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Solo Dining in Paris, Reservations Needed?

waic Mar 26, 2013 08:13 AM

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. o
    oferl Mar 26, 2013 09:00 AM

    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. John Talbott Mar 26, 2013 09:42 AM

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

      1. l
        lemarais Mar 27, 2013 08:39 AM

        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. ChefJune Mar 27, 2013 08:53 AM

          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. l
            lemarais Mar 27, 2013 09:11 AM

            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
              John Talbott Mar 27, 2013 10:30 AM

              "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
                jock Mar 27, 2013 10:32 AM

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

              2. re: lemarais
                PhilD Mar 27, 2013 03:06 PM

                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
                  lemarais Mar 28, 2013 06:52 AM

                  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.

              3. j
                jock Mar 27, 2013 09:36 AM

                One should always reserve anywhere in the world. Unless, of course, they do not take reservations. It is a courtesy to the restaurant and their appreciation will stand you in good stead.

                1. w
                  waic Mar 28, 2013 10:39 AM

                  This was most helpful. I'll be sure to make my reservations in advance. Looking forward to some delicious food when I'm in town.

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