Dining in Paris


Sep 14th, 2018, 12:51 PM
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First, I will admit I am somewhat intimidated by the sophistication of so many of the posters here.

Then I will say that I wish Stu Dudley would take me along for his dining selections - I would love to feel so confident in ordering and enjoying the repasts he has chosen. Alas, I am a food lover who is not as confident as I wish I were.

But ... I seem to have no trouble having what I think are wonderful meals in Paris. Maybe you will all laugh in derision, but tonight we had a lovely dinner at L’Escargot in the 1st - what I considered the most delicious snails in truffle butter, and delicious main courses, too.

I kind of hate the jockeying for being “in the know” about restaurants. No matter where I choose to dine, I feel a bit diminished when I read the posts here.
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Sep 14th, 2018, 01:12 PM
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I feel the same way about the opera. I have no idea what they’re saying. But I nod and look deeply affected.
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Sep 14th, 2018, 01:27 PM
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There's no need to be intimidated. IMO there is often an inverse relationship between the people who talk a lot about eating in Paris and who spend a lot of money on it and the people who don't talk much about it and who don't spend a lot of money and who manage to find wonderful food and make themselves happy with it. Which is all that counts, IMO. Some people have tried-and-true favorites, and that's great. Some people like to make lists and lots of reservations - fine for them, but it's certainly not our style.

After many, many trips to Paris, we certainly have our favorite places, but frankly I hardly ever even mention them here because we clearly don't fit in with the "in the know" food crowd and many of our favorite places are in corners of Paris that the chic eaters never venture to. And apart from our own list of places we often return to, we mostly are in the "wander and follow your nose" camp, and that's how we found our favorites, not from some guidebook.
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Sep 14th, 2018, 01:30 PM
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To be honest, recs for restaurants are in my mind useless on forums. You want recs ? You look on TripAdvisor.
I used to work in Paris and have lunched or dined in hundreds or restaurants. What use is it that I tell you which one I like ? What do you know about my tastes ? how would I know what the tastes of OP are ?
Besides I'm an easygoing guy, I hardly complain about restaurants but avoid Gault & Millau and Michelin in Paris (totally overpriced compared to the 'province'),
I prefer small restaurants.But why would my recs be better than those posted on TA ???? esp by US toursits who will like a small french 'typical' restaurant because the tablecloth is made of red ans white sqaure and he had a vin du patron that he liked ? Both things that would rive me away.

OP didn't really tell us what he would like in terms of restaurants, ambiance, location... again with what he told us, TripAdvisor is his best friend. There are 15 750 restaurants listed on TA. Say I've been to 200 that I remember (I don't keep track of them anyway) what useful info can I give ? Is it useful to say I loved 'xxxx' in the 10th but have been disappointed the last 2 times I went there ... So If I had not been back more than one year, I'd recommend it, now I wouldn't...

Now, libre à vous d'étaler vos connaissances gourmandes, I'd like OP to give more info and then maybe give a rec or 2.

SC I don't understand why you would feel diminished by saying what you like. We are all equal (liberté égalité fraternité) and all have a right to speak up.
US, French, foodies, rich, poor, etc. We all have our own taste.

My last one that I liked is 'le chat Ivre' close to Bastille. A little bit branchouille , but ok.
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Sep 14th, 2018, 03:59 PM
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And there is the surprise awaiting - good or bad - by just walking around a neighborhood and perusing menus in window and popping in. Gravitating to expensive restaurants is fine but at least when I used to travel in Paris - during Napoleon's days - a cheap unpretentious eatery would be a real delight. and if looking for downhome French food in Paris look no farther than FLUNCH cafeterias where for the cost of an aperitif in fancy restaurants you can gorge yourselves on unlimited salad bar fare in addition to a meat dish - and wine is cheap - for what many French eat - relatively few of my extended in-laws ever eat in any real fancy restaurants or much in restaurants themselves - hit FLUNCH and save a ton and really get full. Anyway for something different.



The FLUNCH in Beaubourg/Les Halles gets 3.5 stars on TripAdvisor.
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Sep 14th, 2018, 07:18 PM
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Thibaut please, what is branchouille? I’ve wanted to try Le Chat Ivre for a few years but haven’t.

My friends here in Paris never agree about restaurants so I hate to give suggestions. I took one foodie friend to a favorite and he complained right up to the end when they wouldn’t take Amex. I don’t love his favorites but I go for the friendship and conversation more than the food. I admit I took a little break from him after his rudeness at my favorite place!

Next on my my try list is Joia, Helen Darroze’s new restaurant in the 2ème which looks amazing on Instagram, and Double Dragon, another wildly popular new place in the 11eme. I doubt I’ll get to either very soon.

I think the 3 metro stop rule is a bit limiting but then I can walk to half a dozen places that will make me happy within 3 blocks of my home.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by dhoffman14 View Post
We will be staying in the Latin Quarter - Hotel des 3 Colleges on Rue Cujas next to the Sorbonne. Interesting point about not more than 2 metro stops.

