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Inexpensive but nice Paris restaurant in Latin Quarter?

We are leaving in 5 days for our trip, and I am just wondering if anyone has any suggestions of good places to eat....we are not food snobs, and will not really appreciate expensive food! We just want a nice place to go, and not break the budget....

We will be in Paris for three days, so lots of ideas would be great! We are also going to be driving from Paris to Beaune, so any little places to stop along the way would be great too.

Thanks!
Sandi

Posted by
10344 posts

Sandi: "Inexpensive but nice" doesn't give us enough info to know what you're asking. If you can please give us an idea of your price range, in $ or € per person for dinner, then we'll be able to give better advice.

Not addressing the original poster now, but in general, about finding good food in Paris--this is a frequently asked question here. And finally, James of Germany recommends a sensible strategy in a city like Paris with a thousand restaurants: why not consult a source that has been rating restaurants in France for a hundred years. Instead of asking other tourists (us) what they think.

I don't know much about food in Paris, so I don't make restaurant picks. IMO even Rick doesn't know a lot about how to find good food in Paris; but he does have enough sense to get advice from people who do know.

He also knows that in Paris you don't get what you don't pay for. Maybe he's onto something?

Before the usual posts appear saying "We were in Paris and ate at ___ and the food was great! And have a great trip"--it's well known that you can get bistro grub in Paris and not pay an arm & leg.

The Michelin site has an option where you can check Bib Gourmand, and then search by arrondissement: If you do that, it's pretty much a guarantee of good food on the plate at reasonable prices--but in Paris you'll still have to pay for good food.

In Paris, I'm betting you don't get what you don't pay for.

Posted by
576 posts

Sandi, of the restaurants listed in Rick's Paris guide in this particular area, we really enjoyed the classic "Restaurant Polidor", 41 rue Monsieur-Le-Prince. The 19th century atmopshere is drippingly French and our meal (cheap plats du jour) was actually quite good. Before our last Paris trip, I googled a number of sites for great budget restaurants in Paris, and this one was consistently listed, often by people living in Paris. Rachel Ray even featured it several years ago on $40 a Day. If you go, you have to check out their classic hole in the floor bathroom. It hasn't changed in over 100 years...quite the adventure! Another great place for a REALLY cheap lunch or dinner in a place with fabulous historic Parisian atmosphere is "Bouillon Chartier", an old workers lunch hall near the Opera Garnier. It is also recommended in Rick's guide and was on many of the lists I found of great, historic, cheap restaurants. These are both classic dining places in Paris that are inexpensive and fun, good but not gourmet cuisine.(Note: and while my opinions are not Michelin Star-worthy and I'm just some tourist who likes to visit Paris, I've tried to answer your question in the same manner that I would want someone to answer my question.)

Posted by
576 posts

I love good food, but I know my judgement standards are are nowhere close to those of Michelin judges. For example, when traveling in Spain for 3 weeks with a Spanish family, they gave a detailed analysis and critique of every gazpacho and ham, etc., we put into our mouths. It pretty much tasted the same to us, but not to them. What they were extremely passionate about was hard for us to detect and appreciate. They liked to argue about the correctness of recipes, which was pretty much lost on us. I like to find places highly recommended by tourists (like me, who want to eat well but don't have an expert's knowledge of the regional cuisine) and locals, alike. If it appears in a number of books, magazines and websites and sounds like the EXPERIENCE (not just the correctness and perfection of the food judged by a standard I am unable to fully appreciate) I am looking for, then it goes onto my list. Even if an Asian restaurant has a Michelin star and is under 15 Euros, I am more likely to prefer the French (lesser rated) experience while in Paris.

Posted by
103 posts

Thank you to those of you who gave suggestions....I do appreciate it!

Matt, I find your tone of the first email condescending.... I realize there are guide books, I even buy them, but I just wanted to ask for other opinions....from people who have been , and may have a good suggestion.

I read these boards frequently, and asked a few questions at the beginning of my planning, but shy away from posting many of my questions, because I am afraid of someone saying...."buy the book"...

If it is not ok to ask questions....why bother having a help line?

I hope that I haven't offended anyone, I just think that it has to be said that some of us "newbies" feel intimidated by some of the responses.....I have spent HOURS researching my trip, and have looked at restaurant guide books, but it is always nice to hear about ones that are not in the books....

As far as inexpensive, I guess I should be more specific....I am thinking less than 100 dollars for a sit down meal. We have never paid that before ever (we live in a place where there are no restaurants that expensive....), but I realize this is Paris, and that would be considered inexpensive....

Thanks again!
Sandi

Posted by
10344 posts

"...but I realize this is Paris, and that ($100) would be considered inexpensive..."

