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John Talbott

Price/quality ratio now: what are its parameters?

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Pierre45 on another topic said

Places that have good rapport qualite/prix will do well.There are not too many of them.
I've been thinking about this for a couple of days; what is a good price/quality place, in Paris or the rest of France?

I suppose the folks who frequent the starred places (and I'm culpable) would say that their last meal at "X" was the best 700 E they've ever spent. And there is a topic on Cheap Eats here where folks swear on l'As du Fallafel's 25 E meal.

Back between the Depressions, when I ate at places like Giradet, Bise + Alleno, I would have been part of the first group, but now, even though most of our losses are paper ones, I'd like to think that folks like Pierre are looking for a price-quality ratio more in line with those of the Petit Panisse + Les Terrines de Gérard Vié.

I was talking to my barber, in the Marais, this week, actually it was more like he was talking to me, and I asked him "Are there fewer Americans passing by this month?" "No, not at all," he said - if you have money, you're still going to come to Paris and you're not eating fast food. (And he's taking his family to the US for a holiday because it's so cheap).

But back to our members and Americans. Are they seeking a good price-quality? And if so, what is the balance?


John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Pierre45 on another topic said
Places that have good rapport qualite/prix will do well.There are not too many of them.
I've been thinking about this for a couple of days; what is a good price/quality place, in Paris or the rest of France?

I suppose the folks who frequent the starred places (and I'm culpable) would say that their last meal at "X" was the best 700 E they've ever spent. And there is a topic on Cheap Eats here where folks swear on l'As du Fallafel's 25 E meal.

Back between the Depressions, when I ate at places like Giradet, Bise + Alleno, I would have been part of the first group, but now, even though most of our losses are paper ones, I'd like to think that folks like Pierre are looking for a price-quality ratio more in line with those of the Petit Panisse + Les Terrines de Gérard Vié.

I was talking to my barber, in the Marais, this week, actually it was more like he was talking to me, and I asked him "Are there fewer Americans passing by this month?" "No, not at all," he said - if you have money, you're still going to come to Paris and you're not eating fast food. (And he's taking his family to the US for a holiday because it's so cheap).

But back to our members and Americans. Are they seeking a good price-quality? And if so, what is the balance?

A good value place does not mean a cheap place.It encompasses resaturants in all prices ranges ,including restaurants with stars as well .I would mention a few in that categorie.

Lunch at les ambassadeurs at 85 euros is excellent value

Lunch at Guy Savoie at 100 euros is a wonderful value

Dinner at Drouant

Dinner at Les magnolias

Dinner at Apicius

The issue of qualite/prix is comparing the cost in different places with equivalent food /service /ambiance

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I care everything about quality and almost nothing about price when I travel (except I will always try to get business or first class air tickets using FF miles). I'm not a Russian oil billionaire (perhaps there aren't any left in Russia either :smile: ) - so I'm not going to stay in the Presidential suite at the George V. Or order a $4,000 bottle of wine (especially since I don't drink wine). But I don't bat an eyelash at spending $750 for 2 for dinner.

Perhaps one reason for this is we don't travel that often. Maybe one big trip and a couple of smaller trips a year. Another is that the food scene where I live isn't wonderful. The 2 restaurants I think are the best in this area probably wouldn't merit one Michelin star. And it's almost impossible to spend more than $65/person for food at either. So our restaurant costs at home tend to be relatively modest.

As for hotels - my house is a *very* nice place. I see no reason to travel to big cities to stay in the type of surroundings I haven't lived in since I was a student (if I were an "adventure traveler" - hiking in Patagonia or something like that - my calculus would be different - I'd probably be in a tent). I can tell you that the first time I went to Paris - as a student - I stayed at the Hotel d'Angleterre on Rue Jacob - for about $10/night. I know they have gussied it up - but you will never be able to persuade me that it is worth over $200/night.

OTOH - the price/quality ratio has to "click". I don't like to throw my money away. Which it is easy to do at all levels of restaurants and hotels everywhere. But spending less isn't a guarantee of anything in particular either (except spending less).

