Live Like a Local: My Five Favorite Paris Bistros

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (, and also writes a popular insider's blog at

I’ve lived in Paris for 10 years now and have been to most of the top bistros in the guidebooks but have also dined at many neighborhood bistros where locals go. I’ve based my choices on food, atmosphere, service, and sometimes a je ne sais quoi factor. Reservations a few days in advance are recommended. 

le reminetChez Dumonet

This charming Left Bank bistro on one of my favorite narrow streets of Paris, rue Cherche Midi, has some of the best bistro food in town. The menu features more classic dishes and the Beef Bourguignon with its smoky rich flavor is one of the best I have ever eaten, a gastronomic experience not to be missed. If you are not super hungry, order the half portion and a green salad. Other mouth-watering dishes include duck confit served with potatoes cooked with duck fat, steak tartare, and for dessert, a killer Grand Marnier soufflé. Prices tend to be on the high side but worth every penny. 

117 rue du Cherche Midi, 75006
Open Monday to Friday for lunch & dinner, closed Weekends 
Tel/+33 45 48 52 40

Le Reminet

A delightful find a stone's throw from Notre Dame, I frequent Le Reminet for its unbeatable lunch bargain of 15 for a three course meal. You are limited to just two choices for each category and the menu changes daily. Recently I enjoyed a bowl of velvety sweet potato soup, followed by a roasted chicken breast with lemon-tinged fettuccine, and a cheese plate with a goat, sheep, and cow’s milk cheese. The cozy interior has crystal chandeliers, deep plum walls, velvet banquettes, and gold gilt mirrors. 

Le Reminet 3 rue des Grands Degres, 75005
Open everyday 12PM-3pm, 7:30PM-11PM 
15 lunch is only served Monday to Friday
+33 1 44 07 04 24

La Regalade

The three course 37 menu at lunch and dinner at La Regalade scores big time, a great value for such high caliber food. Chef Bruno Doucet dazzles the palate with dishes such as risotto with crispy calamari, Merlu fish with chestnuts and butternut squash, and for dessert, minestrone of mango and orange with caramel. Another nice touch is the complimentary terrine served before your meal. Conveniently located near the Louvre

106 rue Saint Honoré, 75001
Open Monday to Friday for lunch & dinner, closed Weekends 
Tel. +33 01 42 21 92 40 

roger la renouilleLe Petit Marche

Modern bistro food is the theme at this popular spot behind the Place des Vosges in the Marais district. The menu doesn’t change much except for the daily specials, but the food is always consistent and reliable. The friendly service is good but a tad on the slow side. Some dishes have an Asian bent to them, including the house specialty, raw tuna stacked with layers of savory millefeuille in between, and an excellent Chinese chicken salad starter. The buttery, rich sea scallops deserve tasting. 

9 rue de Bearn, 75003
Open 7 days for lunch and dinner 
Tel: +33 1 42 72 06 67 

Roger La Grenouille

Take a walk back into the Paris of the mid to late 20th century at Roger La Grenouille, a delightful bistro tucked away in a courtyard in Saint Germain des Pres. After Roger Spinhirny opened the bistro in 1930 in a former shoe repair shop, it quickly became the talk of the town, serving frogs' legs to Kings, Queens, and Presidents, along with Picasso, Francois Truffaut, and Balthus, who painted a portrait of Spinhirny. The walls are covered in old currency, nostalgic photos, and frogs in every shape and form. Besides the obvious frogs' legs, the menu has French bistro staples, such as entrecote steak and fries, foie gras, and crème brulee. 

26-28 rue des Grands Augustins, 75006 Open Monday to Saturday for lunch & dinner
Tel. +33 1 56 24 24 34