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Feb 7, 2011 07:44 AM

1 Night in Paris - 2 young foodies

I am going to Paris for 1 night (I know it isn't enough) with my boyfriend. We are 22 years old and looking for a great restaurant for the night. Unfortunately, while we are foodies, we are really picky and french food isn't our favourite. We are staying in the Latin Quarter and we are looking for something that is moderately priced, good buzz and a place where other twentysomethings go. We are willing to travel by subway if it is worth it but somewhere closeby is preferred. Because we are picky, I would love if I could read a menu beforehand. We are going in 1 week so I guess it cannot be anywhere that needs a reservation a long time in advance. We are open to most other types of food. I can speak French so I do not need a place with English menus. I would appreciate any help! Thanks to anyone who takes the time to respond!

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  1. "we are foodies, we are really picky and french food isn't our favourite."

    Could you give us more info on how you define yourselves as foodies here? Thanx.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      Doesn't "foodie" indicate willingness to try different things? A picky "foodie" to me sounds like - well - not a "foodie." Then again, self-designating oneself as a "foodie" already sets off red flags.

      1. re: uhockey

        "Doesn't "foodie" indicate willingness to try different things?"

        That's what I thought. Like, I am hetero but I don't like the opposite sex.

    2. You speak French, but don't like French food?! How about Scottish food?

      There are two McDonalds in that area. 20 somethings and teens. Very popular too. Get the McCordon Bleu.

      You're so picky that don't like French food and yet you're foodie? I think that's an oxymoron.

      1 Reply
      1. re: foodiemahoodie

        There is a McCordon Bleu? Why has that not caught on stateside?
        I still remember being 18 and taking a class trip to Paris - went to a McDonalds just to see if they really called the Quarter Pounder a "Royale with Cheese" like they suggested in Pulp Fiction. Sure enough!

        My return trip in two months will contain no McDonalds action, though I may need to take a picture of this McCordon Bleu for posterity.

      2. More alarm bells going off: I have seen many non-native but fluent speakers felled in their tracks when confronting a menu in French. Most menu words are not covered in formal French classes but rather encountered in kitchens and dining rooms where French food is preparted and enjoyed.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mangeur

          My family is from Paris (they haven't been there in a while, which I why I am writing for food suggestions here) so I am actually quite capable of reading French menus. Thanks.

        2. Hi all,
          I didn't think I would be met with such grief and sarcasm. I apologize, I thought I could get just get some restaurant suggestions that weren't French but I guess I have asked too much. I consider a foodie to be someone who cares about food, cares about the ingredients used, how fresh they are, etc. Just because French food is not our favourite I would not think would classify us as non-foodies. I wrote on here for restaurant suggestions, so if you have any then could you please share. Thanks.

          18 Replies
          1. re: A.S.K.

            I would ask a slightly different question. Where have you eaten French restaurant food? In France/Paris or in another country?

            IMO I find the ersatz French food served in many countries isn't good and at times is such a pastiche of a great cuisine it seems to be a travesty to call it French food. If this is the case then you could benefit from trying it at its source. In Paris you also benefit from being able to try a whole range of different styles of French cooking, it is a very broad cuisine so lots of variety, from the hearty country fare through to the highly refined three star menus.

            Can you really dislike everything from a French kitchen?

            1. re: PhilD

              Hi Phil,
              I have had it in Paris before, and other than that I am from Toronto so mostly there but also New York and London. It is not that I dislike it but I prefer other cuisines. I am open to French influences but am just looking for a restaurant suggestion for dinner that isn't French food. I can't imagine this is asking a lot in a city like Paris.

              1. re: A.S.K.

                My thoughts are to try and do three things:

                1. First and most obviously try North African lots of good choice and IMO one of the few non-French cuisines to try in Paris (esp as Asian in Canada is so good),

                2. Next I would try and get into one of the more international places, try Frenchie, chef worked in NYC and for Jamie Oliver so lots of non-French influences despite the name, also try Yam'tcha, i have not been but it has great reviews, and then there is Le Chateaubriand, often disliked by many because it is far from traditional French, in my mind more like the leading edge Mugaritz in the Basque part of Spain.

