelming, so choose a few things to see beforehand. The must-sees are Venus de Milo, Nike of Samothrace (Winged Victory), Mona Lisa, Michaelangelo’s slaves, Da Vinci’s St. Anne. If you can, go on a Wednesday or Friday evening, when the crowds are thinner (as in fewer people, not more svelte). It’s cheaper after 6 p.m. and is open until 10 p.m.
- Eiffel Tower: See it lit up at night; it sparkles every hour. Pretty cool thing to see.
- Flea Markets: Paris has two, and they’re famous. The one at Clignancourt is GINORMOUS, and it's waaaaaaaaay at the end of the métro line. It’ll take you all day, and it’s got oodles of stuff. The one at Vanves is supposed to be smaller. We didn’t go to Vanves, but I imagine it’s largely the same: oodles of stuff you have to dig through. Bonne chance (good luck).
- Prepare to walk. Wear comfy shoes, but not tennis shoes. C'mon. It's Paris.
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