Shamefully unprepared for a week in Paris!
I don't know how this happened, but somehow my boyfriend and I booked a lovely 2 week trip to France (1 week in Paris, 1 week in Provence - I'll post that request on another board!) 6 months ago, and we've not locked down a single, solitary food destination! This is extremely unusual for us - as an example, when we last traveled (to Spain) I had every meal and snack locked down in an excel spreadsheet, with plenty of "alternates." I hang my head in shame.
We're looking for any and all suggestions, from street vendors to nicer dinners (maybe try to keep the cap at $100-$150pp?) We love everything, and don't shy away from foie, marrow, escargot or other regional delicacies. We're of course looking for French cuisine, but are very open to other options - I've heard that Moroccan and Korean food there is actually pretty amazing! We'll be there from April 18th to the 25th, so any help/guidance would be MUCH appreciated.
I went to Paris unprepared a year and a half ago. I didn't know where to go and CH'ers kept recommending places to me that needed reservations two weeks in advance. We weren't out to spend a lot of money on high-end places (except for our anniversary night).
We just winged it in the end. We were staying in the Latin Quarter and often ventured far during the day and when we came back to our hotel at night, we would often just want to stay close to "home". We checked out our guidebooks some nights (which led us to Rotisserie Du Beaujalais one night and Atelier Maitre Albert another. One night we went to the touristy Sergent Recreuter on my Dad's recommendation. One night we also did the touristy thing and went to La Coupole.
There were other nights we just winged it. We just walked around the blocks surrounding our hotel and just picked a place. Mostly it was French restaurants. One night we did cous couse.
You know what? We learned it's really hard to eat a bad meal in Paris. Some places we ate at were better than others, but every meal we ate was tasty and well prepared and we regret none of the places we went to. I think if you blindfolded yourself, spun around a few times, and pointed, you would probably have a good meal.
Most of the time for lunch we would just grab a crepe from a street vendor. I thought it was the coolest thing to grab a crepe on the streets of Paris the same way I'd grab a hot dog at home on the streets of NY.
Enjoy your trip!
You can certainly wing it in Paris with decent results. As in many very visited cities there are restaurants who coast on their reputation or those that are average but overpriced. Many of the better places that have outstanding food night in and out for reasonable prices are often require a reservation. If you're in Paris on the 18th you should still be able to reserve at many places.
Some of my favorites are La fountaine de mars, Le Timbre, La Bloucard, Casse Noisette. Another great resource is the Paris foodie blog Paris By Mouth http://parisbymouth.com/
I'm with PattyC...I've had some bad luck winging it. It IS most certainly possible to get bad food in Paris, believe me, even when one is fairly knowledgeable (i.e. knows to avoid obvious tourist traps). In my humble opinion it's even a greater shame in Paris, as there is SO much wonderful food to be had! A little research goes a long way. A simple search of some recent threads here should give you a fine start.