Eat like a local Paris

To the French, eating is so much more than simply nourishment. It is also an essential means of social interaction and a vital ingredient in enhancing the quality of life. Here is Marco Polo’s guide to traditional French delicacies and the Parisian restaurants you are likely to find them in…

French delicacies

French specialties you should try on your visit to Paris: 

Boeuf bourguignon: braised beef in a Burgundy sauce

Bouillabaisse: fish stew made with Mediterranean fish

Brochettes de coquilles Saint Jacques: kebabs with scallops

Caneton à l’orange: roast duck in an orange sauce

Coq au vin: braise of chicken in red wine

Côtes de porc aux herbes: pork chops with herbs

Crème brûlée: a rich custard base topped with a layer of hard caramel

Crêpes Suzette: thin pancakes with Grand Marnier

Écrevisses à la nage: boiled crayfish in a spicy broth

Escargots à la bourguignonne: boiled snails in a garlic herb sauce

Fruits de mer: seafood, i.e. crevettes (prawns), huîtres (oysters) and coquilles/moules (mussels) – often served raw

Gigot d’agneau aux morilles: leg of lamb with morels

Gratin dauphinois: potato gratin

Homard à l’armoricaine: lobster in a tomato, onion, herb, white wine and cognac sauce

Moules marinières: steamed mussels in white wine with onions

Noisettes d’agneau: small lamb cutlets fried in butter

Pot-au-feu: stew with beef, chicken and a variety of vegetables

Profiteroles: small cream puff-pastry with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce

Quenelles de brochet: pickerel, cream and egg dumplings

Ratatouille: vegetables sauteed with olive oil, onions and herbs, served either hot or cold

Soupe à l’oignon gratinée: onion soup baked with cheese

Tarte Tatin: carmelised upside down apple pie

French delicacies

Restaurants serving traditional French cuisine:

La Fresque

A small restaurant with a typically Parisian flair that is located directly adjacent to the shopping centre Les Halles. It is good value for money and has very friendly and attentive waiters. It is a good idea to arrive there early as it can become very busy in the evenings. Closed Sundays | 100, Rue Rambuteau | 11th Arr. | Tel. 01 42 33 17 56 | M 4: Les Halles

Crêperie de Plougastel 

Claimed to be one of the best crêperies in the city. The crêpes with caramel are particularly delectable, as are the savoury galettes made with buckwheat flour and filled with ham, mushrooms and smoked salmon. Open daily | 47, Rue Montparnasse | 14th Arr. | Tel. 01 42 79 90 63 | M 6: Edgar Quinet

Les Papilles 

Les Papilles is a Bistro with a wine cellar and a delicatessen. It serves authentic cuisine near the Jardin du Luxembourg. Closed Sundays and Mondays | 30, rue Gay Lussac | 5th Arr. | Tel. 01 43 28 20 79 | RER B: Luxembourg

Chez Glandines

Offers good value specialities from southwest France and the Basque region. It is a modest restaurant situated in the nightlife district Butte-aux-Cailles. Open daily | 30, Rue des Cinq Diamants | 13th Arr. | Tel. 01 45 80 70 10 | M 6: Corvisart


Chantairelle offers hearty and succulent cuisine and pays homage to the Auvergne. With the exception of the ice cream, everything on the menu originates from this region in central France. The restaurant even has a takeaway deli, which sells cold meat, cheese, lentils and much more. Open daily (lunch only on Sundays and Mondays, dinner only on Saturdays and in August) | 17, rue Laplace | 5th Arr. | Tel. 01 46 33 18 59 | M 10: Cardinal Lemoine

Citrus Etoile

Citrus Etoile serves classical French dishes with a modern interpretation including Asian and Californian influences. There is a comfortably discreet atmosphere and it is situated only a few yards from the Arc de Triomphe. Saturdays and Sundays are for private functions only | 6, Rue Arséne Houssaye | 8th Arr. | Tel. 01 42 89 15 51 | M 1, 2, 6, RER A: Etoile

Content taken from the Paris Marco Polo Spiral Guide

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