Eating in Paris

Have a trip planned the beginning of Dec 2013. My husband and myself will be joined after a few days with 2 other couples who have never visited France. Please help with your favorite dining recommendations. Also advice on whether to book a Tour Eiffel Restaurant 58 meal?

Posted by Tom
Oak Brook, IL
160 posts

Beth, This past June my wife and I were in Paris for four nights. Our favorite restaurant was Bistrotters
Neighborhood location, great food, excellent reviews on Trip Advisor. We'd go back in a heartbeat! You must have reservations, be sure to reconfirm and be on time. They might hold the table for 10 or 15 minutes but then is is given away to those who have shown up hoping they can get in. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24207 posts

Beth, I'd suggest checking the Paris or France Guidebooks, as there are lots of suggestions in there for good restaurants. Which part of Paris are you planning to stay in? Also, are you interested in "high end" dining or more ordinary fare? Regarding the Tour Eiffel restaurant, that's not going to be cheap and it may be difficult to get reservations. Although this is not true in all cases, I've found that some of the priciest restaurants put more emphasis on the ambience but offer somewhat mediocre food (again, that may not be true with Tour Eiffel). Bon Voyage!

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
5985 posts

Check Trip Advisor posts on Restaurant 58. There is a major construction project going on at that level that won't be done for another year at least. Appears some people's views were of construction port-a-potties. Is a good resource for the hip Paris restaurant scene.
We found a few gems. PM me if you want details.

Posted by Beth
Los Banos, CA, USA
16 posts

Thank you all! Believe me I'm knee deep in guide books and sites!!! My husband and I were in Paris 10 yrs ago with another couple who spoke French. This time its just us and the Rosetta Stone and phrase books. LOL!! The other 2 couples joining us know even less!!! Still... PARIS!!!! Anyway, staying near Opera Garnier, in the 2nd Arr. Thought, maybe could get some real tips from people on their favorite restaurant! I've booked a couple we like but the rest, even with my extensive reading, seems like a crap shoot. And since we'll only be in Paris for 5 nights want some advice from some of you. That's why I love Tom's post (and will definitely check that out - thank you). So anyone that has a favorite can't miss (and no I don't want it to be outrageously expensive) I would love to hear from you. We'll have 3 nights then train to Amsterdam for river cruise. Then back for 2 more nights. Not a lot of time so want to make the most of it. And even suggestions for first night (after flight from California when we'll be trying to stay awake and therefore probably wouldn't appreciate anything grand) would love to know what you guys would recommend. Thanks again you guys for taking the time to respond! AU REVOIR!!!

Posted by Beth
Los Banos, CA, USA
16 posts

Oh and Nelly. Thanks! Sounds good. And good site tip Sam! Vernon thanks for the info!

Posted by Cindy
Cherry Hill, NJ
84 posts

I'm leaving for Paris on Oct 12 and was wondering the same thing about restaurants. My French words are pretty much limited to vin, fromage et pain. I'm a little nervous about the restaurant scene. I can only hope there are as many English speaking waiters as I experienced in Italy a few months ago. (ironically, whereas I was already competent in Italian)
I have found a nice summation of restaurants at this site: Several are in our neighborhood on the right bank. We will have an apartment for 8 nights, so we have the option of staying in for dinner and maybe eating lunch out. (or vice versa)

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
5985 posts

@ Cindy, Relax. Younger Parisians are not as hung up about the French language as their parents were. And a surprising number of restaurants are owned by expat Americans, Brits, Kiwis, and Aussies. Others have them employed on their staff. Paris is truly international. During Fashion Week, how do all those designers and store buyers from the world over communicate (and party!) with each other? English. So it's become the "Lingua Franca".
Still picking up some French always helps. It shows that you might be trainable. Last trip, they tried to teach me how to sing La Marseillaise. I got the first three lines down after a week.

Posted by Gabriel
Pico Rivera, CA
367 posts

Although a bit touristy, I did have a wonderful meal on my last trip to Paris at La Fontaine de Mars in the 7th. Obama ate here once when he last visited Paris and Sarkozy was president. The cassoulet (perfect cold weather comfort food) was excellent. Be sure to reserve in advance. If you want a mind blowing, yet simple, breakfast I have always stuck with having scrambled eggs and pain perdu (French Toast) at Laduree (either the Champs-Elysees or Madeleine locations). You won't have anything else like it. I'll be there next month for five days and have already started lining up my restaurants. I can report back to you after I've returned if you like.

