The best local dishes in Paris are worth traveling for. These classic recipes will lighten up even the gloomiest of days thanks to their outstanding tastes and flavors. Much of the best local food in Paris has become world-famous. 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 in local cafes to classic dishes served on red-and-white checked tablecloths in modern bistros, Paris always has something delicious on the menu. Our carefully curated list of classic local Parisian food also provides prominent locations where you can find the dishes, making it possible for everyone to try the best foods the city has to offer.

  • 1

    Steak frites at Relais de l’Entrecôte

    Paris’s well-loved steak and fries

    Steak frites at Relais de l’Entrecôte
    • Food

    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 potatos. The dish, much loved for its hearty goodness, is now found on tables throughout the world.

    Paris’ favorite 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: Monday–Friday from 12 pm to 2.30 pm and 6.45 pm to 11 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 12 pm to 3 pm and 6.45 pm to 11 pm

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

    Map
  • 2

    French onion soup at Au Pied de Cochon

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

    French onion soup at Au Pied de Cochon
    • Food

    French onion soup is a classic dish. 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 Au Pied de Cochon. This time-worn brasserie is located in the formerly working-class neighbourhood of Les Halles. Made with steaming veal stock and 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

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 11 am and 11.30 am to 5 am

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

    Map

    photo by Richard Allaway (CC BY 2.0) modified

  • 3

    Sliced cold cuts at Le Rubis wine bar

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

    Sliced cold cuts at Le Rubis wine bar
    • Food

    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 near the 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

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8 am to 2am, Saturday from 9 am to 2 am (Closed on Sundays)

    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

    Sandwich jambon-beurre at Petit Vendôme
    • Food

    There are few dishes as ubiquitous in Paris as the sandwich jambon-beurre, or 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 from 8 am to 4.30 pm, Tuesday–Friday from 8 am to 2 am, Saturday from 10 am to 2 am (Closed on 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

    Paris Brest at Stohrer
    • Food

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

    Dating from 1730, Stohrer is Paris’s 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: Monday–Saturday from 8 am to 8.30 pm, Sunday from 8 am to 8 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

    Croissant at Du Pain et des Idées
    • Food

    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 7 am to 7.30 pm (Closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

    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

    Steak tartare at Severo
    • Food

    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

    Tasty éclairs from a talented pastry chef

    Éclairs at L’Eclair de Génie
    • Food

    The éclair is a long choux pastry filled with flavored 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 flavors, 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 flavors like yuzu lemon, caramelized popcorn and raspberry.

    Location: 14 rue Pavée, 75004, Paris, France

    Open: Monday–Friday from 11 am to 2 pm and 3 pm to 7 pm, Saturday–Sunday 11 am to 7 pm

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

    Map
  • 9

    Macarons at Ladurée

    An iconic treat in a variety of ever-changing flavors

    Macarons at Ladurée
    • Food

    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 flavors, 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 flavors 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: Monday–Friday from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 7.30 pm, Sunday from 9.30 am to 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 favorite sandwich

    Croque Monsieur at Sébastien Gaudard
    • Food

    Invented in a Paris brasserie in the early 1900s, the croque monsieur is a hot, cheesy sandwich and a French cafe favorite. 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: Sunday–Tuesday from 10 am to 7 pm, Wednesday from 11 am to 7 pm

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

    Map
Adrian Moore | Contributing Writer