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paulraphael

Paris in October

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We're looking for recommendations on a great, un-stuffy, contemporary restaurant. Something representative of the new garde of anti-Michelin young chefs. The Parisian David Changs. Thoughts?

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Go to Les Climats.  It's very good, and the wine list is phenomenal (especially considering that they only do Burgundy).

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I had a fabulous meal at Les Bouquinistes earlier this summer. Unstuffy and elegant; memorable food. I highly recommend it. The wines were great as well. Is it anti-Michelin and David Chang-esque? Probably not. But excellent food for sure. I think chef Inaki Aizpitarte's Le Chateaubriand might fit your description to some level, but I've never been and it's quite hard to get reservations.

 

Another place that I really liked was Au Passage which offers small plates in a very casual setting. It was reviewed last year by Ruth Reichl. I would check Paris by Mouth for more ideas, although their reviews are not always current.


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)
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So, based on location, price, and possibility of reservations, we ended up at Chez Michel ... a 9:30pm reservation the night before we had to get up at 4:45 to get to the airport. And worth it.

 

Everyone in our group loved it. Didn't exactly fit the mould of the upstart / experimental new restaurant, but I gather from reviews that the chef has reinvented the place a few times since the 90s, and has hit on something that's part traditional Breton and part unique. We spent a lot of time with the chalkboard menu. Even the native French speaker in our group needed help deciphering a few of the dishes. 

 

We were surprised by how casual the place was, and how inexpensive. Reviews had me expecting higher prices (not our usual experience). The chef himself sauntered around the dining room, answering the waiter's questions and at one point spending about five minutes recommending wine. He was expansively friendly, spoke no English, and with his rustic / Serge-Gainsbourgian good looks seemed to have been delivered straight from Central Casting.

 

I wish we'd had the time and budget to visit some more places, especially more contemporary ones, but this was a great meal and a restaurant I'd recommend to anyone. 

 

Day to day we found the bread and pastries to be relentlessly good, but the restaurant food to be only decent ... probably because it was too challenging to get away from places that thrived on tourist traffic. Fresh fruit was absolutely perfect everywhere, including corner shops and tarts at lower end patisseries. Vegetables are more of a challenge ... our friends in Paris have to travel and research to find veggies that taste anywhere near as good as they look. 

 

The fish we found at various markets and a Bon Marché was excellent and stupefyingly expensive. i ended up cooking dorade, rather than the more interesting looking varieties, partly because I couldn't identify the others, partly because I couldn't afford them. 

 

We had a loaf of bread from Poullin, the one they call their specialty, and it was completely unremarkable. But our friends' local baguettes from la Parisienne are as good as any I've had. We could have eaten baguettes and nothing else and been happy. We loved the 4 and 5 Euro bottles of wine. 

 

Coffee everywhere came out of automatic machines ... big espresso machines at cafes, little Nespresso abominations at people's houses. It was all uniformly good ... better than the average cup you find in NYC, worse than the best cups.

 

We spent a few days in Rome afterwards. Espresso was better. Even the touristy gelato was pretty good (nut flavors especially). But food overall was really bad. The nicest restaurants had decent food (but not memorable). Everything else a disappointment. Nice statues though. Maybe this should have its own post.

 

Thanks again everyone for the tips!

chez michel menu.JPG


Edited by paulraphael (log)
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Thanks for the report. That's a lovely menu, interesting and well priced. Did you try any of the Breton specialties?  

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Price looks good for a good restaurant (in Paris). I will try it one day. I love French specialities. 


Edited by githieu (log)

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