That said - I can tell you that - overall - I thought the entire city of Paris was a poor value for a traveler - with the exception of our meals at Guy Savoy and Senderens - neither of which was particularly expensive. Especially compared with our other recent trips abroad. To Japan 2 years ago - and Germany last year. Tokyo was about half the price of Paris (smaller cities were cheaper) - and German cities cost less than that. And I am talking about luxury hotels and 3 star restaurants - not conveyor belt sushi or Turkish cafes. Note that exchange rates aren't the main issue. The exchange rate on the euro was about the same when we went to Germany as it was when we went to Paris. Japan will be somewhat more expensive now - the yen is about 15% more expensive than it was during our visit. It is simply that Paris - and - to a lesser extent - London - are ridiculously expensive cities - at least in terms of visiting. Perhaps those of you who live there can say whether they are also ridiculously expensive places to live.

Living in the kind of place that I live - I think that many lower end in terms of prices Paris restaurants may perhaps be the most grossly overvalued places to eat in town (we ate at a few). For example - I can get a very decent plain grilled fish dinner (I prefer the grilled trout) at a local higher end chain - Stonewood Grill - for about $17. A similar dinner in Paris would probably cost $30-40. If Stonewood Grill charged over $25 for this dinner - it would be out of business. Not that the meals we had like this in Paris were bad - they were just overpriced IMO. The lunch we had at Le Zinc was fine - and reasonably priced - using a Paris barometer - about $25/person with the daily fixed - not carte - menus. Dinner would have been double the price - and not worth it IMO.

OTOH - I thought the few food items we purchased - cheese - bread - wine - sweets - etc. - were great values. Excellent quality. Not expensive at all. We bought a loaf of bread to die for in the Marais for about $1.50. If I could buy things like that at our local markets - I would never dine out!

Anyway - that is my 4 cents (message is too long for 2 cents). Will be interested to see what others have to say. Robyn

P.S. I am not sure where our next long trip will be. South south America (Argentina and Chile) is a strong contender.

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The ones with money are still hitting Ami Louis, Taillevent, Grand Venise, Jules Verne, Stresa, Le Voltaire, Apicius, etc etc


Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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I think that, just as in New York, it's easy to spend a lot of money in Paris and get a bad meal, but if you know where to go, you can get a very good meal for excellent value. And there's no comparison in the value of wine in Paris vs. NY.

Places that I would include, and where we've eaten so far this past week, include Spring at lunch for 35 e - excellent qualtiy ingredients, prepared beautifully; dinner at Afaria, where the menu degustation was 45 e, and last night's dinner at Le Baratin, which was 80 e total (including an 18 e split of vin rouge).

Dinner at Chez Michel was good at 32 e formula, but stick to the regular menu. Once you start adding supplements (e.g. 12 e for scallops), the price/value drops (but I think overall, the quality has slipped a bit at Michel).

At Table d Eugene in the 18th, we had an amazing lunch for 25 e each (two courses) . Breizh Cafe offers up some great crepes (not the kind you walk away with) at reasonable prices.

Overall, I think we've hit on some excellent price/value meals while we've been here. And it's a very personal thing - I'm sure there are people who wouldn't dream of eating in the 20th, but sometimes you have to travel a bit off the beaten path to find those values. And there are probably just as many people who want to eat in the 2 and 3 star places who wouldn't set foot in Breizh - and they just don't know what they're missing.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Overall, I think we've hit on some excellent price/value meals while we've been here.  And it's a very personal thing - I'm sure there are people wjo wouldn't dream of eating in the 20th, but sometimes you have to travel a bit off the beaten path to find those values.  And there are probably just as many people who want to eat in the 2 and 3 star places who wouldn't set foot in Breizh - and they just don't know what they're missing.

I quite agree with you about the excellent value of some bistrots,such as Afaria and Le baratin ,where the food is equal to some starred restaurants at 20% of the cost.

The difference of course is in the setting and the service.For some people its worth it ,specially since they will not know where to go,while the names of the starred ones are well known.

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Overall, I think we've hit on some excellent price/value meals while we've been here.  And it's a very personal thing - I'm sure there are people wjo wouldn't dream of eating in the 20th, but sometimes you have to travel a bit off the beaten path to find those values.  And there are probably just as many people who want to eat in the 2 and 3 star places who wouldn't set foot in Breizh - and they just don't know what they're missing.

I quite agree with you about the excellent value of some bistrots,such as Afaria and Le baratin ,where the food is equal to some starred restaurants at 20% of the cost.

The difference of course is in the setting and the service.For some people its worth it ,specially since they will not know where to go,while the names of the starred ones are well known.

