travel advice & savings
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where to eat in paris, rome, venice
aimerlamer's profile picture
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just looking for any advice on restaurants to check out in paris, rome, and venice. i think we’ll be willing to splurge maybe one night in each city, but other than that will be looking for meals under 20 euros per person.

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for paris:
I know one thing though… stay away from The Hippo, or purple hippo, i forget the actual name, but anything with Hippo is a big NO NO!!! We ate there, the service was the worst in my life!!! The food was disgusting, the rice 1/3 cooked, 1/3 uncooked, 1/3 burnt! How do you ruin rice, honestly! The food also looked like someone had already eatten some of it.
We ate at one really really nice cafe on the Champs… It is just up the street from the virgin Megastore, it serves really good pizza’s and really yummy wine.
Anywhere near Le Gare (the train station) is pretty gross, they have nice shopping, but the food is not that good anywhere around there that we ate. Another good restaurant/cafe is literally 10 steps away from the place that princess di died at. There is a flame above the tunnel, which shrines to Princess Di, and just up that street (one of the streets that come off of the Ard De Triumph) is a great Cafe, excellent food, coffee, drinks, and plus, you can see the eiffel tower while sitting outside. There is also a bumpin’ club just about 5 doors or so up from that too.
Sorry i dont remember the names because it has been a couple years. And i havent been to Italy yet, i am going in March and June

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Don’t forget the street vendors who sell crepes…mmmmmm!

The touristy places aren’t necessarily the best for food. Look for more local cafes, even if they aren’t as large. Make sure to take a phrasebook with you because the menus are in French (menu in English – another hint that the clientele is primarily tourists.)

Street vendors, and prepared food from delis were my staples.

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For authentic Roman pizza, Remo in the Testaccio section (Piazza Santa Maria Liberatrice 44, open evenings, closed Sundays) is extremely popular and highly recommended.

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The main advice about Paris is NOT to eat on or near the Champs Elysees! When you hear the stories about someone paying $10 or more for a cup of coffee, its almost invariably at a tourist clip joint and almost always on the Champs Elysees (there are exceptions,though). The way this works is that a cafe may occupy some of the most expensive real estate in Paris and, if you occupy a chair at a table, you’ll be paying the rent. To be fair, though, if you just want a coffee, drink it at the bar. If you want a coffee plus the chance to linger as long as you want, watching the constant parade of people, then maybe $10 for a coffee isn’t a bad price.
Not all eating establishments that are near train stations are bad, but they cater to tourists who will likely not be back, so you have to be selective. And a chain restaurant like Hippo will not be represenative of good French food.
I posted on the Hostels board about how to find inexpensive meals (look under a post entitled something like Hotels/hostels near cafes". I hope that will help when you just want a quick bite.
Now, for the splurge meal: Paris is expensive relative to the rest of France, but I think that there are several places where you can have a supurb meal for abot 25 euros, especially at lunch, exclusive of extras such as bottled water (it’s perfectly OK to ask for a carafe of tap water), wine, and coffee—- but including the tip, which is always included in the price of the meal. At that price, you’ll usually have to choose between cheeses (fromages) and dessert, but you may find that the restaurant offers wine by the glass (verre), or certainly by the half-bottle (demi-bouteille).
Typically, in your splurge restaurant, you can order a "Menu", meaning a meal at a set price, for example 18 euros or 25 euros, etc. (What we in the US call the menu, the French call the ‘carte’). You’ll see items organized by "entrees"—- meaning ‘entrances’ (again, we in the US have corrupted this to mean ‘main course’), and then the main dish &quotlats". You’re expected to make one choice from each category.
In general, I’d advise ordering a menu, which the chef in a good restaurant devises to demonstrate his specialties and/or what looked good when he was in the market that morning.
I think that I can list a few places where your total bill for a really super meal, including wine, would be in the neighborhood of 30-40 euros per person (and there’s no law that says you must drink wine if your budget can’t afford it!).
So, if I should name names, let me know, and I’ll list 3 or 4 places—- but you may find very good meals just by nosing around the neighborhood where you’re staying; eating establishments always post prices outside.
One last bit of advice: For the spluge restaurant, if possible look at what they offer before deciding whether to go, always reserve, and always keep your reservation, or if you must cancel, phone to let them know because these are small places that get killed when diners fail to show up!