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
There's always the down-market but still delightful option of a creperie, located all over the city though you can find specific recommendations here on Chowhound.
We've done the picnic lunch option, picking up some local cheeses, fresh bread and a half-bottle of wine. And some small dessert items from a patisserie.
Depending on the restaurant, you may be able order just a smaller meal. On our last trip to Paris, we had a very relaxing lunch at Rotisserie d'en Face; daughter and husband ordered a main course only, and I ordered a first course and a cheese plate. It was delicious and didn't take hours (we asked them to serve everything at the same time, not in courses).
Forgot two light-eats spots -- Le Nimrod, a buzzy bistrot/cafe with outdoor tables and good selection of wines by the glass, sandwiches, salads (near the Bon Marche); oyster bar on the small street on the north side of the Marche St. Germain, leading to the bd. St. Germain, in the 6ieme; L'Ecume on the Marche St. Honore, shellfish near the Louvre; the bar at Willi's Wine Bar (near the Palais Royale). Bon appetit!
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.
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.
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.
My husband and I eat French "fast food" such as falafel at Moaz http://www.maozusa.com/restaurants/locations/paris; Greek or Turk sandwiches; the salad buffet at Caldo Fredo on rue Montorguiel; salad and panini at Les Anges Gourmands on rue Rochechouart http://www.tripadvisor.fr/Restaurant_.... 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.
Warning: serous thread hijack.
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.