I liken the situation of ferreting out bargains vs going to the starred places in Paris to that expressed by Commendatore Fanfani (aka Ferrari) in Peter Ustinov’s "Grand Prix of Gibraltar" to the accusation that his racing cars’ brakes failed 10 minutes from the finish - “Any fool can make a car stop, it takes a genius to make her go fast.” My admiration goes to those like Pierre and weinoo and others who not only find but report back to us their treasured findings. Likewise I think we all appreciate hearing about which places to stear clear of.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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My admiration goes to those like Pierre and weinoo and others who not only find but report back to us their treasured findings.  Likewise I think we all appreciate hearing about which places to stear clear of.

absolutely. the latter has been especially helpful as i plan for my next trip.

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Since the discussion has been very Paricentric I've been staying out, but, obviously, price/value changes radically when you get out of the big cities.

I think this is true not just in France, but almost anywhere.

In any case my French high ratio places range from simple lunch places for 12 Euros for four courses including wine to Michelin One stars at 27 Euros for a 3 course lunch.

These prices just don't relate to Paris in price terms, but neither do they have Paris overheads to contend with. Quality wise I think there is a valid comparison.

Good food is good food wherever you find it!

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I think that, just as in New York, it's easy to spend a lot of money in Paris and get a bad meal, but if you know where to go, you can get a very good meal for excellent value.  And there's no comparison in the value of wine in Paris vs. NY.

Places that I would include, and where we've eaten so far this past week, include Spring at lunch for 35 e - excellent qualtiy ingredients, prepared beautifully; dinner at Afaria, where the menu degustation was 45 e, and last night's dinner at Le Baratin, which was 80 e total (including an 18 e split of vin rouge).

Dinner at Chez Michel was good at 32 e formula, but stick to the regular menu.  Once you start adding supplements (e.g. 12 e for scallops), the price/value drops (but I think overall, the quality has slipped a bit at Michel). 

At Table d Eugene in the 18th, we had an amazing lunch for 25 e each (two courses) . Breizh Cafe offers up some great crepes (not the kind you walk away with) at reasonable prices.

Overall, I think we've hit on some excellent price/value meals while we've been here.  And it's a very personal thing - I'm sure there are people who wouldn't dream of eating in the 20th, but sometimes you have to travel a bit off the beaten path to find those values.  And there are probably just as many people who want to eat in the 2 and 3 star places who wouldn't set foot in Breizh - and they just don't know what they're missing.

Is a split of wine a half bottle - or an "airplane sized" bottle?

A menu degustation at 45 euros - which is about $120 for 2 without liquor - is more than you will pay to sample Daniel Boulud's fare in Palm Beach (excellent food in a beautiful seating). Perhaps you are off the beaten path in terms of fashionable areas in which to dine in Paris - but you are still paying a healthy amount of money for that meal. Like I said - I think Paris taken as a whole is a poor value for a traveler. Robyn

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Is a split of wine a half bottle - or an "airplane sized" bottle?

A menu degustation at 45 euros - which is about $120 for 2 without liquor - is more than you will pay to sample Daniel Boulud's fare in Palm Beach (excellent food in a beautiful seating).  Perhaps you are off the beaten path in terms of fashionable areas in which to dine in Paris - but you are still paying a healthy amount of money for that meal.  Like I said - I think Paris taken as a whole is a poor value for a traveler.  Robyn

A split of wine is half a bottle - and please, do let me know the next time Daniel Boulud cooks a meal in Palm Beach...especially a 5 course one for about $60.

And Paris, just like NY, offers excellent value for the traveller willing to hop on the metro, willing to do a little snooping around, and willing to remove a lot of chips from said traveller's shoulders.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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- I think Paris taken as a whole is a poor value for a traveler.  Robyn

This is an interesting statement.It illustrates the fact that value is subjective.

For people that appreciate the beauty of a city in an open museum environment .

Dining in this world is unique.Also no where in the world do you get the ambiance and the food that you get in a place where Mme is the hostess and MR is the chef.

Over all, there is a higher appreciation of food .ITs not the fast food world of Orlando .So relatively speaking Paris could be more expensive.So it all depends.Its a function of ones appreciation.

Also last but not least you have an opportunity to really eat very well at a better price than anywhere else.For 30 euros or $38 where else can you have high qualty 3 course dinner that includes taxes and service.Of course i am referring to places with a bon rapport qualty/prix.

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For 30 euros or $38 where else can you have high qualty 3 course dinner  that includes taxes and service.Of course i am referring to places with a bon rapport qualty/prix.

