Vegetarian-friendly in Paris? Bakeries, cheese, etc.?
We're two NYC foodies spending a week in Paris, and my wife is vegetarian. I'm thinking some of the ethnic food is the way to go (e.g., Middle Eastern). But generally, I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for any restaurant or type of cuisine that would offer her some veggie options and be worth a visit. I'm not necessarily looking for "vegetarian" places- just places that offer a couple of dishes that a vegetarian (who eats dairy) would enjoy.
In addition to restaurants, any recommendations for markets or shops or bakeries would also be appreciated.
Here is a quote from the National Restaurant Association in 1999. Note that twelve years ago in 1998 the association reported "that more than half of tableservice operators with average per-person check sizes of $15 or more reported that vegetarian dishes were being ordered more frequently than two years ago." That, of course, means that at least more than half had vegetarian dishes to order twelve years ago. As vegetarian and healthy eating has become even more popular in the past twelve years, it'[s my opinion that nearly all table serve restaurants offer OR WOULD MAKE A SPECIAL DISH IF ASKED. My guess would include any restaurant in Paris that Chowhounds regularly recommend. Read the quote anyway as it shows that restaurant owners are actually "catering" to their customers. ;>
"It's not just for vegetarians anymore
"A sign of just how popular vegetarian cuisine has become is the fact that the 1998 winner of the Julia Child Cookbook Awards Best Cookbook of the Year is Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
"Any restaurant, whether it's a fine-dining restaurant, cafe or cafeteria, would do well to have vegetarian options not just for vegetarians but for everyone," explains Madison, who in addition to writing cookbooks and teaching is the founding chef of Greens, San Francisco's renowned vegetarian restaurant. "At one restaurant where I worked, we always had a vegetarian entree, but we never called it vegetarian. We wanted the food to stand on its own through descriptions, so we'd say, for example, 'Saffron Risotto Cake With an Asparagus Ragout.' And we found that we always sold out even though we weren't selling only to vegetarians. What that showed me was the food sounded interesting and was a nice change from the usual salmon/chicken/lamb entrees."
"Everyone does seem to be getting in on the act. The National Restaurant Association's Tableservice Restaurant Trends — 1998 found that more than half of tableservice operators with average per-person check sizes of $15 or more reported that vegetarian dishes were being ordered more frequently than two years ago. It also found that more than one-third of the consumers of vegetarian items indicated they were ordering more of them than they were two years ago.
"Upscale restaurants are now offering elaborate vegetarian preparations that bridge the gap between tofu and tenderloin, while fast-food restaurants are featuring vegetarian sandwiches and wraps. Even street vendors are serving up well-dressed tofu hot dogs or one of the increasingly popular soy burgers now in the marketplace. In other words, things have come a long way from the days when dining out for vegetarians meant choosing from a limited selection such as grilled cheese sandwiches, salads and baked potatoes.
This week I dined with a friend who has some dietary restrictions, at Le Gaigne and at la Régalade Saint Honoré. Both restos were most gracious and helpful re accommodating my friend. Le Gaigne's chef even offered to adjust the dishes for her.
If I may extrapolate based on those 2 restos which are in fact much recommended on this board, I would agree with Hychka that those restos that are usually recommended here seem to have such an accommodating, flexible attitude.
Of course to be sure, one had better go to a crypto-vegetarian resto like Krishna Bhravan, but that is expressly NOT what the OP was asking for. The poster said: "I'm not necessarily looking for "vegetarian" places- just places that offer a couple of dishes that a vegetarian (who eats dairy) would enjoy."
Hychka - i wasn't trying to blow off your suggestion and as a non-vegetarian I would *almost* think the same thing: "just go anywhere and there will be something non-meat!" But...i think saying that anywhere mentioned on this board will have something for vegetarians is kind of misleading.
I've had friends who have dined out - and have specifically called ahead to see if there were veggie options and were really disappointed to find that there wasn't anything when they arrived. Granted, i don't have a mental list of every restaurant that's been mentioned on Chow, but I have a feeling that covers a lot of ground. I think it would be more helpful to steer the post towards restaurants that we *know* are accomodating to vegetarians.
But, that's just my opnion - and like I said, I'm not a vegetarian, so what do i know! :)
While, I'm not as in love with it as everyone else seems to be, i can definitely see the draw of Rose Bakery, which is very popular with the vegetarians. And, i haven't tried Bob's Kitchen myself, but it seems to get some good hype.
And, do you eat fish? because i'm not sure which places on "this thread" hychka is meaning in the reply below ('this' thread or the france board?) - sorry not trying to be nitpicky at all, just trying to save some meal-related heart-ache - because there doesn't seem to be any recs on this thread yet and if you're talking about the board - i dont' think that's the case that any restaurant mentioned here will have vegetarian options. I just got back from lunch at Racines - and there didn't seem to be any options for strict veggies except the mozzarella starter.
Ethnic is a good way to go - i'm a big fan of Lebanese and there are plenty of good ones in Paris (I like Mont Libon near Batignolles, but I'm sure there are other really good ones around)
Also...as the weather is cooling off again, it's time to maybe dive back into fondue, which is a good veggie option as well.
I am with forest and disagree. Whilst it is true that you can usually find dishes which a vegetarian can eat, or that restaurants can rustle up vegetarian food if they have too I see that as very different from having well thought out vegetarian dishes that are exciting and tasty. Vegetarian friends usually despair about the "veggie specials" offered by many places because they are sub-par compared to the food on offer to the omnivores.
I also believe France is even more tricky for vegetarians. First, must of the food is proudly traditional with lots of meat stock etc. so even a "non-meat" dish could have a meaty component lurking in it i.e. a vegetable soup with a chicken stock base or all the salads with lardons. Secondly, France is a country that seems to resist food trends (the tradition again) and so you don't see much effort to cater for non-standard diets be they beliefs based (vegetarian) or medical (allergies).
Certainly it is possible to eat good vegitarian food in Paris, and many restaurants will have some good options, but some good planning will make a vegitarians experience that much better rather than taking pot luck and ending up with a green salad and soup.
Two places I know do vegetarian dishes that have a degree of creativity are firstly "Maceo" which has a separate creative vegetarian menu and is a well priced fine diner, and secondly "Fish" a good wine bar with a modern French menu annotated to call out vegetarian dishes.
Just about any place recommended on this thread has good choices for vegetarians.
That said, my wife likes the special emphasis Mi Veiel Ami on Ile St. Louis puts on veggies (some say the place has ups and downs and we have only experienced the "ups").
Along ethnic lines, we like Chez Marianne falafels at Rosiers and rue de Hospitalieres Saint-Gervais. It's crowded, but they offer a nice spread of Mediterranean food.