A massive foodie, I’m always looking for places to try out whenever I go out. Growing up in Los Angeles has exposed me to a variety of different cuisines, dishes, and tastes– I’ve enjoyed my fair share of delicious, authentic food, from the likes of Lebanese to Korean to even Ethiopian. You can seriously say that big cities like Los Angeles are a real mecca for multi-cultural cuisine!
That said, moving to France has been a real change in what I was used to back in LA. I was a major foodie back home, and I would say that, after trying so many different French dishes in my several years abroad, I can say that my foodie self has evolved and developed more of an appreciative palate for all sorts of dishes, whether French or not.
General as it sounds, I think French food is hearty, and I’ve found myself enjoy it from time to time. However, at times I do miss the diversity of non-French cuisine, and I find myself looking for good Indian or Chinese food in town.
Thing is, I’ve only ever lived in small to medium-sized cities in France during my time spent here, and such places have a much more-limited offer when it comes to different cuisines, let alone good quality. I can say that I’ve been at times disappointed in the quality of cuisines like Japanese or Indian, as they never seem to have the subtlety or spice level on-par with what I’ve had before. Not to forget that it’s more expensive for otherwise mediocre food.
Call me a food snob, but I do care about paying good money for good quality. It wasn’t until I started visiting Paris more in recent years that I started to look for good restaurants to try out, both French and others. At first, I was skeptical that Paris would have good-quality places, since it’s such a tourist hub for sub-par brasseries and cafes but, to my surprise, I’ve eaten at places which have since impressed me to the point that I would choose to return time and time again!
I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorite restaurants in Paris. Granted, this list draws from my personal experiences at these places, so they might not necessarily be what you enjoy, which is fine. Some are French, some are not, they all served incredible food to be worth putting on your list of places to eat the next time you’re in the French capital!
My 5 Favorite Restaurants in Paris
1. Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie (Les Halles)
This French restaurant was one of the first ones I went to when I was in Paris for the first time while studying abroad in college. Le Comptoir specializes in foie gras (a bit controversial for some people, but I find it delicious), and it offers one of my favorite meals I’ve eaten in Paris: foie gras ravioli in truffle sauce. Sounds super fancy, which it is, but it’s absolutely sublime. The ravioli melts in your mouth, and the savory truffle sauce tantalizes your taste buds like no other. You can even get seared foie gras, which is also good, as well as your standard escargot starter. I’ve since returned to dine, and I hope to do so again!
2. Waly-Fay Senegalese Restaurant (Ledru-Rollin)
I didn’t know anything about Senegalese food until I ate at Waly-Fay, after receiving a recommendation from a friend to try it out. Super glad that I did, because the flavors were those I completely never had before! Granted, I only tried one dish at the restaurant, the yassa au poulet (chicken yassa), but even that one dish was enough to make me fall in love with Senegalese cuisine. Heavy on lemon and earthy spices, my taste buds were on over-drive as I *pretty much* inhaled that delicious dish. I’d love to go back and try its fish options, perhaps even some of its starters!
3. Trois Fois Plus de Piment (Beaubourg)
Also another recommendation from a friend, I hesitated at first to try this Szechuan restaurant, as I was aware that France is notorious for mucking up good Asian food (trust me, I’ve had mediocre to appalling experiences at Chinese and Japanese restaurants before). I ended up going, though, and I was very surprised to see that Trois Fois exceeded my expectations. Being Szechuan, the restaurant is known for serving up a mean bowl of spicy food, and they certainly don’t go easy on it! I ordered a level 2 spicy of dan-dan noodles (on a 0-5 scale), and I admit that I felt the heat. Especially in a country which tones down spiciness for the French palate, it was a pleasant surprise to experience actual spiciness at Trois Fois.
4. Miznon (Le Marais)
It has been a while since I last ate at this home-grown, Israeli restaurant, but I remember enjoying it very much. Although prices are on the high-end and the fact that it gets ridiculously crowded every day, the quality of the food– fresh and organic– makes up for it. From the times I’ve gone, I always opted for the lamb pita. It’s probably the best pita sandwich I’ve ever had: the pita itself is fluffy and warm, and the lamb is absolutely tender, not at all dry. Add a bit of the homemade spicy sauce to it, and you’ve got yourself a heavenly meal! I’ve also had its roasted cauliflower, which I didn’t expect to be special, but it’s also incredible– it’s so soft that it tastes almost buttery. Would love to return!
5. L’As du Fallafel (Le Marais)
Just around the corner from Miznon is this small, but popular joint among locals and tourists alike. In fact, it’s so well-known that you can’t miss coming to L’As du Fallafel if you ever visit Paris. Whether dining in or taking to-go (I’d recommend the latter, really), this kosher, Middle Eastern restaurant serves falafel pita sandwiches that are so stuffed with ingredients (vegetables, falafel, tzatziki sauce) that you’ll surely be equally stuffed in the end. True, it’s touristy and the lines can get long, but it’s popular for a reason! Definitely worth a stop over while in the Marais district– you can’t leave Paris until you try it!
What are your favorite restaurants in Paris? Let me know!