Best bistros Paris traditional French food

Best Bistros in Paris in 2024

Discover the best bistros in Paris serving traditional French food

After living in Paris for over 6 years, I’ve been lucky enough to eat at many restaurants in the city and of course, plenty of incredible traditional Parisian restaurants – the bistros. I’ve put together a guide for my favorite bistros where actual locals go to eat French food. Forget the overpriced tourist traps that serve up disappointing, frozen food, my list has all the trendy spots that will show you real Parisian bistros.

The Best Parisian Bistros for Traditional French Food

Here’s a list of my favourite traditional Paris bistros – I’ve eaten in all of these multiple times and they’re consistently good quality. Restaurants are in no particular order.

Bistro Paul Bert

Recognised across social media as one of the best modern French bistros in Paris, the Bistro Paul Bert has become an institution in recent years. The owner, Bertrand Auboyneau is a really nice guy and incredibly passionate about hospitality, food and wine. I would say this is one of the places to get a steak au poivre – hell, it’s probably the best in Paris. A thick, tender, well seasoned, piece of beef fillet (fillet mignon) slavered in an amazing rich, creamy sauce.

bistro Paul Bert steak

I’ve eaten here many times and I can say, the cooking is always perfect (I’ve asked for a bleu/ultra rare beef and they’ve nailed it, every time). Other mains include roast pigeon, sole menueire and cote de cochon (XXL pork chop).

The desserts are equally as festive – the Soufflé au Grand Marnier is huge (could be shared by 2 but I’ve never struggled to finish it all by myself!) and incredibly delicious. The wine menu is comprehensive and changes regularly, with a vast choice of both ‘classical’ and natural wine.

What to know before visiting.

  • You’ll need to book at least a week/two weeks before depending on seasonality
  • Reservations are phone only
  • It’s on the pricier side
  • If you want starter, main and dessert, come hungry
  • They’re closed Sundays and Mondays

Address: 18 Rue Paul Bert, 75011
Tel: 01 43 72 24 01

Bistro des Tournelles

Bistro des Tournelles is a great modern bistro a stone’s throw away from both Bastille and Place des Vosges in Le Marais. Nestled in a small, unassuming side street behind the famous Place, it’s a gem of a bistro and definitely one I’d recommend trying.

They’ve perfectly mixed contemporary cooking with a traditional bistro interior and it’s fantastic. Art nouveau art adorns the walls and the central bar has an original zinc counter top – it’s a very nice place to be.

The food is modern and in a good way. It’s traditional yet refined, unpretentious and well executed. Corn fed, free range chicken breast is seared skin on and (depending on the season) comes with seared shiitake mushrooms (come in truffle season and you’ll get fresh truffle!). It’s perfectly cooked and served with a killer chicken jus.

XL pork chops are cooked to a perfect blushing pink and again come with a lovely slick jus. There’s also a fantastic daube Provençal (a beef stew from the South of France, similar to boeuf bourguignon) which is so good. Sides are served family style so expect a huge plate of incredible French fries in the middle of the table!

If you’ve got room for desserts go for the profiteroles – piping hot chocolate sauce is poured over table side and it’s delicious. Finally their wine selection is incredible but is on the pricier side.

What to know before you visit

  • Closed Mondays
  • Open for lunch and dinner
  • You can reserve a table online

Address: 6 Rue des Tournelles, 75004
Tel: 01 57 40 99 96

Le Bon Georges

If you’re looking for classics done properly with a quality wine list to match, Le Bon Georges is a great option to consider during your stay in Paris. Located in the 9th district – close to the metro ‘Saint-Georges’ – it’s as traditional as they come, the main dining room is probably exactly what one would imagine a traditional bistro to be like. The menu here changes almost daily (hence why it’s difficult to find an example menu online) due to the fact they only use the best and freshest produce available in season.

Steak tartare with French fries at Le Bon Georges

The cooking here is excellent, refined yet not pretentious. The sharing steak (usually an entrecôte (ribeye) or a faux fillet (sirloin)) is superb but note the price is fixed per 100g. I’d recommend trying their excellent steak tartare which is unlike any you’ll find in the city – there’s just beef, olive oil and pepper – the ultra high quality beef brings tons of flavour. Unfortunately, like many traditional bistros, there are limited vegetarian and vegan options.

Wild turbot with green beans, tomato and samphire

Address: 45 Rue Saint-Georges, 75009
Tel: 01 48 78 40 30

What to know before visiting.

