Help! Parcelles is fully booked

They take reservations 2 weeks in advance, and I had planned to reserve yesterday for the 29th. Alas, I got busy and forgot. Today it was too late. I’m on the waiting list and hoping it still may happen. Does anyone know how likely it is that they get cancellations for a Friday night?

Otherwise it would be great if I could find an alternative. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but should be comfortable. It will be my husband’s birthday and we will be with our friends who we are visiting.

Reading through the many posts here, I was attracted to Reyna and Hectar. I would also consider Coretta, which we have liked in the past. Other ideas?

I was at Coretta on Friday night and it was excellent.

I was at Hectar a few weeks ago and enjoyed that very much, too.

I think you can’t go wrong with either.

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Maybe try calling Parcelles and asking? (They are no longer on a two-week reservation schedule, btw, but back to the four week-ish schedule.) Their English is quite good, if that is a problem for you, though a reservation for four is harder than a reservation for two, in my experience, as it is quite a small restaurant.

I wouldn’t recommend Reyna for this celebratory dinner, as you won’t be able to sit and relax with friends the way you can at most Parisian restaurants. Though I do highly recommend you trying the place, as the food is exceptional, in my one experience.

What about Omar Dhiab? Or Dillia? Both have set menus, so this might be an issue for you? And Omar Dhiab is definitely on the fancier front, but I really enjoyed my meal there, and Dilia is really relaxed, but again with really marvelous food. Finally, I haven’t written it up yet (but will), I ate at Soces the other night, and if you and your husband enjoy creative takes on fish (and other things), this is also not fancy, but also no feeling of being rushed. This might be an option, if you are looking for someplace that you haven’t been (?) before.

Ever since my one and only meal at Parcelles last winter, I have not been able to get a table for a second visit. I usually have great luck as a cancellation vulture… but not at Parcelles. It’s good but no restaurant is that good to make me put up with reservation hassles. This is Paris, after all. Next !

How about Chantoiseau on rue Lepic in Montmartre ? Love it for the vibe and the food for dining with the family. Our much missed John Talbott also loved it. But a warning: A few HungOn-ers, based on one meal 5 years ago, are less positive. However, their one experience doesn’t jive at all with my own experience of multiple meals (maybe 6 or 7/ lunch and dinner) over the years.

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FWIW Chantoiseau has long been hanging on my “list,” but @onzieme’s and @sfcarole’s disappointing experiences there have given me pause, and so if you do end up there and can report, I’d certainly be interested to hear OP’s opinion.

Vis-a-vis difficult reservations, for those of us who plan our short-stays in Paris, we don’t let difficult reservations stand in our way of trying the places we really want to go to. I would, however, like to add one overall observation from my recent week’s eating in Paris: My cousin and I reiterated over and over again on the wide variety of creative cuisine we experienced during our week. We felt anew that Paris has it all over New York in this area of young, creative chefs working in small, inviting restaurants. I know this is not the space to write about New York, but this is my place of comparison (and OP’s also), and though New York can probably boast a wider range of cuisines than Paris, it is almost always about “authentic” or “classical” that we in New York are tasting and giving high praise to, e.g. the Pete Wells’ review of the new Libertine that @SteveR flagged on the NY Board. The comparisons Wells’ makes to Parisian bistros seems very much beside the point, or at least the point as I saw it last week so clearly. In Paris, it seems like the playing field is on a different plane entirely. The chefs have mastered the basics and are turning out incredible food in unfussy settings that are creating wholly different taste sensations. And sensational it is!


I’ve only been once to Chantoiseau – not quite a year ago – but my impression was that maybe they were dealing with inflation by cutting corners. As I’ve previously pointed out, different restaurants have dealt with it in various manners – some by raising prices, some by cutting corners, and some by miraculously holding everyting constant with no increase in prices and no decline in quality. I should go back some time, but . . . there are also so many other places to try.

