Eating Gourmet that’s Good for your Wallet

French fine dining at its best: Le Cinq – photo from Juwad Hussain @

I’d like to experience gourmet dining with white tablecloth service, but finding it tricky to balance the budget… What are my options? Well, you can certainly go romantic with a block of fromage et baguette with a bottle of red along the Seine… Or, consider an alternative: restauration and hotel schools.

Although a hotel school restaurant might not be the best option for a first date (don’t want them thinking you’re cheap), it is definitely worth exploring for banquets, business lunches, or for anyone looking for quality at a reasonable price. There are several in Paris that offer first class meals, with tablecloth service between €12-20. The only catch is that you must make a reservation. Don’t be daunted by websites in French; it is likely that students involved in hotel restauration will have English on the agenda as well.

17, Rue Jacques Ibert – 75017 PARIS
Tel : – Fax :
Métro Louise Michel

L’Ecole de Paris des Métiers de la Table, du Tourisme et de l’Hôtellerie is one of several schools where post baccalaureate students learn to master the art of cooking & food preparation, hotel & dining service, & everything that goes with the métier (trade). In the 17th arrondissement, this school offers daily lunch menus at €12-15. Menus are available by month on their website.

Example Menu for La Fontaine @ l’École de Paris des Métiers de la Table, du Tourisme et de l’Hôtellerie

Restaurant Le Charles  at l’Ecole Supérieure d’Hôtellerie, “ESHotel,” offers traditional French menus at €18. It is located on the northwest edge of Paris, in Clichy. Le Charles is open for lunch & available for privately booked events.

ESHotel Paris – 76, rue Villeneuve – 92110 Clichy la Garenne – France
Tél. +33 (0)1 47 31 39 39 – Métro Mairie de Clichy (13) – RER C Saint-Ouen, photo from

Lycée des Métiers de l’Hôtellerie Jean Drouant, near Parc Monceau in the 17th, boasts of 2 restaurants & is available for banquets: Brasserie Atelier Bartholdi is open for lunch, Tuesdays through Thursdays only. Restaurant Julien François serves a menu classique for lunch & menu gastronomique for diner. It seats up to 250 people, and is open Mondays through Thursdays. Closed Fridays. restaurant price menu

Atelier Bartholdi Lycée Drouant, Pistachio tartelette, photo by Airone 77 @

FERRANDI – L’École Française de Gastronomie also has 2 restaurants that are open for both lunch & dinner. Another advantage to this school is its central location in the 6th, métro Saint-Placide (Line 4) or Rennes (Line 12). Menus change regularly; call for specifics.

École Supérieure de cuisine française Grégoire Ferrandi
28, rue de l’Abbé Grégoire 75006 Paris, Tel: 01 49 54 17 31 (mornings only), email:, photo from

With guaranteed good food & service, supervised by professionals, I can imagine finding my regular weekly luncheon spot. Complete 3-4 course meals for under €20, at least good ones, do not exist in Parisian restaurants. At a squeeze, you may find some nice bistros that offer 3 course meals with apéritif for €40, but certainly no less. Inquire about the wine service, especially if you are selective. Wine may cost a bit extra. Don’t consider the reservation a barrier; consider it a gateway, like you would for any fine dining establishment. You won’t be disappointed.

*Hotel school restaurants follow the academic calendar in France*

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