Paris, 1st arr.
I tried searching on the term in my post, and variations, but it didn't work. I'm at the Renaissance Vendome on Rue du Mont Thabor, in the 1st. Just got here. Fourth time in Paris but first time in 10 years. Lost the #$%@%&* guidebook to Parisian cafes, but am determined to roll with the punches.
It's 7 p.m. and I'm so hungry I could chew my arm off. I want to find a place nearby (within five or six blocks) that's informal and will take a walk-in. I am looking for French cuisine, not anything especially new or different, or Middle Eastern, or fusion. Just a damn good French meal.
I'm not price sensitive, but it's been a long and irritating day and I don't want to dress up. So I'm figuring a cafe or a brasserie.
Chowhound, when I visited in 2003 you gave me great ideas including a one-star near Napoleon's Tomb that I still rave about. So I hope someone's online in the next half hour or 40 minutes before hunger takes over and makes me do something I might regret, like eat at the hotel.
p.s.: If I'm asking the impossible with respect to timing, I completely understand. We're here for six nights, and I'm up for recommendations of cafes and restaurants up to two stars.
I love great food, especially the food here. I love the French, even though I only speak about six words of the language. He or she who makes me a good meal sits at the right hand of God, and somehow the French I've met have always gotten that sense about me so I've only very, very rarely had even a hint of rudeness here. Much, much, much more often the complete opposite. (Whoever says that a s'vouplais, a bonjour or bonsoir, a merci, and an au revoir go a long way here, is absolutely right. Also to other Americans here for the first time: Don't just start babbling in English. Ask politely: "parlez-vous francaise?" They appreciate it. A little humility goes an awfully long way in this country.)
Anyway, folks, it's been a long day and I sure hope someone will mosey on along pretty soon here and tell me where I can get a meal that will do what a good meal is supposed to do: improve my mood.
Went to L'Ardoise, and they served a hungry man well. The classic snails in pastry, then some sort of goat pot roast with gigantic white asparagus (?). Half a bottle of good vin ordinaire red. Ended with fresh fruit and a sweet white dessert wine. I wasn't in a mood to ask too many questions or write anything down, but did have a chuckle at the Americans next to me who wanted "chardonnay," and the Americans next to them who were vegans, poor things.
Within 5-6 blocks there's Bistro Volnay, sister restaurant Les Jalles, Pinxo....
If you can walk a little further, try Regalade St. Honore. They're always packed so call ahead. Got lucky once and walked in for lunch.
123 Rue Saint-Honoré 75001 Paris, France
+33 1 42 21 92 40
Use Paris by Mouth map here and zoom into your area for further recs: