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Any suggested non-touristy Paris restaurants

j
Jerrysfriend Nov 3, 2007 05:13 AM

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. PhilD Nov 3, 2007 07:55 AM

    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. r
      rrems Nov 3, 2007 04:19 PM

      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. capeanne Nov 4, 2007 01:47 PM

        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
          s
          shopwinedinefine Nov 5, 2007 11:16 AM

          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
            rjkaneda Dec 3, 2007 03:31 AM

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

          2. m
            mmuch Nov 8, 2007 12:02 PM

            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
              o
              Oakglen Nov 8, 2007 01:00 PM

              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
                j
                Jerrysfriend Nov 8, 2007 05:02 PM

                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. j
                jibu Nov 8, 2007 01:04 PM

                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.

                1. m
                  marware07 Nov 8, 2007 06:09 PM

                  Not sure it'll be of interest to you, but speaking of less-expensive and less-formal places, I really like Café L'Absinthe (54, Rue Turbigo, next to Arts & Metier stop) - completely non-touristy and very good inexpensive food (think 25-35 euro/person).

                  1. p
                    parisj Nov 11, 2007 09:48 AM

                    where to find a restaurant with no tourist?s - try a Vietnamese or Thai restaurant or travel into the outer arrondissements. any french restaurants in the 1-9eme. will be half full of tourists, mostly american all year round.
                    here's one suggestion - L'Os a Moelle (Bone & marrow) on rue Vasco de Gama in the back of the 15th. Excellent degustation menu, they pack in 2 sittings every night & have a bar across the road. or try a new Thai restaurant in the 17th, Coco Trees 24 rue Saussier Lefroy where they'll be locals and maybe a few discerning Aussies who know their Thai food.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: parisj
                      d
                      Dodo Nov 11, 2007 11:38 AM

                      IMO, as soon as a resto is mentioned and well reviewed in the net, it tends to become touristy.

                      The outher arrondissements are the place to go and consult French resto guides such as Pudlo, Lebey rather than Zagat, etc. You can also discover little gems by walking around in less popular neighbourhoods. Menus posted in English means tourists.

                    2. j
                      Jerrysfriend Nov 28, 2007 03:00 PM

                      Well, we just got back. The strike hampered us greatly as only Metro line one was running well, and it was hard to get to the outer arrondisements.
                      We ate at:

                      (a) Caius-Pudlo loves it-GREAT AND NEW-no tourists-little English spoken

                      (b) Chez Georges (17e)-Very old standard (1926) but wonderful; no tourists; full of old-fashioned middle age, middle class French who still dress up for dinner-little English spoken

                      (c) Drouant-Very old, but under hip new ownership and re-done-tapas-GREAT and very inventive-very few tourists

                      (d) Le Grande Cascade-GRAND, WONDERFUL and VERY expensive-no tourists

                      (e) Brasserie Ile St. Louis-AVOID-many tourists

                      (f) La Maison de Aubrac-NOT GOOD-AVOID AT ALL COSTS-many, many tourists

                      (g) Senderens-beautiful presentation, but rather boring and small menu and very expensive-few tourists

                      (h) La Cafe d'Angel-very simple, modest, unassuming and also good-no tourists-no English spoken

                      (i) La Ferrandaise-Pudlo loves it-very tiny and simple-GREAT COOKING-OUR FAVORITE OF THE TRIP-no tourists-no English spoken

                      (j) Le Dome-mostly older regular customers, good-no tourists

                      (k) Les Relais Comptoir-I DO NOT UNDERSTAND ALL THE HYPE-tiny-only fair-many tourists

                      (l) Bouquinistes-pretty good Guy Savoy place-some tourists-some are loud

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Jerrysfriend
                        PBSF Nov 28, 2007 07:49 PM

                        Unless one is a resident of Paris, one is a tourist in one form or another.

                        1. re: Jerrysfriend
                          m
                          mmuch Nov 29, 2007 05:49 AM

                          Jerrysfriend,
                          We will be in Paris the week before Christmas. Thinking of doing La Ferrandaise one night. Reasonable prices? Average for dinner for 2ppl, including wine? Are they friendly to nonFrench speaking? My french is very rough around the edges!

