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Budget Restaurant Recs in Paris?

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I'm new to Chowhound and I'm wondering if any decently-priced, yet delicious restaurants exist in Paris? :) I am going for a short trip next week and am looking for "good value for money" type restaurants... My budget is about 20 Euros per person or less. I don't care so much about ambience, more about food.

In particular, I'm looking for recommendations in Neuilly, or Montparnasse/St Germain/Latin Quarter, but anywhere is OK since we will be walking all over the city during the day.

Also, if anyone has a great "hole-in-the-wall" recommendation for a good Vietnamese restaurant (Pho) or Thai restaurant??

Or, if there is just a great overall restaurant that you can recommend (I can splurge one night for 30 Euros, ha ha ha).

Thanks for the recommendations and suggestions!

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  1. Well, for one, Pho 14, on av. De CHoisy, fits your bill. Some good bistrots have under 20€ lunch menus (eg Chateaubriand, Christophe, Pré Verre) but dinner will be trickier. Au Dernier Métro, bd de Sufffren, works too, is great. If I had to budget for dinner, I would focus on Asian -- but then again, I live here. If I wanted to enjoy the best the city has to offer at that budget, I would not eat out but focus on good bakeries and food shops (see my maps of bakeries and shops on the left-hand side of my blog at www.julotlespinceaux.com).

    1 Reply
    1. re: souphie

      20 euro/person is not a "decently priced" budget but a dirt cheap budget. I can't think of a good French restaurant in Paris that fits that budget.
      If it were the summer, I would recommend getting a chicken from a good market rôtisserie stand and picnic.
      Actually this may be a solution: have one non-restaurant meal (cooked dishes from a market stand or from a good traiteur; ask the store to heat it (réchauffer) for you). With the money you save, add it to your restaurant budget. Even then there are not many restaurants that fit your newly "subsidized" budget. I second Pré Verre.
      I also second Pho 14 big time.
      If everyday you can alternate this traiteur-meal with a restaurant meal , maybe you can keep your budget around the 20 euro/person without exceeding it too much.

    2. That's (as noted by my confreres) really rock bottom.
      I have eaten at three places this Fall that provide 3 courses under 26 E (without wine or coffee) and there are many places that have a plat du jour for under 20 E.
      How about La Fourchette du Printemps (18€ plat + 1/2 water and 26€ Entrée+plat+ dessert), Aux Provinces (18€ 2 courses I recall + 24€ Entrée+plat+ dessert) and Charbon Rouge (23.50 Entrée+plat+ dessert).
      All of these I rated over 5.8/10 in John Talbott's Paris.
      If you do some digging I'm sure you can find more.

      John Talbott
      http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

      1. I ate well and inexpensively this past October at "Au Gout Dujour". There is a 3 course lunch for €20: http://www.au-gout-dujour.com/

        1. Nothing better to add than the other posters have said, but if it was me, I'd go to Chartier and drink a couple bottles of wine with friends instead of eat. They had a nice Pineau d'Aunis for 8 euros when I was there last. Who ever drinks that?

          Oh wait, and there's always the As de Felafel...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Busk

            Wait a minute; that changes the rules.
            Sure, get a good bottleof and some cheese and 20 E is easy.

          2. Le Petit Vatel is a hole in the wall that has been recommended for decades. I first heard about it from Belgian Jack on rec.travel.europe and it was last recommended to us this year by a somewhat discerning deskclerk at our hotel. We've never tried it, so for what it's worth:
            http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant...

            1 Reply
            1. re: mangeur

              My family and I just went to Le Petit Vatel for lunch (July 8th, 2010). It was great. Delicious panna cotta. The menu was 15E for 2 courses or 18 for 3. No drinks included. No wait when we there there around 1 on a weekday afternoon. It had a very nice atmosphere and felt leagues away from the crowded touristy seeming corner brasseries. What's more is that there seemed to be way more options on the formulae than other restaurants- 6 starters, 4 entree and 6 desserts.

            2. Several years ago we found a superb place near the Palce de Concorde...very reasonable. I have only two complaints. It was so good we ate there almost every night, and my wife has become a duck confit addict. Not fancy,but real food.
              http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide...

