20 Rue Saint-Martin, 75004 Paris +33 1 58 00 22 15. Open every day from midday-2pm, then 7.30pm-10pm.
Let's start with a Michelin starred restaurant for lunch, shall we? Benoit is one of esteemed chef Alain Ducasse's babies and the restaurant itself has been serving the people of Paris for more than a century. And while the prices have unfortunately gone up a little in that time, their set lunch is still really good value at three courses for €39. On the menu to start might be oxtail terrine with celery remoulade or haddock and green lentils. For the main, beef bourguignon or baked ham with chicory are favourites while for dessert, there might be a selection of mini chocolate tartlets or their speciality, the Armagnac Savarin - sponge cake drenched in brandy and served with cream. Yes, it's going to be that sort of long lunch - easy on the wine though, as it can be really expensive there. Still, there's not a better way to start a trip to the city with a touch of that classy silver service that Paris is famous for. benoit-paris.com/en
64 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris +33 1 42 78 55 89. Open Tues and Wed for lunch, midday until 3pm, then for dinner Tues to Sunday, 7pm-11pm. Closed on Mondays.
Look let's get serious, this is the place to eat big hunks of flame-grilled meat in this city. It's a simple, rustic restaurant over in the Marais and while the service may border on the brusk sometimes, it's all forgotten once they plonk a giant board with a glistening side of beef on your table. It's a place to get caveman like (perhaps because of the cave-like decor?) and their mid-week set lunch is a steal at just €12. For the evenings and a la carte, you might want to start with some rilletes, pate de campagne or some punchy boudin noir. For mains, we'd recommend going the whole hog and getting a Côte de bœuf or entrecote, then there's always a lamb shank or confit duck to tear into as well. This is hearty French country cooking at its best. robertetlouise.com
69, rue des Gravilliers 75003 Paris + 33 1 44 61 91 95 Open for lunch Mon - Sat, midday-2.30pm and dinner Mon - Sun 8-11pm.
One for the fashionistas, dinner at Derriere always makes for a fun evening. The hip restaurant is in the Marais and once you walk through the unmarked courtyard it's easy to make yourself at home in the bohemian venue, which is owned by the same people who run Sketch in London. You can even have a game of ping-pong, if you're that way inclined. The food is modern European, with a very wordy menu (anyone fancy an "oval, thin shaped reproductive body of a bird", erm, an egg?) but don't let that put you off. Starters to choose from include beef carpaccio with lime and capers (€18) or the afore-mentioned egg, slow-cooked and served with asparagus (€18). We'd recommend the perfectly roasted chicken served with mashed potatoes (€19) or the seven-hour-cooked leg of lamb served with braised fennel (€28) for a main. Then afterwards, the most important part, go upstairs, climb through the wardrobe (no, really) and enjoy a little digestif in the hidden fumoir. A tres chic way to finish off a fancy dinner. derriere-resto.com
1 rue Commines 75003 Paris +33 1 23 45 67 89. Open everyday from 6pm to drink or from 7pm-11.30pm to eat.
Over in the 3rd arrondissement is a little place that marries cocktail joint and oyster bar in a way that only exemplary gourmands know how. We had a super-friendly welcome from the off, chatting to the barman who was shucking the day's oysters and he even gave us the recipe for the delicious Thai-style dressing for the bivalves. The small-plates menu changes daily, but you might find Asian-style devilled eggs on the menu or a tuna and cuttlefish salad, but it's all about the oysters. Sadly, their oyster happy hour is no more, but the standard of seafood they select and serve up is second to none and they're a decent price at around €2-4 each. Bookings are recommended, or drop by and grab a seat at the bar when they open at 6pm instead. lemaryceleste.com
Le Bistrot Paul Bert
18 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris +33 1 43 72 24 01. Open Tuesday - Saturday, midday-2pm then 7.30-11pm. Closed in August.
Over in the 11th, Bistrot Paul Bert has become one of the local's favourite unpretentious places to dine - it's cosy with great food at an even better price - basically, everything the perfect bistro should be. This is the one to quench your steak frites cravings, washed down with an excellent selection of wines. The reason we know it's good? It's always busy and everyone in the area seems to have made this their second home. There's an excellent prix-fixe menu for just €36 (add a few euros more for a nicer cut of beef) or you can go a la carte and choose dishes from the chalkboard menu. Think St Jacques scallops or a country terrine to start, followed by entrecote or sole menieure - plus their coddled eggs with mushrooms or truffles have become a thing of legend. For dessert, scoop up some of their chocolate fondant or a creme caramel. Ticks all the boxes for comfort food.
Other special mentions:
L'Ardoise This restaurant has a prix-fixe menu we've been coming back to for years. It's a small little restaurant within walking distance of the Rue du Rivoli with a delicious three-courser for €38 scrawled up on a blackboard (hence the name). They pack them in here and reservations are definitely needed but it's always a brilliant choice for dinner or a lazy/boozy lunch. lardoise-paris.com
Andy Wahloo A cool little '60s-themed bar right next to Derriere, so perfect for stopping in for an expertly mixed cocktail before or afterwards. Also has DJs playing at the weekend if you fancy a dance. andywahloo-bar.com
Le Verre Volé This little spot is one of the original places for the cave a manger trend - basically, wine shops selling a few small plates afterhours with their pick from the cellar to wash it down with. This place is just off Canal St Martin and is perfect for a bite to eat before hitting some nearby bars. leverrevole.fr
Les Papilles Also a cave a manger place, but ramped up a few gears by the amazing chef Bertrand Bluy. Four courses for €31 and some soup so good, we actually dribbled a bit when they served it up at the table. lespapillesparis.fr
Angelina's Yeah, it's a bit of a tourist trap, but it's also the best hot chocolate we've ever had, so what are you gonna do? (hint: go there). angelina-paris.fr