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

should we make advance dinner reservations for Paris? do we need to?

should we make advance dinner reservations for Paris? do we need to?

Aug 8th, 2009, 07:31 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 147
should we make advance dinner reservations for Paris? do we need to?

We're going to Paris at the end of the month for a few days. should we make advance dinner reservations for Paris? do we need to? Are there any particular places you would recommend?

summer08bride is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 07:40 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,921
It all depends on whee you choose to eat. For example, the two restaurants I mention in my last report (just click on my name to find it) would not require reservations. Others, like Chez Michel (http://tinyurl.com/2ywr4f), would require reservations.
Michael is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 07:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,883
If you're looking to eat at gourmet Michelin-starred places, yes, of course; but a lot of neighbourhood places won't need reservations. The only issue might be whether, in your timeframe, some of those are still closed for their holidays, but you won't starve, even if you have to eat in a fairly ordinary sort of place.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,066
Yep - I certainly would make reservations. Some restaurants in Paris close for some of the month of August - so the "supply" of places to dine will be down a bit. We were in Paris for 3 weeks last Sept/Oct & made reservations for the more popular places in our neighborhood (7th - Christian Constant restaurants) a week in advance, and less popular ones a day or two in advance. There were probably places you can just walk into - but I hate seeking out a restaurant at the last minute. Many of the places were turning away walk-ups and some were seating them. If I "ranked" all the places where we dined, the ones at the top of the list were turning away people while places at the bottom of the list had open tables. All the places where we dined were in the Michelin Red guide and also in Pudlos.

Where are you staying??? I like to dine in the "neighborhood". Hate getting on the metro with 1 or more train changes after dinner.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 07:59 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,972
For a restaurant always reserve, always. There is a difference between what you must do and what you should do. At cafes or brasseries reserving is generally not required.

Should you be interested in Sarastro's 13 lucky rules for dinning like a Parisian, they may be found here:

Sarastro is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 08:32 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17,549
Well, I am sorry but like the reservations I think the operator of a restuarant would appreciate KNOWING that the food served to you was for whatever reason, not satisfactory and "leaving it on the plate" as specified in those "rules" seems a little ridiculous and passive-aggressive at the very least..
Dukey is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 09:14 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,168
In Paris we have found unless you have a very special place reservations in advance before you leave US are not necessary but it is good practice to phone the day before or even afternoon of -- or stop by to reserve if you are in the neighborhood -- many places are small, dinner can be leisurely and they do not typically plan two seatings for example.
laurie_ann is online now  
Aug 8th, 2009, 09:38 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,868
I never reserve in restaurants in Paris, but I don't go to the top places either.

I do not want the constraints of having to go to a restaurant during a pre-arranged time slot because:

1. I might have found something more interesting to do.
2. I might be in a totally different area from what I expected.
3. I might walk in front of an appealing restaurant at any moment.
4. I might not be hungry.
5. There are so many thousands of restaurants in Paris that nobody goes hungry. Just imagine, for a start, that there are 1500 Japanese restaurants in Paris and work from there for the list of all the other nationalities.
6. Etc.

For me, going to a restaurant is a moment of freedom, and I want to keep it that way.
kerouac is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,935
Except for casual restaurants, I always make dinner reservations. For some, that is the only way to get a table. For others, that is how to get a table not at the entrance or in front the kitchen (read: bad tables.)

My experience has been that I usually got better tables when my hotel made the reservations on my behalf.
greg is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,414
>Are there any particular places you would recommend? <

What's your budget, Sum? Where will you stay?

ira is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 12:58 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,868
I am not a late eater. I am usually ready to be in a restaurant before 20:00. People who want to eat between 20:00 and 22:30 could possibly need reservations in quite a few places on Friday and Saturday.
kerouac is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6,271
I'm also looking for suggestions. We'll be on Ile St. Louis from beginning to mid Sept. We also do not like taking the Metro after dinner, but enjoy walking even up to a mile or two.

We have our favorites that we will return to as I've mentioned before:

L'Ilot Vache
Au Bougnat
Les Flore en Ile(sp?)
Marco Polo

All of these are very affordable and good.

Now we need 1 or 2 more that are a little more expensive,I'd say 120 to 150 euros for 2 people including 2 glasses of house wine. Walking distance to Ile St. Louis.

We're thinking of "Tastevin" right on the Ile. What is your opinion? Last year the Fodorites sent us to "Le Train Bleu" and we loved it.

