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Paris with non-foodie husband, what to do?

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My husband and I are going to Paris in March. I am starting my planning and looking for restaurant. My dilemma is that my husband is extremely picky - steak, potatoes, chicken breast, cheese, bread, that's about it. I am the exact opposite and really wants to try the best restaurants. I know that any restaurants with tasting menu or set menu is probably out of the question. But would it be ok at other restaurants if my husband just gets something small, and have lots of wine, while I ate my way through the best Paris has to offer? What about lone diners? Would I have a problem there? I would probably go by myself if there are restaurants that I really want to try.

P.S. My husband is completely ok with just sitting there and watch me eat. So no need to worry about him.

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  1. Steack frites (steak with fries), poulet roti (roasted chicken), cheese, and bread are mainstays on nearly every menu in the city.

    It would be in very, very poor taste for the two of you to go to a restaurant and him to not order a meal.

    The good news is that menus are posted outside the door of every restaurant by law -- thus making it easy for you to see if they have something he'll eat. (and it's perfectly fine to make a reservation during the day for that evening).

    1. Sunshine is right. "It would be in very, very poor taste for the two of you to go to a restaurant and him to not order a meal."
      The only places I can think of where you can both enjoy yourselves would be Chez l'Ami Jean or Joséphine chez Dumonet. He can order a big slab or meat, while you order à la carte or, in the case of CLJ, eat your way through a multi-course tasting menu to glory.
      If my husband, however picky, were to stick to his picky ways even in Paris restaurants, I would , well, I would consider other options. Like the cute guy, any cute guy, at neighboring tables.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Parigi

        I hate to disagree with dear friends but the statement that "It would be in very, very poor taste for the two of you to go to a restaurant and him to not order a meal" is a bit harsh. Often Colette will order one or two dishes while I have the full deal and friends have been known to want to go out and sit, sip and enjoy watching us eat, explaining to the waitstaff that they are under the weather.
        But I also agree that "meat and potatoes" are easily found.

        1. re: John Talbott

          Do you think it might make a difference if the meal is lunch rather than dinner. I only eat dinner, so I can't judge, but I'm thinking it could be easier for a companion to eat less at lunch, when the tab is usually more modest.

          1. re: Nancy S.

            No, it's not appropriate for two people to come in and take a table, but only one of them to eat (nor for two to share only one main dish -- it's totally okay to split an appetizer/entree or a dessert -- but you don't share a main)

            As below -- if you both order a beverage (adult or not) and at least a course or two, all is good, but one person eating and the other one simply occupying space is bad form.

          2. re: John Talbott

            One or two dishes is completely fine -- "My husband is completely ok with just sitting there and watch me eat." -- not so much.

        2. You should have few problems at the high-end cafes, brasseries and hotel restaurants, especially at midday. If you do bring your husband along just to watch you eat, please tell the wait staff that you are Canadian.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Oakglen

            Pourquoi?

          2. Thanks to everyone for your feedback so far. Perhaps a point of clarification - I think my post was a bit misleading when I said 'something small'. If we go out for a meal at a restaurant I want to try, my husband would be ordering something, like a main course or a couple of appetizers. But I would always order 3 or 4 courses. My husband wouldn't just 'sit there'. I was thinking 'small' in a comparative sense.

            I can understand that it may be more acceptable at lunch rather than dinner. Perhaps I would limit the high-end restaurants to lunch only.

            How about lone diners? Would I have a problem? There are some restaurants that I really would like to try. In the past I have also basically finished two meals when we visited restaurants with tasting or set menus.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cecilia

              No problem with a lone diner -- and no problem as long as he orders *something*

              1. re: cecilia

                I'm not sure what the problem is.
                " If we go out for a meal at a restaurant I want to try, my husband would be ordering something, like a main course or a couple of appetizers. But I would always order 3 or 4 courses. My husband wouldn't just 'sit there'. I was thinking 'small' in a comparative sense." No problem.

                "I can understand that it may be more acceptable at lunch rather than dinner. Perhaps I would limit the high-end restaurants to lunch only." Stop worrying.

                "How about lone diners? Would I have a problem? "
                Are you perhaps from NYC, where "lone diners" taking up a whole table for two are sinners of the first order?
                I eat alone 50% of the time; I reserve for myself and clearly state that I will be alone and I have never ever in 55 years, had a problem at lunch or dinner; at high, middle or low end places.

              2. Get a new husband?

                1. Of all the places in the world where I one could eat with a person with these preferences, I think France would be the easiest. As mentioned above, most places are going to have some sort of meat and potatoes option, or roast chicken of some sort. I think you'll find it fairly easy - you can look at menus online at many places to get an idea whether or not they'll be exciting enough for you and pedestrian enough for him. Best of luck.

                  1. I agree with John - never a problem dining solo.

                    Recently had an unusual experience at a small trendy place where my reservation was early (not my choice). For the first hour I was the ONLY diner - at first it was a little weird with the staff assuring me others were coming.
                    Then I decided that having the room to myself made me feel like a Queen and told them so.
                    I got a good laugh from the usually staid waiters when others started to arrive and I said sadly "I'm not a Queen anymore" :)

                    1. He likes cheese and bread? You could have some lovely lunches just by picking up some fabulous breads and cheeses and a bottle of wine that you buy from shops that you see while walking around. Sometimes the weather in March is warm and sunny and you could even sit outside. There is so, so much good food all over Paris. So much to choose from to enjoy a wonderful meal even if you do not have a kitchen while you are there.