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Paris: 10 pocket-friendly places to eat in the world's great gastro city

Perfect 10: Planning a springtime sojourn to Paris? Katy McGuinness dishes up 10 places to eat that won't break the bank


Paris cityscape taken from Montmartre

Paris cityscape taken from Montmartre

Chef François-Xavier Ferrol

Chef François-Xavier Ferrol


Paris cityscape taken from Montmartre

1. Best for breakfast

MOKONUTS, 5, Rue Saint-Bernard, 75011, mokonuts.com €€

Moko Hirayama and Omar Koreitem's charming Mokonuts calls itself a café and bakery but has morphed into a trendy restaurant and is one of the hottest spots in town. If you don't manage to get a booking for lunch, you can drop in for breakfast and try one of their famous cookies (soft and warm, they come in flavours such as tahini, miso sesame, peanut butter and milk chocolate), or the granola with homemade yoghurt and fresh fruit. The savoury menu changes daily but the influences are mainly Middle Eastern, with a focus on fish and vegetables. The couple also have a sandwich and salad shop, Mokoloco, at 74, Rue de Charonne, 75011.

2. Best for lunch

PIROUETTE, 5, Rue Mondetour, 75001, restaurantpirouette.com €€


Chef François-Xavier Ferrol

Chef François-Xavier Ferrol

Chef François-Xavier Ferrol

Chef François-Xavier Ferrol brings a flash of New York style to this restaurant in Les Halles, where the modern food is always innovative, exciting and surprisingly good value, particularly at lunchtime when the two-course set menu costs €22. The room has big windows and wooden floors and feels airy and bright; the wine list has plenty of interest for natural and biodynamic drinkers.

3. Best for hearty food on the go

MIZNON, 22, Rue des Écouffes, 75004; 37, Quai de Valmy, 75010; 3, Rue de la Grange-Batelière, 75009. Instagram: @miznonparis €

The Israeli restaurant chain now has three branches across Paris - the original in the Marais, and others in the 9th and 10th arrondissements. Its spectacularly tasty and substantial pita sandwiches are exactly the thing to sustain you through the day when you've slept through petit déjeuner; there's no need to book and the simple interiors belie the deliciousness of the food. I'm not sure if Miznon lays claim to be the first place ever to roast a whole head of cauliflower, but it's one of its signature dishes. Good options for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. The lamb kebab is particularly recommended.

4. Best for the classic bistro experience

BISTROT PAUL BERT, 18 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 (no website - how French!) +33 1 43 722 401 €€

Yes, it features in every guide book and yes, it's something of a Paris cliché, but it would be a shame to visit Paris and not have at least one classic bistro meal, and Bistrot Paul Bert ticks every one of the boxes that you want. Don't be put off by the fact that it's popular with tourists - we are all tourists after all, and there are plenty of French customers too - and do order the bone marrow, the steak frites and the Paris-Brest. Stick to the set menu and the bill will be surprisingly reasonable. Down the street is 6 Paul Bert, its cooler, younger sibling with a more edgy vibe, a warehouse feel, and a wine list focused on the natural.

5. Best for a splurge

LA POULE AU POT, 9, rue Vauvilliers, 75001, lapouleaupot.com €€€

Now under the umbrella of legendary chef Jean-François Piège, the food at La Poule au Pot in Les Halles is rooted in classic bistro tradition and uses high-quality luxurious ingredients - think frogs' legs, turbot and fabulous French fries, with plenty of butter and cream and more than a smattering of truffles. If that sounds like your kind of thing, book in for a treat - but if you are after a light, contemporary meal, this may not be for you. The room is steeped in bistro history and beautifully preserved.

6. Best for steak and chips

LE RELAIS DE L'ENTRECÔTE, three branches in Montparnasse, 6th; Marbeuf, 8th, and Saint-Benoît, 6th, relaisentrecote.fr €€

Le Relais de L'Entrecôte only serves steak and chips, but does it so well that it doesn't need to do anything else. Sure, there's a green salad with walnuts to start and a selection of desserts to finish, for anyone who has room, but the whole point of the restaurants is the perfectly cooked steak, the famous green sauce and the mountains of crisp fries. Wonderful, just not for vegetarians.

7. Best for glamour

HOTEL COSTES, 239-241 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001, hotelcostes.com €€€

You don't go to Costes for the food, but if you want to get dressed up in heels and sequins, and eat outdoors under a fabulous canopied courtyard, and be able to dance and smoke between courses (there are DJ sets every night) until three in the morning, then Costes will appeal. A word to the wise: stick to simple dishes and the lower echelons of the wine list to avoid nasty shocks.

8. Best no-bookings restaurant

CLAMATO, 80 Rue de Charonne, 75011, clamato-charonne.fr €€€

Serving excellent creative food based wholly on fish, seafood and vegetables, Clamato - which is in the same group as the impossible-to-get-into Septime - is one of the coolest restaurants in Paris; be prepared to put your name on the waiting list and decamp to a nearby wine bar while you wait. Take the bar seats if they are offered to you and enjoy the chilled vibe and natural wines.

9. Best wine bar

SEPTIME LA CAVE, 3 Rue Basfroi, 75011, septime-lacave.fr €€

Reservations at Septime proper are like hens' teeth, but if you find yourself on the waiting list for Clamato, you could do worse than squeeze in here for a bottle of natural wine and some cheese and charcuterie. It's also very close to Bistrot Paul Bert.

10. Best for sharing plates

FRENCHIE WINE BAR, 6 Rue du Nil, 75002, frenchie-bav.com €€

Greg Marchand's Frenchie restaurant (frenchie-restaurant.com) and wine bar are both on Rue du Nil, and if you can't get a booking in the restaurant (which has a Michelin star and serves a tasting menu), the wine bar is better than a poor relation, with tasty sharing plates and a nice, relaxed atmosphere. No bookings, but plenty of delicious things to eat and drink.

Irish Independent