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La Fontaine de Mars


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I'm suprised that no one has yet posted anything about this restaurant. I know nothing about it, but Barack and Michelle Obama dined there last night to the delight of the other customers. So, is this a good bistro? Do the people at the Ambassador's House know what they're doing in setting this up?

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It's an excellent, textbook traditional bistrot. They have all the classical Parisian/SW food you'll expect, lovely service, location, under the arcades, is great. And it's open everyday. Of course all those assets and this reliability come to a price, and it's more of 70/100eur kind of place than 50.

It's always mentioned in great sunday ideas.

They did know what they were doing: this is classical, typical, and a bit expensive, which is all we Americans are looking for.

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I'm suprised that no one has yet posted anything about this restaurant. I know nothing about it, but Barack and Michelle Obama dined there last night to the delight of the other customers. So, is this a good bistro? Do the people at the Ambassador's House know what they're doing in setting this up?

For me it is simply good politics.

It is an average restaurant that delivers reasonable "traditional" (or guidebook) French food to hordes of tourists, the majority coming from the US. It won't cause any controversy by being an elitist, expensive or overpriced restaurant, and it will be familiar to many US visitors to Paris who have eaten there. It will also be well within the price range of many future visitors. IMO there are lots of restaurants that deliver similar food (many of which aren't overrun by tourists) and of course there are lots that deliver better food at a similar or lower price point. If you go, you probably won't be disappointed; you may even meet neighbors from home!

So a choice as well judged as Barack visiting a local burger bar and placing the order himself.

PS - It is spelt "La Fontaine de Mars"

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Since most Obama date nights are here in DC, I get the cheap thrill of knowing all the places that he's hit here. But Paris? Who knows?

I have my own list of go-to spots if I ever get back but now I'm curious about La Fontaine du Mars. Were one in Paris, and not in the mood for the expense and formality of a starred place, would the eGullet's Parisian types consider it a good choice?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Since most Obama date nights are here in DC, I get the cheap thrill of knowing all the places that he's hit here.  But Paris?  Who knows?

I have my own list of go-to spots if I ever get back but now I'm curious about La Fontaine du Mars.  Were one in Paris, and not in the mood for the expense and formality of a starred place, would the eGullet's Parisian types consider it a good choice?

An excellent choice. A traditional sw bistro. I had one of my first meals in Paris at La Fontaine du Mars in 1983 and have most recently eaten there in September, 2007. Great food, nice location, excellent service. I am happy I made reservations there for the end of June before Obama ate there. I bet the restaurant will be seeing alot of American diners this summer.

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Since most Obama date nights are here in DC, I get the cheap thrill of knowing all the places that he's hit here.  But Paris?  Who knows?

I have my own list of go-to spots if I ever get back but now I'm curious about La Fontaine du Mars.  Were one in Paris, and not in the mood for the expense and formality of a starred place, would the eGullet's Parisian types consider it a good choice?

An excellent choice. A traditional sw bistro. I had one of my first meals in Paris at La Fontaine du Mars in 1983 and have most recently eaten there in September, 2007. Great food, nice location, excellent service. I am happy I made reservations there for the end of June before Obama ate there. I bet the restaurant will be seeing alot of American diners this summer.

I guess I am in the minority (see related thread) but I don't think it is a good choice for those looking for great food. To me it is a "Disney land" version of a Parisian bistro, the food is OK, the service is fine, but you could be in Brasserie Balzar NYC given the number of US tourists (and that was prior to the Obama visit).

Maybe we were put off by being surrounded by tables of whinging teenagers not enjoying the foreign food, maybe it was a bad night and it is genuinely a local haunt; whatever the reason we never returned and it was relatively local, a 15 minute walk, from where we lived. Although interestingly it was where my French colleagues felt safe in taking overseas visitors.

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On my one visit I noticed only one other table of Americans, but I know it is mentioned in many guidebooks. We too had good food and lovely service and ambiance (sitting under the arcade). I remember my sole muniere was 37 euros so yes, a bit pricey (I enjoy Fables de la Fontaine, right on the other side of the fountain, more, for seafood, but the two restaurants are different styles so I shouldn't compare).

We stayed in an apartment on Rue St Dominique for our honeymoon, and have stayed very close 2 other times, and it was pretty cool seeing footage of the presidential motercade going up "our" street, past "our" restaurants like Cafe Constant (where people were hanging out of the second floor windows to get a picture).

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I guess I am in the minority (see related thread) but I don't think it is a good choice for those looking for great food.

I don't think we have enough "votes" to say who is majority and minority but I'm with you Phil.

All this brings up a somewhat related subject. Assuming that this was "a really great and (relatively) undiscovered" Paris Bistro and it was in the news like it has been. Could it remain "a really great and (relatively) undiscovered" Paris Bistro?" Or would it be ruined by the hordes of AMerican tourists that will descend.

And don't sites like this in some ways bring about the destruction of what they value? By posting a report on an out of the way place, are we not risking the that too many of us will find the place. Is all this perhaps a giant restaurant "Ponzi" scheme where we seek out the new before the rest of us get there and ruin it?

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I guess I am in the minority (see related thread) but I don't think it is a good choice for those looking for great food.

I don't think we have enough "votes" to say who is majority and minority but I'm with you Phil.

All this brings up a somewhat related subject. Assuming that this was "a really great and (relatively) undiscovered" Paris Bistro and it was in the news like it has been. Could it remain "a really great and (relatively) undiscovered" Paris Bistro?" Or would it be ruined by the hordes of AMerican tourists that will descend.

And don't sites like this in some ways bring about the destruction of what they value? By posting a report on an out of the way place, are we not risking the that too many of us will find the place. Is all this perhaps a giant restaurant "Ponzi" scheme where we seek out the new before the rest of us get there and ruin it?

Ah, a subject after my own heart. Margaret Pilgrim, I do believe, raised the question of whether or not to tell about one's "secret finds" [my emphasis]. My policy since Day 1 has been to tell all; because by the time the Gourmet, (not A. Lobrano, mind you,) photographers show up at L'Ourcine or the Japanese food crits are at the next table at Dominique Bouchet, it's all over and one moves on - to Frenchie, yam’Tcha, Shan Gout, Passage 53, Marcab, Reminet, etc., etc. Secrets neither stay in Las Vegas or Paris.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I ate at la fontaine a year ago and congratulated Mme(hostess and owner) about how busy and good the restaurant is despite its age .She said she took over after her husband's death .She said she kept the focus on SW cuisine but introduced some modern dishes;i,e fish .

Its an honest and straight forward place.Seating by the fontaine is a delight.

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I just saw a news clip about the Obama family in Paris. They all stopped at some bistro where the owners name was Jacques.... Does anyone know where they went?

Well I think I can answer my own question! It was La Fontaine de Mars, owner Jacques Boudon! I wonder if the restaurant will get the same business (at least from Americans) that follows the Obamas here in the US?

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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Here's the website link to La Fontaine de Mars.

For my vacation to Paris this November, I'll be staying at one of the hotels near the restaurant. I hope I don't become one of those American tourists that ruins everything ... :sad::sad:

Which nearby restaurant would you recommend for dinner on my first night in Paris: La Fontaine de Mars or Le Petit Troquet or one of the Christian Constant restaurants? Or is it a case of "c'est la meme chose" (It's the same thing)?

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Of that choicei, I would definitely go for la Fontaine de Mars. The place in the neighbourhood that might be deemed better are in fact bistronomiques, in particular Au Bon Accueil and Chez l'Ami Jean. The former is my current favourite, the latter the best roast foie gras and cote de veau. Le Clos des Gourmets is also pretty good, but the age average is very high.

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