Despite its seedy past as Paris’ red light district, today’s Pigalle—located in the capital’s 9th arrondissement—hardly resembles its 20th, or 19th century self.
Swept up in the winds of gentrification that have engulfed much of northern Paris, the streets of the neighborhood, including the infamous Boulevard de Clichy, are increasingly lined with hip cafes, bars and restaurants that cater to a new demographic.
Still a great spot to grab a late night kebab on a night out, Pigalle can increasingly serve as an upscale lunch or dinner destination, too. For those looking to eat out in the area, these five Pigalle restaurants are great places to start.
1. Bouillon Pigalle
Originally a type of restaurant aimed at serving warm, filling meals at a reasonable price to working class Parisians employed at the Les Halles market, the bouillon has come back in style since its heyday in the 1840s.
The idea behind the bouillon—cheap, good food and wine—remains, although the clientele has changed significantly. On weekend nights, the line for Bouillon Pigalle, conveniently located just across from the metro, typically goes out the door and up the street, filled with young, hip Parisians and foreigners alike.
The menu is classic French fare, with everything from boeuf bourguignon to blanquette de veau and bottles of house wine at under €10. In the summer, ask to sit outside on the long, covered balcony. In the winter be ready to bump elbows with your neighbors in a warm, buzzing setting.
2. Buvette Paris
With sister restaurants in New York and Tokyo, Buvette is making French restaurants a global export. After the original debuted in New York in 2011, Paris was not far behind, opening up the next year.
Located in the area that some are now calling SoPi (South of Pigalle), Buvette cooks up classic French food at a slightly higher, but still eminently reasonable, price point. Buvette prides itself on its farm-to-table ingredients, such as eggs from locally hatched chickens, and wines and cheeses from Burgundy. The coq au vin and truite fumée are especially delicious.
3. Ito Izakaya
For those looking for something a little bit different than traditional French cuisine, Ito Izakaya is the place to go.
One of the most highly-rated Japanese restaurants in Paris, this cozy restaurant feels far removed from the hustle and bustle of Pigalle, although it sits just a few minutes from the metro station. Somewhat like a bouillon, the idea behind the izakaya was to bring quality food and liquor to customers on a lower budget. Founded in 2013, the restaurant’s ramen and donburi will surely warm your insides on a chilly Paris evening.
4. Papilles Coffeehouse & Restaurant
Breakfast all day? A highly coveted weekend brunch that doesn’t accept reservations? It might sound like Manhattan, but it’s right in Pigalle.
A coffee shop open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. that is not afraid to mix bacon bits into traditional French pastries, Papilles Coffeehouse & Restaurant is about as close as one can get to understanding the “new Paris.” Despite perhaps trying a bit too hard to be New York, Papilles has some of the best coffee in the area and a nice ambience, with an open floor plan and a good mix of digital nomads, businesspeople and regulars.
Although more typically found in other parts of Paris—e.g. Le Marais or Goutte D’Or—some of the best Middle Eastern delicacies are also available in Pigalle. With its €8 shakshuka and falafel dishes at about the same price, Saul’s is a must visit.
A popular lunch spot for people who work in the area, the restaurant also accepts reservations for dinner. Large groups, keep in mind that the restaurant suggests booking at least a week in advance for groups of more than six people.Want our insider’s guide to eating in Paris? Just add your email address in the form below!
Phineas Rueckert is a freelance writer and master’s student in journalism and international affairs at Sciences Po, in Paris. His writing has been published in Atlas Obscura, Global Citizen, and Frenchly, a site about French culture and affairs. Although he has traveled to France his whole life with his parents, both teachers, he fell in love with the country while teaching English in a high school in Toulouse in 2015-2016.