Ahhhhhhh. Paris. City of love. City of light. City of beauty. City of restaurants that almost all require a reservation! It’s wonderful to have reservations at a great Paris restaurant. But, sometimes you might prefer not to be tied to a specific schedule and required to eat at a certain time. Those are the times realize that you need a list of GOOD Paris restaurants that don’t require a reservation.
On our spring trip to Paris the weather was perfection. The city was green and blooming. The sun wasn’t setting until late in the evening. We walked and wandered and often found ourselves completely captivated and lost in the moment. This also meant that we often found ourselves suddenly hungry with no dinner reservations and in search of that most elusive of places – a no reservations required Paris restaurant that actually has delicious food.
It was due to our lallygagging around one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world that we ended up with a list of great Paris restaurants that don’t require a reservation! The key word here is great.
While Paris is known for amazing food there is, like in any other heavily touristed city, a lot of dreadful food there as well. Food that has come from the factory frozen and ready to be heated up just for the unsuspecting tourists…don’t let those charming cafes fool you into thinking that they all have good food.
When you visit Paris you will probably want to take the time to make at least a couple of reservations at the places you really, really want to eat. But for those other days?
Those magical, lost in the moment days when a dinner reservation is the last thing on your mind?
Here are some delicious options for the elusive good paris restaurants that don’t require a reservation.
Best Paris restaurants that don’t require a reservation!
Freddy’s is a hip and happening little place! It is crowded and stylish. Seating is not particularly comfortable, but the food and wine are worth it. If you can get a place at the bar (sadly, we couldn’t) then grab it.
Freddy’s serves small plates and we shared 4 of them. We had fried zucchini with an amazing sauce. Then there was Freddy’s fried chicken, which, yes, were basically chicken strips…but seriously elevated chicken strips. We added risotto with asparagus to our list and were so glad we did. After those three plates we decided to have just one more. Our server recommended the razor clams which were fresh, buttery, garlicky, and delicious.
The servers were all young and good looking as were most of the clientele. We were definitely the fuddy-duddies in the place, but that never bothers us. We are still young and cool even if only in our own minds.
Great wine, great ambiance, great food. Definitely go to Freddy’s if you need a no reservations Paris restaurant!
Cafe Constant looks like the quintessential French cafe and serves classic French food with a contemporary twist. The decor is vintage Parisian with a zinc topped bar, small tables placed closely together, mosaic tile floors, heavy wood moldings, and a lively atmosphere.
Yes, it is a bit touristy, but somehow still feels so French!
The food here is a step above the average cafe. Christian Constant is the owner and chef. You will see and hear his name often as he owns three restaurants all on this same street and has trained many of the younger chefs now working in Paris. The food is fresh and seasonal and mostly traditional although the dishes have enough of a modern flair to keep things fresh and appealing. The restaurant is located on two levels and there are only a couple of sidewalk tables. The lines can get long and the sidewalk outside can get a bit crowded, but this is an excellent choice for a no-reservations Paris lunch or dinner! Its location near the Eiffel tower makes it especially appealing on a busy sight-seeing day.
This is the casual, cheaper, no reservations required, little sister of Gregory Marchand’s restaurant Frenchie. Getting a reservation at the main restaurant is a tricky proposition, but you can walk right in to the wine bar…that is if you get there early enough! There can be long lines if you go at peak hours and the place is a tad loud and crowded and chaotic. But the food is worth it! Mr. Marchand has been quoted as saying that he wanted this to be a more spontaneous eatery and I think it delivers.
It has small plates of interesting and innovative, yet somehow classic French food as well as a wide variety of wine by the glass. Be prepared to wait and be prepared to have to flag down one of the servers. Once you succeed in attracting their attention the servers are friendly and helpful. I have never eaten at the main restaurant, but one of the guests seated near us declared that the food at the wine bar was just as good as the food at the restaurant for a fraction of the price!
Everything is beautifully presented and just tastes SO good!
This is an attractive Paris restaurant that doesn’t require reservations with amazing high end food at a great value. The industrial and minimalist vibe with exposed brick and concrete might give you the impression that you are in some sort of hipster hangout…and you probably are…but the food makes it all worth it!
