What are the must try French food?

Aug 10th, 2009, 09:40 AM
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Ahem. Sadly, some of us here in the States do not have access to French restaurants. South Texas is devoid of them; perhaps there are some in San Antonio, about 3 hours north of me. Now Mexican food.....
jaja is offline  
Aug 10th, 2009, 10:10 AM
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Don't believe the myth of restaurants being good if only locals go there. There are plenty of bad French restaurants with only French customers just as there are plenty of bad Chinese restaurants with only Chinese customers. Sometimes, location, speed or price count more than quality for quite a few people.
kerouac is online now  
Aug 10th, 2009, 06:56 PM
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MademoiselleFifi is offline  
Aug 10th, 2009, 10:51 PM
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My mouth is watering. Will be there in 6 weeks yipee!
aussie_10 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 12:43 AM
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I don't want to be the spoilsport here, but many of the posts might not be too helpful for the OP, because many of the mentioned dishes are regional, like bouillabaisse (Marseille-Cote d'Azur), cassoulet (Languedoc), coq au vin (Bourgogne), crepes/galettes (Bretagne), and will be served only in Parisian restaurants which are specialized in the cuisine of this certain region.

If you make a list of some dishes which are mentioned here and enter a restaurant in Paris and want to order exactly these items, you will be disappointed. This is not the way the French eat.

And please forget the pictures on the jeremytaylor website. They look more like British food than French food (you can get junk food in France, too, mostly in Bistrots, in fast-food eateries and in restaurants around Place Vosges).

The best method to explore French cuisine is:

1) Find a good restaurant - not in a touristy spot, not with an English menu on display, not with pictures of the dishes on display. Instead, consult the Guide Michelin (www.viamichelin.fr). The Bib Gourmand restaurants are always a safe bet.

2) Order a multicourse menu. Never eat à la carte.

3) Don't take a dictionary - unless you have an allergy. A French menu should be a most pleasant surprise. French cuisine is unbelievably inventive - each chef is proud to create new dishes every week.
traveller1959 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 03:17 AM
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I am hungry now. I want to go back.

If you get a crepe, don't forget the savory ones. Ham, egg, and cheese is quite nice.
flygirl is online now  
Aug 11th, 2009, 06:00 AM
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There is a La Rotonde in the 6th, its a big place. I heard its good, but not fantastic.
FrankS is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 06:54 AM
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Ah...I've only been to the one in the 16th. Fantastic soup and sole meuniere at that one
Michel_Paris is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 07:06 AM
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I disagree with traveler 1959. One of the things that makes Paris cuisine so interesting is that because they never had a larder of their own unique dishes, they serve dishes from all over the country. Or perhaps more correctly, they have restaurants that specialize in dishes from various parts of the country. Of course, no single restaurant will have all of the the various dishes on their menu, but it will be easier to find a bouilliabaisse in Paris than it will in e. g. the Loire valley or in Normandy IMO. Having a list of represntative dishes from the various regions is a good thing to have in hand as you peruse the menus posted outside the various restaurants.
JulieVikmanis is online now  
Aug 11th, 2009, 07:55 AM
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La Rotonde in Montparnasse is very atmospheric. The food is not exciting, but solid French fare. A good place to eat oysters (we did, when we had dinner there). The 3-course menu is 35€. http://www.rotondemontparnasse.com

I will give an example what you can expect from a typical restaurant in Paris: Chez les Anges (with a Bib Gourmand)


They offer a 3-course menu @ 34€ with the following choices for starter ("Entrée" in French), main course ("plat") and dessert:

Les Entrées

Salade verte, radis blancs et fenouil (salad)
Gaspacho de Séville, gelée de tomate et bruschetta (iced tomato soup)
Pressé de légumes de saison en gelée et mousseline de carottes (vegetable tureen with carot mousse)
Casserons marinés au basilic, salade de haricots verts
au gingembre confit à l'orange (marinated squid with vegetables)
Cannelloni de queue de boeuf aux pignons de pin et tombée d'oignons blancs (oxtail canneloni with pine nuts)

Les Plats

Filets de maquereaux de ligne, ratatouille et crème de fenouil (mackerel with ratatouille)
Mi-cuit de thon au basilic, épinards sautés au citron (medium rare tuna with spinach)
Faux filet de boeuf grillé et lentilles vertes du Puy braisées (grilled beef steak with lentils)
Ballottine de pintade fermière, légumes d'été étuvés (stuffed guinea fowl with vegetables)
Foie de veau taillé en tranche épaisse, chou rouge braisé aux raisisn secs (calf liver with red cabbage)

