Paris: Six places to get dinner for around 20 euros.

I’m curious what experienced Paris residents and travellers think about this:

(paywalled, but you can often get around it in an incognito/private browser session)

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Just in case, you want to know… The 6 places are:

  • Bouillon Julien, 10e
  • Bouillon Pigalle, 18e
  • Aux Bons Crus, 11e
  • Buffet, 11e
  • Le Cadoret, 19e
  • Café au Coin, 11e

Note that the price doesn’t include wine. You can always ask for the free tap water if on budget, or ask for a glass of wine if in mood.

Among all of them, I have eaten in Julien twice, but it was before when it was a brasserie, which was quite good but price was much higher. Now converted into a Bouillon and with lower price, I have heard people got disappointed compared to before. The restaurant was beautiful with Art Deco interior.

I have heard that Bouillon Barbés is a better one among the Bouillons. I have wanted to go to Bouillon Pigalle, but Mr. naf looked at the menu on internet and was not inspired, as they have many stewed dishes even in summer.

Café au Coin is the only one that is on the inventive side, a plus. All the others are doing the classic as they were. If you like having the French classics, why not. Among all of them the better ones are Café au Coin and Buffet.

We were in Paris in January, and staying in the 11e, so a couple of these were on my list, though I didn’t end up going. (Sorry, I should have reported here; I have a subsequent visit booked for June, so maybe I’ll get something short posted soon.) I ruled out the Bouillons which might be fine for everyday meals for locals, but I want something slightly less “industrial sous-vide” for my infrequent visits. Aux Bons Crus seems like it is trying to recreate a French roadside diner, which doesn’t really speak to me. Café au Coin seems to have a good lunch special, but reviews are less positive about dinner, and you can’t reserve online (I can probably speak French well enough, but I hate the telephone and get flustered on it easily).

The places we ate at in this range that were worthwhile: Le Cannonière, Amarante, Berty, Le Desnoyez, Pleine Mer. But I think we did better a little higher up, in the €35 range: Virtus, Sellae, Le Vent d’Armor.

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PS This was the first NYT article I attempted to read in incognito mode and was blocked. I had to use another browser and clear cookies.


Since I don’t live and work in Paris, I want better food when I go there. Some of these bouillon experience is much like home cooking I do, I prefer something different or food I don’t cook.

These days if one wants better lunch, they cost more than 20€ for sure, closer to 30€, for stars places, they will be in 35€ - 45€ range (not including drinks).

That will be great! Eager to hear meals you liked from your last trip.

Hope les Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) didn’t spoiled your Saturdays. 20 April probably won’t be calm, since Mr. President has announcement to make on the 15 that probably will not make anybody happy.

We went to Aux Bon Crus when we landed on May 1 (the main reasons being location near our rental apt., our jet lag & the fact that it was open). It was better than expected, especially for the money, all except for the pot au feu (which my wife had and said that the meat was very good but the broth and veggies were very ehh). The quenelles I had were almost worthy of neighborhood places in Lyon. Probably the only one of the 6 we’ll ever get to, but probably worth going for the old skool vibe (after 9pm: before then, all English speaking - we got there at 8:45 for the American exit).

Of the six, and beyond Au Bon Crus, I would be inclined to try Buffet from the people behind Au Passage.

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I hadn’t expected to contribute to this thread again, but we didn’t want to spend €40+ each on dinner, and it was Monday night, and Aux Bon Crus was literally a three-minute walk from our rental apartment, so…!

I also had the quenelles, which were not quite as ethereal as the ones I had in Lyon, but were respectable. My partner had the entrecôte béarnaise with girolles (+€5 supplement). The servers were pleasant but were quite busy, and the girolles had to be inquired after. The béarnaise was… brown. I would have called it an herbed gravy. It clearly had some starch added to stabilize it, and probably some meat jus, judging by the taste. We split the mousse au chocolat et madeleine for dessert, and that was respectable, as was the carafe of anonymous rosé. Mostly English speakers, but the French speakers near us got a recitation of the daily specials, which we did not (we were speaking French, but badly). I would be happy if this place were in my small Canadian city, but it can’t compare to our lunches so far (Sadarnac, Breizh Café, La Bicyclette). Still: we were fed reasonably well, and that is something.

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