Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Second Worst Restaurant in France” as Want to Read:
The Second Worst Restaurant in France
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Second Worst Restaurant in France

(Paul Stuart #2)

by
3.71  ·  Rating details ·  903 ratings  ·  144 reviews
In a delightful sequel to the best-selling comedic novel My Italian Bulldozer , we are in a French village where the local restaurant's haute cuisine leaves a lot to be desired--and two books into an astounding ninth series from one of our most beloved authors.

Renowned cookbook writer Paul Stuart, renewed and refreshed from his time in Tuscany, has returned to Scotlan
...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 8th 2018 by Polygon
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Second Worst Restaurant in France, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Anna I had read the first book but hadn't realised this was the next in the series until I was half way through so I wouldn't worry just read it and enjoy.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  903 ratings  ·  144 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Marianne
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“To go anywhere, with anybody, was an act of faith. You trusted in the others’ judgement, navigation, and sense of what they were doing. What did he know about Chloe? Very little, he realised, other than that there had been a succession of husbands, that she had a mind filled with enthusiasms of one sort or another, and that she had a tendency to act on impulse.”

The Second-Worst Restaurant in France is the second book in the Paul Stuart series by popular Scottish author, Alexander McCall Smith.
...more
Carolyn
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always look forward to relaxing with a new book by Alexander McCall Smith. He shows a great understanding of human nature. His writing displays a quiet but thought-provoking philosophy in his witty dialogues, as well as a wry sense of humour. His characters are usually endearing.

Having read with pleasure the entire Scotland Street series and all the Ladies’ No. 1 Detective Agency books, and some of his stand-alone novels, he has become one of my favourite authors. This is the second book in
...more
Cassandra Elise
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
I will be the first to offer plaudits to the genius and gentle humor of Alexander McCall Smith. However, this sequel to the free-standing My Italian Bulldozer reads like it was the product of the publishers, not the author. There was no reason for a sequel other than to grab some extra bucks. The first book finished with the protagonist Paul growing in understanding about himself and love. In this book, Paul stagnates. The plot stagnates. I would even argue that much like a book by Henry James o ...more
Marianne
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“To go anywhere, with anybody, was an act of faith. You trusted in the others’ judgement, navigation, and sense of what they were doing. What did he know about Chloe? Very little, he realised, other than that there had been a succession of husbands, that she had a mind filled with enthusiasms of one sort or another, and that she had a tendency to act on impulse.”

The Second-Worst Restaurant in France is the second book in the Paul Stuart series by popular Scottish author, Alexander McCall Smith.
...more
Susan Johnson
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Paul Stuart, Scottish cookbook author, travels to France with his cousin Chloe to work on his newest cookbook about the philosophy of food. She has rented a house in a small town that has the distinction of having the second worst restaurant in France. The mussels even give Paul food poisoning.

Once there Chloe and Paul get involved in the lives of some odd characters including the awful chef, his nephew who has the makings to be a great chef, two sisters who own most of the town, a pregnant wa
...more
Kathryn
It's got the same style as the first in the series, My Italian Bulldozer, and some of the same characters, but I didn't quite like this as much. The story didn't feel as strong, to my way of thinking - it meandered along and took a while to get to the point.

There was a lot about cats in the beginning, and they didn't ultimately have anything to do with the rest of the story. I can see why they were there, but I thought the amount of time devoted to them as disproportionate.

But despite its shor
...more
Dan Hiner
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019-read-books
I'm at a loss concering this one. Did I like it...no. Maybe I just don't get it, but this book was allll over the place. I liked the setting, but that's about it. I think I got taken in because I have been watching Le Tour de France and I love all the helicopter shots of the villages. ( that was a weird aside ) Keep on reading! :)
Kay
Jul 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Maybe 2.5. Sixty pages from the end something happens. Not much.... but enough that you can say this book actually has a story and isn't just a collection of philosophical musings. Generally I love A. McCall Smith book but not this book.
Jane Gregg
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
A very nice read - one to give you a smile.
Barb Martin
Aug 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Perhaps, I would have enjoyed Alexander McCall Smith's "The Second-Worst Restaurant in France" more if I spoke French. The restaurant's menu offerings -- even the awful ones -- were in French. Google was my much-needed friend.

