My friend Pascal gives me an article from the Guardian wher you can find 10 French restaurants in Paris with good prices. I haven't try yet, but I guess they are worth tasting if you want to try French cooking !
Top 10 Paris bistrots on a budget
John Brunton introduces the new crop of gourmet restaurants in the French capital where you can enjoy top-quality food at a snip of the price
The term "bistronomiques", coined in a recent restaurant guidebook by Arthur Deevs, refers to a new generation of Parisian bistrots that are offering creative, gourmet cooking at reasonable prices. These days you can find a host of places in Paris to eat inexpensively and extremely well – just two of the 10 selected bistrots below were featured in the book.
Lunchtime is the best time to find bargain set menus. Prices will inevitably be more expensive in the evening, but most of these bistrots offer a €25-30 (£20-24) set menu for dinner, which is still excellent value considering the quality of the cuisine.
If you're coming to Paris this summer, bear in mind that most of the bistrots will close
for a week or two sometime over the July/August period, so always call first to check. Prices are for set menus, generally first course, main dish and dessert, not including wine.
The Quartier d'Aligre, not far from Bastille, is becoming one of the trendiest parts of Paris, and one of the earliest "neo
bistrots" to open here was L'Ebauchoir. On the bargain set menu at lunch you'll discover old-fashioned traditional dishes - roast guinea fowl, braised pork ribs and an irresistible crème caramel
- while in the evening, the more expensive à la carte formula lets chef Thomas Dufour conjure up more inventive gourmet dishes. Wonderful frescoes decorate the walls and the friendly staff create
a lively atmosphere.
· 43, rue de Citeaux; + 33 (0)1 4342 4931; lebauchoir.com. Set lunch, €14 (£11); dinner a la carte, €35-40 (£28-31). Metro: Faidherbe-Chaligny
2. La Boulangerie
The Boulangerie has always had a strong reputation for both its tasty cooking and the romantic surroundings of what was a turn-of-the-century bakery. And since it was been taken over by the larger-than-life Nidhsain brothers, with Hassan in the kitchen inventing surprising dishes, and Nordin theatrically holding court as the maitre d', a great time is assured both at lunch and dinner. For the evening, you must book a couple of days in advance, and after dinner, check out the nightlife in one of the city's hipper quarters.
· 15 rue des Panoyaux; +33 (0)1 4358 4545. Set lunch, €17 (£13.50); set dinner, €30 (£24). Metro: Menilmontant
3. Les Dingues
The owners of Les Dingues. You won't read about Les Dingues - The Crazies - in any guidebook,
and you won't see any tourists here either, because this is a rare find - an authentic neighbourhood bistrot oozing with Parisian character. There are always a crowd of noisy regulars gathered at
the bar, where it seems to be pastis-a-go-go all day long. The chef, Pat Basille, looks like a character from the Pirates of the Caribbean, but in his tiny kitchen he creates seriously delicious
dishes like entrecote steak flambéd in cognac or ravioli poached in brie sauce, which are included on the very reasonably-priced set lunch and dinner menu. After lunch, discover the nearby
Viaduc des Arts, an old viaduct converted into artisan ateliers and shops.
· 17 rue de Rambouillet; +33 (0)1 4345 3538. Set lunch, €15 (£12); set dinner, €20 (£16). Metro: Gare de Lyon
4. Les Racines
Chef Jean-Francois Debre has his own Rive Gauche gourmet restaurant, Chez Maître Paul, but decided a few years ago that he also wanted to open a more simple bistrot, with a relaxed
atmosphere where people could eat well without always paying a fortune. And Parisians were obviously looking for this, as Les Racines is full every lunchtime, and was also voted bistrot of the
year by France's leading food critic, Gilles Pudlowski. You won't find a prix fixé set menu here, as the chef prefers to concentrate on his different dishes of the day, a hearty meal in
themselves. Expect classic favourites like blanquette de veau (slowly simmered beef cheeks), and for warmer summer days, red mullet à la plancha with olive oil mashed potatoes.
· 22 rue Monsieur Le Prince; +33 (0)143260386. Lunch, plat du jour, €12 (£10); dinner, a la carte, €20-25 (£16-20). Metro: Odeon.