One word: ITALY

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My experience has been that with a little (actually a lot) of research and a willingness to travel out of the city center, there are many places to dine in Paris that are of fabulous value compared to almost anywhere. And yes, it's subjective but on our last trip, every meal we had seemed a tremendous value to us and ran the gamut from totally casual (Breihz cafe) to 3 Michelin stars (100E lunch at Guy Savoy.)

"Value" is subjective. For example, I want excellent quality food but don't want to feel rushed. Crowded is OK, but rude service is not. So, for example, while I understand that La Regalade and Chez L'ami Jean both serve "star" quality food in casual settings, we decided to pass (and will again on our next trip) CLJ because I keep reading about being rushed for table turning and less than congenial service. We loved LR even though we were elbow to elbow with other diners. We weren't rushed in the least and the service was quite friendly. They even comped us or coffees when we returned to dine a second time and the food was really outstanding.

I'll also take this opportunity to heartily thank all you E-gulleters who do so much of the leg-work for me. When researching for value restaurants I start with what I read here (John's reviews are a great starting point for those mid-priced meals) and research outwards, cross referncing from there. Julot has been a delightfully willing consultant, especially for the higher end places and I'm looking forward to 9 days of glorious, high value meals on my next trip to Paris in May.

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FWIW - many (perhaps most or all) of these unknown - hard to find - great value - etc. - etc. Paris restaurants hit Travel and Leisure magazine this month. So much for "off the beaten path" (even if that had been true in the past).

Plafield - I agree about being rushed. As for elbow to elbow - depends how close the elbows are - and what I am drinking/eating - and paying. At a place like Cafe Boulud (NYC) in terms of food quality and prices - the elbows are too close for me. And if I am remembering correctly - we walked by CLJ one mid-afternoon and it looked definitely claustrophobic even when it was empty. OTOH - a crowded outside cafe in Paris is fun for drinks and nibbles. It's apples and oranges.

Pierre45 - I'm not sure what you're trying to say. I wouldn't compare Paris with Orlando. But I would compare it with other large cosmopolitan cities like Tokyo. It is perhaps easier to compare hotels than restaurants - because there is less subjectivity. The Four Seasons room that costs about $700 in Tokyo will cost more than $1200 in Paris.

And Weinoo - it is pretty easy to eat at Cafe Boulud in Palm Beach for $60/person (without alcohol).

The best way I can say what I think about these restaurants is that they're a kludge. Which is a computer term - not a restaurant term. An inelegant way to work around a problem. The problem in Paris being that almost everything which is higher end is ridiculously expensive - so people who aren't spending tons of money and want to dine there have to find a workaround.

My husband and I don't travel as much as we used to - but we still travel a fair amount. We aren't travel snobs - and we don't put down places that don't cost a lot of money. But - IMO - there's a huge difference between going to Texas BBQ country - which we did a couple of years ago (and we had probably the best beef BBQ there in the whole world for peanuts - because we love great BBQ) - and going to Paris and trying to spend less for a week eating than it would cost to buy a small car because you can't afford the higher end alternatives. I'm not sure how to say it - it's the difference between indulging in whatever you want to do - and worrying about skimping all the time.

If I were somewhat budget-constrained (I'm not talking about a backpacking student - just a regular middle class traveler) - and thinking about a trip - I'd probably pick a place where I could get the best possible of what it had to offer - instead of going to a city like Paris where I would have to worry about money all the time. There are lots of places like that all over the world. Robyn

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My husband and I don't travel as much as we used to - but we still travel a fair amount.  We aren't travel snobs - and we don't put down places that don't cost a lot of money.  But - IMO - there's a huge difference between going to Texas BBQ country - which we did a couple of years ago (and we had probably the best beef BBQ there in the whole world for peanuts -  because we love great BBQ) - and going to Paris and trying to spend less for a week eating than it would cost to buy a small car because you can't afford the higher end alternatives.  I'm not sure how to say it - it's the difference between indulging in whatever you want to do - and worrying about skimping all the time.

If I were somewhat budget-constrained (I'm not talking about a backpacking student - just a regular middle class traveler) - and thinking about a trip - I'd probably pick a place where I could get the best possible of what it had to offer - instead of going to a city like Paris where I would have to worry about money all the time.  There are lots of places like that all over the world.  Robyn

Actually, there may be a bit of snobbery at work here. Because the post is implying that instead of going to Paris where one might have to "worry about money all the time," one should instead forget about Paris and go somewhere more affordable. Of course, for the poster, that's not a problem.

