Dining and Saving Money in Paris with "The Fork" ("La Fourchette")
|Cristal Room at Baccarat|
I like to try new restaurants in Paris and I love to save money. If you've always thought that the two are mutually exclusive, I've got some good news for you. "The Fork", or La Fourchette, is a restaurant reservation website where you can reserve a table and save up to 50% off the check in three easy clicks.
With Stéphane away last weekend, I decided to treat myself to lunch at the Cristal Room. It's a restaurant that I've been wanting to try ever since I first spied the crystal glasses and sparkling chandeliers while visiting the Baccarat Museum two years ago. But since I could never convince Stéphane to join me, I was thrilled to see that I would receive 30% off the food portion of my bill if I used The Fork to book my table. It's really simple.
|Grilled John Dory, zucchini flower and Taggiasche olives, lemon-thyme foam|
Step 1: Go to The Fork (La Fourchette) or use their handy iPhone or iPad apps.
Step 2: Search for a restaurant by name or location. See if it's offering a special deal. If it is, be sure to read the conditions. Some restaurants only offer reductions at certain times or require that you order a starter and a main course or a main course and a dessert.
Step 3: Check the restaurant's score and read some of the reviews. For example, 366 reviewers have rated the Cristal Room a solid 9/10. With so many excellent restaurants in Paris, I'm not inclined to go to a restaurant with less than stellar reviews, even if I can save some money.
Step 4: Reserve your table by specifying the date, time and number of people.
Step 5: Receive a text message confirmation on your cell phone.
Step 6: Go to the restaurant and enjoy a fabulous meal knowing that you're also saving some money.
|Melon merliton, acid marmalade and apricot coulis|
Not only did the Cristal Room live up to my expectations, it surpassed them. The dining room was a haven of cool air on a stifling hot day and the service was impeccable. I felt pampered from the start of my meal until the very end. And best of all, I didn't feel the least bit guilty for treating myself to a delicious lunch while Stéphane was traveling because I saved some money in the process. I hope that the Cristal Room continues to offer the 30% discount on lunch because Stéphane has finally decided that he would like to go there. I think that his change of heart may have had something to do with the excited tone in my voice as I raved about my grilled John Dorry served with a delicate lemon thyme foam and the refreshing melon mirliton that I had for dessert.
Insider's tip: If you prefer to dine outside when the weather is pleasant, there are two tables on a private terrace overlooking Place des États-Unis.
Please click here to see more photos of the Cristal Room and terrace and here to see photos of some of the Baccarat chandeliers.
|Carpaccio and salad with freshly squeezed lemon|
The Fork also works amazingly well when you're craving Italian food but realize that it would require too much effort to make fresh spaghetti sauce for one person. Remembering that I had seen a nearby Italian restaurant listed on The Fork, I sent off a last-minute reservation request for a table at Giallo Oro. Within twenty minutes, I was sipping a glass of Prosecco and perusing the menu.
When Stéphane called at the end of his work day in Egypt, I was pleased to report that I was in the middle of saving money, once again, by having a delicious meal at a restaurant that we had been intending to try. From the free slices of pizza served as an appetizer to the owner asking if I would like to take my unfinished pasta home in a doggie bag (something that is extremely unusual in Paris), it was a delightful dining experience and one that I will readily repeat.
Insider's tip: If you're not alright with dogs in a restaurant, Giallo Oro isn't for you because the owner has two small Pugs.
Since all of my friends are tired of hearing me talk about The Fork, I thought that it's about time that I write a blog post about it. I don't have any personal or financial connections with the company. If you're going on vacation, you can also use The Fork to make reservations in other towns in France, Switzerland (Lausanne and Geneva) and Spain (Barcelona and Madrid).
Fine Food at the Tip of La Fourchette, a blog post about The Fork by "Paris at my Feet".