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, www.Edible-Paris.com. 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.

$$

Astier
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. www.restaurant-astier.com

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. www.pieddecochon.com

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. www.autrougascon.fr

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. www.mon-vieil-ami.com

$$$$

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. www.plaza-athenee-paris.com/restaurants_bars/alain.html

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. www.latourdargent.com

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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