Loads of places for you to have a meal.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 02:38 AM
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Hello Belinda
Branchouille means trendy but a little exxagerated (branché is tendy, branchouille is too much... 'ouille' as suffix is often giving a slightly negative meaning when added to a word to make an inxeisting french word ).
I've been twice now to 'le chat ivre', I was seated once on the 'comptoir' (how do you say that in English ? on high chairs just in front of the barman) and once on a big table next to a group of 6 young teachers.
Not a lot of choice which is a good sign that everything is homemade ('maison'). Small portions (tapas like, we took 5 for the two of us) The winecard is quite large and not expensive (drunken cat needs a lot of brands...) and service is ok. I had a good time !
Have fun.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 09:23 AM
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Since you ask, Stu, we were in Paris last April and dined at the restaurants I recommended: L'Ardoise, Au Petit Marguery, and Le Soufflé.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 10:16 AM
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Count me in as someone who loves planning where they are going to eat when they visit. Just as I love reading about different sites, museums and areas of a city- part of my research always includes reading about restaurants- (I also enjoy reading cookbooks and recipes- so it is obviously an interest to me) I usually end up making reservations for maybe half of my dinners and "wing it" the other half. Unlike some I would say my success rate with the wing it is at about 50% which is why I do not mind the research. I also think it is a false equivalency for locals (or frequent visitors) to discuss their dining preferences vs a visitors'. At home I never go to fancy restaurants, and my friends and I hit our local favorites for convenience not necessarily for the food.. but when I travel I enjoy eating out somewhere nice, it is for me part of my overall traveling experience.

The OP should look at the suggestions Stu and others have made check them out and see if they make sense... and pretty sure Stu will keep us updated.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 11:29 AM
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My only concern in some of these debates is visitors going to certain restaurants only because they feel a need to be "validated" because they have gone to a restaurant that everybody knows about. Travel is still a matter of prestige for certain people rather than unfiltered raw enjoyment of discovery.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 02:23 PM
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<<Just as I love reading about different sites, museums and areas of a city- part of my research always includes reading about restaurants- (I also enjoy reading cookbooks and recipes- so it is obviously an interest to me) I usually end up making reservations for maybe half of my dinners and "wing it" the other half.>>

Well, I do copious research on sites, museums, expositions, festivals, markets, and so forth, too. And I spend a good part of my life reading about food, cooking, giving cooking lessons, entering local cooking contests, and so forth. And have run cooking tours. You could say I am very, very interested in food, even that it sometimes dominates my life here. BUT I have almost no interest in flocking to "popular" restaurants in Paris or anywhere else. I'd really rather wander and poke around and see what's smelling good. My success rate, such as it is, with the wing-it approach is probably not much more than bella's, but I have the luxury of being able to absorb a lot of disappointments and still keep on trucking, as I never have to leave here.

If you consider yourself a "foodie" (whatever that is...I hate that word) and have only X number of days in which to eat in France, I guess it makes sense to zero in on particular establishments that have a "reputation." Problem for me is that those places are very often where you are likely to get food designed to please you, the tourist, which slides the culinary experience several meters away from real French food. In part what you are paying for is the intellectual wizardry of the chef to discern what your American palate will absorb and remember and translate into something you will think was "authentic" and "well worth the price." AND recommend to friends and people on travel forums...which of course translates into Profits. French chefs are no dummies.

When I want an exceptional meal without any hype, here's where I go: La Savie •Restaurant - Cuisine artisanale et produits de saison au coeur du Périgord Noir
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Sep 15th, 2018, 03:10 PM
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Holy cow what did I unleash. The comments were instructive, interesting and entertaining. You are right in my request was extremely open ended. I looked up ‘foodie’ and it isn’t me. I like all types of food but not big on ‘offal’. But I do like chopped chicken liver. I looked up some of the historic brassieres that Stu listed. Some of the interiors were amazing. I may spend more time gawking at the decorations rather than ordering from the menu. With the number of times some of you have visited Paris I just thought a few places may have jumped out at you. As one commentator said I really don’t want to wander aimlessly around Paris guessing is this right for me. Now I do know I will have a falafel in the Jewish Quarter. Thanks to all. Once I come back from my trip I will let you know where I went. Also have any heard of O Ch teau?
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Sep 15th, 2018, 03:46 PM
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Oh, no need to panic, dhoffmann14. This is just gentle jousting and nobody was rude or uncivil. We just disagreed on certain points. Naturally, though, you have disappointed me a bit by not being big on offal. That is often the true test on whether a person likes the full variety of food or not.

Falafel in the Jewish quarter? I suppose you have been sucked into the idea of the Jewish quarter for tourists. They have good tourist food there, or at least what they know tourists are expecting to eat. The "Jewish quarter" moved long ago to the 19th arrondissement (central street = rue Petit) but tourists do not seem to be attracted to it unless they come from Israel or Morocco. Paris can be quite complicated!
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Sep 15th, 2018, 05:26 PM
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On my most recent trip, this past March, I tried several of the restaurants AJPeabody mentioned in his trip report, as I was staying in that area, and I enjoyed them all. DHoffman is staying in the same area, so a look at that report might be instructive.

