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Oct 8, 2010 11:48 AM

Les Papilles for a vegetarian?

I am finalizing my restaurant list for our upcoming trip to Paris. Most nights we will have our 2 daughters with us aged 20 & 23. The 20 year old is a vegetarian although she does eat fish. Was thinking of Les Papilles for one of our dinners but the more I read the more I am concerned. They have a set menu for dinner that seems a bit meat heavy and I am wondering if we should skip it or if they can make adjustments for her. Please advise.

We plan a lunch at Le Reminet and dinners at Josephine Chez Dumonet and Chez L'Ami Jean. Filling in other lunches and dinners with other recommended cafes, etc. but nothing final yet.

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  1. In my mind (I refuse to write IMHO), the veggies at Saturne, by my lights, beat out all but Yamashita's and I'll bet they will leave the fish and/or meat off.

    I said to my dining partner yesterday, a contributor here, that if I were vegetarian I'd go here/ there.

    Pix of the heirloom tomatoes, leeks, carrots, beets, etc., can be found at John Talbott's Paris.

    1 Reply
    1. re: John Talbott

      Thank you John for those recommendations. We are looking into places that specialize in vegetarian. But I really want to try Les Papilles after reading so many positive comments here and elsewhere. Do you know if they would adapt their menu for a vegetarian or allow for substitutions? Thank you.

    2. Anybody out there who can answer the question? I want to make reservations at Les Papilles but want to know if they can accommodate vegetarians. Thank you!

      9 Replies
      1. re: kbrote

        in my memory you only get one menu for all (market menu). however i can remember that we asked all the pork based ingredients to be removed and it was not a problem for the chef. (that evening its was a casserole like a beef bourguignon) If you are a vegetarian, it would be better to call them and ask about the current list of ingredients and dishes. all depends on how often they change their market menu. It is a great lively small place, you even stand up and choose your own bottle of wine directly from their "wine wall". Everybody is very friendly, the service is really present and knowledgeable. I am not sure though if this is a great place when you have a lot of restrictions for example as you have just one choice. and this is the beauty of it! And i can imagine that the choice of protein can be tricky and a gamble! just call and ask them if they would accomodate you. otherwise you might end up with nothing to eat or just some bread to nibble on.. keep us posted.

        1. re: kbrote

          "Anybody out there who can answer the question? I want to make reservations at Les Papilles but want to know if they can accommodate vegetarians. "

          The best is for you to ask the question yourself when you reserve.
          But a more important question is, - even if it can accommodate a vegetarian, - whether it is the best use of such a meat-priority bistro. If it is ok for your vegetarian friend to eat a limited choice of non-outstanding veg, then by all means.

          1. re: kbrote

            Les Papilles is one of our favorite spots. We usually schedule our first night's dinner there. That said, I would find it a difficult address for a true vegetarian.

            The first course is always a garnished soup which almost always has crumbled bacon in it. It should be easy for them to set up your plate without this.

            The second course is always a rustic meat dish. (Twice, I believe,we were served fish as the main course.) The jus in these dishes is a very rich meat based stock. It would be impossible for a real vegetarian to ignore the meatiness of these tureens. I'm not sure what kind of substitution the kitchen would be able to cobble up for you. Every element of the meal is preconceived and executed.

            However, depending on the appetite of your vegetarian, one can easily make a meal of soup (seconds are provided), bread, perhaps an a la carte expanded cheese course with small green salad and dessert. The meal is priced by one's choice of courses.

            My only other suggestion is to call Bertrand and tell him your situation and see if he comes up with a meal concept that would suit your daughter. Or e-mail him if it is easier.

            01 43 25 20 79
            mail : les


            1. re: mangeur

              "The first course is always a garnished soup which almost always has crumbled bacon in it. It should be easy for them to set up your plate without this." - assuming of course that the base stock of the soup is meat free as often a good soup will have a meat based stock at its heart.

              One of the dangers for vegetarians in France is that classic cooking often revolves around the depth and richness of the stock pots that provide the bases of sauces etc. The main element of the dish may not be meaty or fishy but the depth of flavour could quite easily come from a very well structured meat/poultry/fish stock.

              1. re: PhilD

                Absolutely. I was hoping that it might fall under "don't ask, don't tell"... I would hazard the opinion that unless one goes to a dedicated vegetarian restaurant, avoiding the "veal fond" trap would be close to impossible.

                1. re: mangeur

                  ....and interesting that so few seem to understand.

                  1. re: PhilD

                    Luckily my daughter is not opposed to eating things that have a meat, chicken or fish stock as I understand much of French cooking involves these. She primarily avoids red meat. Occasionally eats chicken and loves fish. I am hoping I can contact Les Papilles and ask for a fish dish and possibly an extra serving of veggies for her.

                    1. re: kbrote

                      I was able to make a reservation via email. Bertrand said the vegetarian will not be a problem as they will have a fish dish available. He was extremely prompt replying to my email too.

                      1. re: kbrote

                        You will find that Bertrand is one of the sweetest people you will even meet. Enjoy!