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So now you know...

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Paris, France
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So now you know...

Someone just sent me an article - Paris Kitchen - a two-part discussion by two well-known chefs on the subject of what tourists expect from a French restaurant.

The most frequent complaint from diners was "being surrounded by non-French people". This was explained by the fact that tourists outnumber Parisians 28 to 1 - fact based on information from the Paris Tourist Office, and "tourist" meaning any non-Parisian.

Also interesting was the discussion of the willingness and ability - or not - of the different restaurants to handle special requests: allergies, lifestyles, etc.

So if your waiter seems a little cranky, it may be that he is just outnumbered...

Bedfordshire...
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for Berlin
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1. Re: So now you know...

After reading your praise for a restaurant which 'tourists don't seem to have discovered', I decided not to write a review of a great little restaurant we visited last week, mostly for the reasons outlined above :)

Boston...
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2. Re: So now you know...

Funny you should post this. I'm traveling to Paris with a group of newbies next October. I'm sort of dreading it because one of the party is known to be incredibly picky about how his food is served; always asking for sauce on the side, double helping of side dishes, meat done to his exacting standard etc. etc.

I've already had a stern talk with him about eating what's on the menu, but I'm not sure he gets it. Ugh....

Paris
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3. Re: So now you know...

I didn't read the original article, but I'm wondering if this situation occurred because the American tourists eat earlier than do French people. I have noticed that when we reserve for, say, 2100h, the crowd is mostly French, whereas earlier it will be foreigners. Of course there are places that only tourists go, and so you won't ever find local people.

Oslo, Norway
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4. Re: So now you know...

"one of the party is known to be incredibly picky about how his food is served; always asking for sauce on the side, double helping of side dishes, meat done to his exacting standard etc. etc."

You should tell him that if he wants his food served in a special way, he must be able to express his wishes directly to the waiter in understandable French. You don't want to be "caught in the middle" of discussions and misunderstandings between your friend and the waiter :-)

Bedoin, France
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5. Re: So now you know...

"You should tell him that if he wants his food served in a special way, he must be able to express his wishes directly to the waiter in understandable French. You don't want to be "caught in the middle" of discussions and misunderstandings between your friend and the waiter :-) "

Ain't that the truth ! and stick to it HG. If not, it could ruin your trip.

Minneapolis
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6. Re: So now you know...

My expectations were low, and unfortunately met. You know what I would really like from a French resto? Not to waste food. Meals are big, portions are big and to have to throw it all out made me sick. Overeat or waste. Not good. Next time I will bring my own! Seriously, what is the deal with a to-go box???

Sorry, I know this isn't on topic, but it has been just waiting to come out.

I agree, eat early and eat with tourists.

Edited: 21 November 2012, 13:55
Boston...
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7. Re: So now you know...

I very much intend to NOT get in the middle of of this guy's food issues. And if I do, I'll be entirely on the waiter/chef's side. As I said, I've started conversations with him, and intend to keep at it until it's time to travel. Then I'll just keep reminding him. It will help that he doesn't speak French. And Iverh, I really like your idea :)

Jrudq, you're serious that you found French portions too large? I've never had that experience. Quite the opposite in fact.

Montreal
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for Paris
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8. Re: So now you know...

Some places have large portions, but more often than not the portions are quite reasonable. I guess one could discreetly place some left overs into a little Tupperware container, in one's purse...

"And if I do, I'll be entirely on the waiter/chef's side."

I would just ignore the whole thing, instead of taking sides. Would tell the possible nitpicker, in advance, that special requests aren't readily catered to and that you prefer to not get involved :)

Paris, France
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9. Re: So now you know...

Started to read the article series (supposed to become a 3-part thing), quite interesting.

I believe there should be some kind of distinction between two kinds of restaurants where one can be surrounded by non-French people:

- the ones deliberately targetted at foreign customers: English menu put proeminently, all staff speaking perfect English, some gizmos trying to replicate (supposed or actual) US eating habits (eg filling glasses with a jug of water full of ice cubes as soon as customers are seated :D), maybe even a foreign chef; in this category belong both the ones created ex nihilo with that in mind, or which have turned to become so (think the turn taken by Le Sergent Recruteur here);

- and then the standard, French restaurants / bistros which happen to get some good reviews from foreign critics, bringing larger foreign crowds, but not changing anything to their habits / menu / staff (thinking L'Enfance de Lard here, often mentioned, rightly, by Pjk)

Jrudq, aside from some regional restaurants (mainly South-West or Central France), I rarely find portions to be excessive in Parisian restaurants; may depend how the calories intake is split during the day, I guess (I usually have a large salad / sandwich / sushi platter for lunch, with proper dinner eaten around 8.30-9pm, a time by which it's easy to be reasonably hungry)

Val-de-Marne, France
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10. Re: So now you know...

Where can this article be found Parisix?