Not at all. That's what I was saying above:

All the Michelin Bib Gourmand selections in Paris are less than €35 per person for dinner.

It's a pity more people don't know about this. Trying to get the word out.

Good food on the plate in Paris, within your budget!

click here, select restaurants, check Bib Gourmand & the arr./district of Paris you want, wonderful meals for less than €35/person

Posted by
3313 posts

Matt - a couple of responses to your criticism.

First, most of us assume the questioner has read or at least know that Rick's books are a resource. We suggest other websites when we know they have content that directly responds to the original poster's question (just reiterating references to Tom's Guide to Paris and the like doesn't help). I've assumed a basic premise of the Helpline is that we add to, not supplement, Rick's suggestions.

Second, Rick is the first to admit that he's no foodie. He collects suggestions from good sources, but he concentrates his suggestions in a few neighborhoods. So, more comprehensive listings across the city are useful to mention here. Also, any restaurant Rick lists is going to be overrun with American tourists carrying blue guidebooks in their public TV station totebags. Rick has that effect.

I think Kent has good purpose in suggesting the Michelin website.

Posted by
64 posts

Sandi,

My apologies. Mea Culpa. You are quite correct. I have modified my posts. Travel is fun. These Boards are about fun. Condesencion is out of line. Your question is perfectly reasonable. I don't think you received any bad advice in the responses; just good honest attempts to help answer your question.

I recently just spent 2 weeks in Switzerland and Italy. I'm a little disappointed in some of the travel mistakes I made (mainly paying way too much for food). But I always keep reminding myself, just how lucky I was able to do that trip; how many people have never been to those places and would have killed to trade places with me.

BON VOYAGE!

Matt

Posted by
8293 posts

First off, I was impressed with the politeness of Sandi's remonstrations with Matt, and now I am impressed with Matt's gracious apology. I just finished watching a TV programme on the CBC about how uncivil our society is nowadays, so it is particularly gratifying to come across the civility in this thread.

Posted by
103 posts

Thank you Doug....I am relieved to find that it is possible to eat out for less than 100, at a good restaurant! Thank you also to the suggestion of Michelin...I will be spending some time on that website also.

Matt, your apology accepted....I know email/boards are dangerous because it is hard to read the tone, and people's feathers can and do get ruffled often.

These boards have been invaluable for my trip planning, as this is our first trip abroad together. (I have gone on 2 tours, but never on my own) I planned the entire trip myself, and at times it was overwhelming the amount of information there is out there. I can't believe how helpful people are on these boards, and am glad I did not get flamed for my responses......after all, I am Canadian, and it is our duty to always remain polite (haha)!

Posted by
103 posts

Oops..thank you Kent for the website!

Posted by
748 posts

The politeness police is always watching. I'm so glad you two worked out your differences.

Posted by
64 posts

Okay, hitting the reset button with another attempt at a positive contribution. Here's a tip to shave a few Euro off each meal no matter where you eat.

If you want water with your meal, but don't want to pay for bottled mineral water, then ask for Une carafe d'eau (uhn kah-rahf doh). This will get you a free pitcher of tap water. I've rarely had issues with the tap water served.

Posted by
842 posts

Sandi,

We just got back from Paris. You don't need a Michelin rated restaurant to have a good reasonably priced meal, to have fun, and wonderful food, but you can't beat the Michelin rating system.

We were told to go to "Tom's guide to Paris" website, and look thru his list of favorite restaurants. I did that and we tried a couple of them, and were very satisfied. One we absolutely loved was "Ave Maria". A small friendly, fun, funky place that gets packed early. It has a mixture of Brazilian, Mexican, and French cooking that leaves tastes that just explode in your mouth, but take nothing from your wallet.

No, it is not a tradiional French restaurant, but the food and experience were worth the trouble we had finding the place. Now I see why it is one of Tom's favorites!

Posted by
186 posts

Sandi, my wife just returned from a 8 day stay in Paris and enjoyed eating at the following 4 cafes in the Latin Quarter: Les Deux Magots (a favorite of Hemingway); Le Cafe de Flore; Cafe le Procope (oldest cafe in the world, opened in 1686 and it is said that Paul Marat planned the revolution here; this cafe was also the favorite of Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.); & Cafe Bonaparte. Dorsey

Posted by
8293 posts

Dorsey, I don't think any of the four restaurants you mentioned could be termed inexpensive, which is what Sandi needs. Good restaurants they are, as well as famous, but pricey.

Posted by
10344 posts

Good foodParisaffordable dinner <€35/personviamichelin.comMichelin websiteclick on Bib Gourmandsgood foodParisaffordableMichelin Bib Gourmandsgood foodParisBib Gourmandsjust click herec'mon, you can do it!)(try something a little different)