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Sunday lunch in Paris: Merged Topics


balex
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We had lunch today at Thoumieux, a very old-fashioned brasserie in the 7th. It is famous for its cassoulet, and some other south-western specialities, but without being really over-specialised. The room is very nice, and the atmosphere has a nice slow, serious eating feel to it.

I used to eat there quite regularly about 10 years ago; this was my second visit after a long break. The food was only ok; the cassoulet was good -- they do it with a proper crust on the top in a large bowl. Other people: the roast chicken was a bit dry; an entrecote was good, as was an aile de raie with capers. We just had some crudites and some ham to start.. Some nice sorbets and a rather duff tarte tatin finished the meal. But I enjoyed it -- it has a really good feel to it which makes up for the slightly sub-par food. But I can't really recommend it to a food-oriented person. My previous lunch had been rather better (2 months ago) which was a weekday, so that might account for it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It certainly looks like it has a good feel to it. It looks like the kind of place that should offer good traditional food. You make it sound as if the cassoulet would be worth going for, along with the atmosphere--assuming the atmosphere is not a lot of tired old folks being served by a bunch of tired old waiters. Slightly sub-par food is a description that make me wonder if you don't mean food served from a kitchen full of tired old cooks.

Michelin recommends it for cassoulet, confit and tripe. True enough it's at the bottom of each of those lists, but that's as much a factor of its simplicity--one fork and spoon--and its place in an alphabetical order. I'm not sure why, as the heyday of brasseries seems to have passed, but I'm becoming enamored of the lot. Perhaps it is that they seem to be a dying species. Maybe credit goes to a few good brasserie meals and a few unrequited brasserie meals.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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On short notice I am leaving for Paris, with a lunch date on Sunday 23 February with elderly in laws who are retired in Neuilly sur Seine. Suggestions for lunch at a restaurant with parking (valet or otherwise) available or a garage very near the restaurant? I would hope to find something in the range of 30-60 Euros per person.

By the way, other restaurants planned during my stay (sans in laws) include l'Angle du Faubourg, Ze Kitchen Galerie, l'Astrance and possibly Violon D'Ingres. Bux: I will report via a separate post when I get back.

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  • 1 year later...

We're off tommorrow night! I wanted to thank everyone for some really great ideas. I just had a couple of last minute questions.

Does anyone know the current hours for Cafe Constant-I've found conflicting info and we'd like to try it one day.

My husband, daughter and I had been planning to go to Cap Vernet for lunch but found out they were closed on Sunday. Any other ideas in the 1st or 8th?

Have read conflicting reports on L'Ardoise-especially about closet like basement.

Suggestion?

Gabrielle

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Hi menton - thanks so much for asking - I'm alive and fairly well - BUT in PURGATORY at the moment - will explain later.

Cafe Constant - open lunch and dinner - and then you can get coffee/drinks at the between services. They've FINALLY opened their second floor/premiere etage - but STILL usually PACKED. And still - God bless them - closed on Sundays.

Have I mentioned here the OTHER new Christian Constant option? It's his SEAFOOD place - Les Fables de la Fontaine. Chef took over Paris-Brest - right up the street - still a modern seafood cafe/bistro/brasserie - not quite a restaurant. So now it's the Cafe, Le Violon, and Les Fables.

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Have read conflicting reports on L'Ardoise-especially about closet like basement.

I've never sat down there, there are more seats on the main floor, but I've seen it on the way to the WC and it is kind of awful. I don't know what happens if you insist that you don't want to go, you could make it a condition when you make a reservation. On the other hand, Ardoise is very much like a coffee shop/diner kind of place, with much much better food and good prices, the table turnover is the most rapid in Paris, and I suspect most people use it as a place just to eat, rather than a destination with the other considerations that that entails. I've seen lots of French eating down below without objection.

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  • 1 year later...

We're going to be there for 5 days in July, cooking dinner and eating out every lunch. Our 5-year-old daughter is very restaurant-ready but conks out by 8pm, hence lunch! We're staying in an apartment in the 7th -- already counting on at least one lunch at L'ami Jean, which we've loved, but doubt they serve lunch on Sunday. Any suggestions? We're also spending two weeks in Vence -- hope to try La Litote and will report back, but would love other lunch suggestions in the environs.

