You don't have to be a foodie to know that Michelin is the be-all, end-all when it comes to rating the best food in the world and certainly in France. But since you might have to take out a loan to have a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant, it's nice to know that there's another place to consult for restaurant recommmendations: Pudlo Paris, a guide that covers the territory, arrondissement by arrondissement, from top tables right down to neighborhood cafes and tea salons. An acquaintance who was leaving Paris just as I arrived left me her copy (all in French) and it's been my bible ever since.
You can't walk down the street in Paris without passing three or four eating spots but who wants to blow the budget (or even your lunch money) on a meal that's just, well, as they say, "meh." With Pudlo, you get suggestions for special occasion spots plus (relatively) cheap eats gems, cleverly marked with a piggybank, and even perish the thought, restaurants serving cuisine of other countries. While there are those who swear by Zagat's, I'd rather trust the expertise of someone who really knows food, in this case, Gilles Pudlowski, food critic for Le Point.
The Pudlo guide came out in English for the first time last year but be careful, the translation is of the 2007-2008 edition. The risk: turnover in the restaurant biz at the lower end is such that, if you don't call ahead, you may find that the spot you're headed for is out of business. So dust off your French (you really only need a few key words anyway), and stick with the more recent version for the locals. In no time, you'll be saying "miam, miam"* too.