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foodie family of five - where to eat in Paris?

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Hi everyone. We're a foodie family who are looking for Paris dinner reccomendations in comfortable and unpretentious environments.

We're arabs who don't speak French (I'm brushing up basic French to be polite), and our group includes my mom who wears a headscarf. While we're really looking forward to trying amazing French food, we'd also like to be cautious about going to restaurants where we won't be treated well or where we'll stick out like a sore thumb.

I'd really appreciate any suggestions for multi-cultural environments - or warm and welcoming - that have excellent French food.

Also, I've been reading CH and John Talbott's blog for restaurant tips, and I've heard suggestions like Spring, L'Ami Jean, Ze Kitchen, Le Regalade, L'Aromatik, Frenchie, etc. It may be hard to get reservations, but I wonder if you'd reccomend these places?

Your help would be really appreciated!

Toronto CHer

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  1. I don't think being arab or wearing a headscarf is much of a problem at any place in France, although there is no place where I can guarantee there is no idiot. You mention a family of five, but are there small children? That could be a bigger limitation than wearing a scarf (not that they're not accepted, but they may get bored).

    And yes, we would recommend those places, more or less.

    1. Do I get to vote twice? All are great except getting in to Frenchie & Spring.

      6 Replies
      1. re: John Talbott

        Maybe not for dinner, but certainly for fun, go to an open air market and you're sure to find people who speak Arabic. These markets are quite an experience. Also, a good opportunity to bring back great foods for snacks or a picnic.

        1. re: hychka

          "Maybe not for dinner, but certainly for fun, go to an open air market and you're sure to find people who speak Arabic."
          My goodness yes and if you're near my neighborhood in the 18th, it's our second culture although their merguez joints are as bad as ours (McDo's, etc).

          1. re: John Talbott

            Souphie, I'm glad to hear that and I'll hope tthat we won't run into any "idiots". We've got a 15 year old with us, but he's old enough to handle himself well in a restaurant and doesn't need to be entertained. Thank you for the feedback!

            John, your blog is wonderful and thank you for the recommendations. Frenchie and Spring do seem to be a write-off, especially since we'll be travelling to Paris fairly soon. However, the other places sound great and I'm really looking forward to trying them.

            Hychka, thank you for the tip, I've put the Barbes market on our itinerary. It sounds like it'll be fun. I might also check out John's neighbourhood in the18th - I'd like to get out of the touristy areas of Paris as well.

            I have one more question about ordering in restaurants - is it considered rude to ask for a tasting menu that doesn't have pork or alcohol? Perhaps stick to the a la carte menu?

            Thanks to all of you for the advice, its much appreciated!

            1. re: bumblebee_tdot

              "Barbes market on our itinerary. It sounds like it'll be fun. I might also check out John's neighbourhood in the18th" Depending on how you define them, they're all adjacent - Barbes to Chateau Rouge to Ornano to Poteau/Duhesme.

              1. re: bumblebee_tdot

                It's not rude to ask. But it's not rude either to tell you that it cannot happen (though I'm sure it's not a problem in general).

                1. re: souphie

                  "Perhaps stick to the a la carte menu?"
                  That doesn't guarantee there wasn't red wine or cognac or whatever in the sauce. I think like Soup I'd just be clear no pork or alcohol please. The only things I can't have (after 4 PM) are xanthines (coffee, tea, chocolate etc) and I simply ask if a certain dessert has any.