Our philosophy for travel is to try and pretend we're locals when we're in the place we travel to. We rent an apartment (we don't cook any meals though, except for breakfast), try to go to the places that locals go to or write about, try to communicate in the language, and so on. And, in my opinion, locals aren't, during the course of their regular routine, eating at Pierre Gagnaire, Guy Savoy, Le Meurice, Le Cing, or the like. They're sitting elbow to elbow with their fellow Parisians, wishing they could smoke, and enjoying very good food at reasonable prices in some of the places mentioned above...imo, the best possible of what it had to offer.

And I don't care what magazine is publishing names and addresses, if someone isn't going to Belleville, they're not going to Belleville no matter who is touting it as the next hot foodie destination.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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If I were somewhat budget-constrained (I'm not talking about a backpacking student - just a regular middle class traveler) - and thinking about a trip - I'd probably pick a place where I could get the best possible of what it had to offer - instead of going to a city like Paris where I would have to worry about money all the time.  There are lots of places like that all over the world.  Robyn

This year i visited guatemala,peru,marocco and japan .Except for Japan most places were reasonable.specially when it came to eating.But it was a different experience.None of the high level of food stds that prevail in Paris.

In cities that have higher stds such as London.New york ,Paris,Tokyo,etc, one has to plan and seek value places,if one is concerned about money.

Also .as i have indicated before there are quite a few starred restaurants in Paris that offer excellent value.

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In cities that have higher stds such as London.New york ,Paris,Tokyo,etc, one has to plan and seek value places,if one is concerned about money.

But what if one is not concerned about money and just likes those kinds of places?

Feels that the food is really what people are eating and what people want to eat.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Weinoo - Remember - there are people who live in Paris who have money too (it's not exactly a city of paupers - especially in certain areas). We were the only non-locals at Guy Savoy the day we had lunch here. Note that my husband worked on his French for a year before we went - and he sounded pretty good. At Guy Savoy - we got the menu in French - and our initial conversations with the maitre 'd were in French. He apparently thought we were French. We were very relieved when we found we could get a menu in English - and that his English was flawless (there are a lot of language subtleties when it comes to high end food).

FWIW - I don't pretend to be anything other than what I am. A person with some money who enjoys luxury travel. I don't spend hours (or sometimes days) on airplanes to stay in someone else's apartment (which would probably be less nice than my house) or to find great values in dining (there are plenty of those here at home). No sin in that IMO. You and YMMV. And there is no sin in that either.

Pierre45 - I would personally avoid places like Guatemala and Peru simply because of crime and food safety concerns. My cousin (an oral surgeon) goes to Guatemala once a year to do cleft palate surgery. He's been held up by bandits. My last housekeeper was from Peru - and her children refused to allow her to travel home because they feared for her safety. Also - I am really awful when it comes to taking the necessary food precautions in second and third world countries. So these countries aren't a good match for me. Again - YMMV. I thought Japan was relatively cheap compared to most of western Europe. And it was absolutely safe - and there are no food problems. My kind of country (except it is a totally exhausting 2 day trip for me to get from here to there - leave home on Monday - arrive there on Wednesday). I don't know anything about Morocco.

We were thinking about a RTW trip next year - with stops in places like Moscow and Mumbai and Dubai. After the events of last week - that is off our radar screen. We will probably wind up exploring south South America (Chile and Argentina) - assuming things stay somewhat stable in that part of the world.

FWIW - I have been to London, Paris, New York and Tokyo in the last 4 years or so. With the exception of Tokyo - I was underwhelmed. Perhaps that is because I had been to London, Paris and New York multilple times before - but had never been to Tokyo. Robyn

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Weinoo - Remember - there are people who live in Paris who have money too (it's not exactly a city of paupers - especially in certain areas).  We were the only non-locals at Guy Savoy the day we had lunch here.  Note that my husband worked on his French for a year before we went - and he sounded pretty good.  At Guy Savoy - we got the menu in French - and our initial conversations with the maitre 'd were in French.  He apparently thought we were French.  We were very relieved when we found we could get a menu in English - and that his English was flawless (there are a lot of language subtleties when it comes to high end food).

FWIW - I don't pretend to be anything other than what I am.  A person with some money who enjoys luxury travel.  I don't spend hours (or sometimes days) on airplanes to stay in someone else's apartment (which would probably be less nice than my house) or to find great values in dining (there are plenty of those here at home).  No sin in that IMO. You and YMMV.  And there is no sin in that either.

