All Articles 12 bistros in Paris that you’d want to visit hungry

12 bistros in Paris that you’d want to visit hungry

People chilling outside Le Bon Georges bistro in Paris
Image: Le Bon Georges / Tripadvisor
E-lyn Tham
By E-lyn Tham11 May 2022 5 minutes read

Casual, intimate, and laid back, bistros are known for providing classic French food—and here’s the best part—at delightfully affordable prices. Expect nostalgic and comforting dishes like escargots, soups and steak frites, guaranteed to make you feel right at home.

But don’t let the unassuming appearance of its hand-drawn chalk menus and checkered tablecloths fool you, these French bistros serve no less than the best of Parisian culture and dining—and here are 12 of our favorites.

1. Amarante

Duck confit at Amarante restaurant in Paris
A salad and white wine at Amarante restaurant in Paris

Price: $$ - $$$

Helmed by the reputable Christophe Philippe, Amarante offers a range of traditional recipes that thrive on simplicity. The dishes use fresh ingredients with a generous helping of butter; highlights include the French eel (subject to availability) and the veal with sweetbread. If you’re spoilt for choice, go for the set menu that’s available between 12.30 p.m. and 1.30 p.m.

2. Le Petit Bouillon Pharamond

Interiors of Le Petit Bouillon Pharamond bistro in Paris
Pouring gravy over a dish at Le Petit Bouillon Pharamond bistro in Paris
Image: Management / Tripadvisor

Price: $$ - $$$

Opened back in 1832, Le Petit Bouillon Pharamond stretches out over three floors, adorned with wooden staircases, gilded mirrors, red velvet benches, and the like. The menu channels the best of Normandy fare, heavily featuring bouillon recipes—which, for the uninitiated, refers to broths. Try the truffle shell casserole, bone marrow on toast, or Caen-style tripe; we recommend visiting with a big appetite, as each portion is rather generous.

3. Le Cadoret

Fish dish at Le Cadoret bistro in Paris
Traditional chalk menu at Le Cadoret bistro in Paris
Image: Sibylle B (left), Julieparis11 (right) / Tripadvisor

Where: 19th arrondissement

Price: $$ - $$$$

Le Cadoret focuses on wine pairings, boasting an extensive wine list to go with its food. That’s not to say that the food isn’t anything to shout about; no two visits will be the same, as the menu changes daily. Take your pick from five entrées and three mains, all done up with a savory traditional country twist. Order the tête de veau (calf’s head) or the classic petit salé (salted pork), you won’t be disappointed.

4. Bistro Paul Bert

A pastry from Bistro Paul Bert in Paris
Image: HockeyChef / Tripadvisor

Price: $$ - $$$

Feel like you’ve stepped into the scene of a Hollywood film at Bistro Paul Bert, a classic bistro that’s popular with many. Decked out with a chalkboard menu, walls covered in mirrors, and mosaic tiles, the restaurant is known for churning out reliable and tasty dishes—with only clean plates returning to the kitchen. Dig into the Côte de boeuf (rib steak) for two with a heap of crisp fries, or steak-frites with a cognac and peppercorn sauce; and for dessert, don’t miss out on the signature Paris-Brest pastry stuffed with praline buttercream.

5. Le Jourdain

A dish from Le Jourdain bistro in Paris
The exterior of Le Jourdain bistro in Paris at night
Image: Serena C (left), spacewalker (right) / Tripadvisor

Price: $$ - $$$

Travel back in time at Le Jourdain, a 1950s-esque bistro that delivers plenty of flavor. You never know what you’d find; the lunch menu changes daily, depending on seasonal produce. The three-course set meals are one of the most affordable in Paris at 19 euros ($21). At night, however, the bistro transforms into a seafood haven, with small bites served tapas-style. Fill your table with the terrine, burrata or moules—warning: you probably won’t be able to stop at one.

6. Cafe du Coin

A chef preparing a lemon tart at Cafe du Coin bistro in Paris
A dish from Cafe du Coin bistro in Paris

Price: $$ - $$$$

Championed by the famed Florent Ciccoli, Cafe du Coin is known for one thing—pizzettas, small fragrant pizzas covered with all manners of toppings. Nestled in the Voltaire neighborhood, the bistro also serves up some incredible small plates: dauphine potatoes with horseradish cream and trout roe, grilled Padrón peppers topped with raw tuna and eel cream, and more. Mains include a robust roast veal with rainbow chard, rounded off with a range of natural wines, free from sulfites or additives.

