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Dinner Reservations Timing?

New Jersey
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Dinner Reservations Timing?

We are attending a conert at La Sainte Chapelle Friday evening May 6th at 19:00, Piano Quartets. I'm wondering how long the concert will be so we know what time to make dinner reservations. We will likely be dining in the general area, perhaps Mon Vieil Ami or maybe even La Tour d'Argent. Is it safe to assume a reservation at 21:00? Thanks in advance for your help.

Ohio, USA
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11. Re: Dinner Reservations Timing?

>>>In less touristy locations, you can find bad restaurants too, only they don't survive as long.<<<

Which is one reason, among several others, why it is easier to find good value and good food combined in one establishment outside the areas recommended in most guidebooks and poor food combined with excessive prices in the areas heavily patronized by tourists.

Oregon
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12. Re: Dinner Reservations Timing?

I've had plenty of bad meals in Paris. The more research I do in advance, the more satisfied I seem to be with my meal. I've only eaten at Mon Vieil Ami for lunch once in Sept. 2009. I enjoyed my meal and the experience very much. I would go back. Across the street nearby is Amorino's gelato where they fashion the gelato on the cone in the shape of rose petals. It is beautiful and simply delicious.

I've been in a number of restaurants in Paris and, while eating, have watched people arrive only to be turned away because they don't have a reservation. Unless you know Paris well, if you are turned away at your first choice, and you are hungry, you are relegated to finding a "walk in" restaurant nearby. 50/50 chance it will meet the standards of what you desire. Are you willing to take the chance on one of your few/special meals in Paris? You decide.

Boston...
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13. Re: Dinner Reservations Timing?

I'm curious about something. If reservations aren't expected, let alone appreciated, why am I asked, without exception, on walking into a restaurant in Paris, "Do you have a reservation?". And I'm not talking about the single arrondissement tourist destinations either. I'm usually in a no-name 10th, 11th or 12th arr restaurant.

In the past, locals on this board have insisted they don't make reservations and have no trouble eating wherever they want. Is it because as regulars, they're granted a table regardless of whether they've made a reservation or not? I've often wondered about this. At any rate, to me, it's a matter of common courtesy to make a reservation in Paris.

Edited: 27 March 2011, 23:29
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14. Re: Dinner Reservations Timing?

Good question, HappyGoin. I'm curious to know also because as I stated earlier we've always been asked if we've a reservation even when there is a half empty dining room. And I agree about making a reservation as a sign of courtesy. Regarding Mon Viel Ami it was crowded when we ate there some years ago, and yes, we had a reservation. I would think if we had not a reservation we'd have been turned away especially since the man (owner or co-owner?) who acknowledged us didn't seem all that friendly to begin with.

Edited: 27 March 2011, 23:43
Loire Valley
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15. Re: Dinner Reservations Timing?

I am not a Paris local, but I do not make reservations. The solution may be that I do not eat in restaurants that appear in guidebooks (or indeed in any of the arrondissements 1-11 except on a very rare occasion)

And that is the secret. Visit places that aren't tourist traps and you will find places that have been serving good food for many years with no fuss, no advertising and no internet exposure. It may not be fine dining, but it will be typical French foor rather than "French Restaurant" food. Many Parisians eat every meal every day in these sorts of restaurants.

It isn't hard to find a good restaurant in Paris- I have never had a truly bad meal in Paris, unlike some I have eaten in NYC where I insisted on eating on 42nd street.

And that's the whole moral of this story - eat in places with no return custom and you will run the risk of bad hygene (it isn't for no reason at all that parts of the 5e in cluding rue huchette are known as the "ruelle de la bacterie")

And you areprobably asked if you have a reservation because it is well known that foreigners make reservations. Most of the places I eat would laugh if I was to ask to make a reservation.

Edited: 28 March 2011, 00:25
Boston...
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16. Re: Dinner Reservations Timing?

But that's the thing, these are truly no-name restaurants. I deliberately avoid the trendy places, as well as anything in guide books, which in any case I don't read. I rarely travel to the single digit arr's at any point in a trip anymore. And I would agree too that I rarely get a bad meal in Paris in the small places I find. Yet, I'm still asked if I have a reservation. It's a curious thing...

Oregon
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17. Re: Dinner Reservations Timing?

I have had bad food in and out of the center of Paris. I try to pick restaurants where the French, not the tourists, eat.

You make it sound like we should know where to find restaurants to walk into that don't require reservations, have great food, don't serve to tourists.

Most of us are tourists and although some of us know our way around Paris fairly well, just walking into an unknown restaurant has resulted in a "wasted" meal. That isn't to say that all of my "planned" meals are good either. Some of them are not. But some of them are fantastic. Perhaps I would have the same odds if I were just walking into eating establishments too. But I have had whole vacations in Paris where I was dissatisfied with my meals and those were the times that I didn't plan where I wanted to eat but just went into a place that was appealing. Maybe I'm not a good judge of what to look for when I am trying to pick a French restaurant in Paris. I know to avoid the English menus outside the restaurant, etc.

In any event, I do understand that some restaurants in Paris don't take reservations and in some restaurants no reservation is necessary. However, if they take reservations, they seem to appreciate when I have made one and I don't have to worry about whether there will be a table for me or not.

lost in Ohio
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18. Re: Dinner Reservations Timing?

Wizard:

I'm not sure what your point is in this thread. Is it that you, as a Frenchman dont have to make a reservation, but we lousy tourists do?

Or is it, that you as a native can discern immediately which are the good restaurants and which are not, so as to never have a bad meal, although your magic doesnt work quite as well in NY?

I THOUGHT the purpose of these boards is to allow the knowledgeable, as you say you are, to help us poor slobs who are less fortunate, but who are willing to spend our hard currency in your economy. (Which might really need the money at the moment, from what I read.)

And yet I dont see a single name of a single restaurant that you would recommend, and which I too may just walk in when I wish and find a table.

Perhaps you need to be a little more helpful and a little less judgmental? Or maybe you really wish we would all stay home?

Edited: 28 March 2011, 04:40
Perpignan, France
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19. Re: Dinner Reservations Timing?

Wizard is French ?

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20. Re: Dinner Reservations Timing?

At least not by birth.

Anyway, I do agree. It sounds as though there's a great divide between who is 'French' and who are the outsiders or tourists. I don't pretend about it; I am a tourist. I'd sure like to know what the Wizard's 'no reservations required' restaurants are too. Would be helpful to many so they could just walk in at any time.

Edited: 28 March 2011, 06:28