Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Paris--the obsession with eating and restaurants

Paris--the obsession with eating and restaurants

Feb 11th, 2006, 08:50 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 827
I personally don't spend big bucks on food when I go to Paris (or anywhere)--that's because a) can't afford it on a junior professor's salary; b) especially in terms of long lunches, it's time spent away from museums and churches, which is what I like best. I'm happy with a quick crepe eaten in a park.

But if people want to spend big money on a meal, that's their business. If we all traveled the same way, how boring this board would be. A chacun son gout, as they say.
DejaVu is offline  
Feb 11th, 2006, 09:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,880
To each his/her own. Where and how one spends their money is their business and noone should judge. For me personally I would rather have $150 pair of shoes on my feet than $150 worth of food on my ass! So I choose to shop and eat cheap under 30 euro. But that's just me and to those who are foodies-enjoy and Bon Appetite!!
laartista is offline  
Feb 11th, 2006, 09:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,994
lol, laartista. I want both!!!
Iregeo is offline  
Feb 11th, 2006, 05:25 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 117
Off topic, but, 111op, it's so odd (given our back and forth on my trip report thread) that you mention Fatty Crab, as just last night I was thinking that was the next place I want to try. You should share your favorite restaurants with me, as we may be kindred spirits when it comes to dining.
emnyc is offline  
Feb 11th, 2006, 05:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,452
We eat a variety of food when we go to Paris. We've had outstanding picnics on the Champ de Mars that cost very little, but the romance factor was priceless. We've eaten an outrageously expensive meal at the Jules Verne that was also romantic and ever so special. And, we've eaten in all sorts of places in between.

Why sweat the small stuff? When traveling, or any other time, eat where you want and can afford. Don't worry about it.

Frankly, this thread reminds me of the "what should I wear" ones. If you want to give your money to those who have none and eat modestly - go for it. If you want to splurge because it's Paris and it's vacation - go for it. No need to criticize anyone for their choices.
parisonmymind2 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2006, 06:10 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 8,862

Hey, emnyc, that's funny. I must admit that I'm not really up-to-date about the restaurant scene, which changes so quickly. The places I return to again and again are not expensive places, and I'm very comfortable with them. I eat quite a lot at Cha-An (a visiting Fodorite and I went there earlier this week) and at Soba-ya across the street. The two are sister restaurants.

I've been to Momofuku also (another noodles place that's been in the news). But I find that place comparatively more expensive. I tend to hang out in the E. Village.

I gave Cookshop (in Chelsea) a try a few weeks ago. It seems quite popular. And I went to Bouley Bakery sometime last year. I've also eaten at some of the restaurants in LES (Clinton Fresh Food, etc.).

But I can't say that these are really my "favorite" restaurants.

It was my second visit to Fatty Crab last night. I had a very early dinner. The first time I had lunch during a weekend, and the place was very busy, and I got the sense that it was difficult for the place to cope. I definitely recommend it, if you like spicy food that's not toned down. The spices and flavors are quite wonderful. The first time I had a nasi lemak. Last night I had a java mee. I think that the first was probably more successful than the second (it was a rice dish), but both were interesting.

I'm not sure what it's like later in the evenings. I'd imagine that it gets very busy.

You probably have read that Stephen Starr (from Philadelphia) will open two restaurants in the Meatpacking District. I'm curious about them, but I'm not sure if I'm dying to try these.

I've been wanting to try the Modern, but prices are high. I've also been curious about the Mario Batali pub that got a Michelin * (Spotted Pig?), but I guess it's pointless to try it now.

I'm sure that there're quite a few restaurants I'm missing. But as I said, I return to the ones I think are good value for everyday meals (I don't cook at all), and I also try to have dinner at nicer places to make things more interesting.

I'll check out your Brooklyn restaurants when I get a chance.
111op is offline  
Feb 11th, 2006, 09:55 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,180
Very interesting thread, but for all you folks who love French dining and consider that the hallmark of someone who loves food, I must disagree. As my wasteline will attest, I love food, and I certainly don't consider fast food chains to be particularly good, and certainly not memorable food. However, for me, my dream food tour would consist of something more along the lines of those shows you see from time to time on the Travel Channel--traveling all over the US to determine the best BBQ joint, or determining which is better, New York thin crust pizza or Chicago deep dish pizza. I'm just not into Frech cooking--I certainly prefer it to anything Asian, but it's just not my cup of tea. Yet, I still enjoyed a week in Paris and look forward to returning to France, even if I don't spend much time eating five course meals.
twk is online now  
Feb 11th, 2006, 10:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,421
Yes, we eat to live.

Sometimes anything will do, other times (most of us) we truly appreciate really wonderful, delicious, and beautifully presented food, served in a delightfully charming room.

