For anyone planning an upcoming stay in Paris, I have exciting news. Restaurant delivery has, at long last, arrived in the French capital. Though considered a basic human right in New York City, as little as 10 years ago, it basically did not exist here.
There were glimmers at first: menus for bad pizza, and even worse, “sushi,” would show up in your mailbox, but no amount of convenience can compensate for terrible food. More recently, as the wave of international, snack-based, and street food-style cuisine became all le rage, some restaurants started their own delivery programs. But French laws make staffing expensive and tricky, so few restaurants have the manpower to spare.
In the last year or so, some smart startups have stepped in to fill the void: Tok Tok Tok, Deliveroo, and Take Eat Easy (pictured). Tok tok tok has the benefit of a wide scope—they’ll deliver cream puffs from Popelini, a single smoothie from Café Pinson, or even a jar of mayo from Monoprix. And they’ll do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which is practically unthinkable in Paris.
A trial order to Clasico Argentino, selected for its very hot empanadas and very cold (absolutely stellar) ice cream, showed they know how to store food—in a massive carryall with separate hot and cold compartments. But some $8 per delivery plus a small commission on the order is a bit steep.
Deliveroo only charges $3, but they raise the price of your order when compared with the restaurant’s own menu—what was $8 for a green papaya salad on a restaurant menu aggregator’s page for the Thai chain Mme Shawn’s became $11 on Deliveroo. They also take 30 percent from the restaurateur, and the food shows up in a paper bag.
Then there’s Take Eat Easy, which, right down to its cheesy-in-a-good-way name, is pretty much everything you want from a delivery service. They’re willing to travel anywhere within the city, so there are no geographical limitations. My pastrami on rye from Frenchie to Go came in peak form, as did my French fries—often a test of smart packing.
A salad and spicy fried chicken from Hero even came with saucing instructions relayed by my delivery person, a friendly young woman on a bicycle.
Take Eat Easy negotiates rates with restaurants, and their delivery charge, at $4, will not break the bank. Travelers take note: the company has been operating in Brussels since 2013, and is headed to London, Madrid, Berlin, and eventually, larger French cities like Bordeaux, Lille, and Lyon.
Alexandra Marshall is a contributing editor and the Paris correspondent at Travel + Leisure. Food, design, architecture and fashion are her specialties, which means, living in Paris, that she is very busy. Follow her on Twitter and on Instagram.