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Sep 10, 2012 10:57 AM

Autumn in Paris

I apologize for yet another request for Parisian restaurant recommendations. My husband and I will be there in a week and I could really use some suggestions since we have not researched or picked out anything in particular. We'll be spending about 7 days in Paris, and most of our efforts have gone towards planning the actual itinerary, so the food took a back seat.

Mainly we would like very affordable restaurants, but don't want to sacrifice the quality. We live in NYC, so I'm not sure if I want to try anything ethnic since we have so many great options here. I would think that Algerian cuisine or maybe some Italian spots will be worth a try, to deviate from the French cuisine, otherwise we really want to focus on good French fare.

Is it possible to have a great meal and not have to spend more than $60-70 for two? Or is that a pipe dream nowadays?

Anyway, I'd really appreciate some suggestions of affordable but delicious food options. Also, we are very adventurous, and eat anything and everything minus rodents and roaches.

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  1. "Is it possible to have a great meal and not have to spend more than $60-70 for two? Or is that a pipe dream nowadays?"
    To be direct - it's tough; my meals run 70-110 E a couple (with wine at lunch) for the most part (it's like NYC).
    But before we plunge into the "$60-70 for two" pool it would be helpful to tell us what places here and on the blogs/websites sound like your type of place. Most of us have lists of favorites in that range we'd love to share.
    Mine is:
    36, Rue Condorcet in the 9th (Metro: Anvers)
    Closed Sundays
    3 courses at lunch = 19 E
    31, rue Tiquetonne in the 2nd, (Metro: Etienne Marcel)
    Closed Sundays
    3 courses on the lunch formula = 26 E
    L'Auberge Flora
    44, blvd Richard Lenoir in the 11th, (Metro: Brequet-Sabin)
    Open 7/7
    3 courses a la carte = 30 E.

    "I'm not sure if I want to try anything ethnic since we have so many great options here"
    This is going to get me in trouble, but so be it. If you live in NY or SF, don't even think of eating "ethnic" here; why?

    15 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott

      Add a bit to th budget, an extra $300 on the weeks food budget may be a stretch but will be quickly forgotten and the broader range of options will easily reward. Or go really simple some days,and more expensive others - this lets you get the best fromParid.

      I agree with John if you are from a place with good "ethnic" food Paris is not going to offer great options apart from a few ( definately not all) North African restaurants.

      1. re: PhilD

        I would rather skimp on some days to have a spectacular meal on others. We can do very simple breakfasts and lunches, but I really would like to have a few special meals. Although based on my experience in Spain and Italy, everything tastes incredible, even the really simple meals and tiny restaurants blew us away with the flavors and the exquisite preparation. I don't know if I'm romanticizing Paris, but I feel very confident that we won't encounter bad dining experiences. Is that naive of me? Ironically, I don't think that it's the same with NYC, you can definitely have some very disappointing and mediocre meals.

        1. re: PhilD

          John, thanks for that list. And Phil, I am going to Paris next week, and would love to hear some North African recommendations. My husband and I don't eat red meat, and I'm allergic to shellfish, but we both love Moroccan food and were planning on getting some while there. (We're also looking for a good place for our anniversary dinner, and have gotten some suggestions here based on our dietary restrictions, but nothing we've seen thus far has really lit us up!)

          1. re: Fjordstone

            Atlas, Boulevard St Germain is reliable.

            1. re: PhilD

              "Atlas, Boulevard St Germain is reliable."

              1. re: John Talbott

                Thank you, gentlemen — it looks like a great choice for us!

        2. re: John Talbott

          John, thanks so much! I just needed some reliable options, since we didn't have much time to plan everything out. 3 courses a la cart for $30 is perfect. L'Auberge Flora is definitely intriguing. And thanks so much for the phone numbers and the metro listing! If you want to toss out some more suggestions I would be most happy. I can certainly list some places in NY that I highly enjoyed, but I don't know if that would be of any help.

          As for the international cuisine, I had the same sentiment. There definitely isn't a shortage of various flavors in NY, but french fare is not our regular staple. I really want to focus on the contemporary preparation, especially Parisian. That's why the only other cuisine I would want to try in Paris would be Algerian, being that we don't have many here, and I'm sure that the flavors and the preparation would differ from that of NY. But I have no problem sticking with French, I can't wait!

          1. re: Inthemood

            If you like good North African food, just go to Chez Hamadi, rue Boutebrie, for a great couscous, and believe me you'll be happy that you went.

            L'Atlas is also very good. It is Moroccan, not Algerian. The most remarkable dish there is the couscous grain, made fresh every morning. Chez Hamadi is Tunisian with some Algerian touches.

            For Algerian "dry" couscous with roasted lamb (mechoui), try Wally le Saharien on rue de la Tour-d'Auvergne. But order just that - the dry couscous with mechoui. Nothing else.

            It is of course not true that "ethnic" food is not well represented in Paris, there are many interesting options (and many uninteresting options that get commented far more than they deserve, go figure); but you asked for something specific (thanks for that) and just got two great tips, so let's concentrate on that for the moment.

            1. re: Ptipois

              "For Algerian "dry" couscous with roasted lamb (mechoui), try Wally le Saharien on rue de la Tour-d'Auvergne. But order just that - the dry couscous with mechoui. Nothing else."
              I must respectfully disagree my dear friend - I've known Wally for 25 years and the new place just isn't like what he used to pump out in the 18th. Even the mechoui. I don't know what happened but going over the hill did something.

              1. re: John Talbott

                When was the last time you were there?
                Previously he wasn't in the 18th, he was on the Ile Saint-Louis. He moved to La Tour-d'Auvergne from there.
                My last meal there was a couple of years ago and the dry couscous was still excellent.

                If it has gone downhill since then, well our friend still has Chez Hamadi and that's quite enough.

                1. re: Ptipois

                  Oh not in 4 or 5 years.
                  Sorriest, but he was in the 18th at 4 Rue Aimé Lavy at the Village Kabyle now OJ.
                  "Ce village là est probablement le meilleur ambassadeur de la cuisine kabyle de la capitale. Le couscous est aérien et les autres spécialités du bled aussi savoureuses que là-bas. Accueil charmant de Wally, le maître de céans."

                  1. re: John Talbott

                    I think we are talking about different places. This is not the same Wally, as there is more than one French donkey named Martin. Or if it is the same person owning two restaurants, Le Village Kabyle was not the "previous address" to the one I mentioned.

                    The restaurant named Wally le Saharien (specializing in dry couscous) moved directly from the Ile Saint-Louis (rue Le Regrattier) to its current address in the 9th, where it relocated sometime in the early 00s. I remember that very well.

                    1. re: Ptipois

                      You are correct but Wally's Le Village Kabyle predated that and was our "dry" couscous place in the 1980's.

                      1. re: John Talbott

                        La Mascotte also predated Wally's relocation from the 4th to the 9th but it is also an entirely different restaurant.

          2. re: John Talbott

            thanks for the detailed list John! very good stuff.