Whether you live in Paris or you’re just visiting, chances are you spend a lot of time thinking, reading, talking, and fretting about restaurants.
It’s entirely natural. Paris is an international capital of good food and gastronomy (the birthplace of it, even) so you want to make every meal count, yet you know its 40,000 restaurants are not created equal.
This is fertile ground for FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and its sneaky cousin, FOPTWR (Fear Of Picking The Wrong Restaurant).
So before you make yourself crazy, let me offer you my Ten Paris Restaurant Tips.
Tip #1: Be clear on your wants and needs
This is the most basic thing, but many people skip that part.
Before you go down the rabbit hole of searching for “Best Restaurants in Paris”, take a moment to list (in your mind or on paper) the features you’re looking for. How many people are you eating with and what kind of diners are they? What style of cuisine are you into? What kind of ambiance do you want to spend the night in? What price level do you want to go for? Any food preferences or dietary constraints?
Keep all of those at the forefront of your mind during your search, so you can swiftly brush aside anything that looks kinda cool but isn’t the focus du jour. A huge time saver.
Tip #2: Follow the locals
It is generally more reliable to get recommendations from people who actually live in the city, and can put a restaurant, chef, cuisine, or trend in the context of many more dining experiences. This is not to dismiss the reports of short-term visitors; I myself like to write about my forays in other cities, but I don’t claim expertise and expect my readers to double-check against local sources.
Take the time to identify a few locals (native or not) whose voice and opinions resonate with you, whose dining temperament seems to align with yours, and follow their restaurant adventures. It can be bloggers, magazine columnists, or collective websites; what matters is that there be a consistent viewpoint from one review to the next.
I like to follow friends such as Caroline Mignot, Lindsey Tramuta (author of The New Paris!), and Aaron Ayscough. I get the weekly review from Le Fooding and the My Little Paris newsletter. I use the website Paris by Mouth and keep an eye on Esterelle Payany’s reviews in Télérama and François-Régis Gaudry’s blog at L’Express (he has a TV show on Paris Première and a radio show on France Inter if you can’t get enough of him). I don’t read everything they write (hello, overwhelm!), but when I need fresh recommendations, these are my go-to’s. (For content written in French, Google Translate is your friend!)
I have no use for crowd-sourced review websites: without knowing the people writing and their background, the litany of random opinions is meaningless to me.
Planning a trip to Paris?
I am available to take you on a private walking tour to show you some of my favorite food spots. Please get in touch and I will be happy to provide more details!