10 Best French Restaurants in Paris for Authentic French Cuisine

(CNN) — Low-end food trucks and pop-up restaurants have taken over Paris like other cities around the world. But when you’re looking for the best French restaurants in Paris, you want the kind of classic tables that make French dinner a UNESCO cultural heritage item.
To find the most memorable dining experiences, we turned to Meg Zimbeck, the brainchild of the extensive online food guide Paris by mouth.

Zimbeck and his colleagues have been running walking tours in the French capital and scouting out the best tables in town for years. With his help, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 French restaurants in Paris:

1. Bistro Paul Bert

For authentic bistro cuisine with a Parisian atmosphere of yesteryear, head to Bistrot Paul Bert.

Courtesy of Heather Sperling/Creative Commons/Flickr

“This is one of the restaurants I always recommend when people ask for a classic bistro experience,” Zimbeck says. Located in the eastern part of town, the bistro has a lively atmosphere and serves delicious steak frites and apple pie. Also worth seeing: the modern version of the café by the same owner, Le 6 Paul Bert, just down the street.

Bistro Paul Bert, 22 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris. Tel +33 1 43 72 24 01

2. September

A perfectly poached egg with corn and parmesan at Septime.  The non-choice menu changes seasonally.

A perfectly poached egg with corn and parmesan at Septime. The non-choice menu changes seasonally.

courtesy lindsey tramuta

The east of Paris is where much of the most inventive cooking takes place these days, and September helped establish this trend. A beautiful dining room and an open kitchen form the backdrop to a carefully designed innovative kitchen. It can be tricky to get a table — unsurprising for one of Paris’ top French restaurants — but it’s worth the time and patience.

“Septime is where you can go and expect wonderful service that makes you feel special and welcome,” says Zimbeck.

Septime, 80 rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris. Tel +33 1 43 67 38 29

3. Chez Casimir

The little brother of the famous Chez Michel, Chez Casimir shares a kitchen with its more expensive counterpart, although it serves more affordable dishes. Located near Gare du Nord, it is particularly convenient for Eurostar commuters or those looking for an affordable restaurant, and what Zimbeck calls the best cheese board in town.

“This is where locals go for high-caliber bistro cuisine,” she says.

Chez Casimir, Gare du Nord, 6 rue de Belzunce, 75010 Paris. Tel +33 1 48 78 28 80

4. Entrecote Relay

For a kitchen of charm, ease and no frills, Entrecote Relay is a reservation-free restaurant that offers you a choice: steak and fries. Although touristy, it never fails to offer, with its brasserie-style decor and attentive servers.

Served with a secret sauce and crispy fries, the portions seem skimpy until the waiters arrive with the much-loved second serving. Families with picky eaters or those looking to avoid reservations will appreciate the restaurant’s three locations.

Relais de l’Entrecôte, 15 rue Marbeuf, 75008 Paris. Tel +33 1 49 52 07 17

5. Chateaubriand

Trendy foodies will love the bold and innovative dishes that accompany the menu with no choice of The Chateaubriand.

“They take the ingredients that morning and put them together in interesting ways,” Zimbeck says.

Book a table, if you can, but unless you plan well in advance, you’ll have to join the crowds on the sidewalk waiting for a spot in line. The small venue and the portions don’t make for a casual meal, but one that will surprise and excite.

Le Chateaubriand, 129 avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris. Tel +33 1 43 57 45 95

6. Verjuice

In Verjus, rediscover romance with... fried chicken.

In Verjus, rediscover romance with… fried chicken.

Courtesy of Verjus Paris

Opened by the innovative American couple, Verjuice is an exclusive romantic restaurant without being pretentious. Located behind the Palais-Royal, the upscale cuisine features fresh, seasonal flavors, not to mention one of the best fried chicken dishes in town, available at the wine bar.

“There’s a lot of engagement and conversation,” Zimbeck says.

Restaurant Verjus, 52, rue de Richelieu 75001 Paris +33 1 42 97 54 40

7. Seed

Relatively new on the tourist routes of St-Germain, Semille is a modern restaurant with an open kitchen with a distinguished chef MOF, the highest French distinction for artisans. With wine sourced from the nearby Derniere Goutte wine shop, Semilla offers small-production vintages alongside a large selection of full or half-size plates. You can break out of the rut of three-course meals, Zimbeck says, with “comforting, wholesome and bright flavors.”

Semilla, 54 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris. Tel +33 1 43 54 34 50

8. Joel Robuchon’s Workshop

The counter looks like a sexy sushi bar at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon.

The counter looks like a sexy sushi bar at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon.

Courtesy of Kent Wang/Creative Commons/Flickr

Launched by legendary French chef and restaurateur Joël Robuchon before his death in 2018, Joel Robuchon’s work shop is a good bet.

The executive chef is now Axel Manes, a protege of Robuchon. While continuing the classic dishes, Manes placed a new emphasis on seasonality.

A recent sampling on the menu includes clams (clams) stuffed with pink garlic and mushrooms and veal liver with crispy onion rings.

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, 5 rue Montalembert, Hotel Pont Royal, 75007 Paris Tel +33 1 42 22 56 56

9. Papillae

Fancy a glass of French wine?  Les Papilles is the place to go.

Fancy a glass of French wine? Les Papilles is the place to go.

Courtesy of Papilles

Buds is a wine shop that doubles as one of the city’s most charming restaurants launched by Bertrand Bluy, who ditched a three-Michelin-star job for something more casual in the Latin Quarter.

A hearty four-course set menu includes a main course served family-style in a copper pot and usually a cheese plate. The plates change daily.

“A lot of chefs like to come here on their day off because they don’t have to think about it,” says Zimbeck. Reservations recommended.

Les Papilles, 30 Rue Gay-Lussac, 75005 Paris. Tel +33 1 43 25 20 79

10. Breizh Cafe

The best place for an authentic Breton crepe.

The best place for an authentic Breton crepe.

Courtesy of Cody and Maureen/Creative Commons/Flickr

No French dining experience is complete without the mighty crepe. With subtle Japanese touches in the decoration and presentation of the plates (salted butter caramel with yuzu), Breizhisauthentic Breton crêperie at the table, an authority in Paris.

According to Zimbeck, Bordier butter-stuffed buckwheat pancakes are a world apart from what you’ll find at most street creperies. Reservations are required, as usual, for the best French restaurants in Paris.

Breizh Café, 109 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris. Tel +33 1 42 72 13 77

Editor’s note: This article was first published in 2013 and updated for 2019. CNN’s Forrest Brown contributed new material to this article.