[Paris] Suggestions on restaurants for a solo traveller

No, dinner only at Pouliche. But Amandine Chaignot is one of my gastro goddesses so maybe I’m a little biased. I think @PenelopeWitherspoon also enjoyed it a lot as a solo but nor sure if lunch or dinner.

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Thank you all very much for these suggestions! It seems I have a lot of homework to do, lots of websites to visit (which is a good thing).

@ParnParis - My hotel is close to Place de Clichy, but I’m not confined to that area. I’ll travel anywhere, as long as there isn’t another strike, that shuts down all public transport and makes an Uber more expensive than buying the car yourself… And Ubers might get rather expensive right now as well, with the fuel shortage?

@onzieme - The area you mention, the 9th and 10th, is actually quite close to my hotel. Probably a 20 min walk to most of the places you mention. So if a strike does come, at least I’ll still have quite a few options left that I can still go to. :slight_smile:

If staying near Place Clichy, you are also close to some other restaurant-rich neighborhoods… Les Batignolles in the 17th, Montmartre in the 18th, and SoPi/ Sud Pigalle/ rue Martyrs corridor in the 9th.

Les Batignolles (which is also blessed with utterly charming Square des Batignolles park), I’d recommend:
Coretta (already mentioned in my previous post);
Le Truffaut on rue Truffaut, some bar seating but stools and not very comfortable, better to get a strategic table, young cheffe and delightful young team, very engaging in French, not sure about English, https://www.restaurantletruffaut.com/;,
Rooster on rue Cardinet, good counter seating or insist on a table near the windows and not in the side dining room, again a very enthusiastic and engaging (in French) young team, https://www.rooster-restaurant.com/ .
Gare au Gorille on rue Dames, some bar seating but I have never seen anyone eating there, I’ve only been for lunch when there are always several solos, service is good but can be, unsurprisingly, a bit abrupt when there is a full house, http://www.gareaugorille.fr/

Montmartre. My go-to is Chantoiseau on rue Lepic, how can you not like a restaurant called Birdsong?, excellent bistronomique cuisine, charming staff, there are a few seats at the bar but table would be better, lovely vibe, http://www.chantoiseau-paris.fr/ .
La Mascotte on rue Abbesses for old school trad in a historic brasserie setting, I only go for the excellent oysters and fruits de mer (they also have a fishmongers annex next door but “un peu triste” for eating there) and don’t recommend other items on the hit-and-miss menu, the main dining room is ok but there is also a very lively front bar, https://la-mascotte-montmartre.com/

SoPi, huge choice but I’ll just recommend a few probably better for solo diners:
Belle Maison on rue Navarin for fish and seafood, rather trendy and usually an interesting clientele having intelligent conversations, young and engaging staff, solos should avoid upstairs dining room and instead insist on a table downstairs next to the windows, https://www.lapantruchoise.com/bellemaison .
Les Canailles on rue Bruyère for updated trad/ bistronomie, usually a very pleasing vibe and engaging service, insist on a table by the window, https://www.restaurantlescanailles.fr/en-salle/
The bordello-style bar at Maison Souquet on rue Bruxelles, very stylish, bar food ok, not sure if it’s suitable for solos because it most appeals to cooing couples but worth a look and just a very short walk from place Clichy, https://www.maisonsouquet.com/en/bar-salons-2/

And why focus on transport strikes ? Sure, strikes are probably more common in France than your home country but certainly not a weekly or even monthly event. Who knows what’s going to happen in November ?


@ParnParis Thank you very much, for another detailed reply! Very much appreciated. I plan to look all the suggestions and recommendations up this weekend, and make a plan.

Of course you’re right, about the strikes. It isn’t rational to focus on that. It’s just that my last trip to Paris was in December 2019, when there was a strike that lasted several weeks. So my most recent memory of Paris is still that. Though I do realize that’s the exception, not the rule. And in the end it wasn’t even that bad: I could do pretty much everything I had planned by using the rental bikes that you find on almost every street corner.

Anyway, enough about strikes, let’s focus on restaurants!

Can I also ask your opinion, as local experts, on some other restaurants that I found? Have you been there, did you like it?

