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The Food Lover's Guide to Paris Paperback – April 1, 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Let's face it. Finding the best of the fabled cuisine in Paris can be difficult for us Americans. We're thrown off by the language, the numerous terms for eateries, and the French themselves, who love to pretend they don't speak English.

That's why Patricia Wells's updated guide, now in its fourth edition, is a hit. With detailed information on 450 restaurants, Wells takes readers by the hand and demystifies the culture so well known for its luscious food and demanding gourmands. Sidebars abound: she dissects breads, foie gras, and oysters--and even gives the cultural background on why the French may drink wine in the morning (to kill worms, of course), as well as discussing the pros and cons of eating the rinds of cheeses. Also listed are the best bakeries, cafés, and specialty shops, as well as 50 recipes to try at home.

If there is a criticism to be made of this sturdy and informative book, it's of the writing of this International Herald Tribune critic, which is sometimes riddled with stock descriptions and clichés. Yet readers are likely to forgive her this occasional foible, as Wells's interesting details and enthusiasm are enough to send devout Italophiles, even, to Paris--where they can sink their teeth into those crusty baguettes. --Melissa Rossi

From the Back Cover

The Food Lover's Classic Brought Completely Up to Date.

An inveterate explorer of all things culinary, Patricia Wells brings us the very best of Paris: not only unforgettable evenings in her foolproof selection of restaurants, bistros, and cafes, but the places to find the flakiest croissants, earthiest charcuteries, sublimest cheeses, most knowledgeable wine merchants, gleaming pots and pans, and the holy grail of breads, pain Poilane.

Whether the urge is a simple one, like satisfying a midafternoon sweet tooth on the rule de Buci (try Jean-Pierre Carton for its puckery tarte citron or deep, rich tarte au chocolat), or grander - deciding between hallowed Taillevent or the poetic, audacious Pierre Gagnaire - Ms. Well's guidance is infallible. She tells us what is new and wonderful (more than 50 restaurants and 100 specialty food shops have been added to this edition) and what is gloriously familiar and still to be treasured. She even manages to coax recipes from her favorite chefs - 50 are included in the book.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; 4th edition (April 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761114793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761114796
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,697,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As I consider "Food Lovers Guide to Paris" an old friend, I was really pleased to see a timely update to one of the most useful travel books I know. I highly recommend it to anyone with a good appetite who is contemplating a visit to the City of Light.
In this fourth version of her classic, Ms Wells again does a superb job of ferreting out and reviewing top notch restaurants, cafes, bakeries, pastry shops, wine bars, candy makers, markets, and a myriad of specialty shops - anything and everything that has to do with food in the food capital of the world. Some notable names from the third edition have been dropped and some exciting new ones added.
Some restaurants have been in all four guides, but an update was certainly necessary for those who enjoy the finest of fine cuisine: three years ago, the celebrated superstar chef Joel Robuchon retired. Today, several of his talented former assistants are now running their own kitchens in Paris, and their food can be absolutely stunning. My girlfriend and I visited two of these restaurants last autumn, (during the wild mushroom season, of course!), and were blown away by the exquisite food at both establishments.
Those looking for dining bargains will not be disappointed, as a good many of the recommended restaurants are not only quite affordable, but also offer wonderful value for your money. Good food, simply but imaginatively prepared. Included amongst the latter are several wonderful regional restaurants, if, for instance, you would like to try some of the specialties of the Southwest or Provence.
As there are other serious restaurant guides available, perhaps the most uniquely useful chapters in the book are those devoted to specialty shops.
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By A Customer on February 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the only guide that I brought with me to Paris for my 2 months stay there. Here's what I like about this book:
1. The food dictionary on the back! Eventhough I can speak/write/read some French that I don't need to carry regular dictionary around, the food terms sometimes confusing and this book has an excellent section on it.
2. The recipes are worth trying. I tried her recipes for madeleine and financiers, both turned out excellent.
3. Ms. Wells not only give restaurant guides but also specialty shops, bakery, etc. Some of the recommendations are well secluded from mainstream tourists. A trully excellent find.
Here's what I don't like about this book:
1. Many of the restaurants featured are expensive, especially for 2 months stay in Paris. I think there's plenty of cheap and reasonably good food that I could find. I used Ms. Well's recommendation for weekends/special occasions.
2. I think this book is a bit too heavy/thick to carry around.
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By A Customer on March 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Although I find her engaging, I have to admit my experience with Patricia Wells' guide books and recipes has been less than foolproof. Although this book contains a wealth of useful details, in my experience she is far too generous with many mediocre restaurants and I have had several meals I considered downright bad based on this book. Perhaps a part of the problem is that, unlike most restaurant reviewers, Ms. Wells is well-known and well-recognized among Parisian proprietors. She loves them, they love her. As a result, I suspect the service - and in some cases the food - are often a notch or so better for her than for the average patron.
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By A Customer on December 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
I bought this book (from Amazon of course) about 2 months ago. I read it cover to cover before our Paris trip. We ate in about half a dozen of the resaurants. She was completely accurate. . . the prices, the suggestions on what to order, the hours, everything. In case you're going, L'Astier was our overwhelming favorite. We also used the info on kitchen shops, patisseries, boulangeries and specialty shops.
Her title is accurate. If you're not a "food lover," don't bother. If you're obsessed like my family, don't go without it.
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By A Customer on September 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
This guide covers all the bases - restaurants, markets, shops (both food and housewares), and food as culture. The book is not organized in a "list of the best" fashion. It is organized by subject matter - cafe, bakery, marche', etc. - and then by arrondissement within each category. If you are looking for short and quick rundowns, this book requires more commitment on your part. But for an overall secure sense of food in Paris, this book is correct, insightful, and educational. We are "food people", and this book really made our trip enjoyable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It can be surprisingly difficult to find a good meal in Paris if you don't know where you are going. This guide is excellent for anyone visiting for the first time or tenth time to locate great little brasseries, cafes, and more interestingly, food specialty shops, wine shops, markets and tableware/kitchen equipment stores.

The book is arranged by the arrondissments, or the 20 sections of Paris. This is the best way to get to know Paris along with understanding the Metro (underground transport.) Maps of Paris show you these sections and the relevant Metro stops nearest your desired address, so getting around is really easy.

The fact that markets are included really is great. I had been to Paris plenty of times but only discovered some of the great outdoor markets by accident. These can be wonderful for walking, window shopping, taking photographs and buying a picnic lunch to eat in a park. One way to save plenty of euros is to save up for a fine meal and eat a perfectly decent lunch from cheese, bread and good fruit, or charcuterie (sausages and cold cuts) which can make some of the most memorable times.

I was only surprised to see that, under chocolate shops, Michel Cluizel was not listed. At one point, he was supposed to be the "second-best chocolatier in Paris", no one knowing or admitting who the absolute best one was. His shop is 201 Rue Saint Honoré, near the Louvre and it's definitely worth a visit.

If you love cuisine or just want to simplify figuring out where you want to dine in Paris, this book is a must.
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