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A week in Paris


vivin
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But how can you go wrong with any of the Michelin starred restaurants? :smile:

Talk to me about my Gagnaire experience some time....

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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  • 8 months later...

We will be returning to Paris for a week in March, and I'm making my final choices for dinner. We want to keep the price reasonable considering the weak dollar.

I'd love your input on my choices.

l'Abadache

L'Ourcine

Le Dix Vins

Ateleir Maitre Albert

Le Florimond

Fontaine de Mars

Les Fables de la Fontaine

Thanks for your help!

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l'Abadache

Le Dix Vins

Les Fables de la Fontaine

Above OK; I'd add Dominique Bouchet which I'll report on next week in the Digest and my recent tries. What's wrong with

Au Bon Acceuil

Ze Kitchen Galerie

Maison de Jardin

Brasserie Lorraine (for Sunday)

Le Troquet (for Saturday)

they meet your criteria.

Happy eating and please report your results.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Thanks so much for your suggestions! We have dined at Au Bon Acceuil in the past, but it was several years ago. Have they changed since then? We did enjoy the dinner, but wanted to try something new.

Maison de Jardin and Le Troquet were on my list of possible choices, so I will revist the list.

Dominique Bouchet looks very interesting, although it seems it would cost 50€ for 3 courses.

Which of my restaurants would be best to remove from our list?

We are staying in the 7th, but don't mind traveling for dinner.

Thanks again!

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Dominique Bouchet looks very interesting, although it seems it would cost 50€ for 3 courses.

OK, but I had 2 courses and it was a lot - what with verrrrry reasonably priced wine and coffee and nummies; it only came to 46 E.

Which of my restaurants would be best to remove from our list?

Don't - it's too painful for me to cut any of those - well maybe Fables where we had one off meal versus 4 good ones - instead add Cerisaie; hey my wife Colette insists you only go around once, so do two meals a couple of days; esp the day before you return.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I would take one resto out..... Le Dix Vins. I felt the food there was mediocre

Le Troquet is definately a keeper as is Au Bon Accueil. L'ourcine is very good....Your list is a very well chosen one as is John's.

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

-An American in Paris

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Thank you so much for tweaking my list! This has been fun to do, so much research on food! We have been to Paris many times, and finding new restaurants is so much fun! Actually my husband traveled to Paris often for work one year, and I would tag along on occasion discovering this wonderful city on my own. We had to decline an offer to move there for 6 months during that time, which I'll always regret.

Okay, my new list:

Ze Kitchen Galerie I first thought it'd be to contemperary for my tastes, but why not!!

Dominique Bouchet I'll bite, the menu on the web looked excellent, and I love those golden stone walls!

L'Ourcine I haven't seen a bad review of it yet! I love your reviews raisab! Thanks for all your great input. You must be with an airline and fly to Paris often. Just my guess, am I correct! Lucky you if so.

Ateleir Maitre Albert for Sunday. We've dined at Guy Savoy which was fantastic, (thankfully when the dollar was strong) so would like to try this baby!

Le Florimond Many good reviews, hope it holds up.

Au Bon Accuel I loved it the first time we ate there, although my husband got sick that night following dinner. Hope it wasn't connected, but it was in his head at least. This was probably 5 years ago and I see it's been redone inside so we'll return and see the changes!

Les Fables de la Fontaine or Le Troquet or Fontaine de Mars??? Guess I might have to pull one out of a hat. Which would be best for lunch?

I really want to go to l'Abadache so I'll see if it's open for lunch. We're doing 2 days trips, 1 to Rouen so lunch will be crepes and cider there! Why can't I buy French cider here in the U.S.? Or am I just looking at the wrong places??

I know you only live once, but we have a 3 week trip to Italy and Switzerland this summer, so I'd better save a few USD for that one also! Then, there's our daughter's wedding in the fall.... Not a bad year, I have to admit!

Thanks again so much.

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L'Ourcine I haven't seen a bad review of it yet!

Les Fables de la Fontaine  or Le Troquet or Fontaine de Mars???  Guess I might have to pull one out of a hat. Which would be best for lunch?

I really want to go to l'Abadache so I'll see if it's open for lunch.

I had good meal at L'Ourcine two months ago (foodwise) but the local food writer (who did not write up this meal) I was with thot his was bad (I agreed). A few weeks before that the place was packed and the one guy in front (Madame was not there) couldn't handle it; thus the overburdened service spoiled the meal.