The menu changes fairly often and it tends toward small, beautifully plated portions. It is a creative blend of classic and modern French food. Everything we tried was excellent. A huge bonus is the welcoming and helpful wait staff who were willing to translate anything on the menu that we didn’t understand.
The menu is small with only about 3 or 4 choices per course which I tend to like when I am in a country where I don’t speak the language well. It makes it easier to make a decision. We were the only English speakers in the restaurant when we dined there which made us feel that we were in a true locals place.
This tucked away little restaurant in St. Germaine is owned by American Laurel Sanderson. She is from South Carolina and her southern roots show at Treize. The place is warm and cozy and so friendly. The food is delicious and if you, like us, are from one of the southern states of the US it will feel familiar!
We first visited this restaurant as a stopping place on a Paris by Mouth food tour. Although we were trying other food at the time, the menu at Treize sounded so good that we decided to go back the next day for breakfast. They have fluffy biscuits and pancakes as well as nut encrusted “not fried chicken.” Everything was delicious and made you feel like you were being fed by your southern grandma.
There are also options for the vegetarian and the gluten free person in your group. This fun and sweet little place is open for breakfast or lunch. Sometimes you need a little touch of home when you are traveling and Treize provided that for us! This is a fun option for a Paris restaurant that doesn’t require reservations!
Craving some Italian food while in Paris? Ober Mamma is the place to go! One caveat, the lines can get very long. Although they don’t take phone reservations you can show up early to get a table or put your name on a list for the second seating. After that you can relax with one of their wonderful cocktails (they have an extensive cocktail menu) at the bar and the wait will magically disappear.
Even when in France you never want to deny a pizza craving. And what pizza this is! You will feel like you are in Naples. It is cooked on a wood burning stove just like in Italy which, according to the Ober Mamma website, is very rare to find in Paris.
Hint: Get the truffle pizza. I don’t need to say more.
We didn’t try the pasta although I ogled all the dishes coming out of the open kitchen and everything looked wonderful. This place is cheerful and charming and a bit chaotic in a very good way. It is a happy no reservations required Paris restaurant with great food!
Clamato’s sophisticated sister restaurant Septime gets all the hype, but it is almost impossible to get a reservation there! Fortunately the casual, friendly and understated Clamato is right next door and this is one of the best Paris seafood restaurants that don’t require reservations. Yes, that’s right, you can have delicious seafood in Paris without a reservation. Although you might need to arrive early in order to not have a wait!
Now I know Clamato is the name of a tomato juice that you can buy here in the states at Wal-Mart, but don’t let that put you off. Clamato is a pleasant place with excellent small plates of seafood. Everything is fresh and innovative and prepared in such a way that the seafood remains the star of the show. It is fun to sit at the bar and watch the chefs at work and the staff is helpful. The menu changes frequently. If they have the maple tart for dessert, don’t hesitate! Order it. It is heavenly!
This place is definitely NOT a secret. It is very popular for weekend brunch and the wait for a table can become a bit too much. Try it instead on a weekday and either right at opening or for a late breakfast/early lunch. The good news is that Holybelly is popular for good reason. They serve a wonderful breakfast!
The decor has a clean modern feel with plenty of light. The seating is close but comfortable. The service is pleasant and helpful. I don’t drink coffee, but according to my husband his cup of coffee was one of the best he had while in France. Their pancakes are true American style fluffy pancakes, not crepes. Try the savory stack for a bit of everything. They also have egg dishes, bacon, and sausage if you happen to be craving some protein in the morning instead of the typical French starter of carbs and coffee.
Do not fear the line! It moves quickly and your reward is some amazing falafel. Maybe the best I’ve ever had! The shawarma is also excellent and definitely give their homemade lemonade a try with your meal. This is a great place to have a quick bite when you are in the Marais. The service is nice and the place is plain and simple, but the food is wonderful.
Great for lunch or a super casual dinner.
Read this map. Decipher that street sign. Am I getting on the right bus? What is that person saying to me? Am I being culturally sensitive? What the heck did I just order to eat?