Posted by Kara
Albuquerque, NM, USA
25 posts

Another perspective.... My husband and I recently spent 10 days in Paris. While we did have some restaurant suggestions in hand, I don't think we used any of them. There are so many wonderful places to choose from in every part of the city. Unless you want to spend $$$$ on a meal, I suggest you stay flexible, look at posted menus at restaurants in the areas you are walking at lunch time or dinner and choose restaurants on the fly. The prix fixe menu is the way to go and you'll be able to tell from the offerings what appeals to your taste.

Posted by Leslie
San Diego
5 posts

My husband & I just spent 8 days in Paris and dined in quite a few of the cafes in the Rue Cler and surrounding area. We had Rick Steve's "Pocket Paris" guidebook and his recommendations were spot on. Because we were so close to the Tower, we had a couple of picnic lunches on the Champs du Mar in front of the Tower. Rue Cler has great cafes as well as local shops to purchase bread, cheese, pastries, fruit and wine. Don't sweat the language as most of the servers speak English and they will bring you and English menu if you request it. Best restaurant we ate at was Pasco on Rue Chevert... great food and service.

Posted by gerri
lexington, il
1004 posts

Beth, Just returned from 10 day Paris trip Three of our favorites: Brasserie Flo 7,cour des Petits-Ecuries in the 10th. Great food 35-45 E Wood paneled old world decor Brasserie Julian 10 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis 10th area is up and coming same price range as Flo Interior is breathtaking Brasserie Bonfinger 5 rue de la Bastille 4th Amazing seafood "platters" 40+ E Stained glass dome beautiful presentation Enjoy!!
P.S. to make up for our extravagance, we ate in our apartment 2 nights.

Posted by Jean-Paul
215 posts

We were completely suprised by one restaurant which was once a 12th century Gallo-Roman church above street level, now with almost a thousand years of build-up, is entirely below the ground. You're dining in some extrodinary history! Fixed price meals with locals celebrating anniversaries... so it was quite nice!
"La Table des Gourmands" two blocks south-west of the Pompidou center. Upstairs it looks like a chinese-food restaurant... go inside and down the stairs and le voila!

Posted by Tom
Oak Brook, IL
160 posts

Following up on Sam post, my wife and I speak little to no French and worried a little how we might do in restaurants. As it turned out we had little difficulty and NO difficulty at all at Bistrotters. That said, many tourists who visit Paris feel that they want the "full experience" and go out of their way to find a place without any tourists (if they can). If they speak fluent French, that works great! For my wife and me, since we don't speak the language well, we'd rather not struggle through dinner hoping not to offend the waiter with our poor language skills. We would much rather enjoy the food and our evening together. I remember even commenting to the waiter what a relief and delight it was that we could converse in English as it made our evening more enjoyable. I think many restaurants have figured out that being multi-lingual is a big benefit to their bottom line.

Posted by Tom
Oak Brook, IL
160 posts

Beth, In addition to Bistrotters (our favorite), we went to LeP'tit Troquet 28 rue de l'Exposition. This is a popular restaurant in Rick Steves' guidebook. We had a great meal there too. It is in Rue Cler neighborhood and near the Eiffel Tower which brings many Americans to the restaurant. That didn't bother us. The food was great and the ambiance wonderful. We also had an excellent dinner at Le Hangar 12, iImpasse Berthaud, in the 3 arrondissement. You'll find mostly locals here (at least that was our experience). It is a little tough to find, as it is down a small alley and is located at a dead end. Very cute small French restaurant, Excellent food and service. The owner personally took the time to look up the address of a laundromat for us that was nearby. English is spoken by some of the staff but not all.
We went to other restaurants that were good (most are in Paris) but not "memorable" Hope this Helps! Tom

Posted by David & C.
Walnut Creek
117 posts

There are a couple of local websites that you can use that you can use. They are fairly reliable since they are from locals who often go to these establishments and will let you know when they go downhill. David Lebovitz is an American who has lived in Paris and use to be a pastry chef and Chez Panisse in Berkeley Calif., Alice Waters restaurant. Paris by mouth gives reasonable recommendations near local sites. They also have suggestions for boulangerie and patisseries. Have fun.