It’s impossible to get a bad meal in Paris… Wrong! You really have to do your research. There are so many fantastic possibilities but so many ways to go wrong.
Here are a few choices from Girls’ Guide to Paris, most of which you won’t find in the average guidebook or on the web.
Wine bar with Killer Oysters: Le Baron Rouge
Raw oysters are served here piled high on plastic plates, and eaten on the sidewalk or inside the bustling wine bar. You’ll also find great wines by the glass, and a selection of charcuterie and cheese for the seafood averse. The oysterman appears on Saturdays and Sundays in winter only, but the wine bar is fun throughout the year. Taste: Oysters, of course. 1, rue Théophile Roussel, in the 12th Arrondissement. Open Tuesday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. Friday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Affordable Food Mecca: La Cantine du Troquet
La Cantine du Troquet is a generous table where you can eat and drink big for 30 to 35 euros or with restraint for around 20 euros. Safe choices like roasted chicken and steak frites coexist with more adventurous nose-to-tail preparations. The ambience here is informal and buzzing, with friendly service and local clientele. Taste: pig-ear salad — for the adventurous. (101, rue de l’Ouest, in the 14th Arrondissement. No phone and no reservations. Monday–Friday, opening at 8 p.m.; closed Saturday and Sunday. Arrive at opening time for your best chance of being seated.
Breton Fave: Chez Michel
Come to Chez Michel for classic Breton fare (heavy on seafood and pork dishes) and well-sourced luxuries available as a supplement to the 32 euro menu. The long list of (25+) specials has plenty to tempt the adventurous foodie, including an excellent selection of wild game during the season. Grandmotherly decor with friendly service, steps away from Gare du Nord. Taste: creamy Vacherin Mont d’Or cheese. 10, rue de Belzunce, in the 10th Arrondissement. 01 44 53 06 20. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
This private supper club specializes in inventive cuisine prepared by two American chefs. Reserve well in advance for an inspired dinner, free-flowing wine and the chance to make new friends in a beautiful Parisian apartment. Hidden Kitchen is ideal for solo travelers and couples who want to take a break from quiet evenings. Highly recommended. Email [email protected] to reserve. Secret address (somewhere in central Paris) revealed after reservation.
Wine Bar and Tapas: L’Avant Comptoir
Hit l’Avant Comptoir for a snacky apèro, or camp out at the counter and make a night of it (even on Sunday!) by sharing rounds of tapas with friends and strangers. Taste: Deep fried ham croquettes made with Iberian ham. 9, Carrefour de l’Odéon, in the 6th Arrondissement. No reservations. Open every day.