Wonderful food is not necessarily pricey.

The reason, I think, everyone contributes here, is to recommend to others truly wonderful food at moderate/reasonable prices.

All in all, there are positively magnificent "dishes", so to speak, in Paris, one just cannot duplicate at home or enjoy locally.

If you are one who doesn't care a whit about what you are eating - just that it nourishes you, you'll never, ever, of course, appreciate the culinary sensations available (most/many quite modest) in Paris.

You'll also never, ever, appreciate just how "refreshing" and satisfying that $5 Cola Cola, served with all the flourish of the finest Champagne, on a tray with a bucket of ice and a slice of lemon can be.

On one of our trips to Paris, we reserved for lunch at Le Grand Vefour, planning to stick to the "prix fixe" menu. Well, we didn't, and the check was huge, but we didn't mind a bit.

Another reason we all contribute here is to recommend to others those truly "worth every penny" for the "experience" dining destinations.

On the other hand, a baguette and block of cheese, or the most magnificent open-faced grilled sandwich, or a truly incredible freshly made crepe, can out-do an expensive lunch.

It all depends on you...

djkbooks is offline  
Feb 12th, 2006, 07:44 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
Oh, but TWK, eating in Paris doesn't necessarily have anything to do with eating five course meals in fancy restaurants. When we are in Europe or the UK, we do the equivalent of looking for the best BBQ in NC.

Our favorite restaurant in all Paris is a wine bar called [name censored], but many people on this list would hate it because they serve the French equivalent of soul food in the US: ham hocks and lentils (jarrette) dripping with butter, head cheese, blood sausage (boudin noir)or chittlin' sausage (andouille)with steamed potatoes and hardly a vegetable in sight. Though it is listed in many guidebooks, I have never seen another American there, but it is always packed with French people eating lunch, and boy do I envy them: little skinny women eating two rich courses and a huge choclate dessert -- with wine -- before going back to the office!

We found another restaraurant on the edge of the Marais through a guidebook. It looked like a pizza joint in Jersey City complete with fake stone on the exterior. Inside it was full of neighborhood folks eating, drinking, smoking, petting each other's dogs, patting a pregnant woman's tummy, kissing babies and eating four small but delicious courses for about $15 per person -- lentil salad with sausages stood out as a starter with grilled fish for a main. American couples kept wandering up, guidebooks in hand, looked at the chrome and plastic on the exterior, and headed off for someplace "nicer". Weare not reverse snobs. we like nicer places too. Next day we had lunch at Bofinger (choucroute and brandade) and it was great, though at the opposite end of the economic scale.

These are the kinds of places I obssess about eating, at home and abroad!!! Strong flavors and the big meal at lunch!
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 12th, 2006, 09:39 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,180
Ackislander: I hear you, and I understand your quest for good food, simple or fancy, cheap or expensive. I guess it's just that, to me, food tastes are so variable, and the quality of fare at restaurants so changeable, that I don't plan my trip around food.

Example: I'm going to Scotland in June. Now, Scotland isn't exactly France when it comes to food, but I think that if a "foodie" were planning a trip to Scotland over the same dates that I was, they would have drawn up their itinerary with an eye toward maximizing the culinary opportunities, whereas, when I was doing my planning, I set my itinerary, then start thinking about places to eat along the way.

I'm not critical at all of folks who travel with food as a priority, I just posted on this thread to address what I perceived to be the initial question of the OP: does one who travels to Paris have to focus as much on food and restaurants as the volume of posts on this subject might lead one to think? My answer is, no, you can have a great trip to Paris without focusing on the food, if that's the way you prefer to travel.
twk is online now  
Feb 12th, 2006, 09:56 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,626
I never thought of myself as a "foodie", although I did enjoy cooking and would often look forward to a few special meals on a holiday. And then my husband and I moved to Paris. Honestly, I think our favourite activities are planning what we're going to eat, shopping for it, going home and cooking it or going out to restaurants. We don't go to really expensive restaurants, but we do seem to spend quite a lot of money on food that we prepare. I think it's that Parisiens (and French people) generally take pleasure in good quality food and are interested in pursuing the best of whatever it is. The people who provide the food to you are often equally enthusiastic. We've caught their enthusiasm.

By contrast, I found that food (purchased to cook at home or eaten in restaurants) wasn't of terribly good quality for the money spent in London, so I spent my money on books and travel.
Kate_W is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 12:50 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 117
Off topic--Thanks 111op. I have only been to a couple of those, and will definitely put the noodles places on my local list!
emnyc is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 03:10 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 109

I did not misunderstand your post. My post was directed exclusively to julies and her “Third World” reference.
Steveboy is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:35 AM.