              2 Replies
              1. re: OldTimer

                Oh, yes! Lescure is a one of a kind. The food was surprisingly good for the tiny price. I don't know if they still do it, but they used to seat all English speakers at an oblong table in an alcove. It was like Grandma's holiday table with people from all over the world. Those sitting against the wall had to wait until the rest of the table had finished eating before they were able to get up to leave. I remember the waiter gently bobbing my head down as he served people across from me! Non-English speakers were seated in another room to the right of the entrance. It was considered the smoking room. We had joked/decided that were we to return, we would ask for smoking.;)

                1. re: mangeur

                  I doubt you can eat for 20e at Lescure.

              2. You can easily eat great food in Paris for that budget! I can't point you to many recent recs, but I can tell you that Ambassade d'Auvergne has dishes for under 20 Euros. If you get the fabulous salade tiede de lentilles (warm lentil salad) for 9 Euros, you can still get another appetizer and eat for less. Now, this is a VERY nice place in a great location, so I am sure once you get into the 15th or 14th arr., there must be so many places featuring French provincial cuisine that are cheap. I am sure the Paris Chowhounds can do better!

                Link for the menu at Ambassade d'Auvergne:

                http://www.ambassade-auvergne.com/int...

                25 Replies
                1. re: Steve

                  But isn't the price of a standard dinner more? The cheapest starter is €8, the cheapest main is €14, and dessert €8. That adds up to €30. Or you can have the set menu at €28. And remember this is without anything to drink except tap water and no coffee.

                  It is quite simple to list restaurants were you may get to a starter or two for less than €20 but is that realistic? Is it not better to point the OP to the better value set lunches sand suggest they snack in the evening as posters have done, or recommend focussing their budget on a couple of decent meals like Parigi suggested?

                  IMO it is sensible to set peoples expectations correctly when they get to Paris. Reasonable food isn't cheap, good food is quite expensive. To kid people you can eat well for a very limited budget does them a disservice. I also suspect those " cheap" restaurants in the depths of the 15th are no longer cheap, it is quite a destination for some happening bistros these days i.e. Jadis and Afaria

                  1. re: PhilD

                    I think Phil's caution is wise, we do not want to raise expectations beyond reasonable levels; the sort of places I was suggesting often have forced choices on their low-cost "menus", if you are more than one person, want to taste more than what's on the prix fixe, not eating at lunch and want anything liquid, the prices mount quickly.

                    That said, however, I have certainly seen "pressed" working stiffs and ministerial staffers enter, eat one dish (the plat du jour), have a glass of wine and exit; they do not look hungry for more.

                    1. re: John Talbott

                      Are they hungry for anything, ever?

                      1. re: souphie

                        Ah come'on Soup, those sub-ministers are very hungry for power, time-off and more than a 20 minute lunch standing at a comptoir.

                      2. re: John Talbott

                        Let me give an example that came from our good pal Pierre45 - where I ate today that I'd enthusiastically recommend for a "dish & a glass of wine;"
                        L'Alchimie
                        34, rue Letellier in the 15th, (La Motte Piquet Grenelle or Emile Zola)
                        T: 01.45.75.55.95
                        Closed Sundays and Mondays
                        Menus: 2 courses = 25 E, 3 courses = 30E
                        but but but, a glass of wine and even something as expensive as scallops (which were not frozen or old or smelly) on the half-shell are 18 E. And they had at least four fish plats (my downstair's neighbor had a wonderful turbot with a huggge endive and a "chantilly" with tumeric and four meats (she declined dessert after that), I ate very generous portion of chevreuil, with a more than generous side of kaki sauce with two big barrels of daikon I couldn't finish.
                        I don't think one needs to go thru Paris eating falafel, ham sandwiches, panani and croque M's.
                        And I don't think any of us are hiding secret places.
                        Go to eGullet and you'll see a lot of posts I've made about "Cheap eats" everytime I ate somewhere I thought my back-packing nephews/grandkids/etc would like.

                      3. re: PhilD

                        The OP didn't ask for a three-course meal. I rarely eat more than one course. When you are on a budget (and even when you are not) one plate of food is plenty.

                        I don't think the OP is looking for places that are 'happening' nor a destination restaurant. The OP is in search of deliciousness in some neighborhood place.

                        In my example of Ambassade d'Auvernge, which is a very nice and pretty restaurant with elegant service near the Pompidou Center, of course you can eat for less that 20 Euros. It's on the current menu which I linked. I can personally vouch for the salade tiede de lentilles as being a great dish.

