Looking for an outdoor music venue and eatery? Check. How about a café roaming with cats or a fine dining experience on a double decker? Check, check. If you’re a foodie who’s bored with four walls and a table and interested in an ~experience~ as your appetizer, these restaurants are the places to go.
In Ground Control not only can you enjoy some organic or homemade cuisine, but also a space made for sharing unique ideas and other forms of creative expression. Since 2013, this cultural oasis aims to reconnect you to the earth, much like David Bowie’s « Ground Control » wants to connect to Major Tom. Unlike how « Space Oddity » ends, you may not get too lost in a whirlwind of fine food, delightful entertainment, and other things you may not find anywhere else in Paris.
Which is a lot of words to say, « food trucks in a former train station with indoor and outdoor picnic, art, and game areas… »
Here’s a spot to enjoy an array of bistronomic bites while surrounded by greenery. Don’t worry, in this urban jungle there are no creepy animatronic animals that pop out, but there are DJ sets that will help you dance the night away if that’s more your speed. At Aprés, it’s come for the atmosphere, stay for everything else.
In this homemade Italian paradise, you get what you pay for: 9 chefs, 8 kitchens, 3 bars, lots of aisles of tasty smells, and a dash of love (for flavor). On Fridays and Saturdays, you can catch a DJ set while enjoying your food. Italian party atmosphere — no reservation required.
Afraid you may miss sightseeing while catching a quick bite? Why not try a double decker bus tour with a meal included? For three hours, you can cruise around the city and pass by every famous monument you can think of while enjoying some brunch, lunch, dinner, or a glass of wine. The menu is like the staircases at Hogwarts: it likes to change. Regardless of whatever is offered, a splendid time is guaranteed for all. And of all the boat dinners and touristy ways to have a meal that no native Parisian has ever participated in, this one has some of the best food in it’s category. Everything is prepared fresh to order on the lower deck whilst you bask in Paris glitter up top, one iconic site at a time…which officially grants us permission to recommend it.
DEETS: French cuisine, bus, all the views, lunch ride, dinner ride
Sur un Arbre Perché
If you want your zen fix, we recommend stopping by. You can enjoy a glass of wine or some modern cuisine while indulging in shiatsu massages. You can always schedule the massages before your meal if you prefer. Like a tree, the décor changes with the seasons, but it will look marvelous all the same.
Calling all cat parents and enthusiasts: we found your paradise here in the City of Lights with le Café des Chats! You can’t adopt any of them as they live comfortably here in this cozy cafe, but who knows, they might drop in and say hi. Word of warning: don’t feed the cats. The food here may be terrific and homemade, but, like Ben Shapiro, it’s not pussy-friendly. Aside from that, do enjoy your time here (if it’s nighttime puss you wanna pet, read our article about the Worst Bars of Paris. One of them has a resident cat that somehow sleeps through a packed house dancing to Celine Dion).
Tired of seeing…too much? Then you have to check out the Dans Le Noir? (for the record, it’s not a question, that’s the restaurant itself). You don’t just enjoy seasonal cuisine, you enjoy it in pitch-black darkness! Here you don’t have to see the food to know it will taste fantastic (or pretty good, let’s not over-sell it). You come here because it’s a crazy experience. They don’t put this place in the top 10 original restaurants worldwide for nothing, so that begs the question, will you be daring enough to take a chance here? Staffed by blink Parisians that make you check your iPhone at the door, don’t try this at home.
If you want classic opera but are too hungry to sit through one, worry not! Bel Canto is the place for you. Be amazed at the talented hosts singing in perfect pitch while serving gourmet delicacies. Want to experience the best of both culinary and musical worlds, the do this.
DEETS: dinner theater, French, 4th arrondissement
Le Boeuf sur le Toit
It all started with a meeting of artistic minds in 1922 in a place called Le Boeuf sur le Toit (which means Beef on the Roof…mmmmkay). Even almost a century later, artists remain at the heart of this place. You can peruse Jean-Pierre Vigato’s classic Parisian brasserie dishes with a modern twist while immersing in some jazz or karaoke/open-mic festivities. Yes, if you’re looking for a time capsule restaurant to relive a roaring decade, look no further.
Born from the end of the Commune in 1877, La Bellevilloise serves as a French cultural fortress. Since its restoration in 2005, it’s been more committed to this mission than ever. While relishing in a variety of live entertainment, you can enjoy some bistro eats on the garden terrace. Every dish is made fresh, and there’s a little something for everyone to love here.
