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Mar 23, 2011 12:32 AM

dirt cheap eats- less than 8 euros

we're traveling to paris this july for 3 weeks and i was wondering what some dirt cheap eating options are. we do plan on the occasional respectable french meal, but given our grad student budget, we're also looking for some meal options, aside from boulangerie specials, that are under 8 euros. i'm thinking something along the lines of student dining halls, church basement fundraisers, flunch-like cafeterias, etc. my husband eats copious amounts of food and so the picnic thing can only go so far with him. the last time we went, we ate a lot of falafel, banh mi, and crepes. what else is there?

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  1. Hm.... quite a challenge, I'd say. But here's a discussion in which you're likely to find some good suggestions like the Foyer de la Madeleine:

    In case you're staying in an appartement, eat as much as you can 'at home'.

    1. Stop by any butcher or traiteur and pick up a roasted chicken -- that, a loaf of bread, and an inexpensive bottle of wine should leave you with enough left over from 16E to think about dessert.

      1. Crepes and falafel are still good options. You might also look into noodles: Happy Nouilles Szechuan beef noodle soup is good and (I think) 7.50E a bowl. There's also a good Japanese noodle place whose name I can't remember, unfortunately, it's on rue Sainte-Anne with a hundred others - across the street from Higuma but I like it better, and focusing on udon.

        I am also a grad student, so I have been seeking out low-budget options for a while now - and I don't want to tell you it can't be done, but have pretty much given up. I have found the "cheap" (under 20 a person for the menu, which is not really cheap) options to be mostly very disappointing: mediocre food, too few servers to do their jobs properly. My advice would be to eat in as much as possible (what's your living situation going to be? apartment I hope?) and just focus as much of your resources as possible on those respectable dinners.

        3 Replies
        1. re: LiaM

          Pho can be had for 6 to 8 € depending on the size and place (in the 13th, Belleville, etc.). Rarely more than 8 €.
          A bento in the Japanese snack shops around rue Sainte-Anne/rue des Petits-Champs is 8 to 10 € (Juji-Ya, Ace Bento, Momonoki…).
          Noodle bars in the same neighborhood: Naniwa-Ya, Kintaro, Kunitoraya, Higuma, etc.
          The udon place, by the way, is Kunitoraya. Udon noodles are hand-made by the chef.

          For a few more euro (12) at lunchtime you can have the incredibly delicious donburi at Isse - Bar à Sakés, rue de Richelieu.

          1. re: Ptipois

            Pho Banh Cuon 14
            129 Avenue de Choisy, 13ème Arr.
            Métro: Tolbiac

            Soupe Pho Speciale Complete is €7 for the large size. Vietnamese beers are around €1.50.

            I suppose if you really wanted to do Paris on the cheap and didn't care that much about food, you could just get stuff from Picard and heat it up. Surprisingly good for what it is (frozen) but it'd be a real shame to miss out on one of the big attractions of the city.

            1. re: Ptipois

              Thanks for the name of Kunitoraya! I kind of figured someone else would have it.

          2. There is a great banh mi place on 7 rue Volta. The huge sandwich is around 5 euro.

            Otherwise, if you are not doing the cooking, a meal budgeted at 8 euro is not a reasonable budget, I'm afraid.
            Please understand I am not trying to make things difficult for you and please please don't wage a class struggle against me. I am just talking Paris economy.

            You can find non-home meals - not a lot - for 8 euro. Except for the banh mi above, they won't be any good. I asume that if you write to a food forum, you are interested in good food and not just in the natural function of hunger-mechanism. I would feel bad to steer you to mediocre food - like flunch cafetarias - that costs less than 8 euro. Please don't go to those flunch places. Follow the others' advice and get cooked dishes from good butchers. There are quite current threads on the good poulet rôti places in Paris which you can easily look up.

            And could you possibly rebudget your meal cost so that when you are in Paris you don't miss out on one of its best features - food ?