  • They’re only open for lunch and dinner
  • You can reserve online
  • During the summer they have a terrace for outside dining

Les Arlots

Nestled in a small side street near the Gare du Nord, Les Arlots is a small Bistro-cum-wine bar with terrific home cooked food on seasonal rotation. Well known by Parisian foodies for their classic saucisse purée (sausage and mashed potatoes) with a silky jus (probably the star of the show here), Les Arlots definitely is a great choice for a casual lunch or dinner. Other options include a fantastic home made terrine with house pickles and chutney, ris de veau (sweetbreads), classic steak frites and seasonal game. The chef, Thomas Brachet (ex Beer Bar) has mastered the classics down to a tee. You’ll no doubt want to pair your food with a glass from their an excellent curated natural wine list that include many very reasonable options. Like many of the bistros here, there is little no options for vegetarians.

What to know before visiting.

  • Closed Sundays and Mondays
  • Open for lunch and dinner
  • There are close to no vegan options

Address: 136 Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, 75010
Tel: 01 42 82 92 01

Aux Crus de Bourgogne

Just off the famous rue Montorgueil in the 2nd arrondissement, the very traditional and historical bistro, Aux Crus de Bourgogne, is a great bistro serving up specialities from Burgundy – such as oeufs en meurette (a hearty red wine poached egg dish with mushrooms and lardons) and steak au poivre (beef fillet with a pepper corn sauce). Unlike a lot of bistros, you can choose your sides (potato purée, fries, wilted spinach) without risking any judgement from the staff. The menu is seasonal (which is always a good sign) and also has other heart options such as ris-de-veau (sweetbreads) with wild mushrooms. Unfortunately Aux Crus de Bourgogne is not a vegetarian or vegan friendly Paris bistro.

What to know before visiting.

  • Prices are average
  • It’s not service-continu (they’re only open for lunch and dinner)
  • You can book online
  • They have menus in English and they speak English

Address: 3 Rue Bachaumont, 75002
Tel: 01 42 33 48 24

The Best Cheap Bistros in Paris

If you’re coming to Paris on a budget and still want to try some of the French bistro classics, don’t worry there’s still plenty of options.

Les Bouillons are a big part of the culinary history of the city and have been around since 1860. What are bouillon restaurants you ask? Well they’re kind of old fashioned McDonalds; quick, cheap and tasty food for everyone. Originally created to serve the working class good food for a low price, the bouillons have now become popular to all Parisians and tourists a like.

These cheap bistros generally serve starters/entrées for 2-4€ and mains between 7-12€. You can expect to have 3 courses of decent quality, classic French food for around 20-25€ including wine. The only downside of this will be having to queue during peak times – often 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Bouillon Chartier

One of the most famous bouillons in Paris, Bouillon Chartier, started over 120 years ago and is still going strong. Located close to Grands Boulevards in the 2nd arrondissement, it’s original Art Deco dining room is worth seeing alone. It’s hectic, with a large number of tables and servers running around making sure you’re not waiting long for your food. There’s no digital systems here – all the servers write up your order on the table cloth and this becomes your bill at the end of the meal. The food here is cheap, you can choose from classic escargots (snails) in garlic butter, grilled steak and fries and even, if you’re feeling adventurous, tripe in a mustard sauce.

Bouillon chartier profiteroles

What to know before visiting.

  • Expect long queues snaking out of the restaurant during peak times
  • All the staff speak English
  • You may be sat next to other diners on the same table!

Address: 7 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009
Tel: 01 47 70 86 29

Bouillon Pigalle

The Bouillon Pigalle is a relatively new bouillon (compared to the Bouillon Chartier) – started in 2017, the more modern concept has been a huge hit with Parisians and tourists a like. Located on the place next to the Pigalle metro and only a short walk from the bottom of the Sacre-Coeur, it’s an excellent spot for lunch after some sight-seeing in the north of the capital. Expect all the French classics at very low prices – French onion soup is very good here and is only 3.50€. Other starters include eggs mayo, marrow on toast and country paté. They don’t skimp on the mains, you’ll be served a generous portion – my favourite is the cuisse de poulet (roast chicken leg) which comes with a mountain of crispy french fries straight out the frier. Other options include boeuf bourguignon, sausage and potato purée and sea bream with ratatouille.

Bouillon Pigalle

The wine selection is limited there’s two options for the red and wine – but it’s extremely good and very cheap. Finally, here there are various creative but classical vegetarian options!