                3. Then I would take is to try some of the new wave of French chefs and so head to somewhere like Jadis, it goes back to the roots of French cooking and brings them into this century.

                1. re: PhilD

                  Greatly appreciate your suggestions. I will look into all of these. Thanks for taking the time to reply!

                2. re: A.S.K.

                  You don't like "French food"? That's like someone saying they don't like Canadian food. "French food" includes: steak frites, roasted chicken, roasted fish, and steamed mussels. Pork roast, ratatouille, and apple pie. Ham and cheese sandwich, grilled tuna steak, and sausages. You can't find something you like in that list? From Brittany and Normandy, to the Alps, to the Pyrenees, through Provence, to the Mediterranean, French food ranges as much as American does from coast to coast. Do you know what "French food" is?

                  1. re: foreverhungry

                    "You don't like "French food"?" - that isn't what they said, the OP actually said "french food isn't our favourite". I think that is quite different.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      "french food isn't our favourite"
                      Tthe OP would not have said that if he/she liked French food. When you say something is not your favorite, it certainly does not mean it is your second or third of 10th favorite.
                      And better clarity always helps one get better advice.

                      1. re: Parigi

                        Just trying to put some balance back, I thought a lot of the posts were quite rude.

                        Are we becoming too conservative as a board after all classic/traditional French in terms places like Regalade, CLJ, Josephine, Le Cinq, etc seem to dominate? I quite like trying a classic or two, but they are "not my favourite", however they are always in the selections when I visit, but my preferences are probably more avant-garde.

                        1. re: PhilD

                          I agree, PhilD, but I also agree with forever hungry. A.S.K., I'm sorry some people kind of jumped down your throat but I understand why. Everyone has the right to their own preferences, but you seemed to dismiss French cuisine out of hand. Dismissing anything so roundly isn't a very tenable position, and when it's a national cuisine of such repute as France's, well...

                          I'm American and I've been in France for over 5 years now. Coming from NY, with Flushing, Sunset Park, etc. etc. I'm always on the hunt for decent non-French cuisine. But you can find that in most any major urban area. What is harder to find, outside of France, is good, modern French cooking! (Not to mention quality French ingredients).

                          Sure, Paris has good North African, Lebanese, Sri Lankan, Viet & Lao, but those are often warped to a greater or lesser degree for French palates. So why not do yourself the favor and, you know, do when as in Rome? ;)

                          1. re: grandin

                            .....but they are originally from France "My family is from Paris", seems slightly odd, even ironic, that lots of non-French people are being so critical of their likes and dis-likes.

                            1. re: PhilD

                              The whole request does not make much sense. The OP wants to eat well in Paris, likes fresh ingredients, but does not like French food. As though - as others have pointed out - there were a generic French cuisine encompassing Brittany, Burgundy, Landes, Provence, southwest.

                              And if French food not being the OP's "favorite" is an example, "My family is from Paris" could mean anything.

                              1. re: Parigi

                                I was quite precise in my wording.

                                But ignore the Paris/France bit for a second. Would we expect people to be so hard on someone if they said I am going to Beijing and Chinese food is not my favourite, please recommend some interesting places that sell fresh ingredient driven places?

                                1. re: PhilD

                                  Isn't the confusion from the use of the word "foodie" in the OP? If the f word (far uglier than another one I can think of) hadn't been employed, nobody would have minded.

                                  1. re: vielleanglaise

                                    As a "fellow" foodie I also have likes and dislikes - don't we all?

                                    Not really worth debating this anymore - I suspect this was A.S.K's first and last post after the welcome they received.

                                  2. re: PhilD

                                    Phil, of course you are always more than articulate.

