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Paris is often described as the capital of gastronomy so a meal out has to live up to a big reputation. France claims to have invented haute cuisine, and the standard it sets for its best restaurants - the Michelin star - is famed throughout the world as the epitome of gastronomic excellence. If your budget isn't up to the creme-de-la-creme of Paris's restaurants, there are hundreds of less expensive choices when eating out, from regional French cuisine to North African, Lebanese or Japanese. Be prepared to take time over your meal - good food is a way of life for many Parisians and meals are something to be enjoyed, rather than rushed. Brasseries are lively but informal restaurants that open long hours. Some have wonderful 19th century settings. Bistros are often small, family run restaurants serving traditional cuisine, with a limited choice of wines. A new breed of bistros is now springing up, launched by some of Paris's top chefs as satellite venues to their flagship restaurants.
Tipping guide - Most restaurants include service in the price of dishes. This is indicated by service compris or s.c. If the service is exceptional you can leave a tip.
Read more on this destination in the AA Spiral Guide to Paris.
Recommended restaurants in Paris
Guy Savoy, 18 rue Troyon, 75017 Champs-Elysees.
Renowned chef Guy Savoy's motto is that cooking is 'the art of taking foodstuffs and transforming them into pure happiness'. The quality of the cuisine is high, with delicacies such as poached-grilled pigeon and giblets in a beetroot and mushroom millefeuille and split langoustines with citrus fruit and peas. Open Mon-Fri 12-2, 7-10.30, Sat 7-10.30. Ave Price per person for a 3 course dinner is €300.
Maxims, 3 rue Royale, 75008 Concorde.
Established in 1893 by cafe waiter Maxime Gaillard, and acquired in 1981 by designer Pierre Cardin, this belle-epoque restaurant is a temple of Parisian social life. Attentive service, refined French cuisine, live shows and a prestigious location add to Maxim's appeal. Open Mon-Sat noon-2.30, 7.30-10.30. Ave Price per person for a 3 course dinner is €175.
Au Peid De Cochon, 6 rue Coquillere, 75001 Les Halles.
Open round the clock, since it was established in 1946, feast your eyes on the fresco-covered walls and your palate on one of France's regional dishes. The house signature dish is pig's trotters, the seafood is plentiful and the French onion soup a delight. Open daily 24 hours. Ave Price per person for a 3 course dinner is €50.
Le Verre Bouteille, 85 avenue des Ternes, 75017 Etoile.
This bistro, near the Arc de Triomphe, stays open until the small hours. Chef Patrick Ameline's aim is to satisfy with simple food cooked to perfection, and he succeeds. Try the warm goat's cheese, country-style croque and chocolate cake. There's also a good selection of wines. Open daily 12-3, 7pm-5am. Ave Price per person for a 3 course dinner is €30.
Chartiers, 7 rue Faubourg Montmartre, 75009 Paris.
Founded in the late 19th century with the aim of serving a hot bowl of bouillon (meat and vegetables) at an affordable price to the blue-collar workers of the district, the Chartiers has preserved much of its original character, including its no-nonsense attitude to food, and is consequently something of a Parisian institution. Open daily 12-3, 7-10. Ave Price per person for a 3 course dinner is €18.