                        It is exactly this kind of insider info that the Paris board should provide. Since I don't live there, I can't come up with many personal recs.

                        Oh, and by the way, as of two years ago, Lescure had a dinner menu for under 20 Euros. I imagine that at today's prices, you could still get a main course for under 20 Euros.

                        1. re: Steve

                          "It is exactly this kind of insider info that the Paris board should provide. Since I don't live there, I can't come up with many personal recs."

                          Steve,
                          Many of us locals have responded to this thread and have been trying to be helpful. If we don't come up with many recs, it is because a good meal under 20 euro is an extreme exception, not the rule, in Paris. It is not as though we were withholding all the zillions of good cheap eats here.
                          And going to a good bistro and having a salad and no wine or bottled water is not what I would call a dining experience. I would call it doing-somersauts-to-fit-the-under-20-euro-budget-experience.
                          Lastly, it is true that locals tend to make recs that point to the very good kind of eats that cost more, - not that much, but more than 20 euro a head. This is becaue we cook here and are spoiled by the markets here. I am not saying we are great cooks. -- At least I am not. -- But I want to point out that for us not living in an hotel, there is no reason to go out and have an ok meal of 30 euro, when we can make the same thing at home for less. Therefore we tend to make the kind of choice of restaurants that cost more but offer something that we truly can't make at home.
                          Maybe there are some - and I wouldn't even say lots of - restaurants that cost 20 euro per head and are ok. Good enough for me to make an outing? Don't think so. So yes those "ok"-eaterries become something I know nothing about and can't recommend, not something I withhold out of insider snobbery.
                          And I noticed that fellow local hounds have made many recs, all inexpensive, and all exceeding the 20 euro budget. None of us are concerned about whether a restaurant is "happening". Nor is it because we do not respect the OP. This is the best we can do, choosing among the restaurants that we can vouch for...

                          1. re: Parigi

                            You keep saying that a good *meal* is an extreme exception, but I am sure there are many places that serve not only good food, but even some great food for that price. I agree that for under 20 Euros, one is probably limited to a single main course or two starters. I stand by my rec of Ambassade d'Auvergne. But there must be a dozen places in every neighborhood in Paris that fit the bill. Surely, a select few of those must have something very good to eat.

                            1. re: Steve

                              I am new to this site, and perhaps it is too late to make this comment, but Steve, I have to agree with every single word that Parigi has written. There really are NOT "a dozen places in every neighborhood in Paris" to eat under 20E. Believe me, as a former New Yorker, it took me years to get this through my head, and almost every Sunday I would like to teleport myself to NYC instead of heading to our neighborhood cafe to order either a salad (spring & summer) or poulet frites (winter). We pay about 30E for 2, with a glass of wine for me and a coffee for my beau. Would I recommend this? Never. Had I ever imagined when I lived in New York that food could be as bad and as expensive as it is in Paris? No, because I was spoiled by innovative, immigrant NYC where everything is cheap & quick, and it took some time to realize that, very simply, it is not like that here. The menu at a cafe or a bistro is the same everywhere; it is only the price that differs, and you pay for your ambience at a bistro. The steak frites may or may not be better in quality.

                              When he took over our NYC ap't, my brother-in-law did a price/effort comparison and concluded that it was cheaper for him to order take-out. When we came to Paris, we learned to cook. When we are lazy, we pay at least 30E for either Japanese, pizza, or the above mentioned cafe fare. We order our pizza from Dominos (the horror!), because you can get thin crust with your choice of veggies, and without ham or a fried egg on top (eww). Below that, you get a quiche, pizza or a hot dog from the boulangerie. Or you go to the supermarket. When we go out, we pay. And now that my local cheap and very French bistro (really, it was- 19E for two courses dinner! I shed tears for Chez Juliette...) has changed hands, I am extraordinarily happy to have found this discussion board, with all it's suggestions and links to blogs and sites. Thank you, everyone, from a previously dissatisfied Paris chowhound who has been looking for that hard-to-find in-between: cheers to you!

                              1. re: brig

                                Many travelers to Paris on a tight budget have never been to France before, are unfamiliar with French food and and would love to find one or two suggestions for an under 20E plat du jour at a neighborhood ‘Aveyronnais.’

