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  1. Just to add some of my thoughts from our brilliant trip to Paris. Wed - Repaire de Cartouche I loved the feel of the restaurant, felt very neighbourhood-like and of course very rustic. I started with the pate en croute, and my girlfriend had the terrine. The whole terrine dish was served, to help yourself with and my girlfriend enjoyed it, though wasn't blown away. My pate en croute was a huge portion, again very good but not blown away. The mains were quite disappointing. My girlfriend's pigeon with peas was cooked perfectly, the pigeon was tender and well seasoned but the dish just lacked that something. I had the veal rump with braised vegetables, which in essence was an overcooked rump of veal, with well cooked vegetables and a veal jus. For dessert I had the burnt rice pudding with orange marmalade, which I enjoyed but after a few spoonfuls you definitely have enough. Far too tart and not sweet enough in my view. Though I forget what my girlfriend have, we left reasonably satisfied but it's not somewhere I would recommend to others Thu - L'Ami Jean Possibly the highlight of the trip. We went in and experienced our first mildly rude French waiter, who was getting a bit annoyed as we were taking our time deciphering the menu. But this was all minor once we ordered. We went for the set menu, which was a lot more economical than the a la carte, but mainly because we didn't understand all the dishes (my french is decent, but not great). To start, my girlfriend had an amazing gazpacho with a ravioli in the middle. I'm sure there was more to it than just that. I had a braised shin of beef, shredded and immersed in a delectable carrot puree, which was also served with a carrot-based foam. You know when dishes are so amazing, that you purposely take small spoonfuls and savour each one until the last possible moment before you have to swallow...that's what our starters felt like. Then the mains. I ordered the rack of lamb, which was delicious but the real star were the pig cheeks my girlfriend ordered. Though she'd felt a bit uneasy about ordering it because we weren't sure about the other items, she soon lit up when it arrived. The flavours were out of this world, pig cheeks came with a healthy portion of small pasta tubes. Desserts are hazy in my memory now, my girlfriends was a peach trifle of sorts and she loved it. We left the restaurant already planning our next trip. I can't recommend it highly enough. Fri - Les Ambassadeurs My Michelin experience is fairly decent I would say. 2 star establishments I've dined in include Le Bristol (before it gained it's 3rd star), THe Capital in London and Brunei in Brussels. I thoroughly enjoyed Les Ambassadeurs, a wonderful experience as you'd expect. We had the set menu, which was a crab broth for my partner and the fois gras served in both a broth and something else. I was not blown away though really enjoyed it. My girlfriend's crab broth was wonderful. For main, we both had the veal sweetbreads...simply fantastic though I recall sweetbreads I had at Le Meurice a couple of years back which blew this out of the water. Desserts were wonderful though, my girlfriends a beautifully decorated chocolate dessert, based loosely on Black Forest gateau and I had a wonderful take on rice pudding. Simply divine. wonderful little extras, including never ending amounts of petit fours make this a fantastic lunch experience. With 2 stars, I don't believe in going back to the same place unless you are completely and ridiculously blown away (such as my experience at Le Bristol years earlier, not as keen on Le Meurice). So though loved it, I won't be returning. Great lunch though Sun - Le Petit Pontoise A wonderful bistrot to the east of the Latin quarter along the Seine. Though very hot inside (dress light in the summer - you have been warned) we had excellent, simple homey food. It's only fair to compare it to our first night's meal at Le Repaire de Cartouche and it won hands down for me. Dishes are a bit hazy but they included white asparagus starter, a beef stew, pig's cheeks, creme brulee and a very good tarte tatin (apples were not caramelised enough and pastry was slighly under and not chewy enough for my liking). All in all, you can't do much better on a Sunday night Mon - Balzar This was just a quick bite for lunch before the airport. Not much to report. Girlfriend had a goat's cheese salad only and I had the roast chicken. Ordered a roast chicken on Sunday in a pub in Hampstead which blows the Balzar one out of the water on every level. Chips not much to write home about. Balzar is a place to go if you're passing by and need a bite...I would never make a dinner or lunch event out of it though. So thanks all for the great advice on here, hopefully you find my thoughts useful
  2. I am going to try some of these recommendations for Sunday and hopefully get something booked. Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I'll be sure to share my experiences next week on what I've experienced.