  • A.Lea - everything I read elsewhere seems very positive, but nobody here has even mentioned it.
  • Dessance - this was my favorite restaurant on my previous stay in Paris, in 2019, but maybe there have been changes since then?
  • Septime - apparently very hard to get a reservation, but seems quite affordable for what it is? It has been in the ‘list of 50 best restaurants in the world’ for a couple of years now and most restaurants in that list are much more expensive.
  • Ogata - judging from the websites and some reviews, this should be a good place to go Japanese for a night.

What are your views on these four places?

I recommended a.léa here: [Paris] Where to eat? - #11 by onzieme . By chance, I’m going tonight and will report back. Unfortunately, it has recently been picked up by at least one of the Paris newsletters that is rather widely consulted in the US, so I think reservations may be difficult to get in during the tourist months from now on as it is quite a tiny restaurant (IIRC, about 24 seats).

Based on a lunch at Septime maybe 5-6 years ago, I fail to see what all the fuss is about. Food was fine but far from the quality or excitement of what the best of Paris has to offer. Wine list is all natural which means that it’s probably more consistent now than it was back then. The whole place has an American feel and you’ll probably be surrounded by a sea of Americans, which if you are American, why did you bother since you can do that at home? I do recommend the sister seafood restaurant two doors down, Clamato, but it doesn’t take reservations so that means come early or come late.

I have no experience with the other two restaurants.


Ah, yes. Sorry, I did scroll through some older topics, but clearly not all. Thanks for your reply @onzieme

There’s a search function you can use.

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Totally agree with onz about Septime… absolutely nothing special these days.

If Septime is on a list of the world’s 50 best restaurants, I would throw away the list. It certainly wouldn’t qualify for my list of the 50 best restos in Paris, never mind the world. Very simply, it’s a has-been.

Re Ogata, I’ve only been once (on expense account) and found it a rather rarified experience but the vibe was bit depressing. It’s too expensive to be fun for a solo I imagine.

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As promised, my report back from last night’s dinner at a.léa:

The carte:

Œuf parfait, Trompettes de la mort et Chanterelles en persillade, Croutons à l’ail 16€

Langoustines rôties, Médaillon de pomme de terre, Bisque safranée, Huile de basilic 17€

Poireaux crayons, Salade de coquillages, Pancetta, Noisettes, Sauce marinière au citron 14€

Rillettes de canard maison, Pickles de légumes 11€


Quasi de veau et sa farce fine aux herbes, Pomme noisette, Condiment ail confit, Jus de viande 26€

Poêlée de gnocchis de patate douce, Pleurotes, Châtaignes, Coulis d’oignons doux des Cévennes 24€

Aile de raie, Mousseline de céleri rave, Vierge Granny Smith et raisin blanc, Sauce Hollandaise 26€


Assiette de fromages (Comté AOP 18 mois, Valençay, Brie de Nangis), Confiture de cerises noires 10€

Brioche perdue à la vanille, Caramel au beurre salé, Crème fouettée 10€

Pomme rôtie, Crumble à la cannelle, Crème crue, Sirop d’érable 9€

We started with an excellent amuse bouche of chopped beets with toasted buckwheat, and a bit of dill on crème fraîche that was excellent. The play of textures and the additional accent of the dill made the dish.

Our two friends, one from SF and one from NYC, took the oeuf parfait and trompettes de la mort and chanterelles and were more than delighted by it. My wife, too , was delighted by the langoustine dish, and I very much liked the leeks with the shellfish which was a good combination that was a touch unusual.

For mains, our visiting friends took the aile de raie (skate wing) and were equally delighted by it, aile de raie not being something that they were used to from the US. My wife and I both took the quasi de veau which also was excellent in quality and preparation, even if not original.

We were all too full to order any of the desserts.

The wine list is solid wines but nothing really exciting. I was glad to find a 2020 Viré-Clessé from the excellent Domaine de Roally, now made by Gaston Thévenet. I had an additional glass of Chinon, which was served too warm (as is almost always the case in restaurants – with a bottle we almost always have to ask for an ice bucket (un seau) to cool the wine slightly, but can’t do that with a glass).