Pierre45 - I would personally avoid places like Guatemala and Peru simply because of crime and food safety concerns.  My cousin (an oral surgeon) goes to Guatemala once a year to do cleft palate surgery.  He's been held up by bandits.  My last housekeeper was from Peru - and her children refused to allow her to travel home because they feared for her safety.  Also - I am really awful when it comes to taking the necessary food precautions in second and third world countries.  So these countries aren't a good match for me.  Again - YMMV.  I thought Japan was relatively cheap compared to most of western Europe.  And it was absolutely safe - and there are no food problems.  My kind of country (except it is a totally exhausting 2 day trip for me to get from here to there - leave home on Monday - arrive there on Wednesday).  I don't know anything about Morocco.

We were thinking about a RTW trip next year - with stops in places like Moscow and Mumbai and Dubai.  After the events of last week - that is off our radar screen.  We will probably wind up exploring south South America (Chile and Argentina) - assuming things stay somewhat stable in that part of the world.

FWIW - I have been to London, Paris, New York and Tokyo in the last 4 years or so.  With the exception of Tokyo - I was underwhelmed.  Perhaps that is because I had been to London, Paris and New York multilple times before - but had never been to Tokyo.  Robyn

What's the point in relation to price/quality of restaurants in France?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I always try to seek out good price/quality places given that I do not make an extraordinary amount of money but am very concerned with the quality of food. I probably spend a good portion of my salary on food and hate to waste money on mediocre products and restaurants. I am also fairly sure I drive my non-foodie friends crazy because I have to pick every place we go, and make faces when someone suggests a place they love that I have never heard of. Contrary to some, I think Paris still offers exceptional value for the money, maybe not on every corner, but it’s there if you know where to look. I was just in the States (Philadelphia) for 3 weeks and although I ate well, I still found the restaurants in Paris to be of a better quality for the price. I also thought the good restaurants we ate in, were quite expensive, especailly for wine as Weino points out.

Lucky for me, I can honestly say that I am just as happy in a convivial bistro that serves exceptional food as I am eating in a three-star. Stars are nice, but I certainly don’t feel deprived when eating at a place like le Verre Volé or at my favorite Japanese noodle place because I can’t afford more. I don’t agree that people are merely settling for less, when they can’t eat in the luxury restaurants every night. I assume that chefs like Camdeborde et al opened high-quality bistros because these are the kind of places they want to eat in, not only because they wanted to serve less expensive food.

For me, 25-35 € for high-quality ingredients is what I think of as a bon rapport qualité/prix. Also, I really don’t think you can take the exchange rate into account because it fluctuates. The fact that the dollar is down only means Paris is more expensive for Americans. If the dollar suddenly goes up, it will not change the prices here in Paris for those of us who live here.


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For me, 25-35 € for high-quality ingredients is what I think of as a bon rapport qualité/prix.  Also, I really don’t think you can take the exchange rate into account because it fluctuates.  The fact that the dollar is down only means Paris is more expensive for Americans.    If the dollar suddenly goes up, it will not change the prices here in Paris for those of us who live here.

Bravo Phyllis. I'm in the midst of writing a piece entitled "If I were a rich man" (catchy eh?) and if I were, I'd still be looking at the same price-quality ratio I was 58 years ago.

It can be found as you point out and Pierre keeps saying.


John Talbott

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And, to add my two cents, as I stated above:

But what if one is not concerned about money and just likes those kinds of places?

Well put, Felice and John.

Another story I've told a few times: in 1989, my American publisher, Swiss banker and international financial advisor guy, all came to Paris at different times and took us out to the most expensive places we could come up with. Each time, the meals were superb, but each time Colette turned to me on the way home afterwards and said "Was it worth it?" I think the answer depends.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I traveled the countries of Europe for over 20 years equipped with an almost unlimited expense account. Love to eat well and all of my colleagues knew it.

They also learned quickly that I'm a value for money sort of person, still am.

I'm more happy to have found or be taken too an 'unknown' place that offers superb innovative food (Maybe given some other recent posts I shouldn't use that word, but you know what I mean I hope) than to most 3 stars. After all anybody can spend money if they have it. It takes talent and perseverance to find the up & coming places.

Maybe it comes from having grown up poor. I don't know, but give me great value any day.

I still think its to be found in France more than in most other countries. Possibly because there are more people who truly appreciate good food here as a percentage than in most other countries.

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