Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)


A la Bière
"A real neighborhood haunt serving no-nonsense bistro fare such as veal sauce normande with great frites."—Rosa Jackson, Regulars include that endangered species, members of the French Communist Party, whose headquarters are around the corner. 104 Avenue Simón Bolívar; Métro: Colonel Fabien; tel. 33 (0) 1 42 39 83 25.

L'As du Fallafel
One of the city's favorite budget lunches; overflowing falafel pita sandwiches, and shwarma (with lamb); eat in or take away; in the Marais. 34 Rue des Rosiers; Métro: St-Paul; tel. 33 (0) 1 48 87 63 60.


Cheerful red-checked tablecloths; excellent four-course, fixed-price menu that changes daily; one of the most lavish cheese boards in Paris. 44 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud; Métro: Parmentier; tel. 33 (0) 1 43 57 16 35.

Au Pied de Cochon "If you need oysters or trotters (pigs' feet) at 4 a.m., there's no other reasonable choice."—Anthony Peregrine, travel writer, the Sunday Times. In the old Halles market district since the early 1900s; classic brasserie fare round-the-clock; tasty onion soup. 6 Rue Coquillière; Métro: Châtelet-Les Halles; tel. 33 (0) 1 40 13 77 00.

La Cave de L'Os à Moëlle
Brick wine cellar and bistro in the 15th district; superb bottles of wine at retail (not restaurant) prices; a five-course $27 buffet of top-notch soup, hors d'oeuvres, main course, cheese, and desserts; boardinghouse-style seating, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., adds to the fun. 181 Rue de Lourmel; Métro: Lourmel; tel. 33 (0) 1 45 57 28 28.

Chez Michel
"The chef cooks from the heart; brilliant seafood, especially the grilled abalone; don't choose from the menu, but rather the chalkboard."—Ken Hom, BBC TV presenter, cookbook author, and part-time Paris resident. In the tenth district. 10 Rue de Belzunce; Métro: Gare du Nord; tel. 33 (0) 1 44 53 06 20.

Paul Bert
Convivial bistro tucked near the Bastille with mirrors, vintage signs; daily specials on blackboards might include guinea fowl with savoy cabbage, cod sautéed with butter and fresh spinach; don't miss the famous Paris-Brest for dessert. 18 Rue Paul Bert; Métro: Faidherbe-Chaligny; tel. 33 (0) 1 43 72 24 01.


Au Trou Gascon
A warm, welcoming restaurant in the 12th district; hearty duck dishes and foie gras, from Alain Dutournier. "The dishes of his native Chalosse are complemented by his lighter, more up-to-date versions."—Claude Lebey, writer and editor, the Guide Lebey. 40 Rue Taine; Métro: Daumesnil; tel. 33 (0) 1 43 44 34 26.

Casa Olympe
Imaginative, sunny cuisine from Olympe Versini, one of the first French female chefs to earn a Michelin star. "A fantastic cook; true to herself, true to her femininity in the macho world of haute cuisine, and true to her food."—Mary Sue Milliken, chef and co-owner, the Border Grill. 48 Rue Saint-Georges; Métro: Saint-Georges; tel. 33 (0) 1 42 85 26 01.

Joséphine (Chez Dumonet)
Moleskin banquettes; pan-seared foie gras, boeuf bourguignon, perfectly aged bottles of Bordeaux. Owner and chef Jean-Christian Dumonet "loves to come into the dining room to chat, for feedback from his loyal clientele."—Claude Lebey. 117 Rue du Cherche-Midi; Métro: Duroc; tel. 33 (0) 1 45 48 52 40.

Mon Vieil Ami
Île Saint-Louis's best restaurant; an intimate mix of old stones and contemporary design; light, modern, lively cuisine from Antoine Westermann; often neglected vegetables reign supreme in dishes such as tender steamed carrots with dried fruit and roasted cod. 69 Rue St-Louis en l'Île; Métro: Pont Marie; tel. 33 (0) 1 40 46 01 35.


Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée
Ducasse's glamorous triple-starred fief with a clientele of France's movers and shakers; reservations essential usually four to six weeks in advance. "Soft-boiled eggs with caviar in this glittering dining room is the most sumptuous way to start the day in Paris."—Rosa Jackson. 25 Avenue Montaigne; Métro: Alma Marceau; tel. 33 (0) 1 53 67 65 00.

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Bar seating overlooking the open kitchen of Robuchon, considered the French chef of his generation; dazzling array of tapas-size starters and desserts and a main course. "To this day the best meal I've ever had in Paris."—Michael McCarty, chef and owner of Michael's in Santa Monica and New York. 5 Rue de Montalembert; Métro: Rue du Bac; tel. 33 (0) 1 42 22 56 56.

La Tour d' Argent
An inn since 1582; famous for gorgeous views of Notre Dame, its famous ducklings (more than a million have been served), and an excellent wine cellar. "There's no reason to change a single thing."—Claude Lebey, writer and editor, the Guide Lebey. 15-17 Quai de la Tournelle; Métro: Pont Marie; tel. 33 (0) 1 43 54 23 31.

Le Comptoir
Exquisite, five-course set dinner menus for a meagre $61 from chef Yves Camdebord; pretty art deco dining room; book months ahead for dinner; brasserie-style lunch requires no reservation. 9 Carrefour Odéon; Métro: De l'Odéon; tel. 33 (0) 1 44 27 07 97.


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