Best bistros Paris Bouillon Pigalle
Steak Frites with Beurre maître d’hôtel

What to know before visiting.

  • You can reserve online but make sure to reserve 1 or 2 weeks in advance
  • Prepare to queue if you haven’t got a reservation – only around 4-5pm will there be little to no queue.
  • There are English menus
  • Vegetarian friendly

Address: 22 Bd de Clichy, 75018
Tel: 01 42 59 69 31

Famous Bistros in Paris

If you’re coming to Paris for a visit and want to stick to the famous bistros in the most famous neighbourhoods then I’ve got a few ideas for you. A lot of the well known food hot spots may be very Emily in Paris but these bistros are famous for a reason. Sure you’ll be paying more than others in this list but you’ll be guaranteed to dine well in fantastic surroundings.

Le Fouquet’s

Le Fouqet’s is arguably Paris’ most well known bistro, located off the Champs-Elysée, the historical bistro started in 1899 and has welcomed countless famous political figures and celebrities over the past century. The main dining room is classical art-deco adorned with photos of famous guests who’ve frequented over Le Fouqet’s over recent decades. The food here is classic all over – steak tartare, sole meunière, oysters, sea bass etc – but the quality of cooking is very good. Most of the dishes are garnished creatively to bring some differentiation and its very much welcomed. You will be paying a lot more than the average spot – worth it? Yes if you’re want a high-end classic Parisian bistro experience. It’s also worth noting that you’ll be surrounded by other tourists rather than actual Parisians.

Le Fouqet’s on the Champs-Elysées

What to know before visiting.

  • You can easily reserve a table on the day or before.
  • Everyone speaks English

Address: 99 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008
Tel: 01 40 69 60 50

La Fontaine de Mars

Located close to the Eiffel Tower, La Fontaine de Mars is another well known historical bistro that’s an excellent choice for dinner after a day of sight-seeing. It received a boost in popularity when Barack and Michelle Obama dined there once during a visit to the capital. It is very good – I still remember my last visit where I had probably the best sole meunière that I’ve ever eaten! The menu here is a bit more rustic with classics such as blanquette de veau, boudin Basque and cote de veau – all extremely well done. They also have a fixed daily special each day of the week, for 25€. The location is a big bonus here – after finishing off your meal, a stroll to the Eiffel Tower is rather magical.

What to know before visiting.

  • Expect real rustic French classics
  • The dining space is on two floors, the 1st floor can feel very intimate.
  • You’ll need to reserve in advance, especially during the summer months.

Address: 129 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007
Tel: 01 47 05 46 44

Le Relais de l’Entrecôte

If you’ve done even the smallest amount of research of where to eat in Paris you’ve no doubt heard of Le Relais de l’Entrecote. Photos of a pile of French fries with slices of ribeye steak covered in a green, herbaceous sauce are a wash on social media – and if you go, you’ll get this and a lot of it. It’s really a French steakhouse more than a traditional bistro – why? There’s only one thing on the menu – that’s the unique concept. They ask for the cuisson – how you like your steak cooked (rare, medium-rare or god forbid, medium/well done) and that’s it. The fixed menu includes a traditional salad covered in a mustard-hot vinaigrette and walnuts. Once you have finished, you’re brought your first serving (yes that’s right, you get two servings) of steak-frites. If you’re still hungry after this, there is a huge dessert menu including the classics; profiteroles, Paris-Brest and creme-brûlée.

Note: Le Relais de l’Entrecote have 3 restaurants in Paris – there others in Paris with slightly different names. Why? Originally the restaurant was started by two sisters, they fell out and went their separate ways and started their own restaurants but kept the sauce recipe.

Best bistros Paris entrecote
The famous steak frites at Le Relais de l’Entrecote

What to know before visiting.

  • You can’t reserve, like many of bistros in this list, expect to queue for up to an hour at peak times
  • Mid week lunch times are an ideal time to go – weekends will be full of hungry Parisians
  • There really isn’t any vegetarian options – this will be an issue if you have a vegetarian in your group.


Champs-Elysées: 15 rue Marbeuf, 75008
Tel: +33 1 49 52 07 17

St Germain des Près: 20 rue Saint-Benoît, 75006
Tel: +33 1 45 49 16 00

Montparnasse: 101, Bld du Montparnasse – 75006
Tel: +33 1 46 33 82 82


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