95% was most likely an overexaggeration but that was to underline the main idea that overall if all of your recipes need several ingredients that will be used in none of the other recipes, it's much harder to make a restaurant work.
When dining in, I suppose yes, because we wouldn't think of the other dishes as Italian then - I don't make an 'Italian steak' it's just a steak, etc.
Indeed, I may be biased but many "italian things" do feel like normal things were "italian" has been added to it because they have a great cooking culture. Especially among the appetizers, where the spanish do the same, incorporating every small dish under the tapas umbrella
I live in the south so I won't be able to but my main advices would be to avoid eating near touristic places where very average stuff will be sold at a premium (Eiffel Tower, arc de triomphe for instance) and to go for places that look nice but not too fancy, especially if you want something closer to a "comfort food" feeling. Fancy places can have extremely good food but like Zvi said it, the ambiance can be mediocre and/or impersonal. Maybe ask parisians about the places where they would bring their friends for a good dinner? (and that you would like to try french specialties in some of them :) )
Exactly, the quality rules in the EU sometimes feel too strict but a few weeks in the US and I saw the difference. The compounding effect of food on your health is huge.
Salads and pasta salads on the "healthy" side. There are a lot of vegetables in the burgers, almost no option with only meat in it.
But it's not so much that than the differences in portion sizes and calories. There are legal limits to added sugar, salt or fat and to how much calories you can put in a meal. It's way lower than what you can find in the US.
Unlimited sodas are forbidden in France(Europe maybe ?) + they have way less sugar than in the US (+they are even cut a bit more in fast foods)
There must be a few other stuff but out of my head they are the main ones.
Despite that we still have obesity (~23% which is kind of average today but still bad)
100%! I have seen abroad varieties of pastries that I have never seen in France (often weird ones) and I did not understand why but this actually makes it sense, if 50% of what you sell is "croissant with XYZ" it's an easier sell. Can't believe I did not get that before
But when you go to a chinese place that's what you expect right ? Overall, even italian food is not as restricted as my comment makes it look but when you go to an italian restaurant you expect pasta and pizza
Cuisines are not limited to what is sold abroad as X cuisine but it's easier to sell when customers can know pretty much what to expect. That's not doable with french food, which is what I was trying to say
Your argument is sound but I think it's actually because of its diversity in the base foods. Pasta and pizza is 95% of italian food, rice and noodles are the base of 80% of chinese/japanese/korean food, etc... In french cuisine, there is no base that is often used so you must have a lot of different ingredients. Not the best thing when you operate at "small scale" (when you're not very expensive or cheesecake factory)
I don't know if french restaurants are pretentious outside of france, but that looks more like a parisian problem than a french one.
I was also surprised to see it so low.
Paris is an island in France, they are completely different from the rest of the country. We know it, they know it (and they want us to know it) and we don't like each others that much. Several of the experiences you talk about are typical parisian bullshit that would almost never happen elsewhere. About the "fancy" experience you describe, I'd say it's far from the majority and most restaurants would on the contrary be "à la bonne franquette" especially outside of Paris.
Really when you said this, I was thinking about 90% of my food experience in France, especially at home (but I'll come back to this later):
"What I love most about American food, and eating in America in general, is that it is the opposite of the French mistake of trying to impress you or waste your time. American food wants you to be happy, it wants to give you the experience you want and not hold back, it values your time and it does not much care how it looks doing it."
To come back to regional specialties, when you look for them you can have everything in Paris . I have to admit that. It may not be the easiest thing, especially for a stranger, but if you go outside of the touristic places you will find them and good food is worth searching for. I know there is a lot to visit in Paris and that may not be the priority but I feel like that's one of the reasons why strangers never actually eat typical french food.
There is no "french food" per se, the style of food completely changes from region to region and I feel like this is really what most people miss about it. Sure is easy to know about italian food, it's pizza, pasta and ice cream. French food is not that way, for better or for worse.
In my (limited, but still a few months) experience, americans rarely (if ever) eat home cooked food. For americans to eat at home, there is either a sports event that forces you to stay home or twice a year you will have people coming and make food. I have known couples who had four plates and that's it. All of this shocked me a bit and I honestly did not like it very much. Maybe it's bad luck but the sheer quantity of fast food (and extremely fat food in it) makes me doubt it. Did you try McDonald's in France? I could not believe how healthy it was actually compared to the american ones. (easiest comparison but it's the same in other fast foods)
We love our restaurants but cooking at home is a huge part of our food culture. If it takes the whole day to cook for friends and family, well it takes the whole day. The quality of the food we can buy in markets is way better than what I found in the US (the EU rules are much stricter) and many French become good cooks since they spend so much time in the kitchen so food at home is really really good.
As a lawyer, I think that would be less the case because our jargon does not reflect reality per se but the consequences of the actions we make and the constructs we created as a society. But maybe I actually fail to see my friends and I doing it because people I mostly see are working in law.