                          1. re: mmuch
                            j
                            Jerrysfriend Nov 29, 2007 01:16 PM

                            La Ferrandaise has a very nice 3 course menu for 32 Euros, but I had the terrific Cote de Veau which carried a 6 Euro supplement. They give you a nice platter of pate, crudites and bread when you sit down-no charge. My Kir was 5 Euros, an Evian was 4 Euros, a beautiful bottle of Brouilly was 25 Euros (but the Beaujoais Nouveau was only 18) and one espresso was 3 Euros. Total for 2-107 Euros ($160) and well worth it. It is tiny but pretty and very friendly.

                            Chez Georges is worth it just for the Ile flotant-it is the size of a football and weighs about one ounce. Leg of lamb with the garlicky flagolets was super. My wife said the filet rivaled the best American steak she has ever had. Great frites too.
                            Caius is extremely inventive and rather hip, but wonderful.
                            Le Dome is worth a visit just to see the gigantic Mille Feuille (Napoleon) sitting on the bar-about the size of a double loaf of American bread (but taller). They cut you off a slice when you order it-but they only get about 5 slices per Mille Feuille. The waiter said that they go through about 5 of them a night. Wonderful soupe de poissons and plateaus de fruits de mer there too.

                            1. re: Jerrysfriend
                              m
                              mmuch Nov 29, 2007 04:22 PM

                              Jerrysfriend...Thanks so much for the detailed response! Can't wait to go!

                        2. p
                          phoenikia Nov 28, 2007 08:12 PM

                          I tried Chez Flottes www.flottes.fr on Rue Cambon in September 2005 after making a similar request on chowhound- I was pleasantly surprised. The place was reasonably priced, and filled with locals. I enjoyed the aligot.

                          1. s
                            sushiman Nov 29, 2007 03:53 PM

                            Just got back too.

                            1-La Coupole-Don't worry that there may be a few tourists. It is huge and classic. We had the 00 Belon oysters and steak (Chateaubriand) frites. Great.

                            2-Benoit-Real decadent. I had sweetbreads cooked in a lobster reduction with foie and mushrooms. The specialty of the house is veal face.

                            3-Brasserie Lipp-OMG the stuffed pig's feet! Stuffed with foie and sage sausage, breaded and fried with frites.

                            4-Chez Georges-Classic old school on the Rue Mail. The sweetbreads are legend.

                            5-L'Orangerie on the Ile St Louis. It changed hands a couple of years ago and heard bad things, but went anyway. The new owner is Michael Burgo ex-of Taillevent. The staff is mostly the same. The food was very good and incredibly presented. Great service and the decor is still really nice. Very Romantic.

                            1. a
                              AGM_Cape_Cod Nov 29, 2007 05:45 PM

                              We had a great meal at Le Baratin. It is a little place and I think our voices were the only ones speaking English. This is an extract from a trip report I wrote.
                              "I am not sure how I heard about Le Baratin but I had heard it was a place that people don’t want to become known. It is also a small place which was full. It also was one of the few places that turned the tables. When we left at 10:30 people were waiting to be seated. The menu is written on a chalk board. Entrées were around 12€ and plats were around 20 €. Everything we saw go by looked wonderful. It isn’t a fancy place-more a down home kind of restaurant with a resident cat twining around your legs

                              Entrées-Artichaut poivrade en ragoût au citron (artichoke hearts in a lemon sauce)
                              Tartare de thon à la cerise (tuna tartare with fresh cherries-fabulous !)

                              Plats- Palette de porc rôti aux épices et légumes sauté (pork shoulder roasted with spices and served with sautéed vegetables-very good)
                              Guinea hen de Rouen roasted with mushrooms and sour cherries

                              Desserts- Marc de bois avec double crème (a kind of wild strawberry with a sour cream)
                              Fresh apricots poached in a vanilla syrup-fabulous!!

                              Wine- Domaine Gramenon Côtes-du-Rhone 2005

                              Le Baratin 3 rue Jouye Rouve 01 43 49 39 70 Metro-Pyrénées or Belleville (I had heard that this place was halfway up Belleville hill. So we took the metro to Pyrénées and walked down the hill to dinner and then after dinner walked the rest of the way down the hill to the Belleville stop.)"

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