Countless books and websites are devoted to Parisian food. So many in fact, that one could get lost for days researching where and what to eat in Paris. It is the food capital of the world, you know. Parisian food may even be one of the main reasons you want to visit the City of Light (or Food – take your pick).
Whether it is a main reason for your visit or not, you will still have to eat while you are there. So, you will need to find food that you want to eat. And, you will want food that keeps you happy on your trip. Besides, who doesn’t like good food??
What do YOU like?
Determining what you like is of utmost importance. For dining and food, apply the same methods as in other parts of Paris with Scott. Ask yourself questions in the planning process and answer them honestly. What do YOU like to eat? What are the foods and types of cooking that YOU enjoy? Also, when thinking about food, figure out how adventurous you are in your dining. Because there will be plenty of opportunities to be adventurous.
Do you like to try new foods? Then this is the city where you can try nearly anything. Tripe is on the menu at a lot of places. So are pig feet in a variety of ways. And, all kinds of seafood and meat products you may have never thought of eating. Like, rays from the ocean, kidneys, brains and other parts of four-legged animals and lots of poultry liver.
Want to try kidneys? Go ahead. Don’t want tripe? I am right there with you. Don’t eat it! Also, do not feel like you must try “interesting” animal parts to have a “real” Parisian experience. There are a lot of other choices out there.
Tried and True?
Maybe you prefer to stick to meat and potatoes? You are in luck! The French love their beef. You will be in the land of “steak frites” (beef steak and French fries). The cuts are slightly different, after all, they are French. But, learning a few words for the right cooking temperature and cuts of meat is about all you need to know. And you can learn those over in Useful Terms.
Do you want Michelin-starred restaurants? They can be mind-blowing and are generally a completely different experience than other restaurants. Dining at places with one or more ★s is kind of an event unto itself. These experiences require time. You may be surprised to learn that not all Michelin-starred restaurants are exorbitantly priced. And, at lunch, you can get outright bargains at some of the “best” restaurants in Paris. Make a reservation and go if this is your dream experience in Paris.
Also keep in mind that super-expensive cuisine and wine may be great. Sure, you can enjoy it. But, you really don’t have to spend a mint in order to have a terrific meals in Paris. Lots of other people feel the same way about Parisian food. And, that is why Paris is such a great place to eat! There are many places to find delicious meals in great settings that will not ruin your budget.
Simple May Be the Way
After visiting many times, and eating at places all over the city, I can honestly say that the food I like is simple. “Simple” does not mean without flavor. To me it means that the dishes are well-prepared, with fresh ingredients and presented with care and attention. For me, that translates into bistros, cafés, brasseries, pastries, traditional baguette sandwiches, pizza and gyros at Saint-Michel – and crêpes!
Bear in mind that cost of food is no indication of the enjoyment you will derive. My most unforgettable meals in Paris have been picnics, bistro dinners and even swilling beer and eating baguettes at the tip of the Vert Gallant Park. I may not recall exactly what the Parisian food was, but the experience with family and friends is what made it special and memorable.
Shove a Pastry In It!
One other very important thing to remember. Don’t get hungry and grumpy while you are in Paris. It will cause stress in your group and make everyone unhappy. Stop in at a mini market and get a candy bar. Or, stop at a boulangerie or patisserie that you are passing and get yourself a treat! Even stop at the nearest crepe stand and choose from the sweet and savory options on offer. It’s Paris, stay happy.
On to the Good Stuff
So, on to the food and drink of Paris. For now, this section of Paris with Scott is kind of organized loosely as partly “kinds of restaurants,” partly specialty shops to buy food and partly “restaurant how to.” A very small glossary of useful terms for dining, eating and shopping rounds out this section. Hopefully, these words will help out as your mouth waters when you are reading a menu or choosing pastries.