Thanks very much Onzieme, ninkat and Parn. Looking at the sample menu posted online by Parcelles, I see the exact same dishes we had there a year ago, and very little choice otherwise, so I really could skip it and have dropped the waiting list request. We went to Chantoiseau last year and I loved the dishes I had but Stanley was not excited about his, and again the menu is quite limited. I was most impressed by Hectar’s menu and the praise from Onzieme. This is exactly what I was looking for, reasonably priced, good selection (including organ meats), attractive room, and no difficulty booking. I’m happy to be trying something new to us and think it will be perfect for a birthday celebration.

ninkat, I agree about New York vs. Paris. I had read Wells’ review of Libertine and thought it would be worth a try, but found it impossible to reserve. I subsequently read the review in NY Magazine and was totally turned off. Looks ridiculously overpriced and not exciting regardless of the quality of the food. I’ll stick with Chez Napoleon when I want traditional French.

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Just to note that in Paris online menus, except those of hidebound trad restos, are often sample menus and rarely the menu that you will get on the day you go.

@ninkat. Interesting comparison between NYC and Paris. My experience of NYC is largely expense account dining in Manhattan plus a few forays to Brooklyn to sample the American version of the Berlin effect (migration in mass by young professionals to new, previously unremarkable neighbourhoods i.e. Prenzlauer Berg/ East Berlin and then Oberkampf/ Paris 11 in the ‘90s followed by Shoreditch/ East End London in the early ‘00s and finally Brooklyn in the late ‘00s). But, yes, I totally agree that the restaurant scene in Paris is far less hidebound, much much much more creative, and a far better price/ quality ratio. I should add that I found waiters in NYC, in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, far less professional and knowledgeable than those in Paris. Of course, there are exceptions. And the tipping thing can make things very uncomfortable… once the waiter who tried to become our new best friend and shared his rather boring life story with us during the meal chased me down the street to demand a bigger tip… just an inadvertent math error on my part that made the tip 17% rather than 20%+.

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Well, not sure I would go as whole hog and reductive as you have here, @ParnParis, especially in characterizing “Brooklyn” as a “previously unremarkable neighborhood” and as a version of “the Berlin effect” (never read anything about such a particularly Berlin phenomenon). Also, as described elsewhere (ad nauseam it sometimes seems), waiters in America, even (especially?) the highly professional ones, depend on tips as the largest part of their pay (unlike French waiters who are well-paid and do not need tips to make their rent), and your “story” about a waiter trying to “become your new best friend” by sharing “his rather boring life story” and then “chasing” you down the street because of an “inadvertent math error on [your] part that made the tip 17% rather than 20%+” sounds not only ridiculous and apocryphal, but also seems unnecessarily supercilious and condescending.

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I look forward to reading your impressions of Hectar. It is on my list also after reading @onzieme’s thoughts, and I hope you have a wonderful birthday celebration!

@ninkat . It’s a bit annoying that you quibble so easily and so unnecessarily. Mesquinerie. I’m just reporting my own personal experience. Not apocryphal, but yes maybe a little condescending as a Euro-trash who sometimes find some New World behaviours somewhat curious. Sorry about that.

Um, “never read anything about such a particularly Berlin phenomenon”. Perhaps you shouldn’t personalize absolutely everything and use your own particular knowledge or lack of it as the standard. Google is your friend and I’m sure you can better inform yourself about much earlier and well-documented examples of “Brookynization”/ gentrification/ hip-ization that began in Berlin in the 1990s and then other cities in Europe. No more need be said.

Well, it’s true, I’m not a slave to Google, but my impression of the gentrification that has happened in Berlin followed the fall of the Berlin Wall. This was in no way a precursor or a “much earlier” example of gentrification than that that was beginning to be well-documented in Brooklyn in the late '70s. Not sure what about Brooklyn you (or Google?) is saying exactly, but “the Berlin effect” is not something that I have ever seen documented as an early example of gentrification, and in fact I just tried Googling “the Berlin effect” to make sure I wasn’t missing something, and I don’t find anything about that phrase, nor how the gentrification of Berlin neighborhoods following the fall of the Berlin Wall was in any way a model for other such gentrification processes, before or after. Nothing personal.