Looking for a linguistic choose-your-own adventure? Then Maguey has you covered. You simply pick two adjectives from the menu and go from there. Yep, it’s that simple. Each dish served is original and made from high quality ingredients, so a great time is more than likely guaranteed. For a similar truc but in cocktail bar format, visit Bisou cocktail bar near Republique
In the 1950s, some Corscians rescued an Oriental Express train car from the scrapyard and turned it into a restaurant and bar. Since then, it’s been refurbished and used in classic movies such as La Grande Vadrouille. A fine dining experience by day and a bustling nightclub by weekend night, this is one train you don’t want to miss.
With Pierre Sang on Gambey, you’re invited to a welcoming, yet minimalist setting with all the gymnastics Korean-European fusion cuisine makes you pine for. You can choose to have a simple lunch or an elaborate dinner, either way, you might be inspired (or drunk — don’t judge, it was my birthday) enough that you applaud the kitchen staff. Maybe your Editor-in-Mischief did that once after dinner with French ex-boyfriend. Maybe.
PS: Let them pick the wine to go with the dishes, which are a surprise. ou show up, they make food for you. No menu. Trust us, trust them…
ADDRESS: 6 Rue Gambey (11th arr.) / 55 Rue Oberkampf (11th arr.)
MÉTRO: Oberkampf (lines 5, 9), Rue Saint-Maur (line 3)
Meant for harvesting good fun, Derrière’s entertainment value is endless. Even the name is a play on words as this place is in the back of the 404 and Andy Wahloo, but it also means, your fesses, your butt, your ass, baby. You choose where you want to sit, then the fun begins. Oh, and you have simple, wholesome French food along the way.
Chez Bouboule is one stop for food and play. You can choose from an array of affordable comfort foods while engaging in a round or two of curling or foosball. If you’re looking for something simple and not too ornate, then we got you covered.
ADDRESS: 46 Rue d’Argout (2nd arr.) / 160 Rue Saint-Denis (2nd arr.) / 79 Rue de Dunkerque (9th arr.) / 26 Avenue Jean Aicard (11th arr.)
DEETS: French, closed Sundays, curling, 2nd arrondissement
Le Clown Bar
Beware, this name is a bit misleading. For when it comes to giving a unique dining experience, Le Clown Bar does not clown around (get it? Ha ha….I’ll see myself out now). In 1907, this was the place for all the local and worldwide clowns to gather and enjoy some downtime in Paris. Its location has been declared a national monument since 1995 and has one of the largest “natural” wine cellars out there. With organic ingredients and friendly service, the only thing this place guarantees is simple sophistication. No joke.
Accessible only by way of a hidden door tucked in a corner of Roxo, Le Réservoir at Les Bains is one hidden gem you want to uncover. What once was a water reservoir now has a table of ten with your name on it. If you’re looking for an intimate gathering space, then this is the place for you. Book ahead, obv.
ADDRESS: 7 Rue du Bourg-l’Abbé (3rd arr.)
MÉTRO: Étienne Marcel (line 4)
NEIGHBORHOOD: Le Marais
HOW TO BOOK: email email@example.com or online
If you’ve never been in an LGBTQ+ themed restaurant, now is your chance. It is definitely one of the best first experiences you could have; cheap burgers, polite staff and wall-mounted undergarments and phallic buns (Paris really loves mirroring genitals in their food, I think it has something to do with the sensuality of the city). Here, you can finally try some of that French meat, so to speak. It is definitely a place where you can experience eye candy in more than one way. Check out their website to see when there could potentially be a drag queen performance.
ADDRESS: 54 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie (4th arr.)
Oui, dear reader: I, whilst zigging and zagging with a group of out-of-towners on a « Best Croissants of Paris » walk, decided to stop and take the group up on their offer of free bugs at the insect-activist restaurant. Many times before, they had beckoned me with their creepy, no longer crawlies, now ‘food’ according to some. So, giddy with carbs after the pastry and coffee part of the afternoon, we took the leap into a dark place. I had been rubbing my hands together in anticipation of tomme and bleu de chèvre, but ask not for whom the bell tolls. We are in Paris so let’s get philosophical: how many times have you eaten a bug? Well, here you are eating bugs, and you know it. Think about it like this: are escargots that far away on the spectrum? Some refer to my beloved shrimp as « sea insects, » and dammit, I can not longer get the image out of my head. Supposedly we share most of our DNA with red onions, too, so there’s that.