10 French food specialties you absolutely have to try in Paris
Updated by Jordan on 16/12/2019
Whenever we travel to a new city, we are looking forward to trying its food specialties. That’s why I’m sharing with you my top 10 French food specialties you absolutely have to try in Paris!
The list of delightful French delicacies seems endless, so I’ve rounded up the top 10 for you. You’ve all heard about the delicious Parisian pastries, and of course the French wine and cheese don’t go unnoticed by the rest of the world, but just what are the best French specialties you can try in Paris? Read on to find out my top 10 French food specialties you absolutely have to try in Paris!
Some beef steak and yummy fries: Steak-frites
Firstly I will talk about the Steak-Frites. Simple and tasteful, we find Steak-Frites in many other countries. Whether we call it “bitoque” in Lisbon, or simply “steak-frites” in Paris, everyone enjoys this dish for its simplicity. Steak-Frites is always a safe bet. But in Paris, it’s quite a big deal because we even have a restaurant that only serves this dish.
At Relais de l’Entrecôte, located at 20 rue Saint-Benoît in the Saint-Germain neighborhood, you won’t be handed a menu. The waiter just needs to know how cooked you like your meat. Shortly after, a seasoned salad is brought to your table. And get ready to enjoy a delicious beef steak and the most delicious and crispiest fries. If you want to know a few more places to eat the steak-frites, read this article.
relais de l’entrcôte – 20 rue saint-benoît 75006 paris
metro station: odéon
opening hours: open daily 12PM//2:30PM and 7PM//11:30PM
price range: €€
A trip to the sea: Huîtres
If you like seafood and mollusks, you have to try oysters in Paris. Parisians love to eat oysters. There’s a specific way to eat it. You open the oyster, put some lemon in it, and eat it right from its shell. I’m pretty sure you will love the experience! My advice would be for you to go to either the Saint-Germain area, or rue Montorgueil.
On the bustling Rue Montorgeuil, there’s a fish store called Soguisa. It’s a bit expensive, but they really have excellent oysters! Plus, the salesmen will give you the best advice about the way to properly eat their products! Soguisa is the main fish store in the Montorgueil neighborhood. All the residents of this neighborhood go there to buy fresh seafood and shellfish!
soguisa – 62-72 Rue Montorgueil, 75002 Paris
metro station: etienne-marcel
opening hours: monday – saturday 9:30AM//7PM
Refined pastries: Macarons
My top 10 French food specialty you absolutely have to try in Paris wouldn’t count if I wouldn’t talk about Macarons! We all long for macarons. Correct me if I’m wrong, but when people come to Paris: to try macarons is always in their “to do list”! Especially the iconic Ladurée macarons. These colorful and delicate look alike mini sandwiches have conquered our taste buds!
Though Ladurée’s are surely the most famous, how about trying some award-winning treats by French chocolatier Jean-Paul Hévin? His macarons have won many awards, and his chocolate is known throughout the world!
jean paul hévin – 3 rue vavin 75006 paris
metro station: notre-dame-des-champs
opening hours: tuesday – saturday 10:30AM//7:30PM
A different kind of pie: Quiche
Once in a while, we all enjoy a nice pie. Here in Paris, one of the most traditional French foods you can try is a type of savory pie, or quiche. In fact, it’s Parisians favorite lunch! To change from daily baguette sandwiches, Parisians order quiches at the bakery (the “boulangerie” in French) from time to time! Tuna ones, bacon ones, salmon ones, vegetable ones: we have quiches for every taste!
It’s pretty easy to make, and if you want to learn from the best and enjoy a nice meal with locals, you should join a cooking class! If you want to cook it on your own at home, follow the recipe in this article!
Try something uncommon: Escargots
It’s kind of weird the idea of eating snails… I agree with you! But it’s very common in France! That is why it had to be on my top 10 French foods you can get in Paris! There’s many different kinds of seasoning and cooking methods for snails, though the most common is garlic butter and herbs. And I’m still baffled that somehow the French have managed to make even snails taste great.
