With over 40,000 restaurants in Paris alone, it can be overwhelming to decipher which ones are the best and then which ones you want to try. After reading this classification of French restaurants in Paris, you’ll know exactly what to look for the next time you work up an appetite!
Classification by Cuisine of Restaurant
- South-Western: geese, ducks, lamb, beef, boletus mushrooms, rabbit, Agen prunes, foie gras, Perigord truffles, and goat cheese are local foods. Most food is cooked with wine and traditional dishes include cassoulet, duck confit and magret, and foie gras.
- Corsican: goats, sheep, brocciu cheese, chestnuts, pigs, boars, fish, seafood, clementines, lemons, nectarines, and figs are local foods. Chestnuts are used to produce flour, which is then used to make bread and pastries. Traditional dishes include Corsican lamb, boar civet, veal with olives, and Flan from chestnut flour.
- West Indies: usually spicy food including shellfish, smoked fished, crab, conch, curry, tropical fruit. Traditional dishes include boudin, accras, féroce, matoutou, calalou, and colombo.
- Savoy Region: Based on a diet heavy in cheese and potatoes, traditional dishes include fondue, raclette and tartiflette. Savoy is also know for some of its white wines.
- Brittany Region: this region is known more for sweets but is also all about seafood – sea bass, monkfish, herring, scallops, sole, lobster, crayfish, and mussels. Due to a large number of apples trees, apples are known to accompany dishes and to be made into cider. Traditional dishes include burbot “à l’Armoricaine”, clafoutis, far breton, and crêpes.
- Burgundy Region: although mostly known for being the best wine region, it is also know for oysters, mussels, and scallops. Traditional dishes include kougin amann, plate of seafood, mussles “marinières”, and fish soup.
Classification by Type of Restaurant
- Traditional Parisian Brasserie: created in the 1870’s to serve beer, but most serve wine as well. Usually open all day every day, offering a consistant menu.
- Wine Bar: offer inexpensive drinks, and most offer a full range of vintage AOC wines. The menu is simple and usually served in smaller portions than what is found in a bistro or restaurant, more like fingerfood or side dish in fact.
- Bistros: usually a little smaller than a restaurant, menus are written on a chalkboard or verbal. Many bistros feature regional cuisine and the wait stuff doesn’t necessarily have to be trained professionals.
- Café: popular for coffee and alcoholic drinks with some tables usually place outdoors. The food menu is usually limited to salads, sandwiches, and small speciality dishes like moules-frites (mussles with French fries). Cafés open very early in the morning and close around 8 or 9pm depending on the establishment.
- Restaurant: only open during certain times of the day (around meal times) and normally closed one day a week. A printed menu and prix-fixe menu must be offered. Waiters/waitresses are trained and knowledgeable professionals.
- Salon de Thé: normally what the rest of the world refers to as a café – offers a selection of sweets with teas, coffee, and hot chocolate but no alcoholic beverages. Many offer simple snacks as well. A Salon de Thé will open right before noon for lunch and usually close in the late afternoon.
Classification by Michelin Star Rating
Star restaurants are exceptional and a great choice for a specific occasion. In 2015, only 609 restaurants were starred in France!
- 1 Star: The food is consistently prepared to a high standard, a good place to stop on your journey
- 2 Star: The food is of excellent cuisine with skillfully and carefully crafted dishes, a restaurant worth a detour
- 3 Star: The food is of exceptional cuisine, superb dishes that are precisely executed, a restaurant worth a special journey
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