As for Fables, Troquet and Fontaine; I think Troquet would be my choice.

Finally l'Abadache is open I lunch, I eat almost exclusively at lunch and it is.

But don't close the list yet; lots can happen before March.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Thanks John! I'll keep it open! I did reserve Dominique Bouchet. I happened upon a web site www.reservethebest.com that will reserve from their list of restaurants at no charge to you. Great for those of us with limited French!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've eaten at La Fontaine de Mars a couple of times w/ inlaws -- it's one of their favorites and sort of obligatory -- but we found it sort of blah, especially compared to L'Ami Jean, which is nearby, and which pretty much knocked our socks off -- not the decor or service, which are better at La Fontaine but foodwise.

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Thank you for your suggestion! I've removed La Fontaine des Mars from my list and a couple of others. My new list includes:

L'Abadache

Les Fables de la Fontaine

Dominique Bouchet

Cinq Mars

Ateleir Maitre Albert

L'Ourcine

Regleade - since I'm one of the few who haven't dined here yet. I know they have a new chef.

A few others on my, wish I had time for list are:

La Table Lauriston

Au Bon Accuel - but we have dined here before

La Cerisaie

We have made several reservations so will keep those of course!

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  • 1 month later...

We have returned from our time in Paris, which was wonderful, despite the transportation strike the day we arrived. We took Airport Connection into town, which went very smoothly. Very little public transportation was running that day.

Our dining was sucessful because of all the help from those of you on this board. Thank you.

Lunch at L'Abadache 89, rue Lemercier 17th This was our most disappointing meal. We walked here from the 7th, quite a hike since taxi's were no where to be found and the strike prevented us from using the metro. The 18€ menu wasn't mentioned to us, although I did see the small blackboard with the menu after we ordered. The regular priced meals on a larger blackboard was brought to our table to order from. We decided to just order scallops and risotto, which were very disappointing. We also ordered the Fondant which was excellent. ]Bread wasn't offered to us, quite unusal for Paris. Every table was filled for lunch though.

Dinner at Les Fables de la Fontaine 131 St.Dominque 7th Dinner here was just wonderful. Yes, it's a tiny room, but the fish is excellent. Everyone seemed to love their fish, and the French couple seated next to us were quite friendly. They have a son studying in New Orleans and shared their thoughts of the food here with us in English! The black board with the menu was a bit hard for me to understand, but the waiter helped explain some of the choices to me in English. We each ordered soupe d'Etrilles aux croutons dores (crab soup) and also ordered rouget en ecaille de pomme de terre and Croustillants de Langoustine au Basilic, both just excellent, 1 order of fromage de saison and a bottle of Sancerre Lucien Crochet 03. The bill came to 95 Euros.

We wanted to lunch at Androuet but found that they no longer serve lunch at any location in Paris. Instead we bought some cheeses to go and enjoyed them on a bench!

Dinner at Dominique Bouchet 11, rue Treilhard 8th This is a bit upscale and very attactive dining room. I loved it. Our bottle of wine was 34 € and the 1 Liter of Evian was 4.50€. We drank every drop! I ordered the soup of the day, I have forgotten what it was, chestnut maybe?? with a large slice of black truffle, and the gigot d Agneau. My husband had the foie gras de canard and aiguillette de canette. We also had tea. The bill was 120€. My gigot d Agneau was the highlight of the meal, although everything was excellent. Our one complaint here was the service. Our waiter wanted to pour our wine and water, but didn't attend our table often enough so we would get very low on both. Many people tried to walk in for a table on this Friday evening, but all were turned away. They were fully booked.

We had a wine break at Cafe Constant one afternoon. We ordered no food, but the blackboard menu looked very inviting. The tables are so, so close together and very tiny, so it might be a bit uncomfortable eating here.

We had lunch in Bercy on Sunday after we shopped at Clignancourt. Shopping here was so much fun! Lunch was galettes at a very busy, large dining room, but they were pretty good. We then did the Paris Walks Pere Lachaise Cemetery walk in the afternoon. It was excellent.

