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Mar 22, 2012 05:57 AM

Lighter lunches in Paris

Thanks to all on this board who have already helped me form my culinary plan for Paris. Now one more question. I have read much about fantastic two and three hour lunches, but is there fabulous food to be had in Paris for lunch that will still add to the experience but not ruin an 8:00 dinner? I would be interested in general strategy as well as particular restaurant recommendations. A girl can only eat so much, even in France!

Thanks in advance. Joanne

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  1. The best is to rent an apartment and cook at home for at least one meal a day, so that you can completely control your food intake.
    Or get food from the fabulous markets in the morning and then picnic.

    1. My husband and I eat French "fast food" such as falafel at Moaz; Greek or Turk sandwiches; the salad buffet at Caldo Fredo on rue Montorguiel; salad and panini at Les Anges Gourmands on rue Rochechouart These are just indications of the kind of simple and fresh lighter and faster lunch options.

      Next trip we plan to try Ravioli Chinois Nord-Est at 11 rue Civiale near the Belleville Metro as well as Parigi's dim sum lady at marche Saint Quentin and Vielleanglais's shop near the passage Petites Ecuries.

      Read the Chow threads on Chinese and Viet food in Paris for a ideas and specifics. Or look for small shops that are packed with local workers at lunch time.

      4 Replies
      1. re: mangeur

        Warning: serous thread hijack.

        Chère Mangeur,
        The dimsum lady's dimsum is quite good, but it won't be better than Tong Palace on Clement.

        "Vielleanglais's shop near the passage Petites Ecuries"

        Went there for lunch today. Can't help but compare Bulma with Angéla's boui-boui on rue de Volta.

        - The Bulma interior is very charming. Angéla doesn't even have an interior, which is why I only go there in warm months, when I can take the sandwich to picnic in nearby lovely Jardin Anne Frank.
        Bulma is nearer the center of the earth, oops, I mean chez moi.

        - Angéla's meats are all better seasoned. At Bulma I could not taste any cacauette or citronelle which are the indicated ingredients.
        - Angéla's baguette is much better. Baguette is very important in banh mi.
        - Angéla makes banh mi hot.
        - Angéla makes a special hot sauce on the side.
        - Angéla makes a better bubble tea, selon moi.

        Since I have undying faith in Vieille's recs, I chalk this up to Bulma's one off-day allowance.

        Vieille, here is a juicy tidbit that your tapioca miniature junkie (and his parents) will appreciate: Do you know what Boba (波霸, the Chinese nickname for bubble tea) really means? Tit monster. Am not making this up. And don't ask me why. I have no idea. We can all compete to have the wildest guesses.

        1. re: Parigi

          "Tong Palace on Clement" -- Couldn't find any sign of this via google. Parigi??

          It appears that New Nioullaville closed last summer, after somewhat of a downhill slide. So much for dim sum. Maybe one day I'll try your lady at the marché St. Quentin.

          1. re: RandyB

            Tong Palace = roughly between 9th and 10th on south side of the street. We prefer Good Luck on north side, 7th and 8th.

            1. re: mangeur

              I like the Cha Siu Bao of Good Luck. I would lunch at Tong then go get CSB takeout down the street at Good Luck.

      2. A relatively new category is high-end Cafes like Cafe Constant, or chez Flottes, where you can order a salad etc. Also, the luxe hotels have bars with limited menus, we like the Meurice bar for a sandwich etc.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Oakglen

          Our strategy is to snack whenever we're hungry during the day and usually take our snack to some lovely green space (which can be found all over the city) and eat on a bench. We have things like wonderful sandwiches from artisanal boulaneries, great pastries, crepes, a slab of pate from one of the many great little bouchier shops and fresh baquette, chocolates, ice cream etc. as well as stopping for a leisurely coffee on a busy sidewalk to watch the world go by for a while (and use the bathroom!) And occasionally we have a salad or croque at a cafe. This way we get to enjoy all the delicious taste treats of the city and still have room for a lovely dinner out somewhere in the evening.

        2. It's becoming more and more common for gourmet food shops to squeeze in a handful of tables for a light meal /snack of in-house specialities. Fabulous way to sample regional or ethnic food. A few examples out of many. Comptoir Baulois on the rue Godot de Mauroy (just 5 mins away from both la Madeleine and the grands magasins/ Opéra shopping district), specializes in the cuisine of the Atlantic side of Brittany/ Pays du Loire and, for dessert, the ultra-rich and chocolatey, fondant baulois. Comptoir de Tunisie on the rue Richelieu near the Palais Royal, yummy North African brik etc and pastries. Ya Lanai on the hyper-cutesy rue Dupetit-Thouars in the Haut-Marais/ quartier Temple near République, Thai nosh, trendy artsy clientele, and a lovely terrace for sunny days. A Loghja on the rue Montaigne Sainte-Geneviève near the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont in the Latin Quarter, Corsican wine and food, really really pleasant.The very popular and well known Da Rosa on the rue Buci off the boulevard Saint-Germain, mostly Spanish but also French and Italian grub, usually a long wait for a table at peak times. Café Epicerie, rue Sambre-et-Meuse in the 10th (in a very picturesque and hip quartier that may seem way off the beaten track for most tourists but is firmly on the to-do list of trendy Parisiens), mostly French with a touch of North African.

          The cantine at the Merci concept store on the boulevard Beaumarchais in the 3rd is quite the place for ladies who lunch (lightly). Surprisingly good grub too.

          1. If price is not an issue, you can't beat Le Comptoir for lunch, near the Odeon. Farm-sourced products, great food, buzzy atmosphere, no reservations but if you arrive a bit early, like 12:30, or a bit late, like 13:3o, the wait is miniscule. Salads and small plates are generous, lettuces I never saw anywhere. You will kiss the hand of Gilles Camdebourde for providing such deliciousness.