Here’s a guide to the best places to get escargot in Paris.
Delicious mussels: Moules
Mussels, French fries, and white wine: perfect combination! And while this genius combo actually hails from neighboring Belgium, the French have adopted this recipe into their traditional repertoire. There are plenty of places in Paris where you can get some excellent Moules-Frites. You’ll just want to be sure that the mussels are fresh! Personally, I like the Acadmémie de la Biére in the 5th arrondissement. Their mussels are fresh, deliciously steamed in beer and served with a generous portion of crispy French fries.
academie de la biere – 88Bis Boulevard de Port-Royal, 75005 Paris
metro station: port-royal
opening hours: 10AM//2AM daily
price range: €€
Raw meat for the more adventurous: Steak Tartare
If you’re looking for another uncommon experience, you should try the Steak tartare. What is it? It’s a beef tenderloin chopped in very tiny pieces with the right seasoning and is served raw. And that’s how the French eat it: raw! And they love it! The tartare is one of the traditional French dishes you must try during your visit to Paris.
One restaurant I can recommend for you to try it is Les Fines Gueules, at 43 rue Croix des Petits Champs, but also Les Philosophes at 28 rue Vieille du Temple, in Le Marais neighborhood. These two restaurants are typically Parisian and serve great French traditional dishes!
les philosophes – 28 rue veille du temple 75003 paris
metro station: hotel de ville
opening hours: open daily 9AM//2AM
price range: €€-€€€
A Frenchy soup: Soupe à l’oignon
The onion soup is very famous in France. It is made with meat (beef or chicken) stock, onions, gratinéed with cheese, and goes with a large piece of bread on top. Though we’re talking about a soup, it’s not as light as you might expect a soup to be! But, believe me, you definitely have to try it, this one one of the most comforting dishes ever. The Bistrot des Vosges, located at 31 Boulevard Beaumarchais, just steps away from Place des Vosges serves a delicious onion soup!
bistrot des vosges – 31 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75004 Paris
metro station: breguet-sabin
opening hours: open daily 9AM//10PM
price range: €€
Wine, wine everywhere: Coq au vin
Next on my top 10 French food specialty, you can get in Paris is the coq au vin! The French love to braise chicken with wine… while drinking wine. The best place in Paris to try might be La Jacobine in the Latin Quarter, where the onion soup is also great. But if you want my true opinion, if you have some time when in Paris, prepare it with locals.
One of the best ways to understand a country’s culture is through their traditions and food habits. When joining our cooking class, you get to experience Parisians habits and customs, to know the best places to buy the freshest ingredients to cook a coq au vin and many more other stuff. Moreover, sometimes the company is even more important than the food. We get to know plenty more about a culture by hanging out with its people.
la jacobine – 59-61 Rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris
metro station: saint-michel
opening hours: open tuesday – sunday 12PM//4:45PM and 7PM//11PM
open mondays 6PM//10PM
Delightfully floating: Iles flottante
Enough of main courses! What we need now is a dessert! My all-time favorite is the Ile flottante, which means “floating island”. Yummy! It’s so mouthwatering. Pretty simple but so tasty. Ile flottante is basically made from whipped egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract and simply floating crème anglaise. Sometimes, it can be served with some almonds or coconut on top of the “island”!
This dessert is very common in Paris, so you should easily find it in almost every restaurants you go to! If you want to discover a few more Parisian desserts, read this article and choose the one that looks the yummiest to you.
My top 10 French food specialty you can get in Paris is now over. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and that I’ve opened your appetite! Feel free to share your experiences and let me know if you have other suggestions! I can suggest you another good way to discover French food: try to visit our typical food markets, it really is an enriching because you get to know the locals and to learn a lot about their customs and advice on food. Then, you can also read some fun facts about French food by clicking on this link!
Enjoy! I hope to see you soon in one of our tours!