How to choose a Restaurant in Paris?
French cuisine is world renowned and choosing a restaurant in Paris, France is never easy. You could spend hours exploring quaint sidewalk eateries, coffee houses, bistros, brasseries, street vendors, 5-star dining establishments, and still be hard-pressed on where to eat and drink. Even though French cuisine dominates the landscape, the City of Lights is also the host to cuisine from around the globe.
Italian, Caribbean, Japaneses, Indian, Chinese, Mexican, and Thai food abounds. To make your choices easier, menus can be found online or posted in a window to peruse on a walk. However at some point, you will probably choose a day to have a picnic in the park - like the locals. Be sure to find out where to buy food. Here are some more tips to keep in mind when dining out.
Location, Location, Location
Narrow your choices by searching for a restaurant near the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Sainte-Chapelle, Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Musée d'Orsay, Notre Dame Cathedral, Disneyland Paris, and many other hot spots. Your hotel concierge can be a valuable local resource to the sights and sounds around the area when you travel. The best way to discover your next favorite bistro in France is to walk the streets and smell the aroma in the air.
It's great to get a sense of what people are doing and where they're going. Maybe a sporting event, concert, or a fashion show could be happening around the next corner. Learn to live the life of a Parisian, breakaway from the tourist trap. Try to see life through the eyes of the locals and get ingrained into their culture and lifestyle. When you do that, you will likely spot a special place to grab a bite that you will remember for the rest of your life.
What's the Occasion?
Celebrating a holiday, birthday, wedding, first date, or just your regularly scheduled sustenance, should be a factor in your decision. Weighing location, ambiance, atmosphere, customer service, cost, and reputation according to your particular circumstance will impact your dining options. A very important event, even a long deserved vacation in France, requires a little bit of extra attention to assure a satisfying experience for you and your guests. Other times, you can just wing it.
Dogs are Allowed
Don't be surprised when you spot a dog in a restaurant in Paris; they are permitted by local ordinances. It's a dog-friendly town, where adorable French Poodles like to be social. After being cooped up in a tiny apartment for hours, dog owners like to take their fashionably dressed pups on a long walk, explore the neighborhood, and visit a local watering hole... or two! So, if you have a dog with you, don't worry! Choosing where to get some chow is no problem. If this offends you, ask the hostess if dogs are allowed before you are seated.
Social Media Reviews
When it comes to travel in France, social media apps can be priceless and insightful. From your phone app store, download Snapchat, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram. For example, within Snapchat you'll find the Snap Map which shows public snapschats all around the metro area. Occasionally you'll see short video clips of people celebrating around a table full of their favorite dishes. You can catch a glimpse of what it is like inside a few of the 13,000 local places to dine. Personal recommendations and reviews are an excellent way to uncover the good, bad, and the downright ugly.
Timing is Everything
At fine dining establishments, local people gather to eat at the same time - 12:30 for lunch and 8 p.m. for dinner. It's not uncommon to see lines form in front before opening. If you don't want to make a reservation, avoid this time period. Don't worry, you won't go hungry! Just beware, if a dining room is empty, it may not be very popular, or it might be too expensive. This could be a good time to try a street vendor. Remember to check hours of operation because many are closed on Sunday and Monday and make reservations if you want to go during prime-time.
If kicking back with a glass of Beaujolais or Champagne is your desire, there are numerous trendy wine bars to quench your thirst. A scan of the carefully curated list by the owner will inform you whether the prices are affordable. Be sure to look for a bar that has charcuterie, cheese plates, and crusty bread on the menu too. By using this quick technique, you can easily find a place to relax and sample some local libations on your own. However, you can also hire a professional guide to navigate the many different choices. You may want to find out how a tasting event works beforehand, or how much it costs for wine tasting in advance. Of course, you will want to know where to buy it on your way home to enjoy before you retire for the night.
Ambiance and Atmosphere
A descriptive tune by Paul McCartney and Wings is Cafe On The Left Bank. The lyrics are about the charm and ambiance, wine and song of being in Paris. The Left Bank (La Rive Gauche) is located on the southern bank of the Seine River, which flows throughout its many arrondissements. There you’ll find the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Musée d’Orsay, Catacombs, the Jardin des Plantes, Montparnasse Cemetery and Luxembourg Gardens. And yes, there are many bistros to frequent near the Latin Quarter (5th & 6th arrondissement) a historic, academic area that is very popular with students, also the home of La Sorbonne University and the Pantheon. Make time for your midday meal on Rue Mouffetard, one of the oldest streets paved with cobblestone and old street lights. It is the embodiment of true Paris charm. No matter what your criteria, you can't make a bad decision in this location.
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