It’s important to eat well in Paris, even on a budget, and so I compiled a list of affordable but quality restaurants, where you can get a hearty meal for 13 euros or under. I was surprised (and delighted!) to find so many affordable restaurants in Paris, making it easier to go out for dinner more often and get the best out of the dining experience.
It’s worth getting off the beaten track, to find where the Parisian locals frequent, giving insights to the different social scenes and helping to uncover little gems that you are not going to find in the touristy areas.
Chez Gladines is located at the buttes aux cailles, in the 13eme arrondisement, an area known for its Chinese community. The buttes aux cailles is becoming well known for its funky and original bars, restaurants, and boutique shops that populate the area. This is a place where Parisians students and artists frequent; there aren’t likely to be many tourists, which is probably due to its location far away from major tourist attractions. There is a strong village feeling here with one-off bars and restaurants, and no signs of massive chains to ruin the individualistic, hipster vibe.
Chez Gladines has hearty food, served in large portions at affordable prices. The cuisine is French with a focus on the south-west and basque regions. Steak, veal and duck dishes are prices between 11-13 euros, or the basque options include chicken and omlettes at similiar prices. I tried a salad, a massive dish of lettuce, tomatoes, jambon, cheese, garlic potatoes, egg, which only cost 10 euros.
It’s always busy and lively at Chez Gladines, due to the great food served at low prices, so you will normally have a sangria or glass of wine whilst you wait maybe 30 minutes for a free space. The tables are communal and this just adds to the fun and bustling atmosphere. Probably not the place where you would take a date, but its great for a group of friends. Chez Gladines is located on rue 30 rue des Cinq Diamant, closest metro are Corvisart or Place d’Italie.
Le Jardin D’en Face
A tiny, hole in the wall restaurant, that serves great french dishes at a fraction of the price in comparison to posher suburbs of Paris. The ambience is cosy as it’s so small, and the decor is minimalistic, as the restaurant prime focus is serving great French food. I normally start with the oeuf cocotte with foie gras, and the magret de canard as a main. For the desssert, creme brulee is good with a pear digestif. At 25 euros per person, for a shared entree, main dessert and wine; it’s almost too good to be true!
The restaurant is an all-rounder, suitable for dates, family and friends. On a long windy street in Monmartre, just a couple of streets away from the touristy areas of Sacre Coeur at 16 rue de trois freres. The sister restaurant Le Potager is opposite, a couple of doors down on the same street and has more or less the same menu. The restaurant is open for dinner only. It fills up quickly so be sure to book on this number - 01 53 28 26 20. Closest metro is Abesses
A charming Breton-styled creperie in the Montparnasse area, an area known for its high concentration of creperies. You could easily be in provincial Brittany, with the traditional wooden style decor and lacy tableclothes that create a warm, welcoming ambience. Not only is this restaurant attractive, but its practical, quick and affordable. The kitchen is open plan, so you can watch the crepes been made right in front of you.
Try a wholesome galette or also called crepe du ble noir, (crepe made of buckwheat), with jambon, egg and gruyere cheese, and wash it down with a traditional glass of cider. Most of the crepes will set you back less than 10 euros at lunch and around 19 euros at dinner to have savoury followed by a sweet crepe. This will keep you full for a while too! There are sometimes queues but these move quickly. Address is 67 rue du Montparnasse, 75014, closest metro is Montparnasse Bienvenue or Edgar Quinet
L’As de Fallafel
Nice to try some simple take away food in the uber trendy area of Le Marais. L’As de Fallafel is a little Israeli eatery, found in the characteristically Jewish section of the Marais, amongst Kosher butchers, synagogues and expert bakeries. On the small, cobbled laneway at 34 rue des Rosiers is the small restaurant, where you can eat quality food in a comfortable environment. Try a fallafel pita, with tahiny and hummous plus roasted eggplants, cabbage slaw, tomatoes and cucumber. All this for under 6 euros takeaway
Favourite French dishes
1. Steak Tartare
Initially a little putt off by this meal, but it has actually become one of my favourites. The fine, minced beef is cured with onions, capers, seasonings and sometimes an egg. Hard to explain why I like this, because I am not normally a big meat eater, but there is something about it that keeps me going back for more.
2. Pain perdu
A sweet dessert which literally means ‘lost bread.’ One day old bread is perfect to use; soak this in a mixture of eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar and fry on a pan with butter until cooked and brown on each side. Simple to cook yourself, and delicious with a bit of ice cream.