  3. Unfortunately I tried calling La Gaigne and they said they were closed on Sunday evening. At the moment I have reservations at Le Repaire de Cartouche (opted for that ahead of Josephine) and L'Ami Jean for Thursday. Have a reservation at Balzar for the Sunday evening but really have that as a back-up in case I can't find anything else so any other ideas? Can't wait now, off on Wednesday
  4. I take that as a sign that you approve of the itinerary. I have however had 2nd thoughts about Balzar reading some very mixed reviews, and quite a few downright bad ones. So after a bit of research I've come across a nice bistro called Louis Vins which seems to get good reviews. It won't break the bank and the food is apparently very good. Has anyone here been and if so, are there better sunday night options? I've been through the threads here but none have appealed to me so far.
  5. Thanks for all the great tips. L'Ami Jean seems too good to pass up, so my itinerary is looking like this: Wed: Dinner at Josephine Thu: Dinner at Le Bon Accueil or Repaire De Cartouche Fri: Lunch at Les Ambassadeurs Sat: Lunch at L'Ami Jean or Le Severo for steak frites Sun: Dinner at Brasserie Balzar I'm not sure we can fit 2 big meals in a day, so the other main meal each day we'll see where chance takes us My partner is fairly new to Paris as well so obviously want her to get a real taste of Paris in the list above. I was a bit iffy about Balzar but being a Sunday night + the tradition of the place, I figure it worth the trip
  6. Thanks for the info, have read a lot about L'Ami Jean but only thing putting me off is it sounds a bit cramped and noisy whereas the vibe I'm looking for is more intimate without being cramped. In saying that I don't want a morgue
  7. Hi all, I will be spending 5 days in Paris next week with my partner and have been trying to decide on 3 dinner options with some difficulty. I have already booked, as the big splurge, a lunch at Les Ambassadeurs and a Balzar lunch for the Saturday. I am after dinner recommendations for the Wed, Thu and Sunday. We are staying in the 6th so ideally would like to stay within arrondisement 1-8 or south of 6. We are after traditional bistros with great service not too averse to English speaking (my French is very basic). Romantic and not TOO boisterous also ideal but above all great food. Here's my shortlist, any suggestions to narrow these down would be of great help. Budget-wise, up to a total of about 120 Euros with wine and 3 course so nothing too extravagant Repaire de Cartouche L'Ami Jean L'Os A Moelle Afaria Chez Denise Chez Georges Le Comptoir Au Bon Accueil GRand Pan Josephine (Chez Dumonet?) Any others you feel will be better suited to my needs, please feel free to mention Thanks
  8. The most I spent was £250 a head at Le Meurice in Paris where I proposed to my girlfriend. The setting was incredible, but the food was NOT worth it. It had just gained it's 3rd star, and though my main course of veal sweetbreads was spectacular, the starter and dessert was quite underwhelming. My girlfriend had a similar experience. Having dined at Le Bristol in Paris the year before (still the best meal of my life), and having dined at both The Capital (best in London for me) and Petrus (closely behind The capital in terms of food) here in London, Le Meurice stands out as the most expensive and anti-climactic meal I've ever had!
  9. Thanks for your suggestions. Fortaleza do Guincho seems a bit formal although excellent. I may try Porto Santa Maria instead, since I prefer the building and ambiance (at least based on the pictures I've seen). ← Porto de Santa Maria also fits the bill, though stay away from the seafood rice (Arroz de Marisco). It's not what they do best...