Dinner at Cinq Mars 51, rue de Verneuil 7th This bistro is so attractive and inviting. We were the only ones speaking English here, but were warmly welcomed. We had our entrees of salade concombre and avocat crevettes when the table next to ours was seated. The French woman took a look at the avocat crevettes, then walked right up to the plate and stared and stared at it. It was so funny. She was delighted in it and promply ordered one for herself. It was the highlight of our meal here. We also ordered thon grille and espadon with 1 ananas for dessert and a bottle of Fleurie and 1/2 bottle of Evian. The bill was 90.50€

Dinner at Ateleir Maitre Albert 1,rue Maitre Albert 5th This is Guy Savoy bistro, but doesn't live up to his excellence in our opinion. The dining room is very attractive, but also very, very warm. The rotisserie was going at one end, and the fireplace at the other. First thing most of the men did was take off their sweaters or jackets. Service was to fast, and there were many American diners. We ordered 2 Creme de Champignons, a Filet de Bar, Volaille Rotie and a bottle of Chateau Ludeman. The bill came to 106,50 €. It is overpriced for the quality. Although good, it's a bit plain and nothing special. The service is very attentive, just to quick, with no time between courses. Also no artichoke soup was on the menu, which is listed on the menu on the internet. I loved this soup at Guy Savoy, so was disappointed in it not being offered here.

Lunch at La Cigale Recamier 4, rue Recamier This is a very attractive, comfortable, somewhat upscale dining room. What a lovely place for lunch, with the sun streaming in the large windows in the front. Most diners were dressed up, enjoying a fancy lunch. We ordered the souflees which were about 16€ apiece for the mains and 8 or 9 € each for dessert souflees. Other items were also on the menu. We each ordered a glass of wine with our lunch.

Dinner at Regalade 49, av. J. Moulin 14th We had never dined here before and depite the poor reviews lately, had a wonderful time, with good, although not excellent food. We had reservations at 8 p.m. everywhere we ate, and even though some tables turned, not all did, so having 2 seatings was never a problem for us. 3 tables were American diners, the rest French. The waiters were very rushed, but it didn't disturb us. They did bring me the wrong dessert. I thought it looked delightful, and the French woman next to me told us it was a very good choice. I was about to try it, when they rushed to my table and removed it, giving it to her! We got a good chuckle out of the situation, and my apple tart arrived. Her dessert was better than mine! The bistrot is attractive and comfortable and not expensive.

We went to Rouen the next day. I was so looking forward to excellent galettes and cider here. We were disappointed. The galettes were not nearly as good as those we have had in Chartes in the past.

Dinner at Le Clos Des Gourmets 16, Ave Rapp 7th Our dinner here was just excellent. The dining room is very charming and bright and inviting. They do have an English menu, and about 3 of the tables were filled with Americans. This did not distract from an excellent meal, and excellent service. It didn't feel touristy at all. The menu was 33€ each and we didn't order anything with a suppliment. My husband ordered pigs head and I ordered salmon. I thought I was settling, when I ordered salmon, but it was the best salmon I have ever had! The macaroon desert, a bit dressed up, was excellent also. Our check was 105 €, including a bottle of wine and 1 cafe, everything was excellent. We complimented the chef when we left.

We went to Rambouillet for half a day. The Chateau is being worked on, but they still gave us a tour, for free! It was a private tour, in French, but was delightful. My husband understood most of it and translated for me. The gardens were lovely, we walked around the canals to the cottage, and the day was warming to about 60 degrees F! We wanted a quick pizza before taking the train back to Paris. We found a place that served them and tried to order just 1 to share and a pitcher of wine. They refused us. I couldn't believe it. We had to order 2 or they wouldn't serve us. We said no, we wanted only one, they were quite large. Finally we agreed to buy one to go and brought it to the local park, along with a screw top 1/2 bottle of wine and enjoyed it sitting by the lake.

Dinner at L'Ourcine 92, rue Broca Menu here is 28€ with wine and water our bill was 88€. The menu was very, very hard for me to figure out here. Again on a blackboard, with so many words that I had no idea what they were. Usually I can do pretty good, but I was baffled here. Madame came over and helped me out in enough English to help. The writing was "curly" and some letters just didn't look like what they actually were. We both ordered the duck stew which was just excellent. The entree and dessert wasn't as good. The French table next to us ordered much better than we did. I think we were just to confused to order properly here. The bistrot is very, very plain, and the closest metro was closed so we had a longer walk than we had thought. That was no problem though. They were very kind to us here, and we were the only Americans.

This was on Wednesday and the weather suddenly turned very warm. It was 22 degrees!! The whole city came outside on this day. The outside tables were filled, the sidewalks jammed, the parks overflowing. What a joy to have bright blue skies, and very warm weather. The week before it had snowed so the whole of Paris was in a joyful mood!

