Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday 3/13/12: Groupon.fr dinner deal at le Meltin

Tuesday evening, we had a reservation to use our Groupon for a restaurant about 3 blocks from our hotel called le Meltin, which apparently is the French translation of the Melting Pot (and has nothing to do with the fondue chain).

Once there, I also ordered a beer which was on special for 2.5 euros, and due to miscommunication, Nancy ordered a second glass of wine. 
Our waiter asked if we would like the steak medium, and I said “non, moins, s’il vous plait” and whatever the word he used for rare I tried to say I wanted something between that and Medium.  He seemed to understand.  I should have ordered it medium because when it arrived, it was pretty much raw everywhere except the seared outside.  I’ll eat it that way, but I prefer a nice pink throughout.  Meat was good enough to eat raw though.

The mashed potatoes were also good, and Nancy ordered a salad which she liked.  The additional 2 drinks and salad came to about 10 euros.

In the U.S. I would only order a steak at a steakhouse because everywhere else would buy a lousy piece of meat, or if it was good meat, would ruin it by overcooking.  However this was a good piece of meat and as noted earlier, was not overcooked.  (I once had a very similar experience in Italy also.)  Anyone ordering a steak in Europe should order it 1 step more cooked than how you would order it in the U.S.  If you only eat well-done steak, you may want to opt for the chicken or duck when in France.  (Honestly I don't really understand why you would bother to order an expensive steak at all if you are just going to have them turn it into a piece of beef jerky, but it just goes to show once again that there is no accounting for taste.)

The two people who waited on us were very welcoming, spoke some English, and it was a very nice and reasonably priced restaurant, but it was pretty clear that the restaurant was struggling.  Only two other tables were occupied while we were there, and I had seen them promoted through lafourchette.com in addition to groupon.fr.  I asked them for a menu and left it with the front desk at our hotel in case the hotel was looking for a place to give anyone else a recommendation.

The Finagle

The Groupon.fr deal we bought, which I ordered about 2 months before our trip, we selected because the restaurant was 3 blocks from our hotel.  It included ribeye steak (entrecote) for 2 (total 640 grams, about 22.5 oz.) with a side, plus 2 glasses of wine, for 22 euros.    

Since it's on the internet, anyone can subscribe to groupon.fr, and probably any other groupon site for that matter.  

My U.S. credit card never worked with Groupon.fr in multiple tries for different offers.  However, I finally tried the PayPal option which worked fine.

Another web site which is similar to restaurant.com in the US is called lafourchette.com in French, or thefork.com which ostensibly is in English although most of the content is not translated.  This offers a percentage off the a-la-carte items, although drinks and fixed-price menus (in French called "formule" or just "menu") are usually excluded, so it's not always that different from just walking into a restaurant and ordering the formule.  We never did use this, although I wasted a lot of time researching.

I had been subscribing to Groupon.fr and LivingSocial for the Paris Northeast area for the last several months in anticipation of this trip, but this is the only deal we ordered, because we didn't want to be constrained by knowing we had to go to a bunch of specific restaurants or do certain things.  That is a risk of prepaying for something - you use it or you lose it, and for something like traveling to Paris, it is something one would need to plan around, which might be constraining, or the coupon could be thrown away, in which case it was a waste to buy it in the first place.

There were several good ones for all kinds of different restaurants and a few hammam/spa ones that we considered.  Over several months, I received many offers which I found amusing and some just bizarre, including for example:
  • Riding a Segway at Versailles
  • McDonalds: Lunch for 2 for 16 euros.  (I actually found this quite disturbing because if 8 euros was a discounted lunch at McDonalds, I feared some serious sticker shock.)
  • At least 2 offers a day for all kinds of bizarre weight loss treatments and surgeries, botox, etc.  I had no idea the French were quite so vain and no less desperate than Americans to be thin.  (this was reiterated by the many infomercials we saw on TV for no-exercise, all-you-can-eat weight loss products)
  • Fish Spa pedicure, where apparently you dunk your feet in an aquarium and tiny flesh-eating fish nibble away your callouses.  No thank you.


  1. Checking a foreign groupon in advance of a trip. A whole new level of frugality..

    1. We never would have known about that restaurant otherwise and it was very nice.

      One day I checked out groupons in a whole bunch of different countries and it's pretty interesting to see the range of what is offered in each. Gives you a snapshot of each country's consumer culture. For example, in China everything offered seemed to be some kind of a gadget.


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