On my first two trips to Paris, I was on a very small budget. The first time was during a college study abroad and I swore I didn’t like French food so I can’t say much about where we ate. The second time around, it was 2010 and I used airline miles to buy my ticket. My hotel was around $100 a night and I had very little money left over for food. Most of my dinners were spent next door to the hotel at a tiny little restaurant that had a chalkboard set daily menu. These are still some of my favorite memories of Paris and where I tried duck, lamb, and escargot for the first time. Sadly, the restaurant closed a few years ago.
In Paris, you don’t have to break the bank to have a good meal. I love a good picnic on the Seine with a baguette, cheese, and a bottle of wine with friends or steak frites at an outdoor café. Below are my suggestions after many years of research on my favorite places to eat in Paris on a Budget. If you have favorites that didn’t make the list, please comment below. I would love for you to share yours.
If you are reading this while you are staying in Paris and you are looking for a quick answer. Go with my top choice for lunch or dinner especially in the Summer or warmer months. I love Miznon. There are two locations, one in the Marais and the other by Canal St Martin. You can take your sandwich to go and eat on the Canal St Martin with a bottle of wine or in the Marais head to Place des Vosges. My go to order is the chicken pita which sometimes sells out early. The lamb is the same seasoning as the chicken. If you are a vegetarian try the falafel. The roasted cauliflower is what they are known for. I personally love their tahini. You can grab fresh pita and sauces including tahini while you wait for your food. The line could be long but I think it is worth the wait. They are open until noon to 11pm except for Saturdays they are closed.
In the same direction of Miznon is L’as au Falafel on Rue des Rosiers. There will be a line but it goes quickly. There are other similar restaurants around here but I recommend sticking to this one. You can eat inside and sit down or take it to go. A lot of people eat it in the street. I prefer to take it to a nearby park like Place des Vosges if you can wait a few minutes.
Close to Rue des Rosiers is Rue Vielle du Temple which is one of my favorite streets in the Marais. There is great people watching especially around Happy Hour and Sundays. I love Au Petit For à Cheval for a salad or sandwich. You can eat at the bar or at one of their tables. I prefer to eat in the front half of the restaurant. In colder months, they do have heat lamps for outside. If you can’t find a seat, you can dine at Les Philosophes which is by the same owner
Chez Gladines is popular with students for their budget friendly prices and good food. The restaurant serves food from the Basque region of France. There are so many options, even picky eaters can find something on the menu. The location of Saint-Germain closes at 11 and Les Halles at 11:30 if you are looking for food late night. There are five locations around the city.
If you are in the mood for something different from French food, try a Greek Traitor. I love the one on Rue Monge. You can sit outside and have lunch or take away to a nearby park. On the Left Bank, try Apollon. They have a great fixed menu for lunch. You won’t leave hungry and the meal will be under 20 euros.
For a great Steak Frites that won’t break the bank, try Les Progrès. They just remodeled the restaurant and expanded the terrace. I am allergic to smoke and always find it a struggle during peak hours to find a smoke free zone to eat dinner. Just be fair warned that this may be the case.
Grab a baguette at your local boulangerie and stop by a fromagerie, market or local Monoprix for an impromptu picnic. My favorite spots to picnic are here.
My family’s personal favorite is a roast chicken from the market on Sunday. You can get a roast chicken and potatoes for around 12-15 euros. I love the Bastille market for this but you can also buy these at rotisseries around the city.