The story, itself, was vintage Alexander McCall Smith. We get touches of philosophy, our characters' need to help those in need and quirky minor characters and strange developments. Along the way, we find out just how horrendous the second-worst restaurant in France really
...more
Marj
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a charming read! This is the third Alexander McCall Smith novel I've read and I've loved them all! This one, though, set in Scotland and France engaged me from page one! Between the Scottish foodie world to the French countryside, Paul ambles through both local and international drama with seeming ease.

Side-splitting laughter, intrigue, and family ties all combine for a truly delightful read.
Leah
Aug 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If it hadn't been for Chloe, I would have liked this as much as My Italian Bulldozer. She has an interesting reveal at the end of the book, but it didn't make up for annoying character. I did like the rest of the story and most of the characters, but I am hoping that there will be a third book tie up a few loose ends. The setting was lovely, and the food, for the most part, sounded delicious. There was an unfortunate incident involving the restaurant.
Carol
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it
About halfway through this book I realized I wasn't enjoying it very much, and it didn't take long to figure out why. I think much of the delight in McCall Smith's books revolves around the odd, introspective, sometimes bizarre characters you meet in the pages. Some are insufferable, but they usually come and go and you're off to the next chapter. (Even Bertie's awful mother isn't around for the entire book, thank God.) But this book has Chloe, and she's inescapable, and by halfway through the b ...more
Donna Lewis
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I do enjoy a leisurely read through one of Andrew Mc Call Smith’s books. This one is the story of the Second-Worst Restaurant in France. Is a change possible?
As discussed in the book: “There’s nothing wrong with butter. It’s been rehabilitated—along with eggs. We can eat eggs again, thank goodness.” Parenting advice: “I discovered that you can calm him [a four-year-old with anger issues] down by throwing a bucket of water over him.”
Great fun!
Elizabeth Branton
Disappointing

A potentially good story set in lovely rural France but spoilt by too many pompous references to the classics, and ending far too soon without a proper conclusion. Several good characters that the author could have done so much more with but sadly missed the opportunity. Very disappointing
Marilyn Fontane
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
The Second Worst Restaurant in France by Alexander McCall Smith is the second book in the Paul Stuart series after the wonderful, funny, touching My Italian Bulldozer, but unfortunately the second in the series may be the second worst. Paul Stuart, cookbook writer, is having trouble writing The Philosophy of Food, so he goes off with his cousin/ aunt's cousin/ vague relative, Chloe to France for inspiration. At a small village in the French countryside, St. Vincent de la Colline, rather than pea ...more
Janet Rosfeld
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
McCall Smith has decided to write a sequel to "My Italian Bulldozer" featuring Paul Stuart, his bland Scottish cookbook writer. Paul goes off to France with his cousin Chloe, to work on his new book and escape a tepid relationship with his editor/girlfriend. The story is pleasant enough, Paul of course gets put upon by several French neighbors and ends up trying to improve the the village's awful restaurant. Cousin Chloe is a five-time divorce , a serial flirt and maybe a pathological liar. The ...more
Gail
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this sequel to My Italian Bulldozer, cookbook writer Paul Stuart accepts his cousin Chloe's invitation to accompany her to her house in France to find peace and quiet in which to write his next book. Instead, in inimitable Alexander McCall Smith fashion, Paul finds happy chaos as he is drawn into the lives of the village citizens. I smiled non-stop as I read this short novel.
Starry
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Like a meandering road trip. Don’t expect action. Pleasant if your need a light read and have the patience.
Jennifer Ladd
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Not as put together as his others. Hard to follow in the beginning. Some crazy characters
Jeannie
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly delightful book, gentle and kind and funny and just wonderful.
Jo Dervan
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Paul, an author of books about foods from different parts of the world, was working on a book on the philosophy of food in his Edinburgh apartment. He was having difficulty concentrating and getting work done when his girlfriend, Gloria, brought her peculiar Siamese cats to stay in his apartment. The presence of the cats made it impossible for Paul to work so he asked his colorful older cousin, Chloe, for help.