5. Le Pre Verre
Le Pre Verre is one of the hottest addresses in Paris, combining a perfect Left Bank
location with creative cuisine at exceptionally reasonable prices and a fabulous selection of wines from all over France. The talented chef, Philippe Delacourcelle, takes all the traditions of
French cuisine and mixes them with Asian spices and cooking methods. So, as an entree, you may have an old-fashioned hure de porc, grilled pig's muzzle, but cooked in a five-spices sauce,
followed by tender cod braised with cinnamon, served on a bed of smoked potato puree. The lunch menu is one of the best deals in town, so reservations are essential.
· 8 rue Thenard; +33 (0)1 4354 5947; lepreverre.com. Set lunch, €13.50 (£11); set dinner, €27.50 (£22). Metro: Cluny
6. Chez Gladines
In the heart of the buzzing Butte aux Cailles, a village in the middle of Paris, this outstanding bistrot is one of the best budget eateries in town. The
cuisine is 100% Basque, and the place resembles a country auberge. Prices are cheap, portions enormous, and the house wine is eminently drinkable. They don't take bookings, so a crowd invariably
builds up outside, drinking wine out of plastic glasses as the restaurant doesn't have a proper bar licence. Dish of the day is usually a simple affair - poulet a la moutarde or hachis parmentier
(French shepherd's pie) - and their giant salads are a meal in themselves.
· 5 rue des Cinq Diamants; +33 (0)1 4580 7010. Lunch, plat du jour €8 (£6); dinner a la carte, €15 (£12). Metro: Place d'Italie
7. Chez Germaine
The trend of offering gastronomic cuisine at reasonable prices may be a new one, but several ancient bistrots excelling in traditional French cuisine have been hidden away for decades. Chez Germaine is definitely one of these, an intimate, romantic dining room of just 25 seats. Wonderful homemade terrines, tasty grillades of the day, and tempting desserts like papillon au chocolat. And Chez Germaine is one of the rare addresses where the set price menu doesn't go up in the evening. Remember that the bistrot is just by the chic Bon Marche department store, where foodies shouldn't miss visiting their Grande Epicerie food hall, the Parisian equivalent of Fortnum & Mason.
· 30 rue Pierre Leroux; +33 (0)1 4273 2834. Set lunch & dinner, €16.50 (£13). Metro: Vaneau
Although it is worth reserving a table here just for the delightfully kitsch 60s design, the owner, Georgette herself, creates a surprising menu built around seasonal products, especially vegetables. She doesn't have a set menu, and prices are not quite bistronomiques, but it is refreshing to see dishes like free range chicken roasted and stuffed with a seasonal aromatic herb (reine des pres), tender supions (baby squids) with homemade pasta, or a delicious garlicky brandade de morue (creamy cod mashed up with potatoes).
· 29 rue Saint-Georges; +33 (0)1 4280 3913. Lunch, plat du jour, €15-18 (£12-14); dinner, a la carte, €40 (£32). Metro: Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
9. Vins des Pyrenees
With the imposing Place des Vosges and its opulent palaces, stylish fashion boutiques and tempting antique stores, the Marais is one of the
most seductive neighbourhoods of Paris, but it is not always easy to find a reasonable bistrot. Tucked away down a sidestreet, though, not far from the infamous spot where Jim Morrison died, is Vins des Pyrenees. This used to be a wine
depot and none of the decor was altered when it was transformed into a bistrot. Don't expect to find Basque cuisine from the Pyrenees, as the cooking here is classic French terroir, where the
dish of the day could be a fillet of sea bream, and the house speciality is a massive côte de boeuf (T-bone steak) for two people.
· 25 rue Beautreillis; +33 (0)1 4272 6494. Set lunch, €13.50 (£11); dinner, a la carte, €30-35 (£24-28) including house wine. Metro: St-Paul
10. Un Zebre a Montmartre
Rue Lepic is a long narrow street that winds up to the heights of Montmartre. Sadly, many of the restaurants here are desperately touristy, cashing in on the evocative era of Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec, and menus offering soupe a l'oignon and boeuf bourguignon are to be avoided. But right at the start of the street, in the hip Abbesses neighbourhood, is the funky bistrot, Un Zebre a Montmartre. The cuisine here is light, Provencal, with dishes like tuna carpaccio or marinated scallops, and the interiors are a riot of psychedelic colours. Open until two in the morning, you can also just stop off for a drink.
· 38 rue Lepic; +33 (0)1 4223 9780; unzebreamontmartre.com. Set lunch, €15 (£12); set dinner €21 (£17). Metro: Abbesses