So at the risk of financial destitution, I ate my way through Paris for a week. Here's my rankings based on overall enjoyment considering food, service, price. Full menu and reviews in my wordpress if you're really bored.
L'Arpege - Lunch surprise menu - by far the most memorable meal and the most fun I've had dining which is surprisingly since I usually don't find tasting menus fun. If you have time for a 3 hr weekday lunch, highly recommended.
Le 6 Paul Bert - this is quintessential French cooking that's really hard to find elsewhere. Get the chef's menu (2 seafood, 1 meat, 1 dessert). It's really "simple" cooking, but that's because the cooks let the ingredients do all the talking.
Le Servan - exactly what I think a neo-bistro should be: cozy and cheery, charming Levha sisters, market driven ingredients with serious novelty. A la carte daily menu so you still have choices. The neo-bistro to go to, and not so hyped (yet).
Yam'Tcha - not as unique as I was expecting given it's French-Chinese, but many of the best dishes I had in Paris were here. Saturday lunch only has tasting menu, no lunch menu. Tea pairing not worth it.
L'Avant Comptoir - I actually went twice, once for dinner once for pre-dinner snack. The food is too heavy for me to make a full dinner of, so snack is perfect. I'd actually put this higher on the list as a must visit because it's really unique. Really crowded, so much going on, overwhelming. Let me make it easy: boudin noir macaron, warm foie gras with cherries, monopolize the butter. They also have the largest selection of natural wines I've encountered. Try to go when Eric is there; he has really good recommendations.
Les Chouettes - really well done classic French at reasonable prices. Feels like a high-class hotel but it's actually not pretentious. My go to for traditional French food.
Le Chateaubriand - it's now too hyped and too expensive an experiment. Food was all cooked well but given the wealth of other neo-bistros now around, the food wasn't novel enough to make it a must-visit. Really knowledgable bartender though, and their natural wines are quite good. Had the best Pinot Noir I've ever drunk here.
Clamato - open Sunday, seafood tapas, go of course.
Chez Denise - not fair that it's so low on the list. If you want a really classic bistro from the old days, go here. Food is too heavy for me to eat more than once a month or something, but good simple stuff. Open 24 hrs on weekdays so good for late nights.
Juveniles - I thought Les Chouettes did classic French much better. It's good value for sure, and I'd suggest the menu of the day. I went a la carte and the dishes were just not quite seasoned to my liking.
The quality of the wine is the most impressive thing about dining in Paris/France. And there's definitely more "good food" in Paris than anywhere else, and most of it is in really casual environments which I think is hard to find elsewhere. But in terms of novelty and eye-openers, my opinion from the trip was that the neo-bistro scene is still catching up to places like NY/Copenhagen.