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Restaurants for a 'selective eater'

Looking forward to a trip to Paris in early April. However, with multiple choices for fine dining (mainly dinner), my biggest anxiety surrounds finding a restaurant that suites my wife/kids (more adventurous) and a more selective eater (me).

We are staying in #15, but am open to any recommendations throughout Paris as we will be traveling daily.

Looking for a mid-level cost restaurants.

Posted by
11503 posts

Nairne ,, relax people have so many misconceptions about french food its not even funny. They are not all eating calfs brains and snails all day long. .lol
Very common dishes on menus at casual places are roast chicken, steaks and beef stews. They have sometimes got fancy smancy names ( beef bourguingnon is simply beef stew made with red wine) but they eat basic meat and potato dishes alot too!

I will say I find most of the steak dishes to be of a lesser quality of beef then I am used to.. tougher and always served a bit more rare then I like ( of course you can ask for "bien cuit" well done) .. but the chicken dishes are hard to screw up.. some may have sauces.. you may ask for no sauce , sometimes they will say no becuase the chicken is stewed in a sauce but often they can just leave it off. Fries ( pomme frites) come with most every dish it seems to me ( and I don't love fries) . .

There chain restos that may serve the whole family well , Hippoputomus.. yes. it sounds like a "chucky cheese" kids place but its not.. look up website and check out menus. something for everyone.

Pork dishes are usually great in Paris.. as are rabbit and duck( thinking you won't want to try those right?) but they also have some good Italian places.. and pasta and pizza can be had at many other places.

Try a crepe for lunch , delish, you choose the stuffing, I love the ham and cheese ones.

And this is the best part of it all.. EVERY eating establishment in France is required by law to display their menu OUTSIDE the resto.. so you can easily see it and find if there is anything on it you would like to eat and what the prices are.. so no nasty surprises once you sit down.

PS also consider tartines for lunch,, simply toasted open face sandwiches really.. same with Croque monsieur ( just ham and cheese)

Posted by
1 posts

Reading your post makes me sad. The reason why we travel is to have new experiences, try different things, get out of our comfort zones. Ricks advice for a happy trip is, "If you find something not to your liking, change your liking."
Push yourself, follow your wife, celebrate your children, be adventurous with them! :D
Bon Voyage and Bon Appétit!

Posted by
9192 posts

I don't love French restaurant food but I do like most French cafe food. In most cafes you can get omelettes (any time of the day), french bread and cheese/ham sandwiches, salads, wonderful soups, cheese plates, sometimes pasta. You don't have to eat in restaurants for dinner, you can eat in cafes and bistrots. Street food crepes are wonderful, as Pat mentioned. There's tons of Italian restaurants in Paris, as well as most other ethnic food. And fyi, there's a place called "Breakfast in America" (two locations, one in the 5th, one in the 4th arrondissment) which is good American diner food, owned by an American.

Posted by
2081 posts

Welcome Nairne,

When i was in Paris/France i would read the menus when i was walking by and note if any of them were of interest to me and after my sightseening, would go back for a meal.

Also as Pat stated, its not that much different than the food you eat in the USA. But this is just my opinion, the food taste waaaaay better and are prepared differently. If you ever went camping and cooked hotdogs over an open firer, they taste waaaaay better than at home even though they are the same dogs.

If you go over there alot, then being picky or not trying different foods isnt an issue since there will always be "the next time".

when i was in Normandy, i tried some Coq au vin. It was delicious. I also had some Pate and Foie Gras. The Pate was better than the Foie Gras. I also had some creme brulee and some other desserts. Their baguette sandwiches were great also.

happy trails.

Posted by
11613 posts

You will find plenty of food that you like, just know some restaurant-French words (a kind waiter talked me out of ordering tripe). I'm not particularly adventurous about food, either, and I ate very well for a month in France last year.

Posted by
18791 posts

I was shocked, SHOCKED, to find that an Egg McMuffin and a coffee was cheaper in Paris than in Green Bay.
Seriously, there is an infinite variety of dining in this town. I would only do "Fine Dining" once or twice in a week. OK, my tip, Albion, one block from Poissoniere Metro stop, outstanding food at a reasonable price AND reasonable wine prices. Only open Mon to Fri and reservations are a must. No language barrier here, Hayden is from New Zealand.

Posted by
28 posts

Our absolute favorite in Paris was Cafe de Mars (11 Rue Augereau 75007) in the Rue Clere area. The food is very well prepared, served impeccably and the owners are so personable. Make reservations as it is small, and dinner is the evening event. There are "ordinary" main courses but ordinary only in that they may be beef, pork, seafood; it's the preparation that excels! This is a relatively new restaurant, and they so want to succeed. If we were in Paris again, we'd head right back there. It was so good we ate there twice - once only for dessert as we came after the opera. Relax and enjoy!

Posted by
4 posts

We really enjoyed Cafe Marly overlooking the glass pyramid at The Louvre. It was a lovely meal and you can't beat the view.

