Your Ultimate French Restaurant Guide

Your Ultimate French Restaurant Guide

France and restaurants form a kind of symbiosis. The term “restaurant” stands for different locations. Here is a small selection of where and what to eat. There is something for every taste and budget.

Where can you eat something? – Où peux-tu manger quelque chose?

  • Families: The best way to get to know the typical, traditional food and drink in France is of course in a French family. But who has the opportunity to do so?
  • Brasserie: It actually means “brewery”. In addition to beer, these restaurants serve some, mostly hearty, typical dishes.
  • Café / Bar: This corresponds to the “pubs” in German-speaking countries. People meet to chat and have a drink. There is no cake here, just savory snacks.
  • Salon de Thé: There are coffee and tea as well as pastries and cakes.
  • Patisserie: In a patisserie, you can also get coffee and tea as well as cakes, tarts, and macarons.
  • Crêperie: It offers a variety of French crêpes.
  • Bistro: This is a small, cozy restaurant, often with seats outside, where locals of all stripes meet. There is typical bistro furniture and you get drinks and simple meals.
  • Snack bars: You will hardly find these in France, only in the north there are “Baraques à Frites”, where French fries – mostly the good Belgian ones – are offered.
  • Market: At the large French weekly markets, many stalls offer typical and less typical dishes for direct consumption or to take away.
  • Restaurant: This is an eatery that is awarded stars for its cuisine by the culinary travel guide “Guide Michelin” according to strict criteria. There are up to 3 stars.

behaviour rules

Of course, each of you knows how to behave in restaurants and at the table, but: Different countries, different customs! Here are a few rules of conduct so that you don’t embarrass yourself unnecessarily in France:

  • French meal times differ from those in Austria: lunch lasts until 2 p.m., dinner is eaten around 8 p.m., which takes about two hours.
  • When entering a restaurant you wait until the waiter – the garçon – assigns a seat. It is different in brasseries, bars or cafes, you can choose yourself.
  • Pay attention to the sequence of dishes in a good restaurant: aperitif, starter, main course, cheese, dessert. Finally, a little coffee is drunk.
  • When you eat, you get a carafe d’eau, a jug with tap water, which is free and refilled.
  • Traditionally, soups are only eaten in the evening.
  • Cheese is usually offered on a cheese cart, from which you should choose two or three pieces.
  • A menu consists of 2 to 3 courses and changes from day to day or from week to week. It is usually cheaper than putting together a multi-course meal yourself.
  • In France, there is usually only one invoice and one pays for everyone.
  • Tips are paid by leaving a few coins on the table after paying the bill. The French give a maximum of 10 percent of the invoice amount, rather less.
  • The operator is called by hand signals.
  • Certain table manners are part of “good manners”: fruit for dessert and chicken legs are eaten with a knife and fork, cheese should be sliced ​​sideways and lettuce leaves folded, not cut. One kind of deadly sin is to cut baguettes. It will be broken!
  • The “café” corresponds to an espresso, the “café crème” to German-Austrian coffee.
  • In cities there are often three different prices for the same drink within a locality, depending on whether you take it while standing at the counter, at the table inside or outside. It’s cheapest at the counter.
  • Bistro, bars, and cafés are meeting places for everyone. Here you get the bill with what you ordered, but you can stay seated as long as you like. And the French have a lot of rest and time!
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