7. Le Bon Georges

A man sitting outside Le Bon Georges bistro in Paris
A cake and ice cream dish at Le Bon Georges bistro in Paris
Image: Management (left), Carl (right) / Tripadvisor

Price: $$ - $$$$

Le Bon Georges is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach. Offering quality food that doesn’t skimp on taste, all dishes are created with only the freshest ingredients sourced from small producers. The meat here is only served rare or bloody, paired with a glass of vino from the extensive wine list. The adventurous would delight in the sumptuous steak tartare, accompanied by capers and mustard.

8. Le Aux Crus de Bourgogne

A dish at Le Aus Crus de Bourgogne bistro in Paris
Facade of Le Aus Crus de Bourgogne bistro in Paris
Row of chairs and tables outside Le Aus Crus de Bourgogne bistro in Paris
Image: Management / Tripadvisor

Price: $$ - $$$

With large mirrors, elegant decor, wooden chairs, and white tablecloths, Le Aus Crus de Bourgogne is as ‘Paris bistro’ as it gets. Oozing authenticity, the establishment has been passed down through four generations. The highlight is the sole meunière (sole cooked in butter and lemon), which is cut tableside by a friendly waiter. For dessert, the Grand Marnier soufflé, which hits hard with the liqueur and yet, is surprisingly light on the palate.

9. Le Baratin

A dish and wine from Le Baratin bistro in Paris
Image: Renee S / Tripadvisor

Price: $$ - $$$

Shot to fame by being featured on Anthony Bourdain: The Layover, Le Baratin stays true to its roots with unpretentious and homely food that hits the sweet spot every, single, time. Chef Raquel Carena’s passion is evident in her cooking; savor the melt-in-your-mouth joue de boeuf (beef cheeks), a succulent beef confit drizzled with a decadent red wine sauce, or crispy shallot galette with fresh sardines. The desserts are nothing to scoff at either, with a delightful strawberry shortcake topped with delightful frais de bois (wild strawberries) or a berry coulis—depending on the season.

10. L’Ami Louis

A couple enjoying a meal and wine at L’Ami Louis bistro in Paris
A server bringing out a roast chicken at L’Ami Louis bistro in Paris
Image: DCG (left), Mister Kenn (right) / Tripadvisor

Price: $$$$

With only 12 tables, L’Ami Louis is a bistro that’s tricky to score a table at. Book your table months in advance to judge the hype for yourself. While the prices are higher than your average bistro—their famous whole roast chicken for two goes for 92 euros, and the classic confit de canard (duck confit) costs 40 euros—seeing how the restaurant is almost always fully booked, we’d say that it's well worth the price.

11. Aux Bons Crus

A salad from Aux Bons Crus bistro in Paris
A row of tables and chairs at Aux Bons Crus
Image: geeparee22 / Tripadvisor

Price: $$ - $$$

Head to Aux Bons Crus for comfort food at its very best. One of the four remaining routiers—dining outlets patronized by truck drivers along the motorway—in Paris, Aux Bons Crus touts a menu that changes every month, featuring veal’s head and ravigote sauce, stuffed cabbage, or string-cooked andouillette (sausage). All these are served on nostalgic white and red checkered tablecloths, complete with addictive profiteroles, or a show-stopping flaming crepe Suzette, for dessert.

12. Au Pied du Fouet

A duck confit at Au Pied du Fouet bistro in Paris
Image: Ren Huei L / Tripadvisor

Price: $$ - $$$

You can't beat the prices at Au Pied du Fouet—think starters from 3 euros, mains from 10 euros, and a glass of wine at just 3.50 euros. Settle in for a good dose of hearty homestyle cooking, with locally-sourced seasonal produce at the core of all dishes here. The menu may be small, but it boasts a comforting confit de canard, and a satisfying variety of cheeses.

13. Josephine Chez Dumonet

A souffle from Josephine Chez Dumonet bistro in Paris
Image: Pacific Travel Guru / Tripadvisor

Where: 6th arrondissement

Price: $$$$

A hidden gem, Josephine Chez Dumonet is one of the few places in Paris that offers half portions on the menu. However, the food is so good that you might not want anything less than the full portion: go all out with the boeuf bourguignon, duck confit with potatoes fried in duck fat (supposedly the best in the capital), or the steak tartare served tableside.

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E-lyn Tham
E-lyn is a writer by day, and adventurer by heart. She aims to discover all the magic in this world, inhibitions thrown asunder – all best done with a good glass of wine in hand, and her dog by her side.