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My list:

Le Reminet, 3, rue des Grands-Degres, 5th, 01.44.07.04.24

L'Equitable, 1 rue des Fossés Saint-Marcel, 5th, 01.43.31.69.20

La Mediterranee, 2 pl de l'Odeon, 6th, 01.43.26.02.30

L'Ardoise, 28 rue du Mont Thabor, 1st, 01.42.96.28.18

Cap Vernet, 82, ave Marceau, 8th, 01.47.20.20.40

La Cagouille, 10 Place Constantin Brancusi, 14th, 01.43.22.09.01{mainly for burned finger moules and buttered coques}

Le Soleil, 109 av Michelet, in St Ouen (opposite the flea market), 01.40.10.08.08

Mon Viel Ami, 69 St Louis en l'Ile, on the Ile St-Louis, 01.40.46.01.35 {off last time}

Brasserie aka La Lorraine, 2, place des Ternes, 8th, 01.56.21.22.00 {off last time}

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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In the 7th I'd second Fontaine de Mars and add Cafe de L'Alma on the list. Also Le Troquet not too far in the 15th.

Stay away from Le Ptit Troquet, I ate there last month and it was aweful. How they got a Michelin bib gourmand is beyond me.

"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler
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Zeitoun,

I'm suprised to hear that about Le P'tit Troquet as we had some of the best food there during our week in Paris. It had come so highly recommended by some folks who spend much time in Paris, and we were so glad we went there. Maybe they had an off night?

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Zeitoun,

I'm suprised to hear that about Le P'tit Troquet as we had some of the best food there during our week in Paris. It had come so highly recommended by some folks who spend much time in Paris, and we were so glad we went there. Maybe they had an off night?

Not sure if it was an off night since most of our fellow diners sounded pretty happy with the food (I hate to intrude into other people's conversations but the place is so small and quiet that you can't help it :biggrin: )

I frankly do not remember what my wife and I ate exactly but we left pretty unhappy. A simple matter of personal taste maybe..

Edited by zeitoun (log)
"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler
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Le P'tit Troquet has been one of my favs for years. Daniel Vessiere does his own shopping, makes his own bread and ice cream and seems to have the respect of several chefs of reknown. None other than the great god Robuchon revealed in an interview that it was among his favorite bistros. Nothing cutting edge, very little "foam", but honest cuisine using quality products. I hope you give it another try, as we feel it is very good value.

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Le P'tit Troquet has been one of my favs for years. Daniel Vessiere does his own shopping, makes his own bread and ice cream and seems to have the respect of several chefs of reknown. None other than the great god Robuchon revealed in an interview that it was among his favorite bistros. Nothing cutting edge, very little "foam", but honest cuisine using quality products. I hope you give it another try, as we feel it is very good value.

Absolutely, Laidback, and I'm pretty sure it was on your recommendation that we went there. I tip my cyber-hat in your direction, and blow you a thank-you kiss! I am still dreaming of the pork with lemon confit I had that night. I just wrote to Bon Appetit and asked them if they could get the recipe for me. A long shot, but it's worth a try!

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I hope you give it another try, as we feel it is very good value.

:hmmm: since you seem to insist so much, and since Mooonsieur Robuchon himself thinks it is one of his favorite bistros, I might be convinced to give it another try :wink: .

It is of course impossible to draw conclusions based on one night only. But with so many other places to visit, and such a poor first experience, I promised myself not to chance it again... We shall see.

"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler
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"But with so many other places to visit, and such a poor first experience, I promised myself not to chance it again... We shall see."