Chloe was a middle aged woman of means who claims to have been married 5 times.So whe
...more
Jill
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: firsttoread-com
Paul Stuart writes books about food. After his successful book on Italian food, he decides to write a weightier tome, about the philosophy of food. And as he gets his ideas together, his life falls apart. His girlfriend moves in her two cats, who Paul thinks dislike him greatly and make it difficult for him to work. So when his cousin graciously offers him the use of an empty apartment to write in (she usually has a renter, but it’s currently open), he finds himself in an awkward situation that ...more
Jodie
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paul Stuart is a Scottish cookbook writer, fresh off of success from writing a cookbook in Tuscany, is now given the task of writing "The Philosophy of Good in Six Easy Chapters." After a break in his relationship with his girlfriend and editor Gloria, he finds it especially challenging to get started on his book. When his cousin Chloe suggests he meet her a village in the French countryside where she has rented a home, Paul decides a change of scenery is just what he needs to write his book.

Lif
...more
Michael O'Leary
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Second Worst Restaurant in France by Alexander McCall Smith is a delightful sequel to the best-selling comedic novel My Italian Bulldozer featuring Paul Stuart cookbook author. Is this novel, Paul Stuart's travels take him to a French village, where the local restaurant's haute cuisine leaves a lot to be desired. The story is a delightful recipe of humor, humanity, and observation.

Renowned Scottish cookbook writer Paul Stuart is hard at work on his new book, The Philosophy of Food, but comp
...more
Colline Vinay Kook-Chun
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have not read any previous novels by McCall Smith, and had not read the first book in this series either. My enjoyment of the novel, however, was not diminished by my lack of knowledge of the first. The Second Worst Restaurant in France can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.

The main character in the novel, Paul Stuart, is a food writer so many references in the novel are food related – perfect for those readers who are foodies as well. References are made in the novel on the importance of food
...more
Sonia Schoenfield
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: up-lit
I haven't read a lot of McCall Smith lately but I feel like this book was written in a hurry. There's not a lot of description, just a telling of the story, although there's a lot of philosophizing between the characters. Sometimes I felt like this was a vehicle for expression opinions that may or may not be McCall Smith's own.

The book is a cute story about Paul, a Scottish food critic/writer who is writing a book called "The Philosophy of Food" and whose relationship with his older cousin Chlo
...more
Paul Calhoun
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great McCall Smith. It takes a gentle look at the slow, strange progression of life. Weird things happen and it's not up to us to prune those oddities for the sake of narrative convenience. Instead, we should examine them, stare at them, understand that some things just are, and they aren't going to make sense so we may as well accept them.

The repetition of the book's title recalls Portuguese Irregular Verbs, perhaps a dig at the publisher for asking him to mention it more often? The cu
...more
Carolyn Thomas
The first book in this series about food writer Paul Stuart ended with him coming to a realization of what and who it was that he wanted to be involved with - his editor, Gloria - and it was a step forward in his maturity.
At the start of the second book Paul seems to have regressed. He is no longer sure what he wants and his commitment to the relationship is less than wholehearted. To complicate matters, Gloria introduces Paul to her two beloved cats. Who doesn’t love cats? Well, apparently Paul
...more
Betty
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I dived into The Second Worse Restaurant in France with high hopes for an amusing read. I was not disappointed. The book is crammed full of unexpected events and happenstance that seem perfectly normal until you stop to think about what is really going on.
This book takes Paul, a writer of books about food, to France with his cousin Chloe, referred to by family members as The Remarkable Cousin Chloe. The adventures develop from the trip. The second worse restaurant in France is introduced as are
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
9,007 followers
Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what ...more

Other books in the series

Paul Stuart (2 books)
  • My Italian Bulldozer