Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > France >
Nov 3, 2007 05:13 AM

Any suggested non-touristy Paris restaurants

Maybe Souphie can help. In 12 days I will going on my 28th trip to Paris. Okay, my French is still virtually non-existent and my accent terrible, but after years of study, I know 99% of the dishes on the Carte and follow French dining customs and traditions as to ordering properly, eating the courses in the right order, not talking loudly, having my espresso after the dessert, etc.
My problem is that I often find myself in places popular with tourists and stuck away in the "American section," where I overhear comments like "what is terrine," "why no onion soup," 'it is too expensive," " I want a green salad," "I want coffee with cream right now," etc. The waiters in that section all speak perfect English and are very familiar with unknowledgeable diners. They even know that a steak cooked French medium is American rare, etc. and adjust the orders accordingly.
If I do not want this type of dining experience (which I always seem to get in 3-star places), I think it would be best for me to avoid certain currently trendy places with tourists like Astrance, Aux Lyonnais, any Ducasse, Roubuchon, etc.
What do you suggest? I am booked at Senderens and Grande Cascade, but I fear I may be running into what I do not want at both.
Last year I ate at Fables de a Fontaine, Relais Louis XIII, Gaya Rive Gauche, Allard, Chez Michel, Vaudeville, etc. The year before included Helene Darroze, Les Elyees at the Hotel Vernet (where we stayed), and Chiberta.
I like bistros and also love grand old-fashioned dining in luxury restaurants that use wine baskets, have large cheese selections, etc. What about Les Relais du Parc or Les Ormes? What do you suggest?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Eat late and ask for a table in the smoking section, not foolproof, but often results in you being seated in the "French" section of the restaurant. Unfortunately this trick has a limited time period as French restaurants become no smoking soon (next year?).

    1. Le Dome du Marais
      l'Os a Moelle
      Carre des Feuillants

      I think Senderens is overpriced and overrated, though it did not appear to full of Americans when I was there.

      1. Les Ormes is small and lovely and not touristy. Also we enjoyed Dominique Bouchet and Hiramatsu very very much.

        Les Ormes
        22 Rue Surcouf, Paris, Île-de-France 75007, FR

        Hiramatsu Restaurant
        52 Rue de Longchamp, Paris, Île-de-France 75116, FR

        2 Replies
        1. re: capeanne

          I have only been to Paris once (back in September) and the only place we went where there were no other English speaking patrons was Louis Vins. I know that it has received a lot of mentions on this board, so perhaps I was just there on a "no tourist" night...but perhaps it is an option...

          1. re: capeanne

            Les Ormes is great! Not totally tourist free, but relatively so.

          2. I don't have an answer, just a question I thought you might be able to answer. Was engaged in Paris at Place Vendome and had dinner to follow at Costes... going back for the holidays this year... should I pass on it this time? Have heard such horrible ratings as of lately.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mmuch

              Re Costes: if you are still young, thin and dressed in black, Costes will still be an enjoyable experience. For better food, at a reasonable price, go across the street to Le Castiglione, one of our favorite bar/cafes.

              1. re: mmuch

                Went there once and also to l'Avenue, another Costes owned place. I was not impressed by the food at either, but the service was amusing in that I learned that the USA is not the only place that has air-head "starlet wanabee" waitresses. Instead of the really pro waiters so commonplace in Paris you get these pretty, but aloof and distracted girls who treat you with disdain if you are wearing a Savile Row bespoke suit instead of black Prada and are sans pony-tail, 3 days growth of beard and earrings. You can eat much better for 1/3 the price.

              2. La Butte Chaillot is Guy Savoy's less expensive option. I found it quiet and very good. Not quite Michelin Starred quality and it's not a grand old-fashion dining experience or anything, but at least the food was very respectable and it wasn't touristy. Mostly locals seemed to be dining there.