The best foods in Paris are mostly world-famous French dishes that are worth travelling for. These classic recipes will lighten up even the gloomiest of days thanks to their outstanding tastes and flavours. Paris, the City of Light, is justly famed for its food, which has been exported to every corner of the globe.

    From simple snacks picked up from local cafes to classic dishes served on red-and-white checked tablecloths in modern bistros, Paris has something delicious for everyone. Our carefully curated list of classic Parisian food also provides prominent locations where you can find the dishes in question, making it possible for everyone to try the best foods the city has to offer.

    1

    Steak frites at Relais de l’Entrecôte

    Paris’ most well-loved steak and fries

    Steak frites is perhaps the most emblematic bistro dish in the French gastronomic pantheon. A simple and succulent recipe, it consists of a beefsteak, often strip steak, rump steak or entrecote (ribeye steak), pan-fried, and accompanied by French fried potatoes. The dish, much loved for its hearty goodness, is now found on tables throughout the world.

    Paris’ favourite version may be found at Relais d’Entrecote, a small, family-run steakhouse chain with 3 different addresses in town. In each, the formula is the same. There’s only 1 choice on the menu, consisting of a walnut dressing salad, followed by a strip of sirloin steak, their special sauce and fries – with no exceptions made. Make sure you save space for their profiterole cream buns topped with hot chocolate.

    Location: 20 rue Saint Benoit, 75006, Paris, France

    Open: Daily from midday to 3 pm and from 7 pm to 11.30 pm

    Phone: +33 (0)1 45 49 16 00

    Map

    photo by Dcollard (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    2

    French onion soup at Pied de Cochon

    The most famous bowl of soupe a l’oignon in Paris

    Although history tells us that onion soup has existed – in one form or another – since Roman times, it was the French who improved and claimed this popular dish. Legend has it that King Louis XV ennobled the dish while cooking one day in his hunting lodge. Finding the pantry empty, he cooked up a soup, adding butter and Champagne, thus creating one of the most iconic French dishes.

    Paris’ culinary temple of onion soup is undoubtedly Pied de Cochon. This time-worn brasserie is located in the formerly working-class neighbourhood of Les Halles. Made with steaming veal stock, chunky onions and topped with melted Gruyere cheese and pieces of baguette, this is one of the ultimate French comfort foods.

    Location: 6 rue Coquillière, 75001, Paris, France

    Phone: +33 (0)1 40 13 77 00

    Map

    photo by Richard Allaway (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    Pâté, cheese and cold cuts at Le Rubis wine bar

    Finger food and a glass of wine on the edge of an old marketplace

    Charcuterie, or sliced cold cuts, are the number one snack at wine bars across Paris. From sliced dry sausage, and farmhouse pâté, to enticing cheese trays just oozing pungent goodness, chances are you’ll find something tasty at every countertop.

    This venerable wine bar, hidden on a side street off of the tony rue Saint Honoré shopping street, hasn’t changed a bit in decades. Locals from all walks of life gather at the timeworn bar as much for the reasonably priced wine and charcuterie platters as the friendly banter.

    Location: 10 rue du Marché Saint Honoré, 75001, Paris, France

    Phone: +33 (0)1 42 61 03 34

    Map
    4

    Sandwich jambon-beurre at Petit Vendôme

    An everyday classic meal you can find all over Paris

    There are few dishes as ubiquitous in Paris as the ham sandwich. Present throughout the world in innumerable different versions, it rarely reaches perfection – despite the fact that it’s one of France’s most loved sandwiches.

    Petit Vendôme is a great place to grab a ham sandwich in Paris. This is one of the few truly authentic bistros in the swanky district of Vendome. The crusty baguette is slathered with hand-churned butter and stuffed with farm-raised ham. It’s best eaten at the zinc countertop with a pitcher of their delicious house wine.

    Location: 8 rue des Capucines, 75002, Paris, France

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 8.30 am to 9 pm (closed Sundays)

    Phone: +33 (0)1 42 61 05 88

    Map
    5

    Paris Brest at Stohrer

    A creamy treat from the oldest pastry shop in Paris

    A classic French pastry, this wheel-shaped, praline cream-filled delicacy can be found in bakeries and pastry shops throughout France. Originally created in honour of the Paris-Brest bicycle race, it quickly became a fast favourite for sweet-toothed enthusiasts around the world.

    Dating from 1730, Stohrer is Paris’ oldest pastry shop and makes what many consider the ultimate Paris-Brest. Only top-notch ingredients are used and everything is baked fresh in-house and daily. Those in the know say it’s the homemade hazelnut cream used here that makes it better than all the rest.