                                They are not going to be cooking in their hotel room, are unconcerned about relative value, and are looking for a unique experience. Most of them have never heard of cabecous perigourdin, oeuf meurette aux cagouilles, salade tiede de lentilles or croustillants de pieds et tête de porc or saucisson chaud ravigote, or saumon au lard paysan or joues de porc au miel. Even something so simple as a galette Bretonne is unknown in most US cities. Surely they are not all over 20E….?

                                Maybe all those places that serve that kind of food are now garbage, personally I don’t know, but the travelers have to go somewhere and are looking for guidance.

                                I do appreciate the fact that for someone living in Paris with a kitchen and who has already traveled into the countryside or been to France before, maybe those places are not a good value for you. But I stand by my guess that there are a “select few” that merit a recommendation.

                                For my part, I can only recommend Ambassade d'Auvernge, which is a rather nice place and has some plats under 20E last time I checked.

                            2. re: Parigi

                              Le Moi, 5 rue Daunou, has menus that start at 10 Euros. You can eat decently for under 20 Euros. A short walk from the Opera metro. Popular with the office crowd at lunch, so plan accordingly.

                            3. re: Steve

                              Okay. Here are my "gloves off" (and "mask off") really cheap recs. Most are not French because really cheap French restaurant cooking is most often an expensive disappointment.

                              There is an Asian eat in-take out on the north side of rue Buci, just off rue de Seine. We might have lunch here and even dinner when we arrive back in Paris late in the evening. A plate with noodles and choice of main dish runs around €5-6. Dim sum are €.70 each and a collection of them makes a fine meal. (I'm from San Francisco and have access to excellent dim sum; these are not at all bad in comparison.) They also do a huge business in several kinds of sushi. Big noodle soup bowls, also, around €5-6. Pig out for under €20. Great people watching when weather permits eating outside.

                              Another St. Germain standby is Vesuvio, 1 Rue Gozlin, just off Blvd. St. Germain and rue de Rennes. There is a menu for around €16 that includes a choice of soup or enormous salad, then among several main courses (a fine carpaccio, several pizzas, quite good mussels, pasta and the changing plat du jour) and dessert or coffee. This place is full of tourists but also is the nightly dinner spot for a handful of locals we've come to recognize.

                              Several blocks away and already mentioned Machon d'Henri at 7, rue Guisarde, is a legendary hole in the wall where you can comfortably order only a main course. There is an extensive chalkboard plus a handful of classics in a printed menu. Starters range from €6-8, mains from €12-15, desserts around €6. There are many regulars from the neighborhood here, and most do not order 3 courses. Many order only a main, many split a starter and then have individual mains, some have two starters and no main.

                              My husband's current favorite lunch spot is Foodies on rue Montorguiel, just north of St. Eustache. It is a soup and salad bar that offers very well seasoned and interesting self-serve choices. There are two sizes of plates, one at €5.50, the other, I think at €8. You can fill your plate as high and wide as you wish or can. The cheerful owner doesn't pass judgement. Again, great people watching place when weather permits.

                              There are dozens and dozens of cheap restaurants in the area immediately north of St. Michel at the quai, roughly called Greektown. While there may be some exceptions, most will probably disappoint. However, one possibility is a Greek "sandwich frites" which is a pita with lettuce, tomato, onion, tsitsiki, harrise, grilled mystery meat + fries. We have a favorite that we hit for lunch every several trips, but they are probably all pretty much the same. Sandwich is around €5, plates in several variations are around €9.

                              These are just a few examples. They represent similar experiences all over town. Look for places that are busy. Read the legally required menus in the window. And, REMEMBER, as has been stated over and over, that it is the beverage that will run up your tab, whether it is wine or even the €2 soft drink.

                              1. re: mangeur

                                Another funky address for inexpensive traditional French food is Chez Germaine. The ingredients are ordinary but the preparation is not bad for the tiny menu price. I find reviews as late as April 2009, but you should definitely call to see if it is even still in existence.

                                30, rue Pierre Leroux, 75007 01-42-73-28-34

                                1. re: mangeur

                                  La Tourelle is another hole in the wall strongly recommended by a deskclerk from our hotel. Classic French. Very inexpensive lunch. But well within OP's budget at night.
                                  5 rue Hautefeuille (just west of St. Michel)
                                  75006 Paris
                                  01 46 33 12 47

                                2. re: mangeur

                                  "There are dozens and dozens of cheap restaurants in the area immediately north of St. Michel at the quai, roughly called Greektown."