Sometimes the constant questions of travel can wear you out!
Le Relais de L’entrecote is more than great no reservations required Paris restaurant. It is an even better place to go when you are exhausted from making all the decisions that traveling requires.
Why? Because not only do they not require reservations, they don’t have a menu. The only question you have to answer is, “How do you want your steak cooked?” Answer that and lickety split your garden salad with walnuts will arrive followed by steak (with a great sauce) and fries.
Yes, that’s all they serve. One meal that they do really well.
The line was long when we arrived and we almost went elsewhere. So glad we didn’t! We quickly found ourselves seated at a little two top outside scrunched near a couple who were obviously in the very early stages of dating. They were sort of adorable and reminded us what new love is like.
Just as I finished my meal of steak and fries a second portion was put on my plate. The food will keep coming as long as you keep eating. In case you were wondering I did decline a third portion. Yes, there is a wine menu and a dessert menu so I guess you DO have to make a couple of decisions. We didn’t have dessert but all the ones we saw looked delectable.
There are several locations throughout the city for whenever a steak and frites craving hits you.
We had been in France for almost two weeks by the time we ate here. At home we eat Mexican food at least once a week. At least. Oh, who am I kidding we eat it more than that…my husband loves it and has passed that love onto our children.
After two weeks of Mexican food abstinence his cravings had become intense. I read about Candelaria on the Paris by Mouth website and we decided to give it a try. So, yes, lunch on our last day in Paris was at a Mexican food place thank you very much.
This taqueria is tiny and delicious. The food is not as spicy as what you are used to if you eat Mexican food regularly in the states, but I agree with the Paris by Mouth assessment that it is “mercifully un-Frenchified.” The food here was the real deal! The margaritas were pretty good, too.
The taqueria does not take reservations, but there is a bar located at the back of the restaurant through a somewhat hidden door that is one of the highest rated in Paris which does take reservations. We were here for lunch so the bar wasn’t open but I would love to give it a try!
Part market, part restaurant, part wine store, part butcher shop…
This is an easy place to visit in northern end of the Marais. The market specializes in French artisan foods. It is very upscale with lovely cheeses and meats, fruits, vegetables, dry goods and wine. Every item is carefully selected and it is a joy just to browse. This is also a wonderful place to buy a gift for the foodie in your life.
The restaurant is a bit pricy for a meal in a market, but very good, with a menu that changes regularly. You are paying for the excellent quality. Definitely try the rice pudding!
This is a bit of a cheat because they actually DO take reservations. I suspect you would need one for dinner or on a weekend, but we walked right in for a late lunch so it might be worth a try! It is an excellent restaurant right next door to Freddy’s mentioned above with the same owners.
Semilla was wonderful! It had a different atmosphere than Freddy’s, still fairly casual, but definitely a sit down, more comfortable place with slightly older clientele, (at least on the day we were there.) It did have a similar beautiful and helpful wait staff.
Our starter was a trio of a zucchini croquette, parsley couscous, as well as a cold broth. I had pesto pasta for my main course and my husband had steak and mashed potatoes and it was all done to perfection and much more special than it sounds. Great wine list and wine recommendations as well.
Picnic Along the Seine
Oh, and one more way to have a meal in Paris with no reservations would be to create your own picnic by grabbing a baguette from a local bakery, some cured meats from the charcuterie, some cheese from the nearest fromagerie, a bottle of something delicious from a wine store and then have a picnic and along the Seine! The perfect French experience.
Want to know a little more about French wine to go with your picnic? Check out this post.
A few notes about French Restaurants:
Remember that French restaurants typically have very specific hours and days that they are closed. A couple of the ones on this list are only open for breakfast and lunch. Many Paris restaurants are closed on either Sunday or Monday so be sure and check before you decide to go!
Let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions for great Paris restaurants that don’t require a reservation.
Hope you enjoy some of these Paris restaurants that don’t require reservations!
Take a look at this post to see our full 2 week itinerary in France!
Bon Appetite and thanks for stopping by!
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