We also went to Brasserie Lipp for hot chocolate one evening before dinner. We were frozen through and the break was good. The hot chocolate was nothing like that at Angelinas though! I went looking for the toliets here and wandered upstairs into the dinner hour for the staff. I had a laugh with them as I admired their cheese course! What a way to prepare for the dinner hour.

Thanks again for everyone's help here. We had excellent dinners at reasonable prices. Hopefully the dollar will strengthen soon.

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Thank you for your fine descriptions and the prices you paid. I will refer back to this before my trip over. One thing I hadn't considered fully was how difficult it might be to interpret written menus. I will really have to brush up on my culinary French!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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We went to Rouen the next day. I was so looking forward to excellent galettes and cider here. We were disappointed. The galettes were not nearly as good as those we have had in Chartes in the past.

Rouen is not a place for galettes. Galettes are a specialty of Brittany, Rouen is in Normandy (and pretty far from Brittany too). They are no more a specialty of Chartres, though every French city has crêperies where you may order Breton galettes. That's probably in one of those crêperies that you had your galette experience. It all depends on the crêperie, some do it well, some don't, even in Brittany. That makes the galette geography a bit difficult to understand for visitors.

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Lunch at L'Abadache 89, rue Lemercier  17th    This was our most disappointing meal.

Ouch; I think I'm the main cheerleader for l'Abadache so I'm concerned it may have fallen off. With all the new places to try, I've not been back in quite a while.

  The menu was very, very hard for me to figure out here. Again on a blackboard, with so many words that I had no idea what they were. Usually I can do pretty good, but I was baffled here. Madame came over and helped me out in enough English to help. The writing was "curly" and some letters just didn't look like what they actually were.

For the future, there's a nifty little but long pocket book gastronomic dictionary (Fr-Eng) that was, and I hope still is, sold at Brentano's. And the "curly" writing does take getting used to.

Happy things turned OK in toto however.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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My introduction to French food came via those purple menus of the sixties. I don't know how long they were in existence, or really when they started to disappear. Although the handwriting was better, or at least lovelier, than what appeared, or appears today, on blackboards, it was perhaps even less legible to an American. Although I had taken French language courses in high school, it was by far my least successful academic endeavor. If only I had eaten in France before I went to high school, I might have had more incentive. I credit our daughter's interest and fluency in French to the trip we took before she entered middle school and was offered language classes. Who wouldn't want easier access to those restaurants and their food.

Where there's a will there's a way, although oddly enough I had as little interest in food as I did in learning how to speak French as a student. I often pointed with mock confidence to words whose meanings and pronunciation would be unclear if I had been able to make out the letters with any assurance. Usually, I thought I had some idea of what I was eating. Often I was mistaken. I'd like to claim I was brave or adventurous. Actually, I often wondered how the hell a fairly naive, sheltered and largely unsophisticated college student such as myself wound up in Paris determined to "see Europe" in a summer. I was however, hungry, as mother's of growing boys understand, and had no way of expressing dissatisfaction with anything the waiter set down for me to eat. Thus I ate a lot of unfamiliar food and quickly grew to think of French restaurants as the most hospitable and wonderfully comforting places in the world. I embraced French food with an open stomach and the restaurants embraced me with open arms.

restaurant.

Year's later when traveling in France with my wife, she would ask me what it was I'd just ordered and I would reply "it's a regional specialty." She'd counter with "I mean what is it that you've ordered. What's it made of?" and I'd sit there with an incredulous look not so much to say why do you want to know, but that I didn't understand the relevance of the question. If someone managed to retain the little bit of information that a certain dish was local to the region he'd come so far to visit, wouldn't it be obvious that he'd want to taste it, especially if he's already been conditioned to regard every surprise as a treat in a French restaurant.

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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Rouen is not a place for galettes. Galettes are a specialty of Brittany, Rouen is in Normandy (and pretty far from Brittany too). They are no more a specialty of Chartres, though every French city has crêperies where you may order Breton galettes. That's probably in one of those crêperies that you had your galette experience. It all depends on the crêperie, some do it well, some don't, even in Brittany. That makes the galette geography a bit difficult to understand for visitors.

I think Americans don't have a great understanding of the regionality of French cuisine and regard crepes as French rather than Breton. Creperies are far more ubiquious today than they were thirty or forty years ago. (Americans tend to think of all flat pancakes as crepes. A Breton knows that a galette is made with buckwheat flour and savory in nature. A crepe is sweet and made entirely with white wheat flour. However, the place that makes and sells galettes and crepes is a creperie.)

