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Nov 2, 2009 03:09 PM

Parisian Local Favorites

My wife and I will be spending a week in Paris in November. I've done some research and have been looking at all of the amazing Michelin-starred restaurants and other notable fine dining spots (and we'll surely hit a couple of them), but what I'm really wondering is where do Parisians eat? I'd love any suggestions -- French, or otherwise. Thanks.

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  1. In the amazing Michelin-starred restaurants and other notable fine dining spots, as would New Yorkers in NYC, or Londoners in London. Parisians eat in the whole range of restaurants in Paris, most (with one or two exceptions) of the ones on this board are still patronised by a majority of French people. If anything this board has far fewer "tourist" restaurants than other sources and thus the ratio of non-French to French is going to be lower.

    4 Replies
    1. re: PhilD

      Quite so. So how do you find these restaurants locals love? I hate to tell you how many hours we spend checking out addresses or simply reading menus posted out in front. While in no way a platinum screen, if the menu is translated into several languages, walk on. If it is on a chalkboard in difficult to decipher Euro handwriting, it may be worth consideration particularly if it's full at lunch.

      1. re: PhilD

        Just to add that a category of Parisian favorites where you won't find many Americans are Chinese and pizza places. But PhilD is pretty right -- the audience at CAJ, la Régalade, Joséphine, l'Ambroisie, etc. and many other stard of this board is very French while not only French.

        1. re: PhilD

          Too, many restaurants are chameleons, serving a local crowd at lunch when tourists are loathe to take time from sightseeing, tourists at the first dinner seating and locals again at 10pm. Chez Denise comes to mind as typical, as do the others Soup mentions.

          1. re: mangeur

            Good point, especially the late dinner. If you want less tourists eat later, if there are two sittings go for the second one, if there are sittings after 9:00pm gets better. Anything before 8:30 is going to be mainly tourists.

            My strategy was always to sit in the smoking section; in some ways it is a pity smoking was banned....!

        2. Thanks everyone. This is very helpful, but I may have worded my question poorly. It's not necessatily a matter of me wanting to avoid tourists, but more a desire to find the lesser known neighborhood spots that are serving great food, but may not be in the big guide books.

          2 Replies
          1. re: phildnyc

            Technically Paris is quite a small city i.e. the area that is inside the Peripherique (ring road) and is served by the metro therefore the posts on the board tend to cover neighbourhood places across all these inner suburbs. It is probably true to say that lots of the guide books also do this, so a restaurants in the 15eme will feature as well as the more tourist/central ones in the 1eme and 2eme.

            There are obviously sprawling suburbs that spread from Paris and these are served by the RER, however central Paris is still highly residential with lots of people living in the centre (especially when compared with other cities) and this ensures "neighbourhood" restaurants here as much as the grand palaces. There are obviously a few good restaurants in the outer suburbs but they are not easy to reach and in all probability are no better than those that are in Paris proper. Hope this makes sense.

          2. Well, there's a cozy little bistro that I love in the 15th called Le Belisaire. It's just up the street and around the corner from Le Cordon Bleu, tho it's not on rue Leon Delhomme (as the school is) and I can't remember the address. I have, however, had a number of delicious meals there. One particularly memorable winter dish is a version of Hachis Parmentier that submerges fish in really delicious mashed potatoes. I'm tasting it in my head as I'm writing this. ;)

            2 Replies
            1. re: ChefJune

              To find places, I highly recommend either Pagesjaunes or then Google France.
              Here's Le Bélisaire. The 15th arr. is actually full of almost still hidden treasures at very reasonable prices (lots of them are listed in the Lebey bistrots guide).

              Some of my favourites: Le Parc aux Cerfs, Rue Vavin, 6th, Brasserie Fernand, Blvd. Montparnasse, 6th, Le Café Vavin, 6th, La Cerisaie, 14th, Le P'tit Troquet, Rue de l'Exposition, 7th, Le Florimond, Avenue de la Motte-Picquet, 7th and Le Café de l'Epoque (actually a small brasserie), Rue Bouloi, 1st

              1. re: ChefJune

                I agree about Le Belisaire. I had a great stuffed salmon there once, and my boyfriend had the parmentier you mentioned. He loved it.

                There is also another good, under-the-radar bistrot not too far away from Le Belisaire, called Le Petel,

              2. One of my fave regional food markets takes place in November:
                Les Marchés de Producteurs de Pays, on Boulevard de Reuilly (12ème) on 21 and 22 November and also in Village St Paul (the Marais) on 4, 5 and 6 December.
                You can find lots of regional goodies including farm-fresh foie gras and even aiguilletes de canard, which most Paris butchers do not have.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Parigi

                  At the Village St. Paul Marchés de Producteurs de Pays I have gotten excellent oysters very cheap. I can't remember offhand if they were from Oléron or Arcachon, but it`s always been the same guy. He has a truck bring them in fresh each day. If you bring your own platter, he will shuck them for you at no extra charge.

                  One year a guy came with a wood fired oven in which he roasted oysters and a few other things. It was great.

                2. We just returned from 3 weeks in the 15th which is not a tourist haunt but mainly a middle class residential area teeming with good restaurants filled with people from the neighborhood. Some that we enjoyed this trip were, Court Bouillon, Au Gout du Jour, Jadis, Afaria, Grand Pan, Stephane Martin, Cristal de Sel, and Erewan, a decent Thai place. We would return to any of these and did to several.