Cook, Serve, Clean? Or Eat, Pay, Write?
Like a cat I’ve had many lives. In one of them, I was an ardent cook well-known for making great pasta dishes, finger-licking-good marinated artichokes and a flan that had the perfect consistency. In this Parisian life, the stove is almost never turned on and the fridge is empty except for the essentials: champagne, wine, milk, juice, pickles. That’s because I eat out every lunch and every dinner.
It’s easy in Paris and it’s delightful. According to a 2009 BBC News article, there are 40,000 restaurants in Paris. I don’t believe THAT! But, if you do a search on Pages Jaunes for “restaurants,” 8,515 answers result within the 20 districts. Basically, that means you don’t have to go too far to find an establishment willing to cook, serve you, get paid and clean up after you. (I like that!)
Even more importantly, dining out is a Parisian’s number one social activity. It’s the most primitive way of getting together with friends, family or colleagues without having to cook, serve, or clean up after them! (I like that!)
That’s NOT how the Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants started, but it sure is how it has continued and progressed over the years. It began in 1996 with 50 of my favorite “good value” restaurants in a listing for friends who were always asking for advice about where to eat well and inexpensively. It was so popular that we launched it as the first electronic restaurant guide to Paris when the Internet was in its infancy. It sold only in pdf form and sold like ‘hotcakes’ (crêpes).
Let’s face it, when you dine out twice a day, if you aren’t particular, you could ‘break the bank’ and eat poorly all at the same time, so ferreting out the restaurants that leave you with change in your pocket and a happy palate is key to the success of a “gourmand” (glutton) such as myself.
Don’t forget, I have New Orleans roots. Any New Orleanian can tell you that 1) every meal should be like having a party in your mouth, 2) you should be discussing your next meal while you’re in the midst of having one and 3) it’s not the decor, the service or the price, but the food that counts. It works the same for me here in Paris. Restaurants with decor, service or price that out-perform the quality of the food don’t pass the ‘so what’ test, regardless of how many critics have praised it or how many ‘in-the-know’ Americans flock there.
I ‘love’ the question, “What is your favorite restaurant?” Now, tell me, with a supposing 40,000 restaurants in Paris, how am I to answer that? Sure, you’ll find me at Chez Omar on rue de Bretagne at least once a week (yes, it’s one of my top favorites), but basically, I have answered it — or at least 100 of them. In the NEWLY UPDATED 2012 EDITION of the Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants, that’s what you get…the top 100 favorites for great food at a bargain price…or at least a price that matches or out-performs the quality of the food.
When you come to Paris, of course you want to experience French cuisine and maybe even take in one or two “haute qualité” two- or three-star gems, but you can still enjoy what Paris has to offer if you’re on a budget. In 2011, all those two-meals-a-day (each with two or three courses) averaged a little more than $30 each including tax and tip, all beverages included — meaning wine and coffee.
Not bad, right? Can you buy groceries for that? Don’t answer that.
Nonetheless, the restaurant guide I’ve been updating all these years is different than any of the others. It’s not just a listing of “cheap eats.” It’s a hand-picked “bouquet” of “good value” restaurants that only an ‘insider’ can know about. That ‘insider’ is yours truly — the “gourmand” with a healthy appetite and a small pocketbook.
Let me give you one good new example. I was there last night for dinner with murder mystery author, Cara Black, discussing her newest adventure book. We each had an “apéritif,” a main course and coffee. Our meal was 30 each including an extra “pourboire” (tip):
Address: 9, rue de Béarn, Arrondissement 3
Phone: 01.42.72.06.67, 08.99.78.20.54
Métro: Chemin Vert (Line 8)
Hours: Open Daily
Average per Person: 25 – 35
Le Petit Marché is no longer a newcomer since I wrote about it a few years ago
just north of the 400 year-old Place des Vosges, with a sister restaurant (Chez Janou) around the corner but I personally prefer Le Petit Marché. Small, casual, lively, hip with young, friendly and attentive service, you can partake from a very creative menu: “Thon cru au sesame sauce Thai,” “Magret de canard gingembre,” “Soupe froid comme ca vient,” “Steack d’autruche aux poivres.” Clearly, they are not afraid of developing new and different tastes for a French palate. Lunch is a particular bargain at 13.50 for two courses and reservations are recommended as this little corner bistrot stays forever “complet.” One gentleman eats there every day and sits at the same table. Others make it a regular lunching spot, since its the big bargain of the district and is always, always a great meal.
And it was!
Here’s the good news, too. A while back Tap Books Publishing took over the publishing and distribution, which publishes such great books such as Bon Voyage French, Gerry Franks Where To Find It, Buy It, Eat It in New York, Paris Shopping and Practical Paris. They offer it in many different forms: for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, plus digital formats for the Kindle and iBookstore! This way, you can have it with you at all times while you’re cruising around the City of Light to ensure you won’t waste a single meal in a bad brasserie.
So, now you can stop asking me, “What is your favorite restaurant?” Just get the guide.
Learn more about or purchase Adrian Leeds Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants. (Download the book for Kindle, iPad/iPhone, Windows, Blackberry and Android devices, and also to your PC or Mac).
To see other top selling eGuides by TapBooks, visit Insider Guides.
Now, I know that lots of you have used the guide in the past as I have hundreds of letters from you to prove it. And to those of you who have and have something to say about it, I invite you to tell others what you think. It would be greatly appreciated if you would just take the time to make your comments on Amazon.com.
SPECIAL NOTE: anyone who submits a positive review, will be entitled to the answer of one question related to the Adrian Leeds Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants — any question.
It’s very easy. All you have to do is go to Amazon.Com;
Scroll to the bottom of the page and look for: “Share your thoughts with other customers” with a link to “Write a customer review.” Click on that, then create your review. Say anything you like (but of course, be gentle!).
Then, email me at [email protected] to ask your special question and please give me up to three weeks to answer it…personally.
I am also interested in your restaurant recommendations…I’m sure you have some great finds in you, too!
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Special announcements:
1. There WILL be a staged reading of Timothy J. Smith’s screenplay, “Red Bandana” this coming Sunday, June 24th, sponsored by Moving Parts. It starts promptly at 7:30 p.m. in the basement of Carr’s Irish Pub, 1 rue du Mont Thabor, 75001 Paris, 01.42.60.60.26. For anyone interested, Tim has posted the opening sequence. Just look for the guy with the red bandana! And remember, Tim is speaking July 10th at Parler Paris Apres Midi.
2. Join us for the first meeting of the Aussie-Francophile Property Network Meetup June 26, 2012 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. upstairs at La Pierre du Marais! Meet with Sarah Potter, Director of Endroit Property Pty Ltd and me to learn more about living and investing in France. It’s free and it’s informative! Visit Aussie-Francophile Property Network and please tell all your Australian and New Zealand friends about it!
3. Help our long-standing staff member, Schuyler Hoffman, receive a small business grant to make improvements to his B&B in New Orleans, Chez Palmiers. With at least 250 votes at Mission Small Business by June 30th, he and his partner can qualify and be considered for a $250K grant! To cast your vote, all you have to do is:
1. Go to http://www.missionsmallbusiness.com/ and login using Facebook or create your own login.
2. Search for “Chez Palmiers”
3. Click on the blue Vote button next to our business name to show your support for our business.
Schuyler Hoffman and David Peterson really appreciate the support!
Chez Palmiers Bed and Breakfast
1744 N Rampart Street
New Orleans, LA 70116
Local: 504.208.7044 or 504.729.8686
Chez Palmiers Bed and Breakfast