French food is amazing. No one is contesting that. But after a few weeks of hanging around your favorite boulangerie or brasserie, you might be looking for something a little different.
While colonialism is undeniably bad, Paris is home to a large variety of cuisines because of it, brought there from all over the world, from Vietnam to Algiers to Somalia. Taste a little bit of the world without leaving Paris at these locations.
I Love Bo-Bun: Vietnamese
3 rue Nicolo, 16e (website), 73 rue de la Victoire, 9e (website); 108 rue des Dames, 17e (website)
This little storefront disguises a whole lot of flavor. Originally Vietnamese, bo-bun is an amazing dish of rice noodles, beef, peanuts, vegetables, and sriracha to taste, and is available à emporter (to take-away) if you’re in a rush. Definitely get it with the crispy, cut up spring rolls on top!
33 rue de l’Annonciation, 16e
This Lebanese sandwich shop has amazing and flavorful wraps for cheap, and some of the best vegetarian options in a typically traditional French neighborhood. Skip the crêpes and go straight for the long, thin, crispy pita wraps.
Boca Mexa: Mexican
127 rue Mouffetard, 5e (website); 95 rue Oberkampf, 11e (website); 84 rue Faubourg St Denis, 10e (website)
Mexican food in Paris is, for the most part, pretty atrocious. But if you’re okay with something a little more in the vein of a French Chipotle, Boca Mexa is a great spot to get a burrito or tacos made with top-quality ingredients. (So, not exactly a French Chipotle.) You can also buy Mexican sauces and ingredients at their épicerie.
Chez Yu: Vietnamese
40 rue de Belleville, 20e
If you haven’t had pho in Belleville, you haven’t had pho. French pho is slightly different from most pho you can find in America, with thinner noodles and a much larger meat-to-noodle ratio, and the bang for your buck is unbeatable. Paris’s “Chinatown” (which is actually pretty heavy on Vietnamese food) is enormous and can be difficult to navigate. But this hole in the wall, situated only halfway up the giant hill that is rue de Belleville, will give you some of the best noodles in town, as well as the energy to climb the rest of the way up to the Parc de Buttes-Chaumont.
Niébé: African fusion
16 rue de la Grand Chaumière, 6e
If you’re looking for something way out of the ordinary, Niébé is a high-end Brazilian, Ethiopian, and French fusion restaurant with an extensive vegan menu. (You can practically hear little old French ladies having heart attacks while they clutch their baguettes.) Perfect for a trip to Montparnasse with your pickiest travel companion.
Cap 99: Caribbean
5 rue du Pot de Fer, 5e
Rue du Pot de Fer, a quaint little street in the Latin Quarter right by the Panthéon, is its own little multicultural wonderland when it comes to food. One gem is Cap 99, an oft-overlooked and brightly patterned Caribbean restaurant that feels like eating in your neighbor’s kitchen. Fish, chicken, and plantains take center stage at this very affordable eatery, and with the enormous (and very filling) portions any Clean Plate Rangers should be deputized.
L’As du Fallafel: Israeli
32 rue des Rosiers, 4e
You can find a lot of good falafel in the Marais district, the unofficial Jewish quarter of Paris. Walk out of the Centre Pompidou in any direction and you’ll stumble upon one or the other. But L’As du Fallafel is widely considered to be one of the largest and best in the neighborhood, as well as the city as a whole. They run the restaurant factory-fast, so you’d better know what you want before you step into line, but it is well worth the chaos for that first bite of hummus-y goodness.