Restaurants in France

With their belts cinched depressingly below their stomachs, sagging jacket linings, and gaping pants pockets, the functionaries and low-level businessmen in whom this district seems to specialize are not lovely to look at, but they do know their food, and they recognize value.

Russian-style teas have been a Paris staple since 1867, but this little boutique and café, located in the sixth arrondissement, brings tea-sipping into the 21st century. Inside, the shop's walls are lined with colorful tins on shelves.

21 is one of those under-the-radar Paris restaurants where true gourmands love to dine, regardless of the steep prices.

Founded as an organic wine shop that later added a supper club for friends, Le Chapeau Melon ("the bowler hat") in Belleville is now a restaurant that stays true to its oenophile roots and to the refined palate of chef and sommelier Oliver Camus.

Very well known, chef Pierre Gagnaire serves high-priced, modern cuisine at his flagship 3-Star Michelin restaurant on rue Balzac.

Situated within the tourist-site triumvirate of the Tuilieries, the Louvre, and the Palais Royal, Cibus offers upscale Italian dining in an atmosphere so warm and homey you'll find it hard to believe you're dining out. The interior space is tiny, seating no more than 16.

Owned by Caroline Rostang, the daughter of French culinary giant Michel Rostang, L’Absinthe is best described as a New York-inspired French bistro. The restaurant nods to New York City with its urban chic design, highlighted by the oversized, antique clock on the ground floor.

The buckwheat crepes at Ti A Dreuz attain a rare level of delicacy and refinement.

Located in the Ninth Arrondissement, just a seven-minute walk from the Gare du Nord (North Station), this tiny restaurant and wine bar specializes in authentic cuisine from the Alsace region. Inside, the casual eatery is adorned with decorative tiling, warm wood paneling, and local artwork.

The interior is invested with that sort of non-décor décor that people who began their eating careers in France 50 years ago know can be a good sign.

It is easy to overlook the converted fishing dock on the right bank, but inside is a restaurant tastefully done in wood, glass, and zinc, with an unbeatable view of the Place de la Bourse.

Fresh from Belgium, this natural-food chain specializes in healthy fast food. For gourmands and vegetarians alike, the choices include soups, salads, and sandwiches on organic breads made with ingredients like soft chèvre or smoked salmon ($7).