Building up an appetite for French food

What’s for dinner in Paris

I’m spending an obscene amount of time preparing for our trip to Paris with my stomach as my guide. That’s about as dangerous as going to the grocery store with a rumbling belly.

My husband and I have seven nights in the city of lights, where food gets the spotlight for good reason.

Paris appropriately is known as one of the world’s most romantic cities. And savoring its French cooking is like a slow dance with a cherished lover. Time stops. Full attention is given to the dish and how it makes you feel oh-so-good.

We’re looking forward to dancing – and eating – our way through this city in celebration of our wedding anniversary.

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‘Hungry for Paris’ as my guide

As our personal guide, “Hungry for Paris” by Alexander Lobrano has been an invaluable resource for finding the best places to get our French food fixes. It’s filled with personal stories that define more than his top 109 restaurants’ specialties, but also other insights that make them winning choices based on your unique tastes.

Whether you have a passion for or even a slight interest in French food, I highly recommend this book to help you narrow your dining choices and learn more about the customs, food and restaurants you’ll be visiting. It also features summaries of each restaurant and their not-to-miss dishes.

Lobrano’s tastes have been carefully cultivated since his move to Paris from New York in 1986. He takes you along his culinary journey from being squeamish to intrepid when it comes to partaking in French delicacies.

It’s easy to build up an appetite and confidence for trying new dishes as he puts you in his shoes as a Gallic food newbie. By the end of the book, I promise you’ll be armed with a menu of meals on your search-and-conquer list.

French food to dine for

Thanks to Lobrano's recommendations, here are the dishes I plan to try:

  • Oysters - French varieties are reputed as being the world’s best
  • Onion soup - a seemingly obvious choice, but one I’ve never tried during other visits to Paris
  • Choucroute garnie - sausages and pork loin served over sauerkraut
  • Moules marinières - mussels cooked with chopped shallots, parsley, white wine, thyme and a bay leaf
  • Boeuf bourguignon - beef, onions and other veggies cooked in red wine
  • Pot-au-feu - beef and vegetables braised in bouillon and served with coarse salt, mustard and horseradish
  • Navarin d’agneau - stew of lamb and spring vegetables
  • Blanquette de veau - veal simmered with mushrooms and onions in a white sauce of egg yolks, cream and lemon juice

Restaurant finalists

Now, where to get my fix of these dishes has been some work. In addition to the book’s recommendations, we have relied on TripAdvisor, Yelp, friends and our hotel concierge to come up with a list of contenders to fill our dining dance card.

Here’s a look by restaurant type at our top picks.

Fancy schmancy and anniversary-dinner worthy

Contemporary bistros

Classic French

Traditional bistros


Regional French


Yes, my list is getting a bit unwieldy so it’s decision time.

Your Take

Which dishes and restaurants are missing from our lists? We’d love to hear your recommendations.

Stay tuned for our final dining decisions. Bon appetit!


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