Paris is the spiritual homeland of the gastronomically inclined, with world-class, Michelin-star restaurants located across the city. Thankfully, however, there are a number of high-quality budget restaurants here, so there’s no need to break the bank for good food.
You can’t visit Paris without stopping by the legendary L’As du Fallafel, a Marais favourite. Though small, this restaurant is a big name and is best known for its falafel wraps. The traditional chickpea fritters are cooked fresh and wrapped in soft pita bread, filled with the requisite creamy hummus, crunchy crudités and a touch of spice thanks to the harissa. While the restaurant has a seating area, many people take their order to go, allowing them to enjoy the dish while walking down the narrow Marais streets.
This award-winning Sichuan restaurant is the best place in Paris to get your chilli fix. The menu, which features traditional recipes from Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan region, has the best noodles in the city. You’re even able to choose your level of spice, from zero to five, allowing you to have a bit more control over your food. The bad news is those accustomed to the mild French palate will find that level two is already pretty hardcore. Try the dandan soup – minced pork, peanuts, chives, Chinese cabbage, garlic and vinegar – for an authentic taste of Southwestern China, and wash it down with a Tsingtao beer.
The Grilled Cheese Factory is all about American fast food. It offers a range of American-style grilled cheese sandwiches that feature market-fresh French produce for a very Parisian take on comfort food. Thick-cut American-style bread is stuffed full of indulgent fillings such as mac and cheese with caramelised onions, smoked turkey with pepper sauce, and chèvre (goat’s cheese) with spinach and fig jam. Or skip the main and go straight for the grilled Nutella and mascarpone sandwich for dessert.
Get ready for a date with an Italian in Paris. This location of Pizzeria Popolare opened in March 2017 to rave reviews. The concept? Great, authentic Italian food at affordable prices in a rustic-chic setting. The pizzas here are cheap for Paris, and the thick and creamy risottos are also reasonably priced. Pizzeria Popolare believes in sharing, caring and making sure its guests keep coming back for more.
With outposts from Sydney to New York, Ippudo really is world-famous for ramen. While its steaming bowl of freshly stretched noodles may not be the cheapest ramen you’ll find in Paris, it’s certainly the best. However, you’ll also find plenty of affordable options, such as its raijin wings (crispy chicken wings served in a sweet soy sauce) and hirata buns (sweet buns stuffed with marinated pork, fried chicken or an assortment of legumes).
Everything you need to know about the Bouillon Chartier is summed up in the first line on its website: “A restaurant doesn’t become a legend by accident.” Housed in a former railway station, this traditional brasserie is all about good food at a reasonable price. The menu is full of classic dishes, such as beef tartare, choucroute and even that most infamous of French dishes, andouillette sausage. The friendly, efficient wait staff will get you seated and served in no time, so don’t let the queue scare you off.
The Hood is described as a “hip coffee house and neo-bistro” by owner and MasterChef France 2015 winner Khanh-Ly Huynh. A coffee shop by day and apéro/bistro by night, it serves Asian favourites like bánh mì and congee alongside those café classics of granola, quiches and scones. All condiments, syrups, sauces and spices are made in-house, and the coffee is considered to be some of the best in Paris.
Le Cornichon is for the gourmand looking for a Michelin-star meal on a shoestring budget. Tucked away in the quiet streets of the 14th arrondissement, not far from Montparnasse station, you’ll pay a decent price for a three-course meal from a constantly changing seasonal menu. All Le Cornichon’s produce is sourced locally, so while its menu is available online, it’s not always up to date. Note that this isn’t a place for picky eaters as the small menu doesn’t shy away from the more traditional ingredients. Winter is the best time to visit for its additional game menu – think pigeon, venison and sweetbreads.
Oui Galette is easy to miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Around the corner from the hustle and bustle of the Rue de Sebastopol, Oui Galette is a tiny Lebanese bakery specialising in arayes (pita sandwiches) stuffed with a variety of flavourful fillings. The base includes a garlic paste and finely chopped tomato and a meat of your choice. Culture Trip’s pick is the sojok (a spicy lamb sausage mince), but also on the menu are lemon chicken, curry chicken and cheese. Order on the spot and the guys will cook it on a hot plate right in front of you. Save room for dessert – Oui Galette stocks a variety of traditional Lebanese pastries as well!