Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > France >
Mar 26, 2013 08:13 AM

Solo Dining in Paris, Reservations Needed?

I'm traveling alone to Paris in April. I've scanned the boards and see that reservations are recommended at many restaurants and bistros, but will places make room for a single diner sans reservation? I often eat at the bar of my favorite restaurants without a reservation. Is this common in Paris?

I'm staying in the 4th Arr. Any recommendations for solo dining would also be welcomed. I'm looking for casual, moderately priced restaurants/bistros, specializing in regional French cuisine.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Good places are full at evenings midweek and not to mention weekends, many places in my opinion don't have bars, and it is probably more typical in the bistro style "elbow to elbow" that you are after . From my past expiriences a reservation for dinner is a must, either solo or not. Of course here and there you might find an open side spot, especially if you are outside of rush hours, early at the start of service or towards the end, but this even quite risky to count on for the solo diner.
    Lunch might be a different story, but i preffered even reserving for that, why not being on the safe side ? All cases i aimed for specific places,took transportation and effort to get there, so would be a shame to be dissappointed cause no place.. Paris is so popular all year round, and good places are really packed so better to reserve in advance even for the bar.

    1. I eat alone quite a lot and have never encountered trouble reserving for one; and yes for numerous reasons you should.

      1. Why don't you want to make a reservation? Is there a downside to making one? Reservations in Paris are always recommended, restaurant staff love them, appreciate them, even if you just walk in and reserve the day or afternoon before. In the countryside, many restaurants buy their day's food based on their reservation list!

        Bar dining is quite uncommon in Paris.

        1. Yes, you should reserve. You cana lways cancel if you need to do that.

          Dining solo is quite different in France than in US. Solo diners are not relegated to the table behind the kitchen door (or worse). You may find yourself being treated like royalty!

          1. Actually, it just dawned on me that many restaurants in Paris will seat you at a larger table with another party. Robert & Louise in the 4th is one of them, I can't think of others, it escapes me, but there are several that do this pro forma in Paris. L'Epi Dupin (7th) is another, but it's very touristy. Famous endive tarte is quite good, though.

            4 Replies
            1. re: lemarais

              "many restaurants in Paris will seat you at a larger table with another party."
              There are "common" tables at Afaria, Violin d'Ingres; counters at Cantine de Troquet, Les Cocottes, Spring; bar seating at a lot of places.

              1. re: John Talbott

                Dans Les Landes also hast two large communal tables inside and at least one outside if weather permits.

              2. re: lemarais

                Not certain I would agree with "many" - there are a few but most seat people at their own tables albeit so close to the next one you could be a t a single table.

                1. re: PhilD

                  How about "several"? Lol. English, having 5 times more words than French, can do this to folks!

                  P.S. Le Pain Quotidien (Belgian chain) (Breakfast & Lunch only) specializes in a large communal table.