Zeitoun, I relate to this comment. I had the same reaction when I visited Le Pré Verre shortly after it opened, even though I had been a big fan of the Delacourcelle bros. at Clos Morillons. Since my visit Pré Verre subsequently was showered with accolades from every reviewer, but my remembrance of the dried out, terminally overcooked joue de cochon I was served lingers on. Just a bad day I am sure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for all these suggestions -- we have booked at Cap Vernet for next Saturday, and Mon Viel Ami for a family lunch on Sunday. Le Petit Troquet sounds good, and we're juggling slots to include that, plus L'Ami Jean, which we already love, and La Cerisaie. We tried for a dinner at the new Camdeborde but couldn't get in -- so lunch there, too, one day. We'll report back!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay -- our five-day lunch in Paris is over, and here's a report:

Favorites:

We enjoyed a lovely Sunday lunch at Mon Vieil Ami with French family. (Thanks to John Talbott for this great suggestion.) Although the streets of L'ile Saint Louis were clogged with tourists, my daughter and I seemed to be the only Americans in the restaurant. The service was polished but friendly and informal, and the room attractive, and comfortable, though every seat was taken. We enjoyed the food, particularly our main: veal breast (not fatty and great crust) with carrots, served family style. The starters and desserts were also good, though less remarkable: nice braised vegetables, pate en croute and a (du jour) cherry gratin (not really gratinee'd in any perceptable way -- more compote-like) and an unexciting raspberry glace/meringue thing. Our French relatives seemed very pleased with the meal and commented on its good value (menu about 38 Euros, I believe) We'd go back because the full experience was quite positive, but won't really be daydreaming about any particular dish, aside from the veal breast.

La Cerisae was on summer break. I substituted Le Villaret. When we arrived at 12:45 the place was still empty, slowly a few tables (all French) began to fill. Both the decor and service were basic, but we loved the food and felt this was a great value: 26 Euro high quality three course menu, including an amuse-bouch (small cup of chilled cream of cauliflower soup) and little gateaux with the check. We started with shellfish bisque and a great, unusual mussel soup/salad dish -- cold mussels in an intensely flavored shellfish cream topped with a luscious celeri remoulade flecked with chorizo. Then pintade with girolles in jus (simple but cooked to perfection, juicy flesh, crispy skin) and rouget -- again, tender flesh, crispy skin, luscious, fairly complex sauce. Dessert was a kind of strawberry melba. Excellent, and we'll return next time.

Chez L'Ami Jean: Second time here was even better. Only problem: the servings are so ample, a three-course lunch is incapacitating! Again, we saw no Americans, which seemed odd, given the press this place has gotten. We ordered the charcutail plate -- insanely copious, all delicious; a cold egg/cream thing in a cup with a sort of tasty piperade at the bottom, served with wavy, ham-topped, buttery croutons; and, the best: a mess of petoncles (like tiny scallops) served on the shell with a buttery, herby, ham-shard-enriched sauce that none of us could stop sopping up. Next, beef cheeks -- spoon tender, quite good, but my daughter was not enchanted by it; pigeon for husband, nicely rare, and quail for me -- both wonderful, though somewhat similar preparations with girolles (the theme of the week). We ended with vanilla custard with strawberries (the other theme) and chocolate pots de creme, rich, bitter, coffee-flavored, intense. The space is tight -- some tables more comfortable than others -- and has a jovial, neighborhoody ambiance at lunch. Service is efficient, reserved at first, but warms quickly. The handsome chef came out twice and made a charming fuss over our daughter. We can't wait to go back.

And, on a minor scale, we really liked a tea room called Le Confiturier, on the rue du Cherche Midi, where we stopped for lunch after fleeing Cuisine de Bar down the block. Cuisine de Bar has gotten enthusiastic mentions here and elsewhere, but we were offended when they they tried to put us at a very uncomfortable table d'hote in the back room of the nearly empty restaurant, and then made snide comments when we politely requested a more comfortable table. In contrast, the reception at the much prettier and more comfortable Le Confiturier (20, rue du Cherche-Midi) was gracious. Both places specialize in "tartines" and salades -- our salads were fresh and sophisticated, the tartines luscious on Poilane bread. We started with a surprisingly excellent gaspacho and ended with lovely, homey desserts. The place was packed by one o'clock with well-heeled neighborhood types and the service never lost its aplomb.

