Paris, France is one of the food capitals of the world–has been for centuries. I am always grateful when my travels take me to this amazing city and I always make it my top priority to eat all the things! Well, all the vegan/vegetarian things, that is. The truth is though, Paris has something for everyone. How does one even begin to document the culinary wonders of a city like Paris? I thought I would take it meal-by-meal.
Do you typically sleep through breakfast? If so, I totally get it, but trust me, you’re going to want to wake up for the “most important meal of the day” while you’re in Paris. Enjoying a morning coffee and pastry on the streets of this lively city is one of life’s unique pleasures. Breakfast here tends to be light (think croissants and bread with jam) though there are plenty of places where you can load up on calories and protein. For one of the most beloved croissants in the city, check out La Maison d’Isabelle (the House of Isabelle, for all you English speakers out there). Isabelle Leday serves up delicious buttery croissants in the classic style. She uses organic butter and flour so that her croissants are both flavorful and environmentally friendly. Trust me, there is a reason that La Maison d’Isabelle won the city’s “best croissant” competition in 2018.
Unlike here, where lunch tends to be a lighter meal (though I have certainly chowed down on some mid-day meals in my time), lunch in France can be a somewhat lengthy, filling affair. Appetizers and/or salads are often eaten with a Parisian lunch, in addition to an entrée. Lunch also happens to be a great time to people watch from your table at an outdoor café. That’s why I recommend snagging an outdoor table, weather permitting. Or, if you want the full outdoor experience, grab a blanket, a picnic basket, and a bottle of wine and eat at one of the city’s many parks. Just because it’s touristy doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun!
Luckily, you have many great options for lunchtime cafes and markets. One café that I love is Le Bimbo in the historic Montmartre neighborhood. The name might be humorous (“Le Bimbo” means “The Babe”), but the food at this woman-owned restaurant is no joke. The eclectic menu has foods from outside of France – like burgers and gyoza – as well as more traditional French dishes, like crème brulee. Either way, you can’t miss. To load upon picnic provisions, check out the Marche Bastille, near the site where the infamous prison once stood. This historic market specializes in breads, cheeses, sausages, meats, and seafoods.
One thing to keep in mind is that Parisians eat dinner late, like 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. If you observe an earlier dining schedule, you can use this to your advantage, by dining during the less crowded hours. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a place open for dinner before 7 pm though! Dinner is a great time to explore the myriad cuisines that Paris has to offer. The city is home to a huge community of immigrants from Africa, East Asia, and the Middle East. For a highly acclaimed fusion of all three, check out Mosuke in the 16th Arrondissement (districts in Paris are numbered). The restaurant, named for Japan’s only samurai of African descent, serves bold, creative dishes like lobster in miso sauce and dried, fermented cassava pulp.
If you want to eat classic French food like a local, nothing beats a good bistro. French bistros are often lively neighborhood restaurants that serve the kind of comfort food that keeps the regulars coming back. For this one-of-a-kind experience, I recommend Chez Ami-Jean, on the city’s artsy Left Bank. This cozy, very popular joint serves classic French dishes like roast lamb and roasted pigeon.
Top 5 Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants In Paris
1. Daily Syrien Veggie
Paris is one of the best cities for Middle Eastern food outside of, well, the Middle East. As you probably know, this is a cuisine that is heavy on beloved vegetarian dishes, like hummus and falafel. At Daily Syrien Veggie, in the nearby – and very diverse – suburb of St. Denis, the entire menu is vegetarian. Tres magnifique!
2. La Chance
This hip restaurant, located in a former hair salon in the Chateau Rouge neighborhood, offers an eclectic menu of entirely plant-based dishes. I am told that their curry, in particular, is to die for.
3. Jah Jah by Le Tricycle
A quick and tasty Parisian history lesson: Le Tricycle was a hip Paris restaurant specializing in vegan hot dogs. While that restaurant has sadly closed, its owners recently opened Jah Jah: an entirely plant-based restaurant serving Afro-Caribbean-inspired bowls and sandwiches. Like the now defunct Le Tricycle, the food here is colorful, flavorful, and affordable. It’s a good way to fill up, guilt-free.
4. VG Patisserie
Paris is all about the baked goods: macarons, croissants, baguettes–the list of pastry classics on offer on nearly every street in this amazing city seems nearly endless. If you maintain a vegan or gluten-free diet, you can start to feel left out. That’s where VG Patisserie (literally, pastry shop) in the 11th Arrondissement comes in. Here all of the sweet and savory pastries are made without dairy or gluten. I, for one, can’t think of a better excuse to eat all the macarons.
5. Le Petit Veg
The final stop on our plant-based tour of Paris is Le Petit Veg, a spot serving vegan Indian cuisine not too far from the heart of the city. South Indian dishes, like dosas (massive rice crepes filled with vegetables and sauces) are popular here, as are the colorful veggie curries. This is a great spot for a quick, affordable meal in Paris, though seating is limited. But hey, there’s no shame in eating your dosa on the go.
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