re France and restaurants

Old Dec 24th, 2004, 07:24 PM
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re France and restaurants

I know there are lots of threads on the topic of food and restaurants..I also am seeing reatuarant recommendations in various guidebooks like Fodor, and Rick Steves. I am not real sure if I should copy down names of places....seems to me it would be cumbersome. Also there are conflicting opinions on restaurants..

Would it be better to wait till we get there (a long way off)
And would we be better to just get recommendations when we are there?

Is the Zagat guide any value in France?

And lastly is it just silly for me to worry about this?.
loisco is offline  
Old Dec 24th, 2004, 08:12 PM
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It's not something to worry about, but on the other hand it doesn't hurt to read up on some places. There are always serendipitous finds, but if you are a foody (someone who finds pleasure in good food, someone who counts good cuisine as part of a cultural experience) then there are lots of resources. Fine dining is easier to find at higher prices, but if one is looking toward more moderate or low-budget options, then doing your homework is even more useful in terms of good value results.

I love the Zagat restaurant guide for Paris because it has so many entries, and because the information can be found by location, type of food, and special features like "good breakfast" or "open on Sundays." But the review of each restaurant is concise to say the least, so you won't find much detail.

Gustafson's popular book "Great Eats in Paris" has a lot of great suggestions in the cheap to moderate range, in all neighborhoods and she provides a lot of detail (e.g., 'order the roast chicken but skip dessert.')

What I do is narrow my dinner choices down to one per night, and ask my hotel to make my dinner reservations about two weeks in advance. Some places don't need that much advance notice, but if I care, I like to take care of this. Should my plans change, I am scrupulous about calling the restaurant to cancel.

Lunches-- I'm usually willing to be more spontaneous, as except for special exceptions I don't want long lunches to take up my sightseeing time, and I usually just eat a salad or omelette anyway. When I'm planning my morning or afternoon while in my hotel, I jot down a few of the cafe or pastry recommendations I have for the neighborhood I will be in. If I end up there, fine, if not, not.

In my opinion Rick Steves seem to rank order price over quality and I wouldn't trust his restaurnat recs unless they jive with other sources. But that's because dining is my primary evening recreation--if it's not that important to you, that's fine too.
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Old Dec 24th, 2004, 08:12 PM
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>>>>>>And lastly is it just silly for me to worry about this?<<<<<<

I don't think it's for me or anyone else to say whether it's worth your while to worry about it or not. Whatever degree of concern you feel about this topic is valid for you.

I respect Elaine's approach.

My husband and I are not foodies, however. We walk along, look at the menus that are posted in restaurant windows, and then for one reason or another one restaurant appeals to us more than several others we've passed, and we walk in and give it a try.

Using this hit and miss approach, we usually end up with a meal that seems pleasant to us, sometimes we have a meal that is outstandingly good, and occasionally we have a meal that is only so-so. To us that's not the end of the world.

The effort of recording recommended restaurant names in different cities doesn't feel worth it to me. Usually I'm willing to write down the name of one restaurant per city and to make a reservation at it, if a friend tells me about a particular restaurant that is an absolute must do.

Sometimes, in passing conversations with local people, we receive recommendations. If it's convenient to follow up the recommendations, we do. Usually they turn out well.

But everyone is different.

I do not take after my late uncle who was a foody. If a person claimed to know a foreign language, he would ask them what the word for tripe was in that language. If they couldn't tell him, they didn't know the language -- in his estimation.
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Old Dec 25th, 2004, 03:21 AM
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Hi lois,

There are so many good restaurants in Paris that, unless you have a few that you know you really want to go to, you don't have to make reservations in advance.

We have found that making a reservation in the AM, or even early afternoon, works.

ira is offline  
Old Dec 25th, 2004, 03:27 AM
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<i>tripe ... If they couldn't tell him, they didn't know the language</i>

That's a fascinating approach. It would be interesting for each of us to pick a word that we would use as our own benchmark. I have no idea what mine would be. The fact that I had to look it up proves that I'm still working at learning my first and only language.
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Old Dec 25th, 2004, 03:49 AM
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loisco, I really like the advice from elaine and Judy_in_Calgary. My wife and I fall into the &quot;foody&quot; category and I must say we have had very few disappointing meals in France. As we establish our general itinerary, we look at Michelin's <i>Red Guide</i> to see what restaurants are listed for the cities or towns we are planning to visit. (You can search their restaurant ratings by geographic location at

We set off with a list of names and telephone numbers for the places that appeal to us, and then phone ahead to make a reservation. However, we have also had excellent luck by simply strolling along a street, looking at a posted menu, and then relying on our intuition.

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Old Dec 25th, 2004, 04:56 AM
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&gt;...he would ask them what the word for tripe was in that language. If they couldn't tell him, they didn't know the language ...&lt;

That is, they were &quot;talking tripe&quot;.

ira is offline  
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