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Looking for néo-bistrots with a non-francophile French girl

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I'm going to Paris with my friend (who is French) for four days. I'm a New Yorker, but both of us live in Marseille.

She wants to do all these American style things, which is kind of... awkward. Breakfast in America or something like that? Um.. pass? Also she's all excited to go to l'As du Falafel... which I've been to. Hopefully I can talk her out of both options.

In any case, I know she won't want to do like magret de canard, steak frites, etc etc. So I tried coming up with a list of options that could satisfy us both. Interesting stuff you can't find elsewhere, but inventive, not something she'll have eaten a million times. We haven't made any reservations yet, and I'm afraid it may be too late for places like Frenchie that are usually booked for a month. But, we'll always try calling the day of to see if anyone cancelled. We're leaving... like in two days. I didn't really plan this very well obviously.

In any case - any feedback on this (admittedly huge) list of possibilities that I've put together for us?

Frenchie (even though we won't get in..)
L'Avant Goût
Le Baratin
Le Pré Verre
Le Gaigne
L'Avant Comptoir
Les Itinéraires
Les Papilles
Le Chateaubriand
Le Beurre Noisette (I figured if we can't get into Afaria this could be our second choice... or should it be the other way around?)
L'Épi Dupin
Bistrot Paul Bert

Thanks for any help!

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  1. Many of your picks are good, ranging from good to quite good. Am thinking
    Le Baratin
    Le Pré Verre
    Le Gaigne
    L'Avant Comptoir
    Les Itinéraires
    Les Papilles
    Le Chateaubriand

    Don't even go near the Chateaubriand with your girlfriend. She may be ok at Les Papilles.

    Wait, we are going about this all wrong. We should reason by bearing in mind a person who appreciates food, a person like you, not a person like your friend. Thinking about where you should eat that she would tolerate is not good planning.

    How about this? Think only about where you want to eat. If she wants to come eat with you, fine. If not, life is not worth following a food-gulper.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      Or as our pediatrician used to preach, no child will starve to death if presented with nutritious food meal after meal, day after day.

      1. re: Parigi

        Agree. Sounds like our poster is set up for a frustrating trip unless poster forces the issue.

        Imagine going to Paris and being forced to hit places like Breakfast in America, Chez Leon, Indiana Cafe and the "famous" cafes. Might as well give the money you'd spend on the TGV ticket and hotels to an SDF in your neighborhood in Marseilles.

        1. re: Busk


      2. How about the wine bar at Spring?

        1. All your suggestions are "franco" food places.

          Ze Kitchen Gallerie is not that "franco", so you could try there.

          do Arab food, do Viet food... maybe some other ethnic food ?

          1. I enjoyed reading your post about your Marseille recs, and I totally understand traveling with a friend who doesn't share your taste in food, but still you want to have a good time with your friend.

            I think a number of places on your post are good ideas - wine bars with interesting food. Also the suggestion of Spring's Wine Bar and perhaps KGB rather than Ze Kitchen, since you had mentioned in your Marseille post that you are on a chowbudget.

            Another place that comes to mind is Les Cocottes - particularly because it doesn't take reservations and is the chef's take on an American diner which I think might work to bridge both your desires.

            And oh yes. ethnic options- how do you and your friend feel about this?

            1. One word of advice, stay away from Derrière. 10/10 for atmosphere, but a total wash for everything else. If anything, grab a drink there just to see the Narnia-like room behind an armoir shpeel - c'est tout!

              1. You might try the bar at Fish, 62 rue de Seine.