                                  Do you mean the Latin Quarter...? It is an area full of Kebab shops.

                                  1. re: PhilD

                                    Usually this several block corner of the larger Latin Quarter is known as Greektown, bordered by rue de la Harpe to the west, rue de Petit Pont on the east and rue de la Parcheminerie on the south. The central streets are rue Huchette and rue St. Severin. All the streets are lined with cheap storefront restaurants, most with hawkers out in front: French, Italian, Greek, Swiss, Turkish, Lebonese.... All offer several menus, usually starting at around €10 and going as high, perhaps, as €20 for a 3 to 4 course meal. Be warned that once inside, there will be no reference to the lowest menu. If you want it, you will have to ask for/demand it. I suppose there are good values here; there is also the poor meat and careless preparation that often goes with these pricepoints.

                                    1. re: mangeur

                                      When I saw trhe OP I thought I'd warn against these places and those near the Rue de Buci; I was stuck there for a month once with only a brief time for lunch and couldn't find a one worth it. Gaya was there then and I used to just sit at the bar and have tapastype stuff. Yes both areas meet the OP goals but at what gustatory price?

                                      1. re: mangeur

                                        ?
                                        I thought the OP expressly asked for "delicious restaurants".

                                        1. re: Parigi

                                          I have found delicious things at all of the places I have suggested. Not mind-blowing, but well prepared, satisfying and, yes, delicious. In all events, finding "delicious" is often as difficult in the €48 plat dining rooms as it is in the hole in the wall. Even following the good advice of my favorite blogging gurus ( :) ), we have often wound up with "what is this?" plats at a "WHAT IS THIS?" tab.

                                          The OP's title was "Budget" restaurants. Not only is it close to impossible to find a fine restaurant that could provide a delicious plat + 1 glass of wine or coffee for €20, it is probable that it would be very inappropriate to go into such a place and order just the plat. I think of Les Papilles, where two courses can indeed be had for €21, but I wouldn't go there and order just that.
                                          IMHO,

                                  2. re: Steve

                                    "The OP didn't ask for a three-course meal. I rarely eat more than one course. When you are on a budget (and even when you are not) one plate of food is plenty."

                                    However, it is wise to remember that portion size in France is usually a lot smaller than North America.

                                    1. re: PhilD

                                      Good point. Sometimes that's true. But if you go to an Auvergnat restaurant/bar/cafe, it will be American sized. Aren't there any good Corsican places? Aveyronnais? Or Reunionnais? Or Alsatian? And a good couscous royale is a thing of beauty.

                                      Personally, I'm not concerned about portion size, but I don't know about the OP.

                                      1. re: Steve

                                        I recommend Tintin, Vietnamese at 17, rue Louis Bonnet, Metro Belleville. This is a place to explore for budget-minded hounds. I had the number 4 Pho, a rich red broth, for 7,50 Euros and I am ashamed to say I was not able to fulfill my plan of going to the dumpling house two doors downhill from Lao Siam (49, rue de Belleville). There, 15 dumplings go for 5 Euros. I am about to head over there in about an hour...

                                        1. re: mdavidf

                                          I completely agree with Parigi and others here, but can think of a few places that would fit the bill.

                                          As others have said you have a lot of choices as far as Asian cuisine goes, for Japanese you could head to the rue Saint Anne. A few favorites include: Kunitoraya and Naniwa, both are easily found because they often have lines out the door. Vietnamese: Song Huong on avenue de Choisy (next to Pho 14), and La Tonkinoise (although it has been a while since I was last there). And Lao-Xang which has been mentioned. In Belleville Lao Siam. All of these are easily under 20 and quite good.

                                          Good French food is a bit more difficult, but what about La Cave de l'Os à Moelle? The last time I checked their menu was still only 20 € and that is for 5 courses, but you can't be a picky eater as there are no choices.

                                          I don't think you would spend more than 20€ at Breizh café in the Marais, and you'd get to try amazing ingredients and some of the best crepes to be had.

                                          I would add Chartier as well, not for the food of course but for the atmosphere.

                                          Maybe Polidor? I haven't been since I was a student many years ago and the food is certainly not great, but you will get a lot of history and atmosphere for the price.

                                          The steak frites at L'Entrecote is 20€ and that includes a green salad and some pretty good steak frites.