I enjoyed Le Cosi, very near the Sorbonne, which was a particularly good value at lunch.

Also La Pie Noir, where I really liked a dish of razor clams. It is small with a limited menu, so I would check to make sure there is something the non-red meat eater will want.

I attended a lovely get-together with other Fodorites at Lilane, which I would also recommend.

La Cerisae, mentioned above, is wonderful, but it is tiny with a limited number of choices, so I would check to make sure it will work for everyone.

The same is true of Philou, which is near the Canal St. Martin, and which I loved.

I had a spectacular meal at Le Violon d’Ingres, mentioned above, which was a real splurge compared to the other places I ate but I thought was well worth it (even though my friend generously treated me to the meal so I didn’t have to pay).

For a very casual meal, I really like Chez Gladines on the Boulevard Saint Germain (there is another one farther afield in the 13th arrondissement).

Most of these places are near where the original poster is staying.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 05:41 PM
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I’ve been to O Chateau. I didn’t really enjoy it that much. One great thing about Paris is the ability to get good, great wine, for a bargain. Not so there. It reminds me of the new age type place that you would find in Sydney or Singapore; not Paris charming.

if you want something of that caliber try Le Gallopin (its been rejuvenated) and let Stan or Jil at the bar guide you. Or even Les Vins des Pyrénées in the 4ème.

Others you might like: Clown Bar, Enfants Rouges, Bistro Paul Bert, (personally I love their fishy sister L’Ecailler next door), any of Yves Camabord’s places in the 6eme (5ème?). My favorite is L’Ami Jean in the 7eme. You’ll find plenty of Americans there but it’s also a favorite of locals. Stephane Jego was a protege of Yves Camabord and is a force of nature on the bistronomy food scene. He does some really wonderful humanitarian things as well.

Another good place to look at menus and see photos of the restaurant is TheFork.com. You can book many spots on the website which is easier than trying to speak French on the phone.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 07:52 PM
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Thanks for the thumbs up, Nikki. I'm glad my list pleased you.

With all respect to Kerouac, whose photos are a joy to see, vacation meals are not like resident meals. I have paid a big chunk of money for airfare and hotel, so eating by trial and error means every error is a significant opportunity cost lost. Now, there are thousands of restaurants in Paris, so there is no hope for anyone to trial and error comprehensively. I depend on other travelers, guide books, residents, blogs and review sites (except tripadvisor), and the restaurants' own websites then apply the preferences and idiosyncratic dislikes of my wife and myself to make my choices, factoring in accessibility and cost. So my list will have restaurants where my wife can avoid raw meat and fish, where my allergies will not be set off yet allow me to try something I've never had before, or always want to have again, and so on. Almost always, the restaurants we choose are new to us and one shots. At home we go back to favorites, try new places where we can have a fail and lose only the meal cost if there is a fail. So I guess on vacation we are balancing need for novelty with fear of failure. And so it goes. Eat well. As with wine, life is too short to eat blah food.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 09:16 PM
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“As with wine, life is too short to eat blah food.”

In my book, blah food equals wasted calories. And why would I want blah food when I am in France, where there is lots of good food that I absolutely love and that I can not get at home?

So I seek out suggestions here and elsewhere, ask for recommendations from people whose taste I trust, and am almost always happy with the results. I have no idea why people here would think that those who look for advice are only interested in popular, touristy restaurants. For the most part, I would assume the opposite. If we were interested in such places, there would be no need to come here for recommendations.

I do not know what a foodie is as it seems to mean one thing to people who self identify as foodies and something else to those who want to put such people down, but the idea that people want to find the restaurants suited to American palates and are not interested in actual good local food is probably mostly not true and is always insulting. I don’t see anybody here asking for restaurants that have a reputation or that everybody knows about, and I don’t see anybody looking for validation.

I just see people who want to know where others have enjoyed their meals to help make sense of the bewildering number and variety of restaurants in Paris.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 09:41 PM
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Nikki, I wish you (and your Cape friends) were in Paris now. Guess who will be at La Choppe today!
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Sep 16th, 2018, 09:37 AM
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"I have paid a big chunk of money for airfare and hotel, so eating by trial and error means every error is a significant opportunity cost lost"... Amen AJ and just because a restaurant gets rave reviews on a blog, does not mean it is only catering to tourists. I have had many dinners where I am the only tourist in the restaurant and am surrounded by families and French folks (who knows maybe they are tourists too) and even if there are other tourists, if the food and service is good who cares? I have a friend from Paris and when they celebrated their daughters birthday in Paris last year the family went to La Coupole .. I was surprised since it seemed well know with tourists, thinking they would go to some local place I had never heard, - so maybe authentic French is in the eye of the beholder...

As for the falafel in the jewish quarter, if you are in the area near lunch time why not? IMO I don't care if I am standing in line with a bunch of other tourists, I like a falafel; just as I like a certain street crepe in the 5th- tacky, touristy, doesn't bother me or the little grand mere in front of me who orders the crepe with nutellla...
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