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Are dinner reservations recommended for Bistros in Paris?

Are dinner reservations recommended for Bistros in Paris?

Oct 23rd, 2002, 07:31 AM
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Are dinner reservations recommended for Bistros in Paris?

I have been adviced to make dinner reservations in Paris to all of the restaurants we are planning on going. Does this also apply for Bistros?

Please forgive my ignorance, I have never been to Europe and I am a total planner. I want to make sure our trip goes smoothly.
Thanks for your advice
Oct 23rd, 2002, 07:52 AM
Eye Spy
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I would not worry about reserving. Remember, a bistro or even brasserie (better word) is rather a misnomer. Many places are bistros, but the quality can vary ENORMOUSLY. If you wish to eat in a decent bistro or brasserie, then I would reserve. Best times? About 8:00-8:30pm. Not earlier because Parisians eat after 7-8'ish and many places don't serve food earlier than that. Naturally some of them do, others don't. Usually the woman will take the seat on the 'banquette' and above her are the mirrors. The men usually will sit in the chair opposite. For real atmosphere, book after 8pm. Some GOOD QUALITY Parisian brasseries I like are:

Bofinger (off of Place de la Bastille -- Parisians know it well). Metro: Bastille

Brasserie Lipp: 151, Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Pres (across from Cafe de Flore). BOOK THIS ONE!!! Get a table downstairs where all the VIP's sit. Many would think upstairs is where they would be but this is not true. You will love this place.

Chez Georges on rue du Mail by the Bourse (Stock Exchange). Metro: Bourse (quieter area after business hours)

Chez Tante Louise: Metro Concorde I believe on the rue Boissy d'Anglas. Excellent.

La Coupole: boulevard Montparnasse. Metro: Montparnasse or Vavin. A lot of expats in the 20's and 30's congregated here. Not too touristy but a little because it's famous.

La Tour du Montlhery, rue des Prouvaires at the Metro: Les Halles or Chatelet. Great traditional restaurant (not a brasserie). Casual, down to earth place (not even menus, just a chalkboard). Very authentic French cuisine. You will love this place but get there early because it fills up quickly. If you don't get a place right away, you will usually be invited to have an aperitif at the bar. That goes for any brasserie. The maitre d'hotel will remember you and come to get you. You won't have to go and inquire all the time if a table is free.

I could list more but this is an idea. The ambiance is half the fun and don't be in a rush. When you sit down, you can request "une carafe d'eau" right away and you will not be charged (it's tap water but completely fine and you can keep on ordering it during the meal. You will notice the French always have water on the table.). Bon Appetit!
Oct 23rd, 2002, 08:04 AM
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eyespy, you always give me GREAT advise.
Thank you so much, this is very helpful
Oct 23rd, 2002, 11:23 AM
Eye Spy
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MaryAnn: You're welcome. I've been racking my brain for another favorite of mine. It's "Brasserie Lorraine" at Place des Ternes, a nice walk down Boulevard Wagram from the Place de l'Etoile or Place Charles-de-Gaulle (Arc de Triomphe), whichever you prefer. It's on a corner by rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore and Place des Ternes, a rather upscale neighborhood of the 17th. You will like it.

If you want to take afternoon tea or coffee, I recommend: 1) Chez Angelina: Metro Tuileries. This is THE Paris salon to have the famous hot chocolate. Not only is it so rich you won't finish, but if you get the Mont Blanc pastry (hazelnut) and the hot chocolate, you will definitely be able to wait until 8pm for dinner. It's very famous and the salon is nicely decorated in Louis XV and frescoes on the walls. Kind of like the Boucher room at the Frick Collection in NYC. Also, you may want to try Laduree, on the rue Royale at the intersection of rue Saint-Honore between Concorde and Madeleine (around the corner from the American consulate -- the Embassy is on the other side behind l'Hotel de Crillon ). Lots of charm, old Parisian ladies in their jackets and hats. Go around 3-3:30pm. You may have a short wait, but not long. Try to have seating downstairs at both. Enjoy.
Oct 23rd, 2002, 11:28 AM
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for special places, reserve. your hotel will handle it for you. that way, you get a later seating, which is what paris residents do. if in doubt, reserve. and reconfirm from your hotel once reaching Paris. i suggest this based on numerous trips, and numerous friends who reside in Paris - this is their advice, what they do.
Oct 23rd, 2002, 11:31 AM
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If there are particular bistros that you wish to try, I recommend making a reservation. On a recent trip to Paris, I made reservations one or two nights in advance without any problem. I was always glad I had reservations as I watched restaurants fill up quickly and many people (without reservations) being turned away at the door. I understand that some restaurants require reservations a few weeks in advance. Fortunately, I did not find that to be the case with the places on my list.
Oct 23rd, 2002, 11:40 AM
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follow-up, after reading the excellent advice in the last message: if you can select your places here in teh US, and have your hotel reserve before you leave here. This is especially important for the better places. Just a thought.
Oct 24th, 2002, 07:59 AM
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Parisians view reservations as an act of courtesy. I'd suggest making them in all of the bistros/brasseries/restaurants you plan on. You'll get a better reception from the eatery.
Oct 24th, 2002, 09:21 AM
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Eye Spy,

If you are bored at work....I'd hate to see you when you're motivated!! Great tips, thanks!!
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