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Neighborhood bistros, lively brasseries, intimate cafés & Michelin-starred restaurants. With so many restaurants in Paris, choosing where to eat – and making the best choices – can be a bit confusing. But it's a good kind of confusing, if you know what we mean.
For us, staging our dinner reservations in Paris to meet our mood and appetite is almost a second job.
But here's the good news — you are welcome to use our hard-earned experience (well…actually it was fun) gained from eating in scores of Paris bistros, brasseries, starred-restaurants and cafés for nearly twenty years.
That's right, we're about to share all of our restaurants recommendations and Insiders tips.
Speaking of tips, here's another one. It's important to call the restaurant to confirm on the day of your reservation. (Or have your concierge call for you). Many restaurants in Paris require this. If you don't confirm, you may lose your reservation. We've seen it happen! And, yes, this means usually you should have reservations.
One final tip, about tips. By law the gratuity is always included on Paris restaurant bills. So you don't need to figure out what the tip should be. Just pay the total on the bottom.
By the way, the new edition of our Paris Gourmet Food eGuide includes 148 recommended restaurants. That's in addition to the Insider skinny on the foods of France, speciality stores in Paris, lists of the best fromageries, boulangeries, chocolatiers and a lot more.
They define the culinary landscape of the city and are a historical link to the past.
Bistros, brasseries & cafés have been around for centuries, reaching back to 1686 when Procope served their first bowl of French onion soup. Today they remain the staple of French dining and are found in every quartier of the city.
Some of our most memorable restaurant experiences have been in those where the chef/owner is in the kitchen.
We explore a few stellar chef restaurants in the City of Food, some of which opened over twenty years ago, changing the city's culinary scene forever. They still offer gourmet meals at affordable prices.
A leisurely long lunch or dinner in a top-rated Paris restaurant will give you a taste of the good life.
There will be a bevy of servers, all silently tending to your every culinary need. The setting will be opulent yet calming and the food will be inspirational.
But, stuffy? Pas du tout. Not at all. We've always been struck by the care and attention the staff affords us and how everyone seems to be excited about serving such great food.
The Michelin Red Guide to restaurants is the only guide book that matters to the top chefs of France. We know, we've asked them.
During our many visits to Paris, and especially for our new book about one-star Michelin restaurants in France called Chasing Stars, we've eaten at a fair number of restaurants that have been awarded the highest accolades by Michelin.
The French are a little different from us, so knowing some basic Parisian restaurant etiquette will make you feel more comfortable when dining in the City of Food. For instance…
Waiters in restaurants in Paris do not fawn over their customers. Don't mistake this for poor service, it's just another fascinating cultural difference. Most restaurants in Paris are small, so if you need the server just catch her eye — never snap your fingers.
Space is tight in central Paris and you'll find that many restaurants use up every bit of their precious space. You may find yourself side-by-side with other diners. Enjoy yourself, but try not to poke them with your fork!
Garçon is not the name of your server. That means "boy" in French. Instead call your server either Monsieur, Madame or Mademoiselle. (Tip: Mademoiselle refers to a young woman, so if you want to make a friend, opt for Mademoiselle !)
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