Savoring Paris: 10 Must-Try Spots for Steak Frites

As an omnivorous foodie, I love any excuse to order a plate of steak frites whenever the opportunity presents itself. Luckily for me, nowhere in the world does a plate of steak frites make itself more readily available than in the City of Light- Paris! If you’re heading to France and looking for your fill of steak frites, look no further–here are 10 places to find steak frites in Paris, France.

If you’re new around here, my name is Jessie and I love all things eating, traveling, and doing both whenever possible in the French capital! I recently embarked on a visit to see the head of the Tortured Poet’s Department, Taylor Swift. And while I’m definitely a #swiftie, I also love any “excuse” to think about/write about/visit Paris (read as “Pareeee!”).

If you’re here today, it’s probably because you’re hungry to try the classic French dish, steak frites, and I’ve got just the list to fill you up!

The History of Steak Frites

Steak Frites is a quintessentially French dish synonymous with brasseries and bistros. While the history (as is the case with many dishes) isn’t exactly crystal clear, the general pairing of meat and potatoes to feed the new working class around the turn of the 19th century seems to be in sync with the rise of the meal’s prevalence.

It’s also important to mention that while the combination of meat and starch isn’t unique to the French, it is worth noting that their lovely neighbors to the north, Belgium, have been notably significant in popularizing the fried potato. While I’m certainly not an expert, it doesn’t take much searching to see that the beloved frites may be an export of the tiny nation that made its way to its larger, more populous neighbor, codifying the popularity of the meal we recognize today.

The Ingredients

Okay yes, this seems obvious… beef and potatoes. But that’s a very broad set of categories, so let’s narrow it down to some of the more traditional presentations of the dish.

When it comes to the “steak”, the most common French cuts of beef are entrecôte (rib steak) or contre-filet (sirloin). 

The Steak

I’ve found that cuts of meat with some marbling can stand the heat of a good sear while still maintaining their juices. These are always my favorite. In my opinion, there are few things worse than an overcooked steak. So while you can use any cut you prefer, the right cut can play a big role in getting a juicy steak to remain succulent against the higher temperature. 

The Frites

I love frites. Serve up some warm, crispy golden fries with a good dirty martini (the dirtier the better!!!) and a Caesar salad and you’ll have the *trifecta* of girl-dinner components. But in the combination of steak + frites, I think something truly magical happens… the fries become a contrast to the tender steak by providing a satisfying crispy crunch.

The frites (in my not-so-humble opinion) should be no wider than a pinky finger, crispy and golden on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, and served hot with a with a generous dusting of salt. If all of these things are true, you’ll be in for a treat.

Note: I’ve found that it’s important to ask what kind of oil the fries are prepared in! While some places may use an oil, they may also use a beef suet. This means that my favorite place that turns out the most amazing fries, isn’t veggie-friendly!

The Sauce

In this day and age, there’s a plethora of sauces that may appear atop your steak. But the most classic steak frites variation I’ve seen is the classic au poivre (with pepper) sauce. It’s a combo of pan drippings, heavy cream and of course, pepper. It’s luscious and not for the faint of heart or high cholesterol but a good sauce can make for a devilishly delicious plate.

I’ve had various cuts, but found that an entrecôte (a boneless ribeye) or tender sirloin hits the spot almost every time. The cut is prepared à point (medium rare) with a seared outside and tender and juicy inside. When done well, it’s divine.

Ordering the perfect steak

Food culture in France is very important, and therefore there are a lot of traditions that are commonly observed. I mean, this is the country that puts rules around what kind of prep and ingredients allow for something to be called a “baguette”. So in a place that regulates bread, you can imagine there might be a particular way something as popular as a steak should be prepared!

In this case, the generally accepted preparation is considered “à point” which basically translates to, “to [a] point” and indicates a medium-rare preparation. I have found that in the States, this is very pink inside.

I have found that in France, red meat leans toward the rare side. If you’re unclear, be sure to ask your server to clarify or better yet, show them a photo (you can find anything on Google Images) of the preparation you like, then memorize what they tell you it’s called. This way you’ll save yourself the Emily in Paris embarrassment of sending your food back!

Note:  Emily (from Emily in Paris) wanted her steak “well-done” which is not how steak is commonly prepared in France. For those of you who want your steak prepared “well done” or, bien cuit (literally, “well cooked”), you might get some resistance or sideways glances with this preparation. Yes, even in 2024. The French are serious about their food and there are some rules that are just not meant to be bent!

But hey, try your hand and maybe you’ll get a chef who is willing to prep your steak this way. Just  don’t be surprised if it really doesn’t arrive at your table “well done” à la Americaine. If you’re someone who can’t handle even a little bit of pink in your red meat, this dish is not for you. Sorry babe!

So, where are we eating?

That’s a great question! Asking someone where to get the best steak frites in Paris is like asking someone in Chicago where to get the best pizza—which is all to say, it depends! But my list combines some classic locations with some newer French restaurants making a name for themselves. So without further ado, here are 10 restaurants to get steak frites in Paris. You can find an overview of my top 3 below.

  1. Café Charlot
  2. Camille
  3. Le Relais de l’Entrecôte
  4. L’entrecôte de Paris
  5. L’aller Retour Marais 
  6. Chez Janou
  7. Bouillon Chartier
  8. Les Deux Palais
  9. Robert et Louise
  10. Le Fouquet’s
  11. La Bourse et la Vie
  12. Le Bistrot Paul Bert

Notable Mentions

As I visit each location or discover new ones, I’ll update this post. It’s impossible to visit all of these locations in one trip (even I believe in ‘too much of a good thing!’). I will of course share photos and thoughts on the experience in my usual colorful detail (see this instagram highlight if you don’t know what I’m referring to), as I check them out, too!

Café Charlot📍Le Marais

Café Charlot will always hold a special place in my heart because it happens to be the place where I had steak frites in France for the first time! 

I enjoyed the béarnaise sauce accompaniment of the classic dish on the terrace with my husband on our honeymoon. Located in the Marais, Café Charlot is a great low-key French restaurant to satisfy most taste buds since they offer a full (as opposed to set) menu.

The space is small by American standards, but the warm lights and subway-tiled walls keep the space welcoming and cozy.

Camille📍Le Marais 

One of the best places I went on my most recent trip was Camille. I love the classic look and feel of this dining room. Since it was my last night in the city, I decided to splurge a bit and got the beef filet with sautéed potatoes instead of the entrecôte and frites. It was delicious. And because it’s a French restaurant, I took my time and ate every. single. bite. 

Next time I visit Paris, I will absolutely be going back. The price range is very dynamic: my specific steak dish was higher than what you might be able to find at a similar restaurant but I thought it was absolutely worth the full belly I walked home with that evening! But for more typical prices, Camille is right on point. They also offer a daily special with an app and Main Course combo or Main Course and Dessert combo for only 26 € (about $28). 

Special shoutout to the manager and servers who were so lovely to me (and the surrounding tables from what I could hear!) as a solo diner. I have no problem eating by myself, but they hit the perfect balance of checking in and chit-chatting without any pressure to hurry that was SO refreshing (take note America!). 

The wine list had a delicious Sancerre that I think I’d like to drink all summer (Don’t worry, I messaged them to find out what it was and will report back if I find out!). 

Last but certainly not least, they offer a homemade crème brûlée that was so good I finished the entire thing. Did I walk away absurdly full? Yes. Did I sleep like a baby on a belly full of delicious eats? Also yes.

Le Relais de l’Entrecôte📍Rue Marbeuf | St. Germaine | Montparnasse

I’ve visited here on a recent trip and it’s one of the most popular French restaurants to get steak frites- with good reason! With three locations across Paris (and two in Switzerland), Le Relais de l’Entrecôte has set the standard for the Parisian bistro experience. Since 1959, the bistro has offered a single-course set menu as the only option available in terms of entrees. According to their website: 

“The Relais de l’Entrecôte owes its reputation to a unique formula: a green salad with walnuts, followed by an extra-tender sirloin of beef and its famous secret sauce, accompanied by delicious homemade pommes allumettes.”

I had the pleasure and luck of sitting outside without a very long wait for a table. I think that had a lot to do with the fact that we were traveling during shoulder season and went early with a small group. Between summer (high travel season), the Olympics, and Taylor Swift—tourist destinations are going to be jam-packed so pack your patience in your carry-on!

If I’m honest, I don’t specifically recall the food but I think I was more overwhelmed with the speed of the experience. I didn’t have as much time as I’d normally like to take to linger over a meal (I had a full agenda that day), but I’d like to go back and take my time at the table. The good news is, while I may not remember a good or mediocre meal, I will always remember a bad meal; so that speaks in favor of the place!

What else do I need to know before I go?

Like anywhere that’s popular in a major city, expect some wait time. If you have food restrictions in your dining party, always check the menu ahead of time. Unlike in the U.S., substitutes or alternatives (particularly for my vegetarian friends!) are hard to find.

For my fellow meat lovers and fans of French fries, I hope this list helps you discover your favorite place to try this culinary cornerstone of French food. And if you find somewhere not on this list that is a ‘must-try’ let me know in the comments below! 

Bon appétit!