What To Eat In Paris

Paris is my favorite city in the world. There are so many things to eat in Paris that it would take years to be able to experience them all.  While overwhelming, it’s good to go in with some sort of a plan otherwise you may miss out on favorites and end up eating mediocre meals (yes, even Paris has bad food).

It would be fair to say that food is my main focus when I travel. After my flight and lodgings are booked, I usually have a list of foods I want to try and restaurants I want to visit.  Because I feel I don’t have enough time or money to try everything on my list, I’ve learned to prioritize.  I try to experience foods that can only be found in whatever location I am in or are just done the best there.  I want to eat things that allow me to take in the moment and remind my taste buds there is no where else in the world I could have that experience.

This list of my favorite foods to eat in Paris. The list is not exhaustive and I update it with every trip.  If you feel I am missing anything, please let me know! I love to discover new-to-me places that I can add to my ever-growing list.

What to eat in Paris

Croissant: Ble Sucre

The first time I visited Paris, I received a message from a friend who said,"You have to have a chocolate croissant in Paris!" I did a search for "croissant" and the nearest patisserie and Ble Sucre came up in search after search. Yes, Virginia. I will attest that the best croissants from from this place. At first, I was worried, because I passed at least 8 other boulangeries with lines snaking out of the door and when I arrived at Ble Sucre, there was not one. By the time I'd made my purchases (I got some rose marshmallows, too) there was a line wrapping around the front and out of the door. Butter croissant is what you want, but anything else from here will be the best you've had as well.

Macarons: Pierre Hermé

I never had a macaron until I had one at Pierre. I mean, I had--I'd gone to Laduree (the Target of French macarons)--the pastel awnings and beautiful storefronts are inviting and popular, but Pierre is where the real players go to play. Like a fashion designer, Pierre issues a new line of macaron flavors and other confectionery items in limited release. There are multiple standalone locations in the city and outlets inside big-box stores and pharmacies. These macarons and classic pastries like the Ispahan (croissant, macaron) will blow your mind. The boutique on St. Germaine-des-Pres is the flagship. Go there. Go change your life.

Macaron et cafe

I spent one day strolling through Paris, stopping into every single bar I saw to order Aperol Spritzes (that are advertised on EVERY. SINGLE. BILLBOARD) and commenced to get drunk on them. After an entire day of drinking, I thought it would be a good idea to hop on a bus in search of the best falafel in town. It was a race against time, because they close at midnight and my metró card expired at midnight and it was already 10:30 p.m. Well, I made it! And then I got lost. Found myself in BFF (bum f*ck France) holding my falafel in one hand and my dreams in the other. I did make it back safe and sound to my hotel and continued to munch and dip into my falafel. This was the not the best falafel I've ever had, but it was definitely the most flavorful and full of vegetables as well as the fried chickpea and parsley fritters also known as falafel. You can get it with or without harissa, a spicy red pepper condiment. GET THE HARISSA. It was not as spicy as I expected it to be but it was flavorful. I can't say I would have liked the pita without it. BE ON NOTICE: This is a tourist trap and it's crowded and busy. Order from the window for faster service. That is, if you don't mind walking around holding your (falafel) balls in your hand.

Duck: anywhere

Duck is to France as chicken is to the United States. Duck is the preferred fowl of choice on menus. In the U.S., duck is a delicacy and very expensive. It's not uncommon to pay +$25 for a plat du jour of duck at a fine dining restaurant. Casual restaurants rarely even have it on special. Because of those facts alone, if you see duck on a menu--get it. Most prices were 9-14 euros, which equates to $11-$17. And it's prepared better in France, too. No tough, fatty skin to peel away, no visceral, glistening pieces of flesh. The skin is always crisp and the meat done to temp (of your choice, of course--I always order mine medium rare in France).

Perfect duck breast with mashed potatoes garnished with parsley and pomegranate seeds

Bistro: steak frites

To me, steak frites is a quintessential French dish. Dining at a neighborhood bistro is the quinesstential French experience. Whether it's for an espresso, a glass of wine or a quick meal, the bistro is the place to go. And you should definitely go for steak and french fries. Whether it be a cut of steak (entrecote, filet, porterhouse, steak hache [hamburger]) and the starchy fingers of the Devil, it's a must have. There are numerous lists of the best places, but nearly every bistro and cafe sells it, so if the price is right--try it!

Steak frites from Verse Toujours--excellent place

Croque madame/monsieur

Enough said. I don't feel like I have to elaborate on why you should try one in Paris. I will say, the one pictured below was not very good and it was too expensive to be made on cheap bread. But that side salad was over-the-top fresh and flavorful.

Hot Chocolate: Cafe La Flor

I explain here why hot chocolate in Paris is like none other.
This is a photo of espresso, but the hot chocolate looks similar


Crepes were on my to-do list. I ate crepes stuffed with everything from sliced Bresse duck to orange segments from Seville. The thin, pancake-like sheets were spread thin on large, hot round griddles with a crepe spreader, a utensil similar to a rake with no tines, and cooked slowly to golden perfection. I watched a street cart vendor hand squeeze real lemon juice onto the crepe palette. He carefully and quickly scraped off the seeds and the thin wisps of caramelized crepe batter that had escaped down the sides of the griddle. He placed cold, whole pats of butter on top. I watched the butter melt slowly into the crepe. He flipped and folded the crepe into a triangle and I continued to watch the butter and lemon juice bubble and caramelize while the crepe became a toasted pale bronze. A dance and a work of art all in one.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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  1. "Starchy fingers of the devil" - fantastic! And I adore the fact that you got yourself drunk on Aperol Spritzes! Brava!


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