Galettes always seem to be better in Brittany, although when they were less common all over France, I think they were also more reliable wherever they were found. Not only does every French city have a creperie today, but it seems as if half the creperies in Brittany also double as pizzerias.

An honest galette with a sunny side up Breton country egg yold showing through the folds of a square is a treat not to be missed, ham of course and cheese if you insist. It can only be improved by a cup of hard cider served in a small ceramic bowl.

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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Lunch at L'Abadache 89, rue Lemercier  17th    This was our most disappointing meal.

Ouch; I think I'm the main cheerleader for l'Abadache so I'm concerned it may have fallen off. With all the new places to try, I've not been back in quite a while.

I had dinner at l'abadache in mid dec and i was very disapointed with the restaurant.

They seated me in the communal table, all by myself which felt like beeing in siberia.

They refused to give me a table ,saying its for 2 .This is not the usual treatment for solo diners in Paris.Service was terrible i had to go and pick my own bread basket and had to remind the inexperienced waitress a few times about the wine that i had ordered.The food was average .I wondered what john saw in this restaurant.The only logical explanation was that he may be known by the owner or that the resataurant has deteriorated.

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Lunch at L'Abadache 89, rue Lemercier  17th    This was our most disappointing meal
Ouch; I think I'm the main cheerleader for l'Abadache so I'm concerned it may have fallen off. With all the new places to try, I've not been back in quite a while.
 

I had dinner at l'abadache in mid dec and i was very disapointed with the restaurant.

They seated me in the communal table, all by myself which felt like beeing in siberia.

They refused to give me a table ,saying its for 2 .This is not the usual treatment for solo diners in Paris.Service was terrible i had to go and pick my own bread basket and had to remind  the inexperienced waitress a few times about the wine that i had ordered.The food was average .I wondered what john saw in this restaurant.The only logical explanation was that he may be known by the owner or that the resataurant has deteriorated.

I know the owners of no restaurants in Paris, alas. I thought it was charming twice, once alone, once with Colette. When I was there the chef was alone in the kitchen; his wife alone in the salle, but it worked just fine. Two bad reports tho certainly calms my ardor.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Galettes always seem to be better in Brittany, although when they were less common all over France, I think they were also more reliable wherever they were found. Not only does every French city have a creperie today, but it seems as if half the creperies in Brittany also double as pizzerias.

When galettes are good in Brittany, it's because they are made kraz (crispy), the right way. Exported or improvised galette-makers all over France don't seem to see the point of making them this way.

It is actually fairly difficult to make decent Breton galettes.

An honest galette with a sunny side up Breton country egg yold showing through the folds of a square is a treat not to be missed, ham of course and cheese if you insist. It can only be improved by a cup of hard cider served in a small ceramic bowl.

Not fair. I had dinner at La Maison de l'Aubrac, and now I'm hungry again.

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Nice to see that you had a good time at Clos des Gourmands. We had a wonderful meal there last year about this time and found the pig's head to be a life-enhancing experience. The service was very warm, despite the fact that we were somewhat underdressed (forgot to look at the knives and forks in the Guide Michelin) and were tourists toting children. I hope to have a chance to get back some day.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Lunch at L'Abadache 89, rue Lemercier  17th    This was our most disappointing meal.

Ouch; I think I'm the main cheerleader for l'Abadache so I'm concerned it may have fallen off. With all the new places to try, I've not been back in quite a while.

John,

I was at L'Abadache per your recommendation in late February for dinner, it was fabulous. I think I may have posted about it somewhere else on here, but they must of had an off day when images went.

I would still recommend it to anyone, the value-quality ratio is great and the inventiveness of the cuisine is surprising considering the price and location! You should try it again, I don't think you will be dissapointed.

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

-An American in Paris

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Raisab,

We went to L'Abadache today and were astounded at the quality cooking going on at those prices in this funky little, out of the way place. As you know Pudlo awarded it his choice for all of Paris this year for rapport qualité/prix. I posted on it under trip reports today in the forums of www.bonjourparis.com if anyone cares.

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I am jealous, I haven't been back to Paris since I went to Abadache (Been flying to the Carribean)...I will be going next week for three days with my husband. I don't know whether to take him to restaurants I tried and loved or try new ones myself. Though I am going to be there next month quite a bit...maybe I should post in the ISO section for dinner companions?

I am glad someone else enjoyed Abadache!

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

-An American in Paris

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