Les Desserts

Assiette de sorbets, abricot, cassis et pêche (sherbets)
Salade de fruits d'été des Anges (fruit salad)
Mille-feuille de fraises et sorbet fraise (puff pastry with strawberries)
Cannelloni de mangue et compotée de banane, sorbet au yaourt (mango canneloni with fruit, sherbet and yoghurt)
Tarte au chocolat noir, nougatine au cacao et glace chocolat (chocolate cake and icecream)
Tiramisu, glace vanille et tuile muscovado
Baba au rhum et orange, crème légère (sponge cake with rum and orange)

I would, however, choose the 6-course surprise menu @ 40€:

un menu surprise selon le marché de la nuit de Jacques Lacipiere , à 40 euros, avec amuse bouche, entrée, plat de poisson, plat de viande , pré-dessert et dessert

It is composed of what was is available on the market in the morning before your lunch or dinner is prepared. Always the very best choice.

The third option is eating à la carte. If you choose 3 courses from the menu, you will pay 60 to 80€.

You get the very best value for money, if you order the surprise menu: you get the freshest food (à la carte-items might come out of the freezer), the chef composes the menu in a way that everything fits together, and it is very economical.
traveller1959 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 08:20 AM
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MMM...it's lunch time here and my turkey sandwich does not compare to the above

Good to mention "menus", which are not the equivalent of the english word. Means packaged meal plans that include appetizer, entre, and dessert. Usually at different price ranges.

Also, restaurants post menu outside door, so analysis can be done before entering.

Michel_Paris is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 08:28 AM
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I have always found it incredibly easy to get regional French food in Paris, so I disagree too. I could name at least half a dozen places to get good cassoulet and other SW specialties. Same with regional dishes from Brittany, the Alps, Provence, etc.

I do agree that ordering the menu is almost always the way to go.
StCirq is online now  
Aug 11th, 2009, 09:10 AM
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Most Parisians come from elsewhere, just like Californians, so regional food is not at all a problem. There is a difference in price, however. Whenever I stray from Paris, I get a new reality check on how cheap some of the dishes can be while remaining delicious. I just spent the last 3 days in Lorraine and Alsace and was amazed by the number of 'simple' restaurants offering full meals for less than 10€ due to the drop in VAT, as well as the current economic situation.

As for the person who mentioned horsemeat as being readily available, I would love for them to post some addresses in Paris. Last year, to help somebody settle a bet, I absolutely scoured the internet trying to find a restaurant that serves horsemeat in Paris, and all I could find was one in the suburb of Boulogne Billancourt.

I know that a lot of people think there is a lot of horsemeat in Paris because they see "à cheval" on the menu regarding one or more items. What they do not know is that "à cheval" ("on horseback") means that a fried egg is put on top of the dish. As far as I know, horses do not yet lay eggs (but if they start eating genetically modified hay, anything is possible).
kerouac is online now  
Aug 11th, 2009, 09:33 AM
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To get inspired about French cooking, you could read My Life in France by Julia Child
Vttraveler is online now  
Aug 11th, 2009, 12:57 PM
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Kerouac, you are right. I have eaten over hundred times in French restaurants and there never was horsemeat on the menu. However, every French hypermarché has horsemeat for sale and I usually buy horse fillet and cook it by myself (my kids are crazy for it). Isn't it strange?
traveller1959 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 01:05 PM
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do you think we scared her off?
sheila is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 02:16 PM
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Hi K,

>I know that a lot of people think there is a lot of horsemeat in Paris because they see "à cheval" on the menu ......<

OTOH, the Brits eat horsemeat as a savory after dinner - "Angels on Horseback".

ira is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 04:05 PM
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I don't know if Kerouac did a simple and old googling but when I did, I got the following right away. There are 3 restaurants mentioned, in 3ème, 5ème (L'Odéon!) and 15ème.

http://www.restoaparis .com/forum-restaurant-paris/post/restaurant-specialite-viande-de-cheval.html
kappa1 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 04:26 PM
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I've never had horsemeat in Paris but I found it in Venice--and will never have it again. After all that scouring! Damn!
JulieVikmanis is online now  
Aug 11th, 2009, 04:30 PM
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Hi xsandiax,
There are a lot of great suggestions here. I loved the bread in Paris and of course the cheese. I made picnic dinners mostly since I was on my own. I don't know if you like falafel, but if you do(or if you're not sure you do)go to l'as du falafel in the Marais on Rue de Rosiers. It is 5 euros for the most delicious falafel sandwich.
elcon is offline  

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