We also enjoyed dinner at Le Clos des Gourmets (Avenue Rapp), though less, perhaps because our French family did not dig it, which was a bringdown. It was good, and we'd go again, but not make a detour for it.

Disappointments were:

Dinner at Cafe Constant: Not expensive, in our neighborhood, and the simple upstairs room is airy and comfortable but food was weirdly uneven, with worst item a dry, overdone cuisse de canard, accompanied by a luscious compote of figs/dried fruit. Service was friendly but almost too relaxed -- seemed like the place was run by college kids who could barely remember what was on the menu.

Dinner at Cap Vernet: I would try again in winter, but this time there were only belons and fines de claires on offer and no other shellfish besides a dish with gambas. My husband's bar was overdone. My sole was nice but rather plain -- though I did enjoy the parsley flan side. It was okay, with pleasant service, but nothing that distinguished it from a nice New York City meal.

So that's lunch for this year -- we're looking forward to trying Le Soleil, Le Troquet, Le Petit Troquet, and all the other tempting suggestions we've gathered here on our next trip.

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We walked by Cuisine de Bar in March because I'd read about it and it sounded great for lunch. However, it was really busy and the tables were packed in. It wasn't the right atmosphere for our daughter (she's almost 3). We ate lunch the next day at Constants' Les Fables de la Fontaine and sat outside. It was wonderful (IMHO) and quieter and less cramped outside. I don't know if they are open on Sunday though. We ate most of our meals out as lunch and it worked very well with our daughter.

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Thanks for the report; it's very welcome. I'm trying to cull down the 22 page list of restaurants I've compiled this year, mostly from this site and Parisian reviewers. Even allowing for the fact that many of the names are annotated with short reviews, this is obviously unmanageable, and then there're the ones from last year's list... :wacko:

I tried to go to Le Cerisaie in May but it was closed for a holiday then as well. Le Villaret will get a star on the list, and this time I'll make a more concerted effort to get to Mon Vieil Ami. and for what it's worth, unlike some others here, I too loved L'Ami Jean.

I'm curious about why your French family "did not dig" Clos des Gourmets. It was one of my favorites for several years, but the last time wasn't a success and I wondered if it was just an aberration.

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"But with so many other places to visit, and such a poor first experience, I promised myself not to chance it again... We shall see."

Zeitoun, I relate to this comment. I had the same reaction when I visited Le Pré Verre shortly after it opened, even though I had been a big fan of the Delacourcelle bros. at Clos Morillons. Since my visit Pré Verre subsequently was showered with accolades from every reviewer, but my remembrance of the dried out, terminally overcooked joue de cochon I was served lingers on. Just a bad day I am sure.

I find the food at Le pre verre uneven,the service harried and the place overly crowded and noisy.So i don't think it was a bad day.Therefore as Zeitoun stated

There are many other places to visit

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  • 9 months later...

Called Les Ambassadeurs on a Thursday to book brunch for the week from the following Sunday, that is ten days in advance and the placed was already full(?!?). So I followed the reservation clerk's recommendation and got a table at the Ritz. Only in Paris would doing the Ritz be a comedown.

I have tried to learn a little more about what to expect, have seen precious little specific descriptions of the brunch service and food. I assume that it requires a jacket and tie. Amidst all the buzz about Les Ambassadeurs brunch, the Ritz has gotten precious little attention. Boo hoo!

Anyone been recently?

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  • 1 year later...

Any ideas on somewhere in Paris to take a group of 15 or so people for an informal lunch on Sunday 30 September?

It's a mixed group of adults and teenagers (who will probably be looking for steak frites) on their way to a 5.00 pm rugby World Cup kick-off in Parc des Princes. The main constraint is that the cost should be around €25 and they should take reservations but also have some athmosphere. Ideal location would be anywhere between Trocadero and Porte d'Auteil but this is fairly flexible.

Perhaps somewhere like le Congres Auteuil or indeed, any one of the classic Parisian brasseries, would seem to be the obvious answer if there is some discipline about what is ordered. Has anybody any other good suggestions?

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