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I have seen frustrated vegetarians online who wish that they could come to Paris and enjoy real Parisian food and not ethnic food. I think there is one ethnic food in particular which may not be French but which is very Parisian, and that is Lebanese.

For over twenty years, after the fall of the Ottomans, Lebanon was a French mandate and since then Paris has been home to generations of Lebanese families. It’s practically as ubiquitous as Indian food in London, and just as delicious. It’s also super Vegan-friendly and your best chance of getting good animal-free food if you find yourself suddenly hungry in Paris. Particularly if you find yourself in a more touristique part of Paris, like over by the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe, Lebanese can be a life saver. And it’s really easy to stop someone in the street and ask where the nearest “restaurant Libanais” is.

Lebanese food is one of my favorite somethings about living in Paris. I crave it often and would be happy to eat it much more often. It always tastes so fresh with such variety of vegetables, textures, dips and salads. A combo plate usually consists of mouttabal, hommous, feuilles de vigne, taboulleh, falafel, fatayer, green beans in sauce and excellent pita. They’ll often also include some cheese, so just ask them for no cheese and they’ll usually cheerfully substitute something. As a rule of thumb, a vegetarian plate will run around 15 euros.

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I’m starting a list of some that I have visited and will add to it as I sample more of this wonderful cuisine.

Noura
Institut du Monde Arabe, 9th floor, 1 rue des Fossés St Bernard, 75005
Métro : Cardinal Lemoine or Jussieu
01 55 42 55 42
Multiple locations in Paris including two spots at L’Institut du Monde Arabe: their nice and casual ground floor café and pricier top floor restaurant which many Parisians say has the best view of the city of any dining spot. Its prices reflect this, but still affordable as a treat. Classy joint, impeccable service, fab fattoush.

Noura

L’Escale du Liban
1, rue Ferdinand Duval, 75004
Métro: St. Paul
01 42 74 55 70
This is the closest Lebanese to my house and probably the best in the Marais. Casual, great for takeout, excellent taboulleh. I would skip the Mannakish breads, though. If it’s Sunday and you want a Mannakish, get yourself down the fairly nearby Bastille market.

Liza
14, rue de la Banque
Paris, France 75002
Métro: Bourse
01 55 35 00 66

I stumbled upon this place during a flea market fest on rue de la Banque. I had THE most delicious, huge spinach filled pastry loaded with pine-nuts at their bakery. I don’t know why I haven’t been back. Look forward to trying the restaurant. Looks splendid.

Al Boustan
21, rue Montorgueil 75001
Métro: Étienne Marcel
01 40 41 02 40
A Casual little place with take-out counter. Good take-out deals, nice to sit outside on a great street for people watching and soaking up city atmosphere.

Naî
229, Rue Du Faubourg-Saint-Honore 75008
Métro: Ternes
01 40 68 90 70
Not far from Arc de Triomphe or to escape from the Champs d’Elysee. Nice place, with great veg plate and great service.

Traiteur Al Sage
If you are on the run, or on the run from the prices of this swanky neighborhood,  the take-out place on the corner of Ave Hoche and Faubourg St. Honore offers great cheap eats fast.

Tavern du Nil
16-18 rue le Régrattier, 75004
Métro: Pont Marie
01 40 46 09 02
I hear this place is quite good, but haven’t visited yet. It’s on the Île St. Louis so if you’re headed there for Berthillon sorbets, you can do the double.

Al Dar
93, av Raymond Poincaré, 75016
Métro: Victor Hugo
01 45 00 96 64
One of the most highly regarded Lebanese spots in town. The actual restaurant is underground, beneath the pastry shop and café. If you are very hungry and want to splurge, the set menu is expensive but will fill even the most ravenous herbivore. They also have a location in the fifth.

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There are many things in Paris that are extremely good, tempting and expensive. Vegan food is no exception. It can be very hard to stick to a budget. Here are a few places I have found where you can enjoy the good life for less.

Restaurants: (see restaurant list for details)

One of the best deals in town is Maoz Vegetarian falafel shop. For 6€50 you get a falafel sandwich with a self-serve salad bar to fill your pita. Squeeze in as much as you can! You’ll also get a handsome portion of great crispy fries and a drink. They always seem laid back about going back for more salad, which must mean it’s okay otherwise you can bet you’d get a big “Il faut pas!!!!” You can also just get the sandwich and load it up for 3€90. I should add, that it’s also very good.

Falafel on rue des Rosiers is also value for money. There’s no do-it-yourself here but for 5€ (prices have recently gone up) you get a well stuffed and very satisfying falafel pita. To eat it inside, you’ll pay 1€50 more.

Green Garden Chinese restaurant has a set menu for 10€. It includes appetizer, main course, dessert and coffee or tea with soy milk. The à la carte menu has good prices too. It’s easy to over-order here but they happily pack up leftovers.

Krishna Bhavan Indian is also good value: 10€ will fill you up.

Saveurs Veget’Halles vegan and vegetarian restaurant has a lunch special:  12€90 for main course plus choice of either starter OR dessert. That’s a tough choice right there. But for a veg*n restaurant in Paris, it’s a great price. La Victoire, Le Potager and Le Grenier are not cheap, with la Victoire probably being the priciest with its 19€ small main courses.  That said, these restaurants are not that expensive by Paris standards, but they wouldn’t make my budget list.

If you do want the Vegan menu and atmosphere of La Victoire, you can try the Weekend ‘Brunch’ (starts at noon) buffet: for 19€90 it’s all you can eat (but no drink). Fill up, skip dinner and still in budget!

Generally speaking, satisfying vegetarian main dishes at Paris restaurants will usually cost between 10 and 15 euros. My dad has always said “the drinks is where they get ya,” and Paris is no exception. If you can resist drinks and desserts you can leave without breaking the bank. Really, drinks will generally cost at least 3€50 and often much more. Keep water in your bag or go for the tap-water carafe d’eau if you can handle it.

Cafés can be affordable if you find one that has a good salad, and they all have a complimentary bread basket. I’ve almost always found that the café waiters are very cool about veganizing the salads. Maybe it saves them money on the ham and eggs or something.

Groceries:

Naturalia organic food stores have a good range of lentil, quinoa, and veggie salads already prepared, which is convenient for a picnic or unexpected hungry moments. Naturalia has a lot of branches but is considered pricey. It’s worth seeking out the many organic food co-ops around town. Prices are a bit better, they have lots of bulk options, and more interesting variety. Monoprix has vegan options too that might be worth checking out. Ed Epicerie stocks mainstream basics at lower prices. As a veg student in the 90s this was my épicerie of choice. They’re all over, and recently made a big push to carry more organic goods.

Markets:

Raspail organic market on Sundays is the best but has a reputation of being the most expensive. There’s always something to discover at the other farmers markets and they are easier on the pocket book. Here’s a list of Paris’ many markets. 

Just as an example, Marché Bastille on Sunday, is fun and at the Bastille end there’s a Lebanese stand selling hot-off-the-grill, best-I’ve-ever-had Manakish for about 2€50. It’s not a meal but is filling, although you might end up eating two anyway!

Manakish

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