                                          1. re: Parisian foodie

                                            Well, something mysteriously-cyberwise happened to my brilliantly-composed comment, but its essence was that one goes to Paris for French food not Thai or Chinese. One can find "delicious" French food that's not at the price of Francois Simon's best meal of 2009 - 200 E (cf today's Fig). One has to dig; again, looking at eG's Cheap eats, or Figaroscope's plat du jour/formulas, one can do just fine.
                                            Maybe everyone doesn't want just a great terrine (6 E) and artichoke vinaigrette (5 E) and 2 glasses of wine (3.8 E) at a packed place like La Cave Beauvau, devoid of visitors and full of ministers-manque but I sure thought it was quite acceptable today.

                                            John

                                            1. re: John Talbott

                                              OK, when I'm lazy, I will go to the Cafe des Anges on Rue de la Roquette and get the tartare frites or steak frites and a 50 of Kro for lunch. I believe it comes to less than 20 euro with my copy of Le Monde, but this is not much more remarkable than a good sandwich grec. I mean, you can barely call that dining out.

                              2. Ok, so I've just visited John Talbott's website for the first time. It was delicious reading!

                                Hopefully, some of the places he recommends are delicious too.

                                I have had some success in the past finding great, cheap food in the 15th, so I'll start there. Here is a list of places that might fit what the OP is looking for. Certainly by price, but I can't vouch personally for the food. If anyone has any comments, then please add them....

                                Aux Provinces
                                Les Coteaux
                                Le Roi de Couscous (personally, I think every visitor to Paris should go out for a couscous royale, v. difficult to find in the U.S.)
                                Autour de...
                                L'Amaryllis
                                Les Colock
                                Le Sept Quinze
                                Bistro d'en face
                                Le Pareloup
                                Cave de l'os a moelle
                                Les Tontons du 15eme
                                and according to M. Talbott, Le Dix Vins
                                Jadis (if one orders parsimoniously)
                                l'Ami Vint

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Steve

                                  Steve, I assume this is simply a list extracted from a guide book as you say you can't vouch for the food? Two I visited "Le Sept Quinze" and "Jadis" would be a struggle to really come away at under €20 a head for dinner, it may be possible if they have a bargain lunch menu.

                                  I have been mulling this thread over. First, there are clearly some Asian places in Paris that hit the price point, although Paris isn't really known for Asian food. It may be improving but it has a long way to go, so why travel that far to eat average Asian food? Second, you can eat a single course, or a couple of entrees and maybe stay within budget. It is an OK solution but seems to miss the point of seeking out good food in Paris. Next, you can find street food, snacks and various types of fast food (crepes) that will keep you in budget. Some of these are quite typical of Paris and are worth having in any itininary; but it is only a partial insight into French food.

                                  So what is the best advice for the most delicious food? OK you can scrape around and get some good suggestions for cheap food, and maybe these can be an improvement on the OP's home experience (it was compared to a lot of my local food when I lived in the UK). However, isn't it a better strategy to coach a visitor and let them know what the entry point is to get truly good/delicious food is? And no it isn't a much higher price.

                                  A budget of €20 a head is very, very tight in Paris. But push this to €30 or €35 and you open up a much wider set of possibilities. For me €20 is slightly under the threshold for good food in Paris. If you are paying all that money to travel to France, and stay in Paris, a modest increase in the food budget will pay enormous dividends. You don't need to spend a fortune, but if you don't get over that important threshold you are just missing out.

                                  The best advice is to let the OP know how to get the best out of Paris food, and if the budget is to low then say so, rather than compromising for the sake of a few euros.

                                  1. re: PhilD

                                    I am sure I agree with much of what you say.

                                    It's always the case that the less you have to spend, the more you have to ferret out great deals at unassuming places. I have my own very fond memories of walking into a bar and having a memorable meal.

                                    The OP says her trip is short, so it's not like we have to come up with a million suggestions or offer an idea of what most people spend on food in Paris. I imagine three select places could do the trick.

                                    I am encouraged even more after reading some of John Talbott's website.

                                    1. re: PhilD

                                      "A budget of €20 a head is very, very tight in Paris. But push this to €30 or €35 and you open up a much wider set of possibilities. For me €20 is slightly under the threshold for good food in Paris. If you are paying all that money to travel to France, and stay in Paris, a modest increase in the food budget will pay enormous dividends. You don't need to spend a fortune, but if you don't get over that important threshold you are just missing out."

