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May 16, 2012 10:36 AM

Sunday Night in Paris, including a Vegetarian

Trying to come up with an acceptable Sunday-night option for my family, which includes hubby (likes a variety of choices, but no offal); daughter (adventurous, but likes any type of meat more than seafood or fish); darling but frustrating 17yo vegetarian son, and me, who will eat and enjoys almost anything including offal.

We have options that include vegetarian dishes for our other nights in Paris, but Sunday has me stumped.

I was very interested in the new Semilla, based on great reviews, and we've had drinks but not dinner at Fish (their dinner menu, sans the vegetarian on those trips, didn't appeal). But high-maintenance hubby thought what he saw of the menu seemed too short. Can anyone provide any details on how many entrees and plats Semilla is currently offering on their menu on a given night?

Any suggestions for restaurants on Sunday that would have vegetarian dishes or could accommodate a vegetarian? (We've eaten at Mon Vieil Ami several times, so would rather go somewhere else this trip.)

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  1. Bumping this thread - would love any recommendations for Parisian restaurants where the veggies are the star, or at least, get some serious respect.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      What do you mean by "get serious respect"?

      1. re: Ptipois

        Ah, I think I understand some of the confusion. "Veggies" are vegetables, not vegetarians.

        By serious respect, I mean a menu that features vegetables in interesting and creative ways, to the point that vegetable dishes have a prominent place on the menu, even if the menu is not exclusively vegetarian. Maceo, mentioned below, seems to be a good example.

        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          We are all confused because the thread title distinctly indicates "vegetarian".
          If you are just looking for well respected vegetables, well, every good restaurant has those.

          1. re: Parigi

            Yes, I suppose that was very <<typical American>> of me to blunder into the discussion.

    2. Tried Semilla in April. I think of it as more of a small plates/tapas type place. Food was very good and IMO a bit more interesting than Fish which I also like. Neither will rock your boat but Fish has always been good and reliable and we have returned to Fish on a regular basis for many years. Wife and I are not vegetarians and do not look for vegetarian options so cannot recall how suitable Semillia might be in that regard.

      1. Since suggestions have been slim, would you consider booking at a restaurant that has a broad menu, explaining your needs at that time and also at ordering? I have traveled with a vegetarian who found that he could either order a collections of starters, which are often meatless, or ask that they put together a plate for him of whatever is available. He was always cheerfully accommodated.

        I was eating semi-vegetarian some years ago when we visited Prague in winter, not a good place or time for vegetables. At each of our meals, I asked for as much veg as they could come up with, and even in semi-dives I was delighted with the interesting plates that the kitchens sent out.

        I am assuming that the young man will not delve deep enough to worry about a little meat jus or broth in a vegetable preparation.

        5 Replies
        1. re: mangeur

          I guess that begs a bigger question. I am happy to be an omnivore in Paris, but do vegetarian restaurants exist? Or is that taboo or, at least, a recipe for failure ?

          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            The French traditionally have eaten a diet in which meat/fish/poultry/game play as important a role as the family economics allow. To desire only vegetable based meals seems slightly odd.

            Certainly Alain Passard's L'Arpege fills the bill as being very veggie centric, but it is out of the price range of the average visitor who is looking simply for daily vegetarian fare. Maceo makes a point of having exceptional vegetarian options, but it is not open on Sundays, sadly for the OP.

            If I personally needed to find some vegetarian restaurants in Paris, I think I would ask the staff at any of the Naturalia natural food shops around town who might be better tied into that milieu.

            1. re: mangeur

              Thank you - that is a very helpful answer, and appreciate the suggestion of Maceo. That's exactly the sort of thing I was looking for.

              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                I would generally avoid vegetarian restaurants in Paris. I often thought that was because the are less vegetarians per capita. However, I wonder if the real reason is a lot of restaurants deliver very good vegtable dishes as part of their normal menu. Even CLJ the hardcore meat bistro does some wonderful vegtable of cheese soups. Thus it can be quite easy to select non-meat dishes from and good place - that said I dare not speculate about the source of the stock for sauces and soups...!

