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Guide to Eating in Paris Restaurants and Bistros

Although France is famous for its wines, this country has deep traditions and a rich history for fine French cuisine with specialities from many different regions and gastronomy is taken very seriously, especially in Paris where you will find some of the finest chefs in the World.

You will find that there are thousands of different cafes and restaurants in Paris alone, which will range from the small traditional bistro such as the Allard Bistro but there are also restaurants that range right up to top table and haute cuisine.

Even at a small traditional bistro style restaurant like the Boeuf sur le Toit or at a fancy restaurant setting such as the Train Bleu, the quality of food will be of the utmost of importance and what people come back for, time after time, but many places have to be booked prior and some places require reservations even weeks in advance to ensure you can get a table!

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Eating in Paris Restaurants

Choosing the type of restaurant and type of cuisine can be a minefield, especially in Paris where there are so many exceptional places to eat out and these can range in price quite dramatically from only a few Euros up to hundreds of Euros per person.

When it comes to cuisine, you have choices from all over the world such as the Blue Elephant which serves Thai dishes in beautiful surroundings, the American Pizza place called Chicago Pizza Pie Factory, Brasilian food at the Brasil Tropical Cabaret and restaurant, Le Curieux Spaghetti Bar for true Italian delights, the Ozu restaurant serving authentic Japanese food, and much more to tempt those taste buds.

Yet obviously, it is the French food that really stands out in so many different restaurants in Paris and this can range from the typical Bistro style restaurant like Le Repaire de Cartouche or the Viaduc Café through to restaurants in unusual surroundings like L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, 1970's style Korova, the 1970's style family restaurant Apollo or one that most people have heard of Altitude 95 in the Eiffel Tower.

Obviously it depends upon your budget, but the finest way of dining in Paris is with Haute cuisine, which literally means 'high cooking' in French.  This type of meal is characterised by elaborate preparations and equally elaborate presentations of the food, which are always accompanied by extensive wine cellars, although the actual type of food will vary from the classic French regional delicacies to contemporary fusion cuisine.

So if you want to splash out for that special occasion, then just some of the Haute cuisine restaurants include the Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower, Le Grande Cascade close to the Longchamps horse racing, L'Arpege, Taillevent, Lasserre, Le Grand Vefour and La Tour d'Argent, which is probably the most famous of all restaurants in France.  All of these are Michelin star rated with a price tag to match, so you could be paying anything upwards of 250 Euros per person, but even the most expensive restaurants have a cheaper option for a lunchtime compared to the cost for an evening meal.

Now forgetting Haute cuisine, you will find that most restaurants in Paris serving French cuisine have a 'Menu du Jour' or a set menu of the day and this normally means the most reasonably priced meals, changing frequently sometimes daily depending upon what fresh produce is available.

If you want to eat breakfast out, then it is highly unlikely to be in a restaurant, unless you are staying at a hotel, but it is more likely to be at a Patisserie, cafe or Tea Salon where you can get croissants, bread, fillings such as cold meats and cheeses, pastries and a nice cup of coffee.  You will be able to find numerous places such as Angelina's or Laduree, where you can either eat there or purchase items to take away to sit and eat in one of the beautiful gardens that are dotted around Paris.  But it is worth noting that many establishments add an additional charge to your bill if you decide to sit outside on their terrace, rather than at the bar or a table inside.

There are numerous different cafés in Paris such as les Cocottes, Café Marly with a great view of The Louvre museum or The Hard Rock Café, which are great places for lunch when many of the shops are closed for at least two hours between around Noon and 2pm.

The bistros in Paris are easy to find whilst walking around this beautiful city and include places such as the Benoit near the Pompidou centre or le Soleil de Grenelle, which is close to the Eiffel Tower and Les Invalides.

As for the evening, meals are usually served from around 7.30pm and we would like to point out that Parisians do tend to dress up for an evening meal, so it is a good idea to check with restaurant as to what the dress code will be, because if you turn up in Jeans and the attire is a jacket and tie, you will not be allowed in, even if you have booked!

Also, in most restaurants it is expected that you have a glass of wine or two with your meal, as it is the French way of life.  But please do bear in mind that when you are in the UK, asking for a table wine is like getting the worst possible, whereas in Paris and in fact virtually all of France you will find that the table wines can be just as expensive and in a lot of cases far more so than other wines listed as they are of excellent quality.

There are numerous different options for an evening meal like a cosy and intimate setting at Au Bon Accueil, or perhaps you have been out partying at a nightclub and need something to eat in the early hours of the morning and in this instance, Au Pied de Cochon is a fantastic option that is open 24/7 which has never closed since opening!

Or, perhaps you would prefer the friendly atmosphere and the smells of food cooking on a spit at the Atelier Maitre Albert or for a complete contrast why not try the contemporary cuisine at Spoon Food and Wine.

There is always the option of having a drink at one of the bars in Paris either before or after your evening meal and there are many to choose from such as the Bar Hemingway at the Ritz, Willi's Wine Bar or the Moroccan Andy Wahloo and of course there are the cabaret venues where you can enjoy a meal, have a few drinks and watch a cabaret show such as the Cabaret Cirque at the Zebre de Belleville, which is suitable for all the family or the famous and risqué Moulin Rouge.

But if you are still not sure about where to go for your next evening out dining in Paris, then it may be an idea to pick up Le Carnet Gourmand, which is a guide to restaurants in Paris that are registered with the Tourism office and is produced in both French and English free in the tourist offices, some hotels and at the restaurants it lists.

Having over 200 different restaurants listed with what type of cuisine they supply, their opening hours and what types of payment they accept, the guide also covers additional facilities on offer, such as if they are accessible to the handicapped, if they have parking, wine cellars, etc and important to many, they also include a guide to the price for each one as well.

Eating in Paris Restaurants and Bistros
Paris Restaurants

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