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joeyrm7 Jul 28th, 2007 07:56 AM

Paris restaurant warning - Brasserie Lipp
We just got home from our trip to Normandy, Loire Valley & Paris. We ate in small to large and inexpensive to expensive restaurants. My limited french vocabulary seems to have served me well, that is until we attempted to dine at the Brasserie Lipp. We asked the waiter to be seated in the glass enclosed patio as did the French couple ahead of us. That was the last time that the waiter acknowledged that we even existed. The french couple that we walked in with had already finished their first course, wine, and were working on their main course while we still sat there, menus in hand. A friendly, but not too helpful frenchman told us to be patient while he shook his head. Finally after over 30 minutes of very patient waiting, we and another American couple receiving the same treatment at an adjoining table left the restaurant (all of the other patrons seemed to be well attended). Since this waiter was stationed at the entrance one can only assume that the management condones this behavoir. It's also not like this Brasserie is unaccustomed to tourists as it is directly opposite Cafe Les Deux Maggots on St. Germain. I can't say that this idiot ruined my impression of the French, I will say that it ticked me off for a few days. I will never eat at an establishment like the Brasserie Lipp, and hope that you will not subject yourself to similar treatment.


lilliancroft Jul 28th, 2007 08:51 AM

Lipp has long had an attitude problem, particularly with Americans,who they like to place in a segregated section to the rear of the restaurant. We call it "gringo gulch"
We avoid the place like the plague!

Dukey Jul 28th, 2007 08:52 AM

I would feel much better about this, and you, had you sought out the manager rather than assuming s/he "condones" anything of the sort. simply because a waiter was hanging around a particular location.

rbnwdln Jul 28th, 2007 09:04 AM

Sought out the manager? Why should this couple subject themselves to making a scene? Do you really think they would have gotten better service after this? Leave and post your complaint on Fodor's, I say.

joeyrm7 Jul 28th, 2007 09:29 AM


Thanks for the suggestion but been there done that. They had less interest in listening to complaints in english than they do serving americans. Couldn't even get someone to tell me who the manager was. I sent them an email and let's make a bet if they respond.


djkbooks Jul 28th, 2007 09:34 AM

We love Brasserie Lipp! Our first visit was a nice "rest" at one of those window tables over steaming coffee on a chilly, rainy, day.

We have returned many times. The food is wonderful and the place is gorgeous. Best profiteroles on the planet!

For sure, the entire staff is very efficient here.

Just out of curiousity, were your menus "in hand" open? If so, that would explain why a waiter stood nearby but never took your order. My husband has a habit of perusing the menu and not making his final selection until someone comes to take the order. In Paris, I have to urge him to close the menu, lest no one ever come over to take our order. They typically ask "Avez vous choisi?" (Have you chosen?). And, if you're still looking at the menu, they assume you haven't chosen and are not ready to order.

joeyrm7 Jul 28th, 2007 09:43 AM


It has always driven me crazy when people that we dine with (including my wife)leave their menus open on the table. This was certainly not the case. It reached the point after waiting for a lengthy period where I casually summoned him over and then not as casually when he was at the table next to me. This is purely a case of discrimination aginst Americans.

janisj Jul 28th, 2007 09:43 AM

I have eaten there 3 times over several years and have had no problems what-so-ever. djkbooks, I also wonder if possibly you were reading the menus/had them open?

kerouac Jul 28th, 2007 09:56 AM

Even a lot of the French have a problem with Lipp. It is a hangout for the French intelligentsia, especially in the literary realm, so if there is any chance of celebrities showing up, normal people are put in exile.

enroute Jul 28th, 2007 10:44 AM

Our experience at Brasserie Lipp was suboptimal, to say the least, and left us with no desire to go back. There was only one worse treatment of Americans in all my French travels (in Nice). There were two waiters that served us, one of which appeared extremely put-out at having to serve an American family, the other quite nice, cordial even. I spoke French to both waiters and it seemed o h made a relative difference, in both cases.

enroute Jul 28th, 2007 10:45 AM

to have made a difference, sorry

josephina Jul 28th, 2007 11:01 AM

It's funny to see this posting. I don't think we went in there when we stayed in the area about five or six years ago.

What I do remember is that about a year ago, a person in my French Conversation group starting sputtering profanities (in French) when the topic of Brasserie Lipp came up. I don't think we've ever been there, but she was beside herself at her perceived treatment there.

She, too, joeyrm7, interpreted the treatment as a result of her citizenship, and she was particularly insulted because she had lived in France for four years with little incident. She has a pretty good command of language--her accent isn't great, but her grammar/vocab is much better than I'm ever going to master, and the native speakers in the group consider her to be fluent.

She felt that it was one of the few times she has ever been a victim of discrimination in France.

So your story rather matches hers. I wonder if she asked to be seated in that area, too?

ira Jul 28th, 2007 11:43 AM

Lipp is my favorite place in Paris for Choucroute Alsacienne.

In 4 visits, we have not been treated poorly.

Perhaps the OP was there on a bad day?

Perhaps I should look for another place for my choucroute? Suggestions?


josephina Jul 28th, 2007 11:49 AM

Another interpretation: Wonder if it's like one of our local places here. There's one waitress the regulars avoid because if she takes a dislike to you, it's over. They scout out her assigned station and sit elsewhere, pitying the poor souls who don't know better.

That could explain the Frenchman in the corner shaking his head.

Or not.

cigalechanta Jul 28th, 2007 12:08 PM

No, if you have been treated well keep going. I stayed at a hotel in the Lot and we were treated very well. Another more experienced traveller talked of her being treated poorly. Maybe she reminded them of someone whom they felt negative about, who knows.

GSteed Jul 28th, 2007 12:23 PM

A fleeting thought...I have had customers who I wish had gone somewhere else. These obnoxious customers can be of any origin. They don't recognize their own behavior as being negative. Cognizant waiters immediately recognize them as trouble and seek to avoid them. I would like to know if <joeyrm7> has ever received similar rebuffs .

JeanneB Jul 28th, 2007 12:44 PM

Even if that were the case (though I can't imagine it is), that would never excuse a waiter's refusing to even take her order. There's no law that says we have to be kind and knee-scraping to every customer. But I bet you don't refuse to sell to them.

joeyrm7 Jul 28th, 2007 12:54 PM


I am old enough, intelligent enough, and aware of my demeanor at all times. We were relaxed and on vacation and perceived or not, highly unlikely "negative" in any way. No we do not get "rebuffed" by waiters and most in our local area know us by name and we them. As I look online in multiple sites, I see that Brasserie Lipps' reputation in more than a majority of the instances commented upon, have been similar to mine. I see no justification for turning the "blame" towards the victim as opposed to the oppressor.

robjame Jul 28th, 2007 01:15 PM

GSteed - maybe it was because he was dressed like an American. LOL
I think that there is enough feedback from different sources that one can conclude that this experience was more than just coincidence. Maybe it wasn't because he was American but, regardless, the frequency is peculiar.
Reminds me of the Soup Nazi or Ed's Warehouse in Toronto.

kerouac Jul 28th, 2007 01:27 PM

I don't think nationality really has much to do with it. I myself have been completely ignored by waiters in places (and I walked out). I don't even try to figure out why. If I am not getting service, I go somewhere else.

Ira, L'Alsace on the Champs Elysées has excellent choucroute, as does Chez Jenny, just off Place de la République (it changed ownership after it was revealed that is was hosting private soirées for neo-Nazis, so no problem anymore), and even La Taverne de Maître Kanter on rue Coquillère, next to the Pied de Cochon. (I don't know about the other Maître Kanter places in Paris, such as Montparnasse or the Grands Boulevards, but I would tend to trust them.)

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