  10. Really nice write up, LuisMiguel, and I'm glad you had a great time, but what the hell were you thinking when you ordered that thing at ess-a-bagel ? Pastrami = Katz's (and 1 or 2 others in a pinch). Bagels are meant to be topped with cream cheese and the smoked fish of choice. Or perhaps toasted with butter and melted cheese. It wouldn't have mattered if Mike Bloomberg or Eli or Saul Zabar made that sandwich - it just shouldn't be done (imho, of course). And really, no bread should ever see a microwave. ← You're absolutely right. I guess I was hungry and saw the sign and went for it. But I do believe that guy would have messed up a simple cream cheese order
  11. After looking at this site amongst other sources for ideas for NY meals, I've decided to put down all my findings here. Excuse me for the length but hope you all find it of use and look forward to hearing some feedback. I'm from London so some of my comparisons will inevitably be made with high end dining in London. My ratings are relative to other similar restaurants in that category. Saturday - Rosa Mexicano (Dinner) We wanted to start off with something fun and lively for our first night and the comments on the margharitas sold us. The frozen margharitas are truly as great as I've read. Needless to say after 2 or 3 you're in quite a happy mood. The legendary guacamole to me lacked a bit of punch. I asked for it medium, but as others have said, they seem to prepare it far too mildly. Also a lack of garlic really didn't help, and the result is a fresh tasting if slightly bland guacamole. The food is average chain-restaurant type food. Nothing special but a fun night out. 7/10 Sunday - Norma's (brunch) The portions here are absolutely huge. I got an omelette and I could barely eat anything else the following day. My girlfriend got the eggs benedict. The food is very well prepared also and we left very happy. The sweeter dishes we saw looked incredibly decadent. I would definitely recommend Norma's for brunch. 7.5/10 Monday - Balthazar (lunch) & Momofuku Ssam (dinner) I love Balthazar. It reminds me so much of Bofinger in Paris, which is the king of the brasseries, so that's a compliment right there. Great atmosphere, great room and the food was lovely. I had the pan-roasted chicken, with bacon and potatoes. The sauce was a perfect consistency, and made the dish come alive. My girlfriend ahd the bass with crushed potatoes. The bass perfectly cooked, excellent ingredients. We shared a very nice apple and frangipane tart. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable lunch 9/10 Momofuku Ssam was one of the big highlights of our trip. Everything I had heard about it was justified. My girlfriend's favourite was the steamed pork buns. Absolutely delicious. The bahn-mi left me a bit underwhelmed, don't get me wrong; it was delicious but I was expecting fireworks. However the lamb belly and the sweetbreads were exquisite. I can't recommend this place highly enough. We were even tempted to go back later in the week. The service was great and informal, and luckily we were able to get seated straight away. 9.5/10 Tuesday: Ess-a-bagel (lunch) & Eleven Madison Park (dinner) Heard great things about the bagels at Ess-a-bagel and at a glance, they looked huge. However this was my big let-down. Mainly because "Uncle Bill" prepared my bagel. For those of you who are regulars you must know who I mean. An elderly guy, full of beans but who is clearly a littel bit too forgetful. I ordered the ruben (pastrami, cheeese and sauerkraut). It took an absolute age to be made, it was toasted and then microwaved for the cheese to melt. However when I got my bagel there was no cheese! I noticed it in the microwave however. When I pointed this out, Uncle Bill came over and said he'd add the cheese. The bagel was promptly nuked yet again. What arrived at my table was a rock hard hard bagel with boiling hot pastrami and cheese. I promptly took it back, and when asked if I wanted another I asked for a refund. My girlfriend liked her bagel but Uncle Bill forgot to include any cheese in hers...am sure it's a good place, but walk away if this guy is the one serving you. 4/10 Eleven Madison Park: Controversially Michelin did not give EMP a star. I read so many positive things from this board but I can see where Michelin are coming from. Firstly we opted for the 4 courses, as the gourmand menu looked a bit too overwhelming at that time. I had the tete de couchon, the loup de mer, Angus beef and the Peanut Butter Parfait. My girlfriend had the fois gras, Arctic Char, lamb and the apple souffle. My starter was very average. Nothing inoffensive but there was no real invention on the plate. Type of dish I would get at an average Parisian bistro. My bass was very well cooked however, and the dish perhaps verging on a star but not quite. The beef was definitely a 1 star dish, very rich with a nice sauce if I remember rightly. We ordered 1 portion of cheese to share. The cheese plate did not look that impressive but it's quality after all. I left it in the waiter's hands, specifying my likeness for strong cheeses. What returned were 3 measly portions of cheese, neither one of any real quality. My peanut butter palette was very good, but not sure you can go too far wrong. My girlfriend had similar experience, all her dishes very good individually but there were no fireworks. When I compare this place to some of London's 1 stars like Chez Bruce or Tom Aikens you can certainly say that EMP is some way behind them. I won't even bother comparing to some of Paris's 1 stars. I would tend to agree with Michelin's rating based on my experience there. 