Dining in Paris: Five dishes to try before you leave town
I hate writing about food. Suggesting someone a restaurant or a café is like trying to suggest a favorite color to someone. Just because I like a place, doesn’t mean you will, even if the food is stellar or the service above par. I’ll leave you all to battle it out on TripAdvisor.
Instead, let’s discuss knowing which dishes are worth trying in Paris, no matter what restaurant you choose. Sushi, pizza and burgers abound in Paris, but here are five dishes that you may not get back home quite as easily. Look for them on the menu and give these classics a try!
1. Duck confit
Duck leg cooked in its own fat? Done. You can thank the fat-loving southwest of France for this dish. Usually served up with roasted potatoes, this is a staple of many Parisian bistros and cafés, and it’s hard not to love. Even the cheapest ones are pretty good. Look for confit de canard on the menu.
These slimy little buggers are made entirely appetizing with some butter and maybe some garlic and parsley. They are much easier to eat than Julia Roberts would have us think in Pretty Woman. While seemingly kitsch, snails are still something to try when in Paris as a starter, just to see what all the fuss is about.
3. Beef bourguignon
Your mother may have made Julia Child’s version of this iconic beef stew. While Amy Adams tried so desperately to recreate the dish in the movie about Child, the real thing isn’t quite as tricky to make. You’ll find versions of it on menus all across town, so leave any preconceived notions at home.
4. Steak tartare
Instead of getting cooked beef, why not just get the fresher version? Steak tartare is raw ground beef mixed with various seasonings and a raw egg. Sounds gross but that doesn’t stop people from ordering it—though I wouldn’t suggest getting it at just any café since quality ingredients are important for a raw dish like this one. Many tourists gripe about not being able to get meat well-done, so why even bother? Just go with the flow on this one.
5. Foie gras
If you’re from California, you might feel like you’re breaking the law, but foie gras is still very much appreciated in Paris. Fatty duck or goose liver may not be grown in the most humane way (what really is force-feeding anyway?) but the result is divine. Served with toast, maybe a bit of jam and some coarse salt, it’s the perfect way to start a meal or to indulge with a glass of wine. Just don’t think too much about it.