To add a little more background, the only restaurant we have not liked in Paris was "Mon Veil Ami"(sp?) also on the Ile----just not our kind of food.
TPAYT is online now  
Aug 8th, 2009, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,102
Here are two suggestions from my March trip within walking distance:

Itinéraires (Metro - Maubert Mutualité) I had two new restaurants on my list and was vacillating between them. I don’t know why I chose to have lunch on Thursday at Itinéraires but we were glad I did. It helped to hear that JulieVikmanis and her husband enjoyed it when we met them at the GTG. The staff was very warm and welcoming especially as I walked in gave our name and had a coughing fit. The waitress seated us and rushed me a glass of water. They had a printed menu and a blackboard with essential specials of the day. You could mix and match. We started with an asparagus salad with white and green asparagus which was good but didn’t hold a candle against a carpaccio of scallops with foie gras dotted with pomegranates on a bed of shredded celery root. We went with wines by the glass and they have some amazing wines. One was a Gewürztraminer which was golden in color and wonderful with the scallops and asparagus. The plats were a rabbit saddle with a mustard sauce, cabbage and bacon and a magret de canard with beets and raspberries. The combination of beets and raspberries was something we were a little leery of but it worked so well with duck that we will try it at home. The duck and the scallops were voted the best dishes of the week. Desserts were a strawberry soup which wasn’t really soupy and pears poached in different mediums-chocolate, wine and something else. I highly recommend this restaurant. We were one of the few Americans there and were treated very well. The pre fixe menu was 36€ per person.

Sunday evening is often difficult. I had tried to get into Le Petit Pontoise on a prior trip but was turned away. Seeing the tiny dining room I was not surprised. While we were debating the menu and what was on it the couple next to us leaned over and confided that we could get English menus. I told them that we were fine with the French menus. After all how will we learn otherwise? When asked if I speak French I always say I speak menu. We decided on the tatin d’artichaut and risotto aux morilles to start. The tatin d’artichaut was a tart of artichoke hearts, eggplant and tomatoes that had been prepared like a tarte tatin, the famous French upside down apple tart. It was fabulous and I am going to try to make it at home. Followed by magret de canard with a sauce de miel et cidre and noix st Jacques provençal. Tomas was in heaven with fruits Armagnac for dessert. They took a large preserving jar off the side board and served him from that. I had ananas rôti which was caramelized roasted pineapple. Dinner without wine or drinks was 95€ and well worth it.
AGM_Cape_Cod is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 04:39 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,463
I tend to do what kerouac does, but he has the luxury of living in Paris, and I have the luxury of being there often. Whether you make reservations or not depends on whether you have your heart set on eating at certain establishments or are willing to take what the city offers you (around every corner).

It also depends on whether you are content with brasseries, bistros, and cafés, or whether you want fine dining in nice restaurants. If the last, make reservations, and soon. Otherwise, wander and enjoy.
StCirq is online now  
Aug 9th, 2009, 10:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 147
we might do one night max at a "fancy" place but generally will be eating at more middle of the road or casual places. I will look into some of these suggestions

just wanted to make sure if we needed advance reservations that we would have time to make them

summer08bride is offline  
Aug 13th, 2009, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6,271
Checking out Itineraries andLe Petit Pontoise----Thanks. That artichoke tart sounds wonderful.
TPAYT is online now  
Aug 13th, 2009, 01:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,758
I never do, but I'm not a foodie. I eat in regular bistros/cafes/restaurants, also, it's not that I'm eating street food or at McDonalds. I have never been turned away from a restaurant because it was full in Paris, even in August, so that shows you the difference in name restaurants in guidebooks, foodie websites, etc. versus others. I'm not saying anything is wrong with wanting to go to some place you've read about or has a been name so is popular (ie, Christian Constant restaurants), but that's the difference. I eat 8-8:30.

Sometimes I stop in to make a reservation in late afternoon for a place I like if I am going by and really intend to eat there, but I don't go out of my way to do that.

I admit I have gotten one of the few last seats in a few places my way, but I just don't really care that much about the whole thing. I remember I got about the last seat in Balzar's that way once.
Christina is offline  
Aug 13th, 2009, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,422

If you are going to Paris to eat -- and lots and lots of people do -- and have a list of "must-do" restuarants -- sure, make reservations, because otherwise you might not get to do what you are going to Paris to do.


If you are going to Paris to have an adventure, to see the glorious sights, to wander and be swept away, and be in love, etc. -- then why would you want dinner reservations?

I AM a foodie (of sorts) and I can't stand making dinner reseravations. Why would I want to stop doing something marvelous to haul myself to some other part of town because I had a dinner reservation?

If you are going at the end of August, a lot of "foodie" restaurants are going to be closed anyway. Were this MY trip (and I realize it's not) I would carry with me a list of several good restaurants in each of the arrondisements I suspect I would be visiting -- and mark them on a map of Paris -- and I would especially focus on the neighborhood of my hotel. So if you are out touristing and get hungry, you can consult your list. If it's booked or closed or it looks lousy, take a flyer on something that smells good and where people are eating and smiling (check the posted prices before you sit down).

If the first night you are in Paris you have a meal near your hotel that you love, go back there again and again.

Have a great trip!
zeppole is offline  
Aug 13th, 2009, 01:50 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,422

Le Flore en'Ile is great for breakfast, maybe especially an omelet breakfast split between two people. They have great old fashioned hot chocolate, if you like that. And of course an enchanting view.

A restaurant that is walkable from Ile St Louis that I have enjoyed very much in the past is Le Petit Pontoise at 9 Rue Pontoise. In general, you should look for restaurant recommendations for the metro Maubert-Mutalite.
zeppole is offline  
Aug 13th, 2009, 01:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,422
By the way, in case it matter, Le Petit Pontoise is provencal (which I tend to like, since I live in italy!)
zeppole is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:36 PM.