All of us love Paris.. who does not love one of the most romantic places on earth? Unfortunately, the most romantic place on earth can take its toll on your pockets especially if you live, work and earn in Asia but want to travel and enjoy the sights and sounds of enchanting Paris. Well, talking to my buddy who lives there, I recently found out that hey, traveling around France need not be that expensive. You just need to know where to eat/stay. Anyway, here with today’s Travel Tip is a fun loving girl-friend of mine, Marlys from Paris!
More of a joyful gourmand than a sophisticated gourmet, I’ve always preferred the informal and good hearty meals, even in Paris of the haute cuisine fame. All the hype over this or that French restaurant with famous or upcoming chefs doesn’t excite me. The meals I’ve had in the two or three “famous”, even starred, restaurants have actually failed to impress me.
I have often been asked to recommend restaurants in Paris away from touristy areas, serving good food and providing value for money. Here are five of my preferred ones, listed from the priciest to the downright cheap. Some would say these are not “sophisticated” choices, but small and big appetites are guaranteed to be sated for very little outlay. No nouvelle cuisine here, I promise..
My Top 5 Paris on a Budget Restaurants are :
1. Au Pied de Cochon – Being Asian myself, I like pig trotters in various reincarnations. This one was made famous by a restaurant that has existed in Paris for donkey’s years, its history going back to the time when Les Halles was the wholesale fresh market supplying the whole city with produce (meat, fish, fruits and veggies). Their original clientele were the market workers. Today, mainly tourists flock there, hence the rather pricey à la Carte dishes. Even then ‘pricey’ at this restaurant is relative (definitely cheaper than the posher joints), and at this place you can choose to take the set menu at € 16.50. A real bargain and the food is great!
2. Le Petit Bofinger – I can recommend this place without blinking an eye for the quality of the food, the venue, the service and most of all the price of their menus : huge mains for only €19.50 with a glass of wine, or € 26 with half a bottle of wine & dessert. Tough to beat!
3. Le Relais Gascon – It was once listed by Time Out for ‘value-for-money’ meals. Everyone we’ve introduced to this place keeps coming back, plus recommends it to friends. Salads are the specialty but the set menu at €15.50 is hard to top considering this is supposed to be a “touristy” restaurant ( available only Mon. to Fri. Lunchtime)
4. Salon de The Wenzhou – Le Monde reviewed it once and the owner of the cafe still has the clipping on their shop front to prove it.
Here, one can partake of Chinese cuisine of the Wenzhou region of China. This very same street in Belleville is famous for being the birth place of Edith Piaf. It was a gutter in Belleville where she was born!
5. Finally, the downright cheap (and my current favourite) – the Sri Lankan restaurant Muniyandy Vilas.
My Tweep friend Courtney (@AboutParis) introduced me to this place, serving hot spicy Tamil meals from as low as €3.50. We brought Dave and Deb, the famous @theplanetd couple to try it out. Four big appetites and we still got change from €25 (+ a doggy bag to boot). The food and service here is excellent.
Oh ‘ghee’ z, now I’m hungry..!
About this week’s Guest writer:
Marlys is half of team @ParisBuFF . Michael is the other half, author of the guidebook Paris Movie Walks. Both Marlys and Michael are based in Paris and more than happy to give budget tips to people visiting Paris and France.
When I first asked Marlys to be a guestwriter on Cumi & Ciki, she went “Oh dear, I don’t have any photos!” But then, within that same week she said – “fear not Ciki, I will jump on my bike and go around town to photograph the shots you need..”, and she did just that. What a sweetie!
Follow Marlys on twitter : @ParisBuFF
Check out their website: Paris Movie Walks