            1. Some university restos: These used to be open to the public, space available and at a slighter higher cost.

              19 Replies
              1. re: mangeur

                It's possible to eat for the price, and even to eat well...but not to eat "French" food.

                In more popularneighbourhoods you'll find a lot of immigrant workers who live in cheap hotels in rooms without kitchens or cooking facilities, and take many of their meals out in restaurants that cater to the different ethnic groups. I'm surrounded by many of these no star hotels. in the neighbourhood it's possible to eat great moussaka, chourba, mafi, durum, yoghurt soup, and god knows how many other exotic specialities in as many different restaurants and within your budget. I put the word in quotation marks as the decor in these joints - neon, plastic tables, a flatscreen TV generally showing a football match - might not correspond to the image one could have of a Parisian restaurant.

                It would be a shame to come to Paris and not enjoy at least some of the city's "traditional" culinary heritage, but if money's really tight and you prefer to spend it on seeing the sights, this may be an answer.

                1. re: vielleanglaise

                  "great moussaka, chourba, mafi, durum, yoghurt soup, and god knows how many other exotic specialities in as many different restaurants and within your budget. I put the word in quotation marks as the decor in these joints - neon, plastic tables, a flatscreen TV generally showing a football match"

                  OK I'll bite. Literally. Sounds like my kinda places. Esp the football match part. Addresses please please.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    When I was poor(er) these kind of joints made Paris a nicer place.

                    In my little bit of the 10th (fbg St Denis) there's Urfu Durum which has been discussed here before. There's also another Durum place, around number 9 on the street, from which Salami, the proprietor of Urfa Durum (I love to namedrop), is an exile. This place is just next door to the Turkish soup kitchen again which has already been discussed here. Going up the street, there's another Turkish place on the right - I don't know what it's called - but there's a hot plate in the window where the mijote a kind of pepper and beef stew that they serve in...Durum wraps. It's here that they serve the moussaka. This is Turkish Moussaka, which is more like the Lebanese version of the dish than the Greek. They also have a daily plat du jour.
                    Going up on the same side of the street, there's Pizza Grill Istanbul where they serve a mean Caviar d'Aubergine, great keebab, and Turkish Pide.
                    Up the street, at 74, there's a similar place, Gunes, but where you eat the pide standing. Gunes also bake the best Turkish flatbread, but only at around seven at night.

                    On the same side of the street going up to bd de Magenta, there's a Mauritius shop where they sell fruit, spices, DVD's and really good lunches (5 euros). You can get it to go or sit down in the tiny basement restaurant.

                    Just off the Fbg St Denis, rue de Petits Ecuries aboiut opposite the New Morning is an African place where they serve Mafi...

                    I could go on, but in this area and in many parts of Paris there are loads of places like this catering to workers living in the cheapest rentals The traditional dirt cheap bistro d'antan served the same purpose, only for a population of immigrants from provincial France.

                    1. re: vielleanglaise

                      Merci, Vieille. I only know - and love - Urfa Dürüm. And also the Turkish place one block west of the extremely hygiene-challenged Wenzhou supermarket (rue de l'Echiquier?). Wonderful meat bread and cheese bread which the patron bakes at all hours. In my cultural insensitivity, I call them Turkish nems.
                      Will check them out this Sunday. A short walk away from my 9th...

                      1. re: Parigi

                        I know the place. It is Echiquier. They also do good "simit" - sesame breakfast breads.

                        1. re: vielleanglaise

                          Nothing beats the first spring day of Paris. On this wonderfully warm day, we had lunch at Urfa Dürüm. From the 9th, we walked down rue Richer at early lunch time, braving the fresh bread spell pouring out of all the Kosher lunch places. Unbearable.

                          Later side-saddling on those weird stools at Urfa Dürüm, had excellent lamb - slightly crunncy outside, tender inside, slightly peppery, marvelously seasoned, on made-to-order bread.
                          Afterwards the coffee smell from the Brûlerie next door sucked us in there ilke the hardest drug.