                                      This is exactly the conversation I had with several women friends this fall. After all, the difference we are talking about is only a couple of hundred dollars a week. These women had no shortage of funds but were galled at paying $45 to $52 for a meal when a salad would have suited them just as well! One of them linked with our visit for one week, dined with us nightly and loved our choices which included Frenchie, L'Ourcine, Eugene, etc.. However, as soon as we left town, she found simpler and smaller meals. I had provided the second woman several pages of dining suggestions in the €30-45 range. She tried and adored one...and then ate salads for the rest of her stay. Despite begging for delicious recommendations, food was not the reason for her visit.

                                    2. re: Steve

                                      "according to M. Talbott, Le Dix Vins"
                                      He may lie or be out of date:
                                      Pudlo says dinner menu is now 24 E
                                      restoaparis says "formule à 18,50€ comprenant entrée+plat+fromage ou dessert ! " I asume that's lunch.

                                      the other John Talbott

                                      1. re: John Talbott

                                        So that's how you eat at so many places... you have a doppleganger.

                                        I am relieved that the OP has a new budget to work with. Still, as a professional cheapskate, I was hoping to hear about an incredible dish of lamb and haricots verts at some cozy bar that nobody knows about. I guess nobody knows about it.

                                    3. Wow, thanks everyone for the recommendations! Judging from the responses, it seems like my budget is probably a little too low, so I think I will have to raise that budget at least for a couple meals. And I should have clarified it was a budget of about 20 Euros for the main course only. I like the suggestion of dining cheap some nights to splurge on a couple of great dinners ;)

                                      Thanks again and if you have any other recommendations, please keep them coming!!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: kristineeeee

                                        Oh my goodness, if that's the case, why don't you start a new thread with what your budget is for a three course "menu" eg prix fixe with 1/2 bottle wine and I think you'll get a whole new raft of suggestions.

                                      2. I just stumbled on an essay I wrote and published July 28th http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/... that was called "Backpackers with a palate" that gives several very reasonable, yet good places - one a star splurge - including:
                                        Frenchie
                                        5, rue du Nil, 2nd, (Metro: Sentier
                                        )T:01 40 39 96 19
                                        Closed Sundays, Mondays and Tuesday lunch
                                        Menus: lunch 16 for 2 dishes and 19 € for three - dinner 27 or 33 €.

                                        Le Reminet
                                        3, rue des Grands-Degres, 5th (Metro : St Michel, Maubert-Mutualite)
                                        T : 01.44.07.04.24
                                        Open 7/7
                                        Lunch menu 13.50 €, dinner a la carte 40-60 €.

                                        Le Marcab
                                        225, rue de Vaugirard, 15th, (Metro: Volontaires)
                                        T: 01.43.06.51.66
                                        Open 7/7
                                        Menus for 16, 25 and 35 €.

                                        MBC
                                        4, rue du Debarcadere, 17th (Metro: Porte Maillot)
                                        T: 01.45.72.22.55
                                        Closed Saturday noon and Sundays
                                        Lunch menu 20, dinner 45, 65 and 80 €.

                                        Ze Kitchen Galerie
                                        4, rue des Grands Augustins, 6th (Metro: Saint Michel)
                                        T: 01 44 32 00 32
                                        Closed Sundays.
                                        A la carte 30-50 €.

                                        Shan Gout
                                        22, rue Hector Malo, 12th (Metro: Gare de Lyon)
                                        T: 01.43.40.62.14
                                        Closed Mondays
                                        Menus: 27, 30 and 35, a la carte about 30 €.

                                        1. This is a great post and I thought I'd add to it having recently returned from Paris. We stumbled on L'Ecurie near the Parthenon one Saturday night at 8 pm. We didn't think there was a hope of getting a table, especially since there were 6 of us, but the owner could not have been nicer. He directed us down a steep flight of stairs to a vaulted cellar, probably dating to the middle ages, with a bunch of tables and benches and lots of lively people eating steak and drinking wine. The set menu, to our immense surprise, was 3 courses for 17.50 Euros!! That included a salad or pate starter, a grilled meat with fries entree and a dessert. I ordered the tomato salad, Bravette (?) steak au poivre (for an extra 2 Euros) and the creme caramel. Others ordered the entrecote and chocolate mousse. Everything was great. We couldn't believe our luck.

