I understand. You don’t want to hear English in your restaurant experiences in Paris, or for that matter in Nice or Lille but you still want to communicate. How do you do it? Now for me, if I hear English, or for that matter Japanese, it means I’ve fallen into a place listed in some guidebook I’m not aware of or recommended on some insider Japanese blog (someone should clue me into what they are, as long as they are not totally written in kanji’s).
So, here are Talbott’s five simple to understand, but difficult to follow, rules:
1. Go someplace very new. Pick up A Nous Paris at a Metro station on Tuesday morning or Figaroscope at your friendly news-stand on Wednesdays: then go to whatever is the highest rated new place reviewed - right away.
2. Go someplace out of the way, either in a weird part of the city or outside. By weird, I mean places like behind the Gares du Nord and de l’Est (La Bulle); by outside, I mean either just across the city line (l’Idee or Georgeon) or a short train/RER ride (Les Mangolias or l’Escarbille) away.
3. Go to places not in the food guides, written up in Gourmet, etc, (like Bigarrade or Quai-Quai), which gives you a window of sometimes almost a year after they’ve opened. You may fear that you’re taking a chance, but trust the food-focused blogs in French and English and international websites such as eGullet.com.
4. Eat at lunch or at dinner when the Parisians dine (after 9 PM, rather than 7:30 PM when Americans and Japanese tourists eat;) almost every place is less expensive and easier to get into, except if it caters to the banking/businessmen crowd.
5. Finally communication. Brazen it out in Franglais; it’s not that hard. If you think about it, you can probably already read enough French, Italian or Spanish or even Portuguese to understand headlines and while your high school romance language classes emphasized vocabulary not conversation, if you sit there and appear to be trying to comprehend, the wait-staff will repeat their questions or information until you ”get” it.
My favorites this week include:
Closed Saturday lunch and Sundays.
Menus at 45 (lunch) and 55 € (dinner)
Closed Saturday lunch, Sunday and Monday night
A la carte about 25-35 €
Closed Saturday lunch, Sunday night and Mondays
Menu-carte 36, a la carte: firsts 21 €, mains 22 and desserts 8€.
Closed Saturdays and Sundays
A la carte about 30-40 €
52, ave de la Porte de Villiers in Levallois-Perret (Metro : Porte de Champerret)
T : 01.41.05.05.35
Closed Sunday lunch and Mondays
A la carte about 30-40 €
T : 01 48 72 47 43
Closed Saturday lunch, Sundays and Mondays
Menus = 36, 48, 78 €.
74 quai des Orfèvres, 1st, (Metro : Pont Neuf)
T :01 46 33 69 75
Closed Sunday and Mondays
Lunch formula 17, menu 35 €
*Originally published in 2008