                                    "Would we expect people to be so hard on someone if they said I am going to Beijing and Chinese food is not my favourite, please recommend some interesting places that sell fresh ingredient driven places"

                                    The request would have been just as ridiculous.

                                    1. re: Parigi

                                      The problem is not about dismissing a type of food. It is perfectly okay to dismiss French cooking (if there is such a thing that can be precisely defined as that).

                                      The problem is about dismissing French (or Chinese or Inuit) cooking and still calling oneself a 'foodie'.

                                      The word is already silly enough without the need for adding up more on top of it...

                                2. re: PhilD

                                  PhildD - I can understand why some thought I was overly critical, and I apologize if that's how it came across. But, again, it's like someone saying "I don't like American food". There is so much varied cooking across the country, and very good representatives of just about any American style can be found in most major cities. Ditto with Paris. I have spent a lot of time in Haute Savoie with family there. It's hard to imagine anyone saying they don't like that style of cooking - roasted chicken, rabbit, braised pork, baked fish, lots of seasonal vegetables. Just like the traditional cooking styles in most European countries - simple but seasonal and fresh ingredients, simple cooking styles. And that can easily be found in many restaurants. In different regions of France, I've had meals with as broad a range as would be found across the US. So how can one say one doesn't like "French cooking", when there are many different styles of French cooking. It resembles Italian in some parts, German in others, and Spanish in yet others. To say you don't like French cooking is to an extent saying you don't like European cooking, because given the range of climates and people in France, it probably represents the range of European cooking as a whole better than any other country.

                                  If the OP really meant "The dishes in the big traditional Parisian restaurants are not my favorite", then that's what they should have said, and that has more meaning.

                                3. re: grandin

                                  Hi Grandin and Chowhounders!

                                  Background: I am a born and bred New Yorker (age 34), speak no French (but learning eagerly via Youtube, lol) and wondering where to go with my two elderly parents for our first 3-day trip to Paris in the beginning of May. We are staying near the Tuilleries Metro station to make it easy for my folks to get around, and I am not sure if they can handle very much Metro travel since it probably involves traversing lots of stairs, but we are fine with walking and hopping off the double decker bus.

                                  Goal: We eat anything, and would love the experience of "whatever you just can't get in NYC" - even something banal to Parisians, such as details on where to go and at what time, for a piping hot baguette fresh from the oven, would be much appreciated!

                                  In NYC, the steak frites, coq au vin, mussels, ratatouille from mid-level French restaurants were good but not great (Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecôte, Tout Va Bien, La Sirene, La Petite Auberge). Should we order these items in Paris - are they that much better? I thought they would be marvelously different? Since it's our first time, we want to stick with (stereotypically) classic, traditional or contemporary Parisian/French fare - will do North African on the next trip.

                                  Where would you recommend within walking distance of the Tuilleries Metro stop (or a quick hop and skip via Metro from the Tuilleries stop) for:

                                  (1) bakeries (and what are your specific favorite items there);
                                  (2) souvenirs (I'm thinking macaroons should keep during the flight back to NYC?);
                                  (3) breakfast/ lunch/ dinner within walking distance of the tourist sites or Versailles (although Pre Verre, Josephine Chez Dumonet, Le Cinq are tentatives);
                                  (4) in-flight meal (what would you pack to eat for the 7 hour flight back if you want to avoid airplane food)?

                                  Thank you very much in advance!!

                  2. The Latin Quarter is full of Greek places which charge very little. And, there's a very good Chinese place called Le Canton. We enjoyed Italian on Mabillon. Otherwise I think Phil's advice about African food is sound.

                    3 Replies
                      1. re: Busk

                        As a rule of thumb there are only two places to eat döner kebabs (sandwich grec), either in Turkey (or Greece) or a short walk from a hostelry where you have consumed far too much beer!

                        1. re: PhilD

                          ...on a baguette, with the fries on top, white and red sauce...