                                          L'Eurie
                                          2 rue Laplace, 75005 Paris, France

                                          1. First of all, to many of those who have responded rather negatively:

                                            A request like this is made not so people can ridicule the OP's budget, but so that anyone out there who *can* help, will.

                                            Off the top of my head, I can think of two "traditional" places that fit the bill-- 3 courses and all: Cafe des Musees has a 19 euro menu (no choices); Les Bombis has a 20 euro, with two choices per course. Both were delicious-- I'd go back.

                                            There's a great Vietnamese place in Belleville called Tin Tin -- enormous portions of pho (try the pho sate-- dark & peanutty) for 7 euros.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: purpleceline

                                              Isn't it sensible to put a budget into perspective? There are a few decent places that fit the budget but not many. Isn't it better to warn the OP that because of the budget the search for quality will be more difficult? I would prefer to be told it is better to spend a modest amount more and therefore experience better food than have posters limit their suggestions.

                                              Are your two recommendations for lunch or dinner?

                                              1. re: PhilD

                                                Both those prices are dinner menus; IMHO it's pretty easy to find a lunch menu for under 20 euros. There are quite a few good places in the east (20th/11th/12th arr's) for lunch around 14 euros. Recently I went to La Boulangerie and had a quite fantastic 14 euro 2-course lunch (their dinner prices are at least double that) -- an appetizer of avocado, crab & mango, and an excellent main of tete de veau. My DP had the same app, then ink risotto w/a generous portion of sauteed squid. Two options per course.

                                              2. re: purpleceline

                                                "to many of those who have responded rather negatively: A request like this is made not so people can ridicule the OP's budget"

                                                A negative response means some of us do not find good food at that budget. No one is ridiculing the OP's budget. One need not imagine a class struggle right away.

                                                1. re: Parigi

                                                  I've read about it elsewhere on this board, but I ate at Les Petits Plats in the 14th last night. You can order either regular size dishes, or smaller "petit" versions of the same, except for starters which are always "petit", in price, but not in size. In the evenings, they serve a menu of four "petit" dishes for 36 euros. If go hors piste off the menu and order carefull, you could probably get the price down further. I believe they have a cheper lunchtime formula. .

                                                  This probably sounds very complicated, like a KFC menu on crack, but Les Petits Plats really is very good and great value. The coddled eggs with fried foie gras, pigs trotter and potato pancake, morteau sausage with mashed potato and cabbage, and pigeon with foie gras and rissoto, Paris-Brest eclair, and pinenut brittle were as delicious as they sounded on the menu. The wine, a pomerol, I think, and an incredible aged, but non millesime (labels aren't everything) calvados, were great. The 14th is way off the beaten track for me, but the trip waswell worth it.

                                                  1. re: vielleanglaise

                                                    Interesting. I was there February 27th and then it was a lunch formula for 15 and evening 32, a la carte 25-35 €; I suspect after all the good pub, they've raised prices. We'll be there for lunch and I'll double check, but since its the w/e all bets may be off.

                                                    1. re: John Talbott

                                                      OK. Today at lunch (a Saturday) the four-dish small plates "menu" remains 32 E (one can thus have a regular sized entree and dessert and two small-plate plats) but the formula, which is an entree du jour and plat du jour (their choice) is only available for 15 E, Monday-Friday. In any case, it's a deal; with two bottles of wine and 4 coffees our bill for 4 was 172 E and our French friends/colleagues, one of whom works around the corner, thought it was the best meal we've ever inflicted on them.

                                                      1. re: John Talbott

                                                        What did you eat and how good was it?

                                                        Also, aren't most plats in Paris on the "petit" already these days. What's a petit plat, like 50 grams of something?

                                                        1. re: Busk

                                                          Starters were: an oeuf cocotte with foie gras, ceviche of bar with a safronated agrume sauce and mini-blinis and a galette with pigs' feet, potato slices and hearty fresh greens - all of which are worth going back for.
                                                          Mains were: a pigeon with asparagus with foie gras and supions, langoustines and artichokes over black rice - again terrific.
                                                          Desserts: a Paris-Brest, floating island and agrume tarte.
                                                          As for portion size, there are pictures on my blog http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/... that I defy anyone to tell the difference between the "petit plat", 1/2 portion and full portion.