Trying to cover the cuisine of a city the size of Paris in a few hundred words is an impossible task. It’s a city that offers everything, and each arrondissement has its own specialities - the Japanese district in the 1ere, the Jewish quarter in the 4eme, and so on. If you’re looking for a gourmet experience you won’t be disappointed, there are literally dozens of Michelin-starred establishments and cuisines from around the world to choose from.
If you’re looking for something more typically French (red and white checked table cloths, cheap wine and delicious, hearty food) then you won’t be disappointed, either, but you’ll need to be careful.
Eating out in Paris is generally an expensive pastime, particularly around the tourist hotspots. Those who complain about high prices and poor service are often eating overlooking one of Paris’ major landmarks, where the regular footfall of tourists can lead places to rest on their laurels. Head a little off the beaten track, by only a street or two, and often you’ll find the price drops and quality rises almost exponentially.
Most bistros and cafés will offer an affordable ‘menu du jour’ around lunchtime, where you can typically get a two or three course meal with a glass of wine for around €15-20. Also keep an eye out for ‘prix fixe’ deals in the evening, where a two or three course dinner shouldn’t set you back more than €30.
As a general rule even the best restaurants have a much cheaper midday offering than their evening service, so eating a larger meal during the day could provide the best value
Plenty of cafés and bars offer happy hours in the early evening, too, making things that little more affordable, but keep an eye on the small-print - many cafés will charge more for drinks ‘en terrace’ (eg, sitting out at the pavement, watching the world go by) than inside at the bar.