Paris Restaurants

Lavilla inside

Lavilla inside

Tips on Dining in Paris

The Parisian’s reverence for fine cuisine is almost religious. It is part of his or her heritage. Whether it’s choucroute from the Alsatian region or lapin a la moutarde, it is quintessentially French, and it is all fabulous. Popular salads include salade niçoise (with tuna, olives, and anchovies) and salade de chef (with ham, Swiss cheese, salami, and hard-boiled egg). Popular main courses include boeuf bourguignonne (tender chunks of beef simmered in red-wine sauce with potatoes and onions), cassoulet (a rich stew made of white beans, dry sausage, onion, and duck); magret de canard (sliced breast of fattened duck sauteed and usually served with a wine and peppercorn sauce); different kinds of fish (salmon, cod) grilled and served with a butter-lemon-wine sauce, rice, and vegetables; lapin a la moutarde (rabbit cooked with mustard, crème fraiche, and usually white wine); choucroute (sauerkraut cooked with juniper berries and wine and served with pork). You will eat extremely well in Paris.

Parisians don’t eat much of a breakfast; it’s usually just a croissant with a small “cafe” (an espresso) or a cafe au lait on the run. For both lunch and dinner, however, the French sit down and have a full meal, either two or three courses. Lunch is eaten between noon and 2pm (usually 12:30pm is when a lunch appointment is made); dinner is between 8 and 10pm with 8:30pm as the most common time for a dinner reservation.

A 15% service charge is included in your bill and it’s very common to leave a tip of 4% to 7% in cash. Note that credit card slips in France do not have an area to add a tip so you must have cash with you. If service is exceptionally unpleasant, however, Parisians don’t leave a tip, and you might want to do the same.  The French almost always order a bottle of mineral water whether or not they are having wine. Specify if you’d like still (plat) or fizzy (gazeuse).

In many cafes, it’s less expensive to take your coffee or beer standing up at the counter rather than sitting down at a table. This does not apply to the more fancy cafes (such as Cafe Marly or Cafe Beaubourg).

1. If you’re not opposed to picnicking, patisseries, boulangeries, and street markets are your best bets for quick, cheap dining. Don’t forget a corkscrew (tirebouchon)! Boulangeries sell sandwiches, cold slices of pizza, and individual quiches for about 3.50€ ($4).

2. Make lunch your main meal. Many restaurants offer great deals on a fixed-price (prix fixe) lunch. After two or three courses at midday, you’ll be happy to eat light at dinner.

3. Seek out crêperies, where you can enjoy meat or vegetable-filled galettes and dessert crêpes in Brittany-inspired surroundings. There are many off the boulevard du Montparnasse around the Square Delambre.

4. Try ethnic neighborhoods for tasty, inexpensive cuisine. You can get terrific Chinese food in the 13e arrondissement between the place d’Italie and the Porte de Choisy; try the 10th arrondissement, 18th arrondissement, and 20th arrondissement for North African, Turkish, Vietnamese, and Thai (These restaurants’ list and information are included in our site).

5. Chain restaurants Hippopotamus, Léon de Bruxelles, and l’Ecluse offer good values. Pommes des Pains and Lina’s are popular chains for sandwiches.

6. The plat du jour will usually be the cheapest main dish at a budget restaurant. If that’s not enough food, order the formule or prix fixe menus, which usually provide an appetizer and main dish or a main dish and dessert. Three-course menus include a starter, main dish, and dessert. Wine is usually not included, although some menus offer a boisson, which may be a glass (verre du vin) or small jug (pot) of wine. Coffee is almost always extra.

7. Pay attention to the details of the menu. On most menus the cheaper dishes are made of cheaper cuts of meat or organ meats, like brains, tripe, and so on. Andouillette is one such dish. It’s not the “little” sausage you might expect, but a delicacy made of hog intestines.

8. Soda is cheaper. Also, some mineral waters are less expensive than others. Unless you can really taste the difference, ask for tap water (une carafe d’eau).

9. Don’t eat breakfast at your hotel unless you want to pay 4€ to 8€ ($4.60–$9.20) for the privilege. Grab a croissant or pain au chocolat from a boulangerie and drink your coffee standing up at a cafe counter for about 1.50€ ($1.70).

10. Know the tipping rules. Service is usually included at restaurants; however, we still advise leaving a 4% to 7% tip, depending on the bill and quality of service. Most waiters and waitresses do this as a lifelong career; it’s nice to show your appreciation.

(Text Source:  Frommers)

Best Paris Restaurants: by type | by arrondissements | by alphabetical order | by type of cuisine

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