If Paris provides so many excuses for excess, there are also multiple ways to enjoy the fine tradition of the French table for a song. Why not pick up some first-rate cheese, ham, bread, wine, and fruit at the market, then hit up a park, square, or go Seine-side? There’s nothing better. Or seek out one of the two Parisian Chinatowns for some excellent budget Szechuan or Vietnamese. Or try any one of the countless eateries establishments operated by culinarily gifted Parisian residents that hail from all corners of the globe. Or, one of the small kitchens run by upstart chefs making a name for themselves. If you’re more in the mood for sitting at a table, and having someone else do the washing up, there are plenty of options for eating well for the budget traveler. Here are a few ideas for those looking to experience an authentic taste of Paris and not spend a fortune.
La Pointe du Groin
The respected chef Thierry Breton already has two longstanding and quality restaurants just next-door, Chez Michel and Chez Casimir. This, his latest, is an extraordinarily good-value option combining an almost pub-like atmosphere it’s so friendly and boisterous with excellent French regional cooking. Order at the bar, at lunchtime an excellent sandwich made with the homemade bread, and for dinner, equally tasty small plates of the day.
Le Daily Syrien
This fantastic falafel and Middle-Eastern sandwich joint is both a newsstand and sandwich bar, where you can, as the slogan goes, “feed your body and your spirit.” It has an excellent fixed-price menu for under 10€ featuring a sandwich—chicken or beef shawarma, or “extra” falafel, for example—with a drink, plus freshly prepared side salad or dessert.
Stellar sandwiches made to order to eat in or to take away at this weekday gourmet lunch spot. Fillings like crumbed veal cutlet with gribiche sauce; ham, pesto and goat cheese; terrine and cornichon; trout with pickled cabbage and dill cream... There’s also an equally inventive menu of salads and desserts. And organic wines, too.
A hole-in-the-wall in the heart of the Marais doing take-away hot dogs for between 3€ and 4€—perfect for late-night hunger pangs after an extended aperitif. There’s a choice of chicken or pork sausages, then three toppings: the standard American, Mexican with chili, or a regional French recipe with sauerkraut, the Alsatian.
L'As du Fallafel
In the heart of the city’s historic "Pletzl" Jewish quarter, this emblematic kosher restaurant sells its special falafel for €5.50 to take away, and €7.50 in the dining room. The tasty sandwiches are stuffed full with chicken, lamb or falafel balls, cabbage, grilled eggplant, hummus, tahini, and spicy sauce.