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Brooklyn being described as a “neighborhood” is certainly a strange way of putting it. Brooklyn is hardly a neighborhood. It does include a lot of them, though. I won’t comment on the chronlogy, even less on “previously unremarkable” which is rather fun when you remember everything that’s been going on and about Brooklyn since the mid-80s (after I left it, sadly. But the fun had already begun by then.)

The story about the waiter irresistibly reminds me of a recent article in The Guardian on the subject of Saint-Tropez. Quote: “a wealthy Italian had recently been pursued into the car park by a waiter angry that he had left a €500 tip, about 10% of the bill, rather than the “customary” 20%.”

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You are quite right @Carmenere, but the reason I know the story about the @ParnParis’ waiter is a fantasy is also something you point out. It is true that a number of us on H.O. have spoken about the importance of tipping 20% or more (because the tips are included in waiters’ salary configurations, they do not receive health insurance or vacation or sick pay, etc.), but 15% has always been considered the figure that is “expected.” And the way people who have trouble with basic math are encouraged to figure this is to double the tax on the bill of every check (currently 8.875%, but has been over 8% for decades), so if double the tax, you are paying a slightly lower percentage on the whole check (since you are not figuring on tipping on the tax), or somewhere between 15-17%. No waiter would ever balk at a “double the tax” tip since waiters also know that this is a usual way to “figure” the tip. If @ParnParis had actually left that tip, there was no math error. And no waiter would have been demanding a bigger tip or chasing him down the street. Absurd.

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I’ll jump in and say I think that there’s been a California effect in restaurants and eating meaning a much more international multicultural approach to ingredients and flavors and a move to more casual dining. That combined with the farm to table championed by chefs like Alice Waters has been influential in big US cities and in Europe. We started going to back to Paris every year, 15 years ago (lived there briefly in the 70’s and visited sporadically) and I’ve seen a move away from traditional menus and an embracing of food from many different countries and again a more relaxed approach to dining. Places Kubri, Chocho and Mary Celeste you can find all over SF and LA (and I’m sure NYC). Same with London. Grateful that I can eat good Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Indian and Japanese and get good local produce year round in California.

The waiter story sounds bad-have to say after decades of eating out have never had that experience in the US. Tipping situation in Europe has got super convoluted for tourists and some restaurants frequented by Americans expect big tips on top of service charge.

I admit that I (and most of my friends there) rarely eat out in SF any more because of the ridiculous cost of restaurants, but still, I’d be interested in what you consider to be like chocho that you can find all over SF.

State Bird, Lolo, Bird Dog (Le Fantastique in SF)-just making the point that restaurants with small plates have been around in Calif for awhile and I’m happy to see them thriving in Paris. Also you can’t afford to eat out in SF? Lots of good lower priced meals in Mission and Richmond and Sunset districts I would think…

For me, it’s what’s on the plate, not whether it’s big or small. Small plates have been around since at least the 1990s (I know, I’m old). And also how it tastes and whether it has precision and purity; it’s been a while since I was at State Bird, but earlier this year was at its sister restaurant The Progress and there simply was no precision or purity in the food. And then there’s the local ingredients (and seasonality) which simply is not the same between SF and Paris; the one Bay Area restaurant that most understands this and adjusts accordingly is Chez Panisse, but it gets roundly criticized from others who don’t understand what CP is doing. So you may be looking at form, and I’m at substance.

I can afford to eat out in SF, I just feel it’s largely a ripoff when I can get a better meal for 30-40% of the price in Paris, so I just wait until I return to Paris. We can cook well at home in SF, and do. And don’t even get me started on wine in SF (I know it doesn’t matter to the majority on this board).

There are restaurants that I enjoy in SF, but they’re mostly from an older generation and not trying to wow the critics, e.g., Hayes St. Grill, Zuni, Cotagna. And there are some neighborhood restaurants, largely ethnic. Etc. And in Paris there are certainly international style restaurants that do what you can get in SF, NYC, London, etc., as I’ve pointed out in other posts here. But I just don’t see that chocho is one of them merely because it does small plates – again a question of substance vs. form.