                          Onto the other Dürüm place that Vieille talked about, embarrassing my husband the whole way asking every person on the street: "are you Vieille?"
                          Then a strange thing happened. A big crowd poured out of a building and buoyed us along and deposited us... where? We "landed" on place des Petites Ecuries before it downed on us it was the end of Friday prayer.

                          Could not find the Moussaka addres per Vieille's elliptical description. Is the Moussaka place north or south of Derya? Please, less chiaroscuro, more chiaro.

                          And btw how is Derya?

                          Lastly I have indeedd tried the Simit in the Turkish boulangerie-lunch place one block west of the extremely hygiene-challenged Wenzhou supermarket on rue de l'Echiquier. Unfortunately, unlike the Turkish cheese and meat "nems" which are made fresh at all hours in that special oven by the door, the Simit I had was reheated bread, dried out inside and out. I'll give it another chance next time...

                          Merci encore, Vieille. You always have the funkiest recs.

                          1. re: Parigi

                            Thank you!

                            Did you by any chance see a young woman pushing a green stroller with a baby in it accompanied by an older couple buying takeout at Urfa Durum? They are all members of my posse.

                            I'll try and a street address for the "moussaka" place

                            1. re: vielleanglaise

                              "a young woman pushing a green stroller with a baby in it accompanied by an older couple buying takeout"

                              Sorriest I noticed nothing outside my plate.
                              Wait, what about Derya?

                              1. re: Parigi

                                I don't know if they have moussaka at Deyra. I've ordered the okra there, which was very good.

                                'm worried I've got your expectations up. We're not talking moussaka with lamb and bechamel and feta here. This is basically a "gratin" of aubergine like you find in lebanese restaurants but that shares the same name as greek moussaka, or at least what I grew up calling moussaka.

                                1. re: vielleanglaise

                                  "I'm worried I've got your expectations up. We're not talking....."

                                  This is always a risk, but more often off-trail recs from respected posters lead us to wonderful experiences that we would most often never find on our own.

                                  Lead on! (you and you and you and you and you, who know food and the secrets of the various 'hoods.)

                                  1. re: vielleanglaise

                                    "'m worried I've got your expectations up."

                                    Not at all. I realize every time I go to Urfa Dürüm, the whole street gives me the right kind of food vibes. I just need a sherpa like you and Pti.

                                  2. re: Parigi

                                    Derya is quite good. I like the looks of the place too.

                                      1. re: Parigi

                                        If you're after "funky rec's", the "baklavatheque" or "baklavateria" on the passage des Petites Ecuries should be up you street. They only sell baklava. 10 different kinds of baklava, but only baklava. There was a big Turkish or Kurdish holiday last week, and at the moment they have these little round cakes, made of semolina, I think, and topped with an almond. The lady behind the counter whose hesitant French doesn't stretch beyond primary baklava related interactions, shakes her head in a polite, but unbudging way when a customer asks for more than his fair share of these friandises.

                                        1. re: vielleanglaise

                                          hahaha, just happened to me. We actually ended up there, buoyed by the Friday prayer crowd. Our converseation consisted of my saying bonjour and her saying Baklava. The universe is Baklava, and more Baklava.

                                          1. re: vielleanglaise

                                            Oh, this sounds like a fabulous place! I want to buy a ticket to Paris just for the baklava.


                                            P.S. Little semolina pastries topped with an almond are called "basboosa" at the Egyptian place in my neighborhood; I've also seen the name "harissa" (not the spicy red sauce). They're delightful.

                                  3. re: Parigi

                                    Can't add to the description above, but we checked out Urfu Durum today and had the lamb brochettes as well. Very pleasant place, simple but good food. Thanks for the recommendation and reports!

                              2. re: vielleanglaise

                                This becomes another "save to favorites" thread. Many thanks.

                            2. re: vielleanglaise

                              Me, too, please! I'd especially love to know the names of places with good mafi and good yogurt soup. The food of the ex-Colonies is a particular passion of mine.