How to Find a Good Restaurant…in France

According to statistics, 70 % of the French restaurants offer processed or semi-processed ready to be reheated dishes – and there for belong to the “commerçants restaurateurs” category*.
To allow the consumer to make a distinction between the “microwave” and genuine cooks and to maintain the quality of the famous French gastronomy there are several designation that can help when choosing a restaurant – besides the basic rules of less than 10 dishes on the menu, plates preferably made with seasonal vegetables and the originality of the dishes (and the open kitchen concept that is more and more in fashion):

First there are the Michelin starred restaurants called also “Restaurant Gastronomique”. These restaurants are in a class of their own and will not be discussed further.

On the 15th of July 2014 the Ministry of Economy of France introduced a new designation: “Fait Maison”. This label defines a dish as “home made” as one created on place from raw ingredients that were not in any way processed via heating, marinating, assembling or a combination of these three. This designation has the draw back that it allows for the usage of frozen ingredients like for example frozen vegetables or even frozen dough
and canned fruits and veggies.

"Fait Maison" logo
“Fait Maison” logo

Then there is the label “Maître restaurateur” – delivered by the state for a period of 4 years after a careful inspection of the establishment. This designation recognized the chef’s professional competences and his/her engagement to work with unprocessed essentially fresh ingredients.
The list of the 3000 “Maître restaurateur” restaurants of France and more details about the label can be found on the “”Maître restaurateur” association web site: http://www.maitresrestaurateurs.com/

Maître Restaurateur
Maître Restaurateur

Furthermore there is the “Restaurants qui font a manger” – literally the restaurants that make food – directory created by Alain Tortosa that includes 400 establishments. The label represents a group of restaurants, caterers and chefs that is committed to being transparent with respect to their culinary practices. Their web site is http://restaurantsquifontamanger.fr and includes the association’s structure and goals and the list of 400 restaurants that belong to it.

Restaurants qui font a manger - Logo
Restaurants qui font a manger – Logo

Lastly there is the label “Resturant de Qualite”. This designation is awarded to qualifying restaurants by the “Collège Culinaire de France” a prestigious association founded by 15 renowned French chefs including Alain Ducasse, Paul Bocuse and Michel Guérard.
The “Resturant de Qualité” title warrants the commitment of the chef – “l’artisan restaurateur” – in two important areas of professional gastronomic hospitality:
A. Transparency of food preparation:
1. Quality raw products processed locally
2. Quality of the method of preparation of the dishes served
3. Quality of professional expertise in the kitchen
B. The passion for making the customers feel welcome:
1. Quality of reception
2. Smile “quality”
3. Consistency of the quality/price rapport
You can find a list of “Resturant de Qualité” designed establishments on the label’s web site: http://www.restaurantdequalite.fr

Restaurant de qualite Logo

.*source College Culinaire de France

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