                1. re: PhilD

                  Thanks - I am beginning to understand the differences. In the U.S., vegetables are often relegated to the sidelines.

        2. I know I have said this before but with your 'diverse' group how about Chez Janou? My semi-vegetarian daughter had a delicious meal made up of starters that were filling and meatless, we ate well , we all shared the chocolate mouse, had lovely pastis and wine with our dinner. Lots of families, singles, young couples, pretty Parisians, and nice to go to on a Sunday evening when you have been eating 'big' the rest of the trip.We have also gone to l'as du Falafel on a Sunday, again to eat smaller around the 'big' meals of a trip. We sit inside and semi-relax with salads, soup, and felafel. Very filling and fun on a Sunday.. Also, Astier usually has a fish or two on the menu. I haven't seen it talked about in these parts lately but I had a favorite meal there on a Sunday evening, that I still long to have again.

          1. Thanks for all of the responses; we've now been and returned, and can give a report, of sorts, on our "adventures" with our vegetarian son.

            For Sunday night, due to son's travel fatigue, and hubby's desire to eat at Le Reminet, that's where we went. I had made a reservation by email here, including in the email a question as to whether they could accommodate a vegetarian. I never received a response, so I called the restaurant. The person who answered said that he didn't speak English, but when I asked in my faulty French, responded that they only serve meat. So earlier that evening, we went to a cafe with son, who was very happy with a croque madame sans jambon, and who also was happy with an evening to himself while we went to Le Reminet (I had our hotel change the reservation from 4 to 3 people). When we arrived, the waiter was expecting a vegetarian! So it seems they could have accommodated him, if we had only known.

            We had dinner another night at 39V, a new one-star, the menu for which includes one vegetarian item. It was pasta with truffles; I though it looked a bit boring, but son found it tasty. His appetizer (and my husband's), however, was amazing - soft-cooked egg served with a hearty asparagus foam on top. I also had a vegetarian appetizer, very tasty, a cool dark green soup served over goat cheese with fresh peas and watercress on top.

            Third night was at the new restaurant Semilla. They do have one vegetarian main, though son wasn't in the mood for it. He had a green mango and corn salad appetizer, which he loved, followed by ratte potatoes (a side dish); it worked for him.

            Lunch one day was at Willi's Wine Bar, which has the advantage of being close (enough) to the Louvre. Son had a main course of vegetables on top of couscous; he said it was boring. He loved his decadant mocha dessert, though.

            Another day we had a delicious picnic lunch of cheeses from Androuet, fresh bread, foie gras (not eaten by son) and wine.

            And another lunch was that easy-for-vegetarians option, a creperie.

            All in all, vegetarian son's meals turned out fine. One issue we had was that we didn't want to depend on him finding enough appetizers for him to eat at a given restaurant. As a growing 17yo, he doesn't usually like salads, and also doesn't like soups. So while that might work for others of us, not so much for him. Touristy restaurants tended to have more vegetarian options, but we don't usually go to that type of restaurant.

            In terms of a little meat broth in a dish, if my son knows it's there, he won't eat it. He does eat cheeses (he will eat rennet). I have been occasionally guilty of the sin of omission, as in not informing him that French onion soup (which he loves) customarily has beef broth. I figure it's his job to inquire, not mine.

            I felt that, overall, the vegetables (entrees or side dishes) that we had while in Paris were fresh, seasonal, tasty and often the dishes were inventive.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Lexma90

              Great report, excellent handling of your situations and love your attitude toward omissions!

              1. re: Lexma90

                "All in all, vegetarian son's meals turned out fine. One issue we had was that we didn't want to depend on him finding enough appetizers for him to eat at a given restaurant. As a growing 17yo, he doesn't usually like salads, and also doesn't like soups. So while that might work for others of us, not so much for him. Touristy restaurants tended to have more vegetarian options, but we don't usually go to that type of restaurant."

                You sum up the issue excellently.