7/10 Wednesday: Ushi Wakamaru What a great place. We got a place right at the bar which I had reserved, and this is definitely the best place to sit. With 60% of customers Japanese this left me encouraged we were in a place that meant business. The tempura came and though slightly greasy for my tastes, it was good nonetheless. The black cod starter was excellent however. Then the sushi. I am no connoisseur with regards to types of sushi one can have, but all the ones I tried were magnificent. It's definitely amongst the freshest tasting sushi I have had, certainly up there with the sushi I've had in Nobu. A great meal and great experience. 8.5/10 Thursday: Peter Luger The king of steaks, what can I say about this place. You have to experience it. Certainly up there with the best steaks I've had, the porterhouse for 2 was perfectly medium rare, and wobbled with it's tenderness. I found the service to be excellent and not gruff at all as I was expecting, but then again I am used to crappy London service. I would recommend this as one of those quintessential NY experiences. And if you love meat, you simply have to go. We waited about 20 mins to be seated which just added to the experience, as we shared a drink and heard a few of the barman's stories. 9/10 Friday: Jean Georges Having dined here 3 years back I returned with my girlfriend, hoping to forget the incredible experience we'd had there before and treat this one on it's own merits. Per Se was our first option as we had never been, but price-wise we decided it was perhaps a bridge too far for this trip. The great thing about Jean Georges is you and your partner can have a different tasting menu. I had the seasonal and my girlfriend had the signature. My first course of the egg caviar on toast was to die for. Clearly a 3 star dish in my book. The dishes that followed continued to excel. The sashimi I wasn't expecting much from but it was beautifully fresh and light and an excellent follow-up to the first course. My asparagus with morels and asparagus juice was equally great. I had a similar dish at Le Meurice in Paris (except with leeks and black truffle) and I preferred this one. Black bass and poached lobster followed, the latter possible not as great. I found the lobster a little too tough but lovely nonetheless. The rack of lamb then arrived, another great success. My only quibble is the lamb was leaning more towards the rare side than medium-rare. For me it's not a problem, but lamb really shouldn't be served rare IMO and I imagine other people may have had a problem with it. My only real quibble was the desserts. I opted for the cherry, my girlfriend the chocolate. The chocolate was a 2/4. Two were very good but without fireworks. One of the dishes however was described as "If I had made this I would have called it a failure". After a tasting it was very bland, bits of chocolate sponge with something else I can't remember very well. It finished off with a chocolate drink, with what seemed like a cola flavouring. It did absolutely nothing for us. My cherry was much the same, a bland finish with the cherry drink and nothing spectacular. This meal was heading towards a 3 star triumph for both of us until the desserts. Our memory of desserts at Jean-Georges before were actually the highlight so very strange that they were such an anti-climax. A fantastic meal overall though, but the rhubarb may well ahve been the better dessert choice. This would have been a 9.5 had it not been for dessert 8.5/10 Any feedback/questions more than welcome...
  12. Thank you so much for this insightful post. I think I have narrowed it down to Le Meurice as my first choice. I'll keep you all posted. Thanks again to all
  13. I guess it's down to budget. The cost of each of the 3 stars is still a bit of a mystery to me. It would seem from what I've read that Arpege and L'Ambroisie are on the top end of the scale; around 700 Euros for 2 people eating a la carte with wine, etc. How do the 2 you mention above compare?
  14. I think the latter two far outpace the first but hey, all eating is personal. ← Is that a good list John? At the moment I am focussing my research on these 3 and reading up on them before making a decision. Feel free to mention other personal favourites you think may be worth investigating. Thanks all for the suggestions once again.
  15. My thought exactly; how could you do better? ← In that case, I guess I will definitely keep an open mind towards Le Bristol But there's just something to be said for a new experience I guess and it will only be my 3rd time in Paris.
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