I also liked Cafe Varenne in the 7th arr. - delicious food and comfortable atmosphere. There's also a couple of nice little places off of Rue Cler - Cafe Central and Cafe du Marche.

Your kids will love the little crepe places you'll find all over Paris -- delicious and inexpensive street food. Try one with Nutella and bananas. Yum yum yum!

I found that most of the cafes and bistros I went to had lots of choices for every palate - everything from salads and soups to steaks and seafood. I really wouldn't worry about finding something that you like in most places.

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
9192 posts

I got food poisoning eating at Cafe du Marche... spent 3 vacation days on the bathroom floor. I realize this can happen anywhere, but I won't eat there ever again.

Posted by
8293 posts

Yikes! Scratch Cafe Marche! But the best advice has been from Pat (above). The menus are posted on the doors or windows. No ugly surprises await you if you look at the menus before entering.

Posted by
28 posts

In Paris you'll probably be OK - most places will be able to translate the menu if they don't have one in English. But you'll miss some of those "scary" items that you might just happen to find delicious! For example, rabbit tastes much like hen-yummy! We were in Albi on a market day any stopped at an outdoor cafe where no English was spoken, and we couldn't find the food phrases on our RS French handbook. So we opted for what the waiter said was pasta. When it arrived we has sautéed duck hearts over noodles! Delicious!!! We then looked at the menu board again and thought what did we think canard cor was anyway?! Anatomically speaking, looking at the food it was quite clear what we were eating, but we really enjoyed it. It was a large portion, and my husband finally said laughingly, "a lot of ducks had to die for this lunch!" The point is, lots of foods are quite good when well prepared and seasoned; look for where the locals are congregating.

Posted by
2023 posts

Moderate restaurants & cafes, that I've enjoyed recently in Paris, would be good for dinner (or lunch) I think you will find something you like in them. All are charming and in great locations. You can undoubtedly view more info about them on Trip Advisor or their websites

Bistrot Vivienne, in the Gallerie Vivienne, north of the Palais Royale
Le Fumoir, across the street from the east end of the Louvre
Le Hangar, 1 Impasse Berthaud (in an alley across from the Pompidou)
Cafe Constant, and Cafe Cocottes 133, 135 rue St. Dominique 7th arr. (small, very popular, crowded at dinner)
Les Philosophes, 28 rue Vielle du Temple in the Marais
Au Relais, 48 rue Lamark, down the hill in Montmartre
Le Rostand, across from Luxembourg garden (where Medici fountain is)
Laudree, Champs Elysees, and other locations

casual dining, lunch or dinner:

Coffee Parisien, 4 rue Princess, 6th arr. and 2 other locations. (American diner food.)
L' as du Falafel, Rue des Rosiers, Marais (usually a line out front, but it's very well managed and I've never had to wait long for a table, very friendly, interesting scene)
Lizard Lounge, 18 rue Borg Tibourg, Marais (sandwiches, burgers, happy hour - run by Americans)

Le Nemours, Place Colette. (good place to sit and people watch, I like their cassoulet)
Cafe Hugo, Place des Vosges

Posted by
9192 posts

Laduree on the Champs from BG's list WAS great. Best club sandwich I've ever had. It was so fun to eat there. Reasonable prices considering where you are and the high quality. Be sure to get some of their macarons. But get them from the counter rather than with your meal, they'll be less expensive.

Posted by
1307 posts

There are many choices for people that aren't adventurous (as much as it breaks my heart). I had a friend from Jamaica that would eat at KFC every time we went to Paris while the rest of us would try something more gourmet. She was happy and so were we.

There's plenty of American or British Pub style restaurants like "Indiana" and then there's your bland choices like Hard Rock Cafe. There's also pizzerias abound that caters to the simple pizza-pasta dishes.

Posted by
3956 posts

The restaurants that ring the park which supplanted the old Les Halles, just northeast of the Louvre, have been catering to tourists from everywhere for many decades and the posted menues should give a fair share of choices for the picky eaters. Only bargain-hunters may languish unfed.

Posted by
5697 posts

The streets around Blvd. St. Michel on the Left Bank have dozens (hundreds ?) of fixed-price menu restaurants (E10, E15) which are not "fine dining" but might have items adventurous enough for your family while providing "safe" choices for you -- onion soup, roast chicken, chocolate mousse.

Posted by
3938 posts

My husband has got to be one of the most 'selective' (OK - fussy) eaters out there...truth be told, I'm not much better - I'm slightly more adventurous, but only if I know what I'm eating. We are big pizza and pasta eaters, so that's easy, but we had a nice roast chicken near the Pantheon, ate baguettes with ham and cheese for lunch, croissants and juice in the morning. Just check out the menus before you go in...or check on yelp (do they 'yelp' in Paris?!) or trip advisor for the area you are going to be in and see what people say - there is sometimes a link to the restaurant website with menus posted. Don't worry about it - you def won't starve!