10 Tips for Enjoying Parisian Restaurants
1. Assess the budget
Paris is known to be home to some of the most exquisite and expensive restaurants in the world, where you can easily spend several hundred Euros for a meal. However, less posh restaurants offer virtually the same assortment and level of service with a price of only 30 Euros per person. So choose carefully or ask the locals where the best place to dine for a reasonable price is – there’s always an establishment nearby that offers great service and food at a budget.
2. A dinner at restaurant may be lengthy
Dining at a restaurant is considered as leisure in France, so don’t expect the servers to be very swift. It usually takes a couple of hours to enjoy a full meal at a restaurant. So if you’re in a hurry it’s a much better idea to dine at a café where the service is swifter.
3. Go with fixed-priced meals
It’s very common for Parisian restaurants to feature fixed priced meals that include an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert or cheese plate. Most restaurants have assortments of the courses that will be offered with fixed priced menus so you’ll have a very good choice of local cuisine for a very reasonable price.
4. Take a bottle of wine
It would be strange to leave wine out of your meal in a country with the most sophisticated wine culture, especially at the prices you’ll usually see in a typical restaurant. A full bottle of wine may cost you only 10 Euros but it can be the best wine you’ve tried in your life. The huge wine lists may be rather confusing, but don’t be shy to ask the server for a suggestion.
5. Enjoy the portions
For some people, especially those used to huge portions in US restaurants, the amount of food served in French restaurants may seem insufficient. However, it’s the quality not the quantity the local chefs aim for and you will certainly appreciate the taste after each bite of your meal. So it’s better to savor each portion of the food, especially taking the fact that the server may be a bit offended if there are leftovers on the plate since in their point of view it is a sign that you didn’t enjoy your meal.
6. Learn to speak softly
Paris cafes and restaurants are constantly lacking space, so don’t be surprised to be sited in only a few inches from another table with other people hearing your every word. That’s why the locals have mastered the art of speaking very softly while leaning to their partners across the table. This can be very romantic as you’ll be much closer to you significant others and will be able to share more than just words while enjoying a dinner for two.
7. Try the cheese plate
The cheese plate is a very natural invention for a country that is famous for producing over 400 unique kinds of cheese. Being a very good addition to a bottle of one, the cheese plate is surprisingly used by locals to substitute the dessert. Most cafes and restaurants provide a nice assortment of various cheeses and you can ask the server which cheeses he or she would recommend. And don’t forget about that bottle of wine to create a very passionate mood after a rich dinner.
8. Enjoy the details
The art of serving in France is of a high significance and it can be enjoyed in just any place, not just the fanciest and the priciest restaurants. It is very common for the server to hang your clothes in a special place and serve you with the finest dining accessories, while offering valuable suggestions on the menu and today’s specialties in a restaurant where you would pay only a fractions of the price it would cost you to dine out in a classy US restaurant. And don’t be shy to ask questions about the cuisine as the locals love to share their cooking techniques.
9. Ladies – the prices aren’t for you
Sex equality and emancipation live hand by hand with chivalry in France, and it can usually be seen in the more expensive establishments. Thus, when a female receives a menu it is quite common for her to see that there are no prices indicated in it, allowing the male to take care of the prices. So don’t be surprised to see that your menu only contains titles and short descriptions of the specialties.
10. Forget about calories, diet and simply enjoy
As simple as it may seem, many people tend to forget that they are on a romantic vacation. So stop counting calories and make sure to enjoy the tastiest treats Paris have to offer after a long day of walking through its beautiful streets. You will sure have a great time this way!