Terrance's Fifty Favorite Paris Bistros and Restos

Dining out should be fun, relaxing and never, never stressful. Whether a 3-star restaurant or a neighborhood bistro there should always be an excellent rapport qualité prix–a positive relationship between price and quality.


Dining out should be fun, relaxing and never, never stressful.

Whether a 3-star restaurant or a neighborhood bistro there should always be an excellent rapport qualité prix–a positive relationship between price and quality. 

A 20-euro lunch can be perfectly enjoyable and a 200-euro meal can be a nightmare. At a 3-star I expect the server to know that I want my water glass filled before I do and at a bistro du coin I want the meal that Melvyn Douglas and Greta Garbo had in Ninotchka-as good as grandma’s cooking in an atmosphere of conviviality.

Cold, intimidating, haughty service is never to be tolerated. A warm welcome, attention to your needs and special requests are essential.* It is in that spirit that I have selected 50 Paris bistros and restaurants of varying styles and price ranges for your Paris visits.

In general, you won’t find the latest fad or hot celebrity chef. The waiter won’t spend 30 minutes discussing the provenance of the lettuce but you will receive a friendly welcome and consistently good food supported by a wine list that won’t require a dash to the nearest ATM.

 *As of this writing I’m confident that you will have an excellent experience but ownership changes, staff changes, chef changes may have an impact and in that case please let me know. 


5.0 out of 5 stars Terrance: Big Personality and Grand Recommendations!! He IS your man in Paris., December 11, 2013

The fabulous cookbook author and blogger David Leibowitz recommended a terrific, price-is-right bistro in Paris called Astier. I went there on a rainy Feb. night a few years ago and was delighted to make the acquaintance of Terrance. Astier is one of his hang-outs and with good reason: food is excellent, wine is excellent, prices are excellent. Terrance, originally a Brooklyn boy with a love of (what else) bagels and lox, who then made it to Mill Valley, Calif., where he became friends with one of my high school friends also in Mill Valley (the old small world), is a Paris institution: he can hook you up with the real Paris where the Parisians go and the tourists DON’T GO. This book is a gem: the prices are right, the food is good, the wine is good, and you’re likely to run into Terrance-and not many Americans! Don’t be put off by his uh, large personality. He knows his food and wine. He’s a good guy, a hamisha guy (Yiddish… look it up) and he knows Paris-and will help you to find the Paris YOU want to experience. It’s easy to find all the great Michelin-starred restos, its not so easy to find the local bistros. Terrance takes care of that…. and remember, every Sunday you can experience Terrance during his “office hours” at Cafe Flore, if it was good enough for Hemingway, it’s good enough for us. Oh… and dont miss Moulin Vert, a resto Terrance recommends in the 14th… its right near all the stock (sale!!) stores: walking distance from the most amazing Sonia Rykiel outlet store where prices are to die for and merch is only a season or two in the past.

Amy Krakow, NY

The first few bistros I read about (the Kindle sample) showed me the level of detail I’m interested in, so I bought the book immediately. I’ve also posted on Facebook about it, and I think on Kindle it makes a lot of sense for a traveler.

We’ll be spending two months in Paris next year, and we definitely plan to be enjoying some of the many bistros and restaurants that offer outstanding cuisine (and value!). Terrance’s book, which lists his favorite ones by arrondisement (district) makes it easy to locate the one you want to try next. He includes particular foods and wines that he’s had at the restaurant, as well as good directions (particularly the Metro stop)to get to each one.
 I’m looking forward to going to some of Terrance’s favorites and seeing how my experiences compare with his.

–Stuart Gustafson, Boise, Idaho

 “Our favorite French expat, Terrance Gelenter, has just published a new e-book that is terrific: ‘Terrance’s 50 favorite Paris Bistros and Restos.’ It is available only by e-book and one can order it on Amazon. It is really handy because it calls out restaurants, bistros and cafés arrondissement by arrondissement, so you can find something good no matter where you are in Paris. I ordered it and like it!”

–Merle Minda, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Get a preview and buy the book 


The Paris Insider Newsletter

THE PARIS INSIDER family of weekly newsletters,Including THE PARIS INSIDER (Tuesday,) THE PARIS READERS CIRCLE (Wednesday,) THE PARIS WEEKENDER (Thursday,) and THE PARIS INTERVIEW (Friday) offer freshly written reviews about restaurants, museums, books, events, showings and what's on in Paris. Arriving at 9:15 AM Pacific Time you'll receive all of this plus tips on excursions to the surrounding regions from Champagne to the Loire Valley and much more. Thank you for subscribing.