I had a visit this month from my cuisine Lily and her husband and friends. We went to the Sunday show “How to become a Parisian in one hour”, it was very funny although I’m already a bit familiar with the Parisians life style, it does explain a lot about how to behave in this city, which is like nowhere in the world! Very recommended! Anyway, it was a Sunday early evening and without reservations ahead to anywhere, the guys wanted me to find “a real restaurant” for the dinner. I will have to say it again my friends: dining in good restaurants in Paris is not as easy as one would expect. Of course you can walk around and enter a chain restaurant open around the clock or a random Brasserie in the corner of the street, but the results will probably be average or under, unless you got really lucky dropping on a great place or came in very very hungry and unfamiliar with French cuisine. In this case you might be very satisfied as well. But for the “gastronomy experience”  it’s better to plan ahead to get the best results. Some reasons why:

1. Restaurant usually open only 5 days a week.

2. Reservation sometimes have to be made days, weeks or even months ahead.

3. There’s lunch and dinner services. So you can’t go eat whenever you feel like. Usually 12:00 -14:00 lunch and 19:30- 22:30 for dinner.

4. You will probably have to do a research with books and on the web to see where are the most recommended places to eat in your budget, make a list with phone numbers and call one after another until you find a reservation that fits your needs.

5. Harder days to reserve a table are: Saturday, Sunday and Monday (many places are closed). Friday night is hard too because there’s more demand.

6. Late services (21:00) are more packed than the early ones (19:30) because locals prefer eating a late dinner.

7. Not many places allow booking a table online. You will have to call, in a certain hour, and speak French. Some of them might be nice with English speaking and some might not.

8. The smaller and more popular the restaurant, the more effort to get a place.

9. Sometimes there’s last minute cancellations, so don’t lose hope.

10. I would consider reserving a table in the better restaurants on your mind ahead, before you go on your vacation. Too bad to waste hours (yes, hours!) in front of a computer and phone while you can travel around the city!

11. Having said all this: it’s worth it, in my mind, to do so. It’s part of the city’s amazing culture and best experiences it can offer.

Okay so the situation this Sunday was not too good, no reservation, a Sunday and hungry people waiting for a good dinner. They brought a list of recommended places which was a good start but with no phone numbers, and I didn’t bring my bible (Michelin guide book). The only way to look for numbers was with my 3g connection with a bad reception. We got some numbers but they were all closed. Then I decided to use my La Fourchette app to reserve a place immediately. We got some results, I didn’t know any of them but Chez Francoise had 8.3/10 points so we blindly gave it a chance.

It was indeed a “real restaurant”, hidden under the Air France building in the Invalids. Broad dinning room, a piano which was played on some of the time, a small table for the wine next to each table and so on. It was completely full, they were a bit surprised by our reservation but politely showed us to a table pretty fast. We had a nice table that felt very comfortable. The service was a bit slow because there were so many customers.

Already waited for us in the table the bread and butter and immediately came the amuse bouche which were small tarts. We could nibble on that until we decided what to order.

Very warm restaurant.

Tarts and bread. The bread was sour bread, fresh and good

The tarts, on the other hand, not so fresh and good.

Fancy butter is always welcomed

The menu of the day had 3 options of each category and we got the same menu with a glass of champagne because we reserved with La Fourchette. There was also menu a la cart, a little bit different in which I chose from.

We got two bottle of wine with the menu (one for a couple)

The red Bordeaux was nothing special

I really liked this white, very fragrant but dry

The half cooked foie gras with tomatoe confiture. It was really nice, I love sweet tomato confiture.

Rabit terrine with salad. I had better, a little dry, not the best choice I made for myself but some people are more into getting a terrine as a first course and I'm not..

A selection of smoked fish and eggplant salad. I tried the sardine and the mackerel. It was pretty salty but not bad

Raising a toast with our pink campaign, now for the main courses

Filet of Dorade with fettuccine and mussels and pesto. It was a good dish, I think the best one, but the fish was slightly over done.

Breast of duck with roasted apples. Classic dish but not remarkable, cooking was okay (maybe also over cooked a little bit?) but I still always like a pink duck breast. Lily wasn't so impressed with duck in general, too bad!

Entrecote, meat sauce and potatoes. Very good.

Cut yum yum

Confit leg of duck. It's not my favorite dish anyways and it's hard for me to compare.

Lily and I


All my wine glasses. I had a lot because me and Avi were the only serious drinkers.

The weirdest part of the evening was this birthday gesture. It's weird because after singing with the candles the cake was taken away to the next birthday client, we didn't get to eat it!! Shame!!!

Chocolate fondant with hazelnut ice cream and creme anglaise. The ice-cream was good and the chocolate as well.

Hot chocolate melting from inside, the creme anglaise was not flavored with vanilla. Why??

Rhubarb confiture with raspberries sorbet and fromage blanc and a sablee cookie. Was a good desert and combination, the rhubarb had a slight unpleasant after taste.

Baba au rhum with strawberries was declared as a very bad version of this beloved classic dessert.

Vacherin of strawberries (pavlova). Nothing like the great Vacherin we had in Kei

Cake that came with the coffee, no one had place for that!

Espresso with a dark chocolate

40 euro for a glass of champagne, half a bottle of wine, amuse bouche, entree, plate, dessert and coffee was not a bad deal. This place was exceptional in the dinning experience but less on the gastronomic aspect. The food was of average quality, nothing amazing. But the night was fun and hit the spot. Next time: reserve ahead!

Tagged with →  

4 Responses to About The Importance Of Reserving Ahead & Chez Françoise Sunday Dinner

  1. Ema Irit says:

    ביקורת כבדה. אבל כתובה טוב:-)

  2. Shlomo says:

    Great post Mashav !
    The writing flows and the photos complement
    You’re becoming a professional 🙂

  3. Nachman says:

    I love the – “How to” on finding a good restaurant in Paris or “the true gastronomy experience”!!

    I think you should write more “how to” type lists they reveal as much about you as they do on the subject itself….

  4. […] the comments, contact me personally, doesn’t matter how but as soon as possible because, as I wrote before, it’s not easy to get reservations!! Preferably write two options in the case there’s […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *