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Aug 22, 2013 02:46 AM

Paris 18e ?

I'll be staying in the 18e, the closest flat I could find to Le Marais to suit my needs. Anyone want to suggest a local place or two - I'm usually looking for regionally typical, homestyle, relaxed, a few great choices to just ease into and go back once or twice. If it's somewhere they don't turn their nose up at you not knowing what things are (even though I speak French, I find Parisians a bit snooty if you don't know what a Blah Blah in actual recipe terms! Am I being unfair?)

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  1. A number of us live or rent and dine in the 18th; try to search here for Montmartre to begin the process then come back and tell us what appeals.
    I'll wager a cookie that your top hits will be the Table d'Eugene and Jeanne B.

    1. " I find Parisians a bit snooty if you don't know what a Blah Blah in actual recipe terms! Am I being unfair?)"
      Yes, unfair and utterly prejudiced.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Parigi

        +1. Maybe it's not so much snooty as a little stressed since the server has to take time out while s/he is very busy to try to explain a particular cut of beef to you or something else completely esoteric - in English. Me, I don't even ask if I don't know what something is on a menu. 1. I eat everything and am very fortunate to have no allergies - yet, and 2. I love a surprise on a plate.

        As John said, try a search first. Also, the 18th is huge - perhaps you can tell us what your nearest Metro stop is?

          1. re: Calam1ty

            If St Ambroise is the metro stop, it is not in the 18e but in the 11e, much nearer to the Marais that you wished for.

            1. re: PBSF

              Now my face is very red. I have no idea what made me think it was the 18e. Yes, it's the 11e. Shall I start again then ... what's good in the 11e that's local and friendly and has home-style food. Not looking for Michelin star or even bib. Well, maybe once or twice!

              1. re: Calam1ty

                I think you should start a new post, less oonfusion.

                1. re: PBSF

                  Thanks PB will do. Oh dear. But all useful so far regardless.

          2. re: VaPaula

            Also they can tell me in French, just tell me! Is this beef in a tomato based sauce or roasted with garlic? Is it a stew or a dry meat or ....?

            1. re: Calam1ty

              Busy servers tend to expect diners to be educated and know the basics. I expect they start to get condescending and snooty when they feel they have to explain the basics and/or are interrogated about dishes that are generally understood.

              I find that in France there is an unwritten service contract which gets the best out of the staff. Diners are expected to know what thy want and to be able to order quickly and when asked. As others have said the waiters are busy, staffing levels are lower than North America (there are minimum wages and penalty rates for shifts and overtime) and so the service model is different - it's fast, professional, efficient and generally not overly engaging. If you want a long dialogue and education about food Paris is going to be struggle - it's sensible to go in forearmed with some basic knowledge.

              1. re: PhilD

                Thanks for this suggestion, Phil. I'm starting here then!

          3. re: Parigi

            Aw so sorry. OK let me explain. I do have food allergies but I also like to make sure something sounds worthwhile since every mouthful counts - I gain weight easily. Sooo if I go into a bakery and ask what a nice looking cake is and they say it's a Belle Marie (making that up) I still have no idea what's in it. So I say but what is a Belle Marie and they say it's a Belle Marie and so it goes. - It seems to me that someone could say it's choux pastry with cream and mango or something like that since that takes only a few more words. :) I shall instead practise the words for the things I have an allergy to!
            Sorry to sound prejudiced. Was reporting the facts.

          4. I recommend that you download Patricia Wells' French food glossary. You can keep it on your device or print it out. It will answer your menu questions without taking your server's time.

            Since you are looking for regionally typical, homestyle and relaxed, I wouldn't recommend Table d'Eugene to you.

            Enjoy the 18th. It's a great neighborhood.

            1. I always check out the menu before I go anywhere, even in the US or other English-speaking countries. Check it online and search for any items that you don't recognize. It may not even be a matter of language, it may just be that you have never eaten that particular fish or that it is called something else where you live or you are not familiar with that preparation.

              I look things up and sometimes I have to look up the English translation to find out what the thing really is! I'm sure you have asked questions about a dish in an English-speaking restaurant.

              I have to do this because there is a long list of things that I can't/don't eat but it also fun to get excited about the meal before the visit.

              The first time that I visited Paris, my French was very tourist- based, so I printed out a menu reader. It was pretty useful overall but not for detailed questions.

              4 Replies
              1. re: t19103

                "Check it online"
                I'd remind folks that is maybe not rare but not usual here to have menus on line vs in the US. Of course as one of my pals does, you can "audition" the carte in their window.

                1. re: John Talbott

                  This is especially true for many of the smaller and interesting bistros that are market-driven, whose menu changes every week, or even more frequent.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    Changing every week is good as long as I have a clue what sort of thing they like to serve. This is culturally interesting. In Montreal, I was confused by the wines. It was white, red, rose yet no name like Shiraz or Merlot or Chablis etc. Then a Montreal friend said that they don't need to know that - they just need to know the region of the wine. I would never have thought of that and felt humbled by my poor knowledge. So the same is true with food. It's all new to me so if they say the Pork is from a certain region, I won't be any the wiser...

                2. re: t19103

                  Yes, I often appreciate a sample menu because it gives me an idea of the level of food or the simplicity/complexity and often whether this is innovative or traditional or whatever. It's nice to know if the restaurant has a speciality too - is there one must-eat dish to sample? And yes I ask in English-speaking restaurants too. One thing I will do when going to a new place is say what would you recommend if I want to try something very typical? They're usually quite excited to tell me and bring me things, even sometimes smaller portions to try several items. Not that I haven't been disappointed. It's quite surprising what some cultures prize a certain dish that just doesn't do it for my palate. Other times I can be introduced to something quite spectacular that I would otherwise never have known about.