    Location: 51 rue de Montorgueil, 75002, Paris, France

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +33 (0)1 42 33 38 20

    Map
    6

    Croissant at Du Pain et des Idées

    Flaky breakfast goodness from one of the city’s best bakers

    The croissant is, without doubt, France’s most famous breakfast food, and can be found at every bakery in the city. Legend has it that Marie Antoinette, who was Austrian, introduced a popular Viennese pastry to King Louis XVI’s court called the kipferl, which was then adapted to French tastes and became the croissant.

    One of Paris’ best versions of the moon-shaped puff pastry is at a handsome little bakery called Du Pain et des Idées, which dates from 1875. It’s located steps from the trendy Canal Saint-Martin shipping canal. Their award-winning croissants are made with the finest organic flour and served hot from the oven.

    Location: 34 rue Yves Toudic, 75010, Paris, France

    Open: Monday–Friday from 6.45 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +33 (0)1 42 40 44 52

    Map

    photo by World by Mouth (CC BY 2.0) modified

    7

    Steak tartare at Severo

    Delicious raw beef from a former butcher-turned-chef

    A well-turned-out steak tartare is hard to beat, and one of the best things you can eat in any French bistro. Although the origins of the dish have been argued over for years, a textbook tartare always has more or less the same ingredients: fresh raw beef, and a variety of seasonings such as capers, onions, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and sometimes chopped pickles, sherry and mustard.

    Considered by many as Paris’ best tartare, the version at Severo is prepared by chef William, a former butcher, who chops up premium French beef and seasons it minimally with just capers and a few shallots, allowing the tender beef to express itself. Coupled with duck fat-fried frites, this is a memorable meaty meal that you won’t want to share.

    Location: 8 rue des Plantes, 75014, Paris, France

    Open: Monday–Friday from midday to 2 pm and 7.30 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +33 (0)1 45 40 40 91

    Map
    8

    Éclairs at L’Eclair de Génie

    Paris’ best eclairs from one of the city’s most talented pastry chefs

    The éclair is a long choux pastry filled with flavoured cream and topped with chocolate icing. Originally invented sometime in the early 19th century,  the popular oblong sweet has evolved over the years and now includes dozens of different flavours, often influenced by the seasons and the creativity of the chef.

    Éclair de Génie is considered the most creative éclair maker in Paris and is often cited as the best version in town. Opened by one of the world’s most renowned pastry chefs, Christophe Adam, versions include an updated version of the classic chocolate to flavours like yuzu lemon, caramelized popcorn and raspberry.

    Location: 14 rue Pavée, 75004, Paris, France

    Open: Wednesday–Sunday from 11 am until 7 pm (closed on Monday and Tuesday)

    Phone: +33 (0)1 42 77 86 37

    Map
    9

    Macarons at Ladurée

    A most iconic treat in a variety of ever-changing flavours

    Macarons are one of France’s most delicious exports, and Ladurée, one of Paris’ first tearooms and most popular pastry makers, made their fortune with this elegant little cookie. Made with 2 macaron halves and filled a ganache cream filling in a myriad of different flavours, it’s a chic, take-home gift and elegant snack.

    Make a pilgrimage to their first shop on rue Royale, first opened in the 1860s, and pick up one of their iconic mint green boxes. Choose from a mix of classic flavours such as caramel, pistachio and raspberry, or funky seasonal one-offs such as foie gras and white Alba truffle.

    Location: 16 rue Royale, 75008, Paris, France

    Open: Daily from 9 am until 7 pm

    Phone: +33 (0)1 42 60 21 79

    Map

    photo by leo gonzales (CC BY 2.0) modified

    10

    Croque Monsieur at Sébastien Gaudard

    A delicious take on France’s favourite sandwich

    Invented in a Paris brasserie in the early 1900s, the croque monsieur is a hot, cheesy sandwich and a French cafe favourite. Typically made with pain de mie (sliced white) bread with Paris ham inside, melted gruyere cheese on top and a dab of bechamel sauce, it can be prepared either fried in a pan or baked.

    One of the most decadent croques in town can be found at Sébastien Gaudard. This elegant, tiny tearoom is close to the Tuileries Gardens owned by pastry chef Sebastien Gaudard. Using ingredients inspired by his pastry recipes to make the sandwich lighter tasting, it’s served plated with a small green salad and cut into three dainty finger-sized portions.

    Location: 1 rue des Pyramides, 75001, Paris, France

    Open: Daily from 10 am until 7 pm

    Phone: +33 (0)1 71 18 24 70

    Map
    Adrian Moore | Contributing Writer

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