In short, this should be an excellent place to go solo. The lunches served Tue-Sat are bargains, but not quite up to the quality of ordering à la carte at night or for Sunday lunch. With the additional pleasure of wandering around the interesting shops on the north side of the Montmartre hill (don’t miss the used book store) and perhaps a visit to the very interesting Musée de Montmartre, where a new show on Fernande Olivier (Picasso’s muse and mistress from 1904 to 1912, which includes the period when they lived in Montmartre), solo diners (and others) should find a.lea a most worthwhile address. On my four-point scale, it rates a solid three (and I’m a very spoiled diner).

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OK, skip Septime from the shortlist…

@ParnParis - it’s this list: https://www.theworlds50best.com/list/1-50
Septime is on 22. This is the same list that made Noma (in Copenhagen) famous by declaring it the best restaurant in the world. It’s a bit of a weird list though: once you’ve been number one, you’ll be banned from the list. So on the current list, Noma is nowhere to be found.

@onzieme - Thank you very much for the detailed report! A.Lea is still very high on my shortlist.

also going to Paris solo this week. Love this discussion. Alas only 2 nights there. I’m very tempted by Alea and I’ve also been recommended Les enfants rouges, rue de Beauce. If anyone has further suggestions for lunch spots near Bastille (west side or east side of Maris/St Paul) or near Galeries Lafayette (have mtg there) would love to hear them. I looked at Lolo it’s v interesting but only open evenings. I speak fluent French and definitely want to avoid tourist spots

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Restaurant Anne is in Le Pavillon de la Reine on the Place des Vosges. It’s on the expensive side, but has a lovely terrace, if it’s not raining (if it is, v. cozy inside), and food is quite good (though I’ve only been for Sunday lunch). Didn’t see tourists there…Shhh, don’t tell. It might not be as trendy and “modern” as what you are looking for.

TY - location looks delightful but maybe a little pricey for casual lunch but who knows maybe i’ll treat myself !

Two nights/days in Paris suggests maybe not “casual…” Le MaZenay open for lunch, more casual, excellent food.

The lower Marais/ 4th is very popular with tourists and suburbanites and so the restaurants tend to be rather cliché and not very good. My short list of restaurants there is very short indeed. Just 2 or 3. Top of the list, Capitaine on impasse Guéménée just off rue St-Antoine for usually very enjoyable modern bistronomique cuisine. But I’ve also become a huge fan of tiny Ilô on rue Castex just south of rue St-Antoine… I guess it could be categorized as franco-japonais but the ever-changing menu is at times much more Japanese than French and at other times vice versa… whatever, the young Japanese chef with his idiosyncratic French is a delight. I for one avoid trad cuisine at lunch (just too heavy) but, if that’s your thing, the very new Bistrot des Tournelles on, surprise surprise, rue Tournelles and Grande Brasserie on rue Bastille are both very worthy in one way or another and both are too new to be more than slight blips on the tourist radar. Because it offers mostly lighter Med cuisine, Chez Janou on rue Roger Verlomme @ rue Tournelles could also be a candidate even if it is quite a popular stop on the tourist choo-choo but also usually a gaggle of provençal exiles.

Since you were looking at Lolo, consider Caillebotte and Jeanne-Aimée in the same neighbourhood (Notre Dame de Lorette) for lunch.

Spurred by @pilgrim’s compliment, here are the links:



Thank you Caillebotte Ilo and Capitaine all look intriguing. Just what I was looking for. None have menus posted though, looks like ilo might on Tues. From the descriptions I’m guessing the food will definitely appeal - price range for plat ? Appreciate the great suggestions.

In Paris, good non-trad restaurants change their menus so frequently that even when they do post an online menu it’s probably not going to be the menu that you get on the day you go. It’s better to browse google and instagram pics to get a general idea of the type of cuisine but not necessarily of the exact dishes on offer for your lunch.

All will have mains for lunch in the the 18 to 30€ range and even less. Starters and desserts around 10€ and less. Two or 3-course lunch “formules” (if offered) usually in the 20 to 40€ range. I never drink more than 1 glass of wine for lunch but, if you are a wine-lover, your lunch tab could be doubled.


Prices seem quite resaonable. Too bad about dessert, the Assiette de fromages looks very tempting. At 18 months the Comté could be winter or spring milk?