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Dining in France in Paris and the Cote D' Azur


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I only recently found this site but I made most of the following reservations by e mail.  I frequently dine in New York City and in New JErsey at very good restaurants so I wanted to make sure that I had commesurate food in Frrance.

In Paris I have reservations at Le Divellac for lunch on May 24 and  Jamin for dinner on the May 24, Helene Dazzore (sp) for dinner on May 25, and Pierre Gagnierre for dinner on May 27 all in Paris.

I also have reservations for Dinner at L'Ane Rouge in Nice on May 28; Restaurant De Bacon in Cap D' Antibes on May 29; Le Mas Candille in Mougins or La Terrasse at Hotel juana on May 30 and Vistamar in Monte carlo on May 31.

A suggestion for June 1 would be appreciated.  IS there anything I should know about dressing for these restaurants.  Do you need a jacket and a tie for dining in paris and Cote D'Azur.  Should I go to Le Mas Candille in Mougins or La Terrasse at Hotel Juana.  

Does anyone have a tip about eating on a Sunday in Paris at 6:00 pm  I presume a bistro or brassiere

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From what I've seen, dress codes are almost non existent, or at least gone to hell. Nevertheless, at least one member has noted that jackets are given to diners who come in shirtsleeves at least in one, I believe, three star restaurant in Paris. I've been told by others that they'se seen diners without ties in at least one three star four fork & spoon restaurant in Paris. the Michelin's crossed fork & spoon is a good guide to the elegance of a restaurant and consequently to the level of dress expected.

What you wear in Paris may depend a bit on whether you feel comfortable being a bit over dressed or underdressed. I'd be inclined to wear a tie at all of those restaurant except for Darroze, where I'd wear a knit shirt and jacket perhaps. You might feel comfortable less formally dressed. A lot depends on personal style and how comfortable you are being the most, or least, formally dressed person in the room. You can call ahead and ask if there's a dress code or suggested dress code. Hotel concierge's are often a good source of that  sort of information, but a concierge may also base his answer on the style of his hotel to some extent.

I don't know the Riviera that well. In top places elsewhere in the Provinces, dress varies considerably from shirtsleeves to tie and jacket in the dining room of elegant restaurants. I find that the French are much more comfortable in a room I find sweltering. I often enter a restaurant with a jacket and then end up giving it to a waiter or draping it over the back of my chair.

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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Jeff, I spend a lot of time in Nice and can tell you one immutable fact: L’Ane Rouge is mediocre. Steve Plotnicki and I both like La Petite Maison a lot and feel it is the best restaurant serving “Cuisine Nicoise”.

I have never been to Le Mas Candille. However, La Terrasse at the Hotel Juana is a beautiful, formal, elegant restaurant offering a blowout experience. While the servers can be rather cold and maybe even arrogant, you should be well-fed in terms of quantity and quality. The cuisine is not overly-inventive, but reminiscent of the great days of the 1970 and 1980s: copious, solidly-conceived, and flavorful. Some consider it the best on the Cote.

Vistamar is a restaurant I have never visited and never think about doing so. I can’t fault the old-world elegance of the Hermitage or the view. All the Societe de Bains de Mer (the Prince’s properties) restaurants I have found lacking recently, even the Louis XV. Yet, I am qite sure the food will be acceptable at worst. I like Hostellerie Jerome, which is above Monaco on the Grande Corniche. It just received its second Michelin star. It is rather intimate and comfortable  in a rustic sort of way and delicious. A la carte is somewhat expensive, but the "degustation" menu is not. It is a good menu too, and does not stint on the amount or the preparations.

Have a great time on your trip.

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I have eaten once at the Mas Candille, last fall.  The property is old; it had once been popular amongst locals but had fallen into disrepair.  When we arrived it had just been taken over by an ambitious new team and completely renovated.   The welcome was warm and the setting beautiful.  We had drinks in a small bar, near a fireplace.  The restaurant doesn't seem that large, perhaps because it is divided into smaller rooms.  It felt very comfortable, yet it was clear that the team was aiming high.  The service and food suggested that they already envisioned their first star.

Unfortunately I don't recall exactly what we had (this was before I knew of egullet and hence the notebook wasn't with me), but it was all rather unfussy and very well executed.  I remember a deeply flavoured vegetable soup (I think it was garnished with a bit of foie gras) and a daurade (sea bream) that was very fresh and perfectly cooked: not a bit overdone, but hot throughout, something not easily accomplished in a restaurant. The entire restaurant is non-smoking, and they warned us of this when we made our reservation.

In the new Michelin listing the Mas comes out at the top of the restaurant list for Mougins, up there with the famous Moulin (which we didn't think was nearly as good, and was far more expensive).

The new menu looks good, but it is not clear from reading it whether they have maintained the simplicity we liked last year. We will certainly be back to find out.

(link to the Mas Candille menu, in French)

(Same thing in English)

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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Unfortunately I don't recall exactly what we had (this was before I knew of egullet and hence the notebook wasn't with me)

Are we creating a generation of dining monsters here?  :biggrin:

I used to be embarrassed about taking notes. Now, I feel guilty that they're not complete. Has anyone ever thought about wearing a "wire" so they could tape the dinner conversation. I'm not sure I'd want to transcribe the good parts and have to listen to three hours of chewing.

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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Are we creating a generation of dining monsters here?  :biggrin:

I used to be embarrassed about taking notes. Now, I feel guilty that they're not complete. Has anyone ever thought about wearing a "wire" so they could tape the dinner conversation. I'm not sure I'd want to transcribe the good parts and have to listen to three hours of chewing.

After the painstaking reviews by Cabrales et al I thought the very least I could do was to take along a little notebook to keep track of what I'm tasting.  If nothing else it gives my wife and friends an occasion to laugh at my seriousness about all this.  

Michael Winner, the British film director and Sunday Times restaurant columnist, takes a pocket tape recorder and dictates his comments into it while he is eating.  He had the table next to ours at the Fat Duck, in Bray, about a year ago; he said little to his gorgeous female companion but constantly muttered into his tape machine.  You would have needed notes or a tape machine to remember all the strange (but delicious) bits and pieces we were served.  I find the same goes for multi-course menus gastronomiques at French restaurants.  A pleasant touch at Chibois (yes, yes, I know I keep saying good things about that place, but it was good) was a card on the table reminding us of each course...and serving as an aide-memoire later on.

I've just finished reading Richard Olney's memoir, Reflexions (Brick Tower Press, 1999).  In it he recorded hundreds of menus, with complete wine information -- those he served and those served to him.  That's dedication to the cause!

The book is well worth reading, not only for Olney's sharp insight and all the food memorabilia but because you find out what he really thought about M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard and other food celebrities (short version: not much).

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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We try to get a copy of the menu and particularly of the exact tasting menu we've eaten to serve as a reminder in lieu of complete notes. Sometimes we eat at a restaurant with friends who enjoy good food, but not with the same obsessive interest we have. Under those circumstances, it's difficult, or at least rather rude, to take notes and the conversation may not revolve around the food to the extent it might if my wife and I were eating alone. Come to think of it, we are having dinner soon at the Fat Duck with such a couple.

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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