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Dec 6, 2009 08:17 AM

Vegetables please!

Hello everybody,

My wife and I are heading to Paris in February and woud love to hear your suggestions for any bistros and restaurants that serve vegetarian meals which you have enjoyed. It could be a steakhouse for all we care, as long as there is one noteworthy vegetarian meal on the menu.

Let me explain:
Although my wife is strictly vegetarian (no seafood, cheese & eggs are OK), it is not a moral choice, but a taste thing - she simply doesn't like to eat meat. We both, however feel "ripped off" if lunch consists of biodynamic carrots and lettuce :) Generally speaking, whenever we try a "vegetarian" restaurant we both hate the whole experience (I hope I am not offending anybody here). Vegetarian restaurants, in our humble experience, tend to focus on being "healthy" and strike us as overly ascetic, joy-less and certainly tasteless! She is not worried about calories or organic certificates, she simply wants delicious food that is made of vegetables!

We have spent a fair bit of time in Paris, know the city well and are not afraid to travel around for a meal by metro, velib or taxi, so please let us know of your hidden gems wherever they may be.

Thank you in advance!

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  1. Oh: by the way, I did see a couple of the existing posts on vegetarians in Paris, and we will try Maceo, although L'Arpege may be a touch pricey for us... let's try to keep suggestions below, say, 60 euro pp, although if you think it's must go, let me know anyway.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Cosy Cool

      One way to play this is for the two of you to compose a vegetarian tasting menu from the entree (starter) portion of the menu, 5 or 6 items, ask for them to be served sequentially and share them. The problem is that better midrange restaurants often don't have that many starters from which to choose, while bistrots with chalkboards that often have more than a dozen entree selections may not provide the quality you are looking for. Maybe others on this board can suggest some names that are heavy in first courses.

      By the way, Maceo is an excellent choice.

      1. re: Cosy Cool

        So you also saw that Au Gourmand has one of the most interesting vegetarian options in town.

      2. I also strongly recommend that you opt for a rental apartment (self-catering flat) even if you are there for just a week. I gave this advice to a vegetarian friend, and he was very happy. Paris has wonderful street markets and lots of vegetarian options even in supermarkets. Yes, there are ways of dealing with restaurants in terms of "French" food (not always falling back on Asian) but it is also nice to have that comfort. You don't have to cook if that is too much like workaday routine on a holiday - there are lots of excellent quality prepared dishes.

        And divine produce, and cheeses of course.

        6 Replies
          1. re: souphie

            Agreed that an apartment would be a comfortable solution to your dining requirements. However, I eat out not just for enjoyment but to learn. Would it be exciting to take home from Paris a whole portfolio of new ideas for vegetable preparations, a continuation, so to speak, of your visit?

            1. re: mangeur

              Oh, do eat out! My strictly vegetarian friend did - I did quite a bit of research for him here and on French sites and boards and he was happy. But markets and shops are an important facet of French food as well, and one that probably looms larger in the lives of ordinary Frenchpeople.

              1. re: lagatta

                Thanks for your suggestions everybody!

                Yes, we have an apartment and go to markets and cook a lot - but we also like to eat out and "salade composee" and cheese plates for a month gets a little tired after a while.. it just strikes me that many famous French chefs (Sebastian Bras, etc) celebrate vegetables and feature them in main courses as well as entrees, but for some reason this is actually hard to find on menus in restaurants under 200euro pp....

                Anyway, Maceo and Au Gourmand it is - do let me know if you think of any others please!

                1. re: Cosy Cool

                  For a casual meal head to "Fish" (rue de Seine, 6eme), they are quite particular about labelling dishes with a "V" to indicate truly vegetarian food (i.e. no meaty stocks). It is a great wine bar that has excellent food, and a reasonable choice of dishes for a veggie.

                  Note: it isn't called Fish because it is a fish restaurant. It is fish, as in "drink like a fish"

                  1. re: PhilD

                    As a vegetarian myself, with a meat-eating husband, I would like to also suggest Lao Lane Xang 2 (105 Avenue D'Ivry) near the Olympiades Metro stop in "Chinatown." It's a nice Laotian/Vietnamese restaurant that's a step up from many of the places nearby, but it's still very reasonable. The menu indicates which meals are vegetarian (or can be made vegetarian, upon request) with a carrot. The food is very flavorful and fresh.