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Gavin Convery

Restaurant for this Saturday

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Has anyone been recently to Le Bristol or Le Cinq - especially now it's elevated to 3 stars. Timeout didn't rate either but they aren't always reliable - but they loved L'Espadon. All are open on Saturday which is why I have a special interest....if my reservation at L'Astrance doesn't come off.

Or is there something more cutting edge like L'Astrance which is also open on Saturday and centrally based...easy reach from the Eurostar terminal :hmmm:

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Well, I have a reservation at Le Cinq on the 15th March and as there seems to be little experience of this restaurant I will report back....

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The Bristol is great - definitely one of the stronger two stars and would be my choice over Le Cinq. But would be very interested in hearing your views on Le Cinq. Thinking of going there again in May and would appreciate some updated advice.

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JJS, What is your reason for preferring the Bristol over the Cinq?.....I still have time to cancel :biggrin:

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Well I have eaten at the Bristol under Frechon about four times and enjoyed it immensely on each occassion. On one visit it outshone both Guy Savoy and Ledoyen for my liking. Le Cinq for me was a bit touristy and highly classical, with a distinct lack of balance in some of the dishes. It was certainly not bad, very good in fact, but the room is not my favourite, whereas the rooms at the Bristol, both summer and winter, are wonderful. Frechon's food is hard not to enjoy. In some areas you do not get the cerebral pyrotechnics of Savoy or even of LeSquer, and the cheese selection is perhaps not the best, but he has a way with robust flavours that some of his rivals do not. That all said, I went to the Cinq only very shortly after it had opened, and it may well have improved quite considerably since then. A friend of mine went recently and said it was fantastic, and it is always enjoyable to eat a restaurant which is about to recieve three stars as there is a real buzz about the place, as with Savoy last year!

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JJS, thanks for that...certainly the rooms are rather grand at both places...something you don't often get in London these days, so I'll have to dig out my smartest suit. BTW their website says smart casual at lunch, did you experience any problems in that area? I gather that Paris is moving to a more casual approach to high-end dining but I know the French can be rather particular when they want to be...

In the end,I think I'll keep my reservation and sacrifice myself to the greater good of letting you all know whether it is worth it.

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Remember, the Cinq started out with no stars at all, then one,two, and three, with each year. The director is Eric Beaumard, World Vice-Champion Sommelier, and Enrico Bernardo, the chef sommelier is, at 25 years old, the youngest-ever European champion sommelier. Their cellar has grown to 45,000 bottles now. I reccomend it, even though I also love the Bristol...


Edited by fresh_a (log)

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L'Ambroisie is open for Saturday lunch and Aux Lyonnaise (ducasse's newest venture) is open for Saturday dinner, or maybe it is Hiramatsu. We'll be in Paris the end of April and have reservations at Grand Vefour, Hiramatsu, Ledoyen, L'Ambroisie, Astrance, Pierre Gagnaire, Aux Lyonnaise, and Pre Catalan. We are so excited about our selection this time. We have previously dined at all except Hiramatsu and Aux Lyonnaise. We also hope to be able to get into Robuchon's new restaurant. It hasn't opened yet, but our hotel promised they would be on top of it.

We will also venture out to Brittany and visit with our favorites ---Auberge Bretonne, Roche Bernard and Les Maison de Bricourt -- Cancale. I will report back if you would like, or just remain silent and wait for you to ask me. So happy to share. Most of our friends are buying homes in FL or AZ and think we are nuts that all we want to do is travel and eat and experience. duh???

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How will you be able to eat all of that rich food? Are you staying a month?

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How did you get reservations for Astrance - they seemed pretty insistent on calling exactly one month in advance, so that would mean end of March for you...??

BTW are there any French people here who can explain all these restaurants not opening on saturday...I know Gordon Ramsay does it here in London but he is one of the few. Or is it to keep the weekenders over from the UK out :biggrin:


Edited by Gavin Convery (log)

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Yes, it is a lot of eating, but we only have ten days and want to experience as much as we can. We come to France two or three times a year and pack in as much as we can. We have eaten at Astrance three times and adore it. You are right, though, about the one month rule, but they know we are coming and I don't think we'll have a problem getting in. We'll call them directly. The hard part is getting into a restaurant for the first time.

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Fresh_a asks an interesting question. I suspect there's no secret nor is there a training program for the rest of us. If anything I am less able to eat sumptuous meals in a steady progression than I was when I was younger. Then again I'm not sure of that--I couldn't afford to try then.

:biggrin:

A couple of serious bouts of crise de foie have left me gun shy and I plan my intinerary with open dates to allow for recovery if necessary. Fortunately I have a great love for brasserie and bistro food, so it's no hardship to limit my exposure to multistarred restaurants. Unfortuantely I tend to pack in oysters, andouillette, boudin noir and the like when I'm at a bistro or brasserie.

:biggrin:

I have learned there are places where one can get a decent salade.

:laugh:

As for the custom of many fine French restaurants not opening on Saturday, especially in Paris, it's a long standing custom reinforced by the 35 hour work week. Rather than hiring new help to comply with the new maximum work hours per week labor laws in France, many restaurants seem to have cut back a day of operation. It may be a chicken and egg situation, but Parisians seem not to eat out during the week rather than on weekends. I don't have enough experience to say this with a real senese of surety, but I've observed a greater proportion of foreign tourists in restaurants on the weekends in Paris. Of course tourists have to eat out, while residents usually have kitchen facilities and I don't know if the closings drive the dining customs or if the habits of local diners drive the closings. Sometimes life just has a Yogi Berra like explanation. Here in New York, no one eats out on the weekends, the restaurants are just too crowded.

Sumac, we will very much enjoy having your reports. Please don't make us beg. There have been many threads elsewhere on this site about getting the best service and food out of a restaurant and the advantages of making yourself known as a regular at any restaurant. The best time to make a reservation at any restaurant may be just before you leave the restaurant--no matter how far in advace of your next visit.

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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fresh_a, I have to take a friend to lunch in Paris in May and I was wondering where you would suggest? I would go to the Bristol, but am having to take a business colleague there the night before. You seem to be quite keen on Le Cinq and maybe I should give it another go, as the room is at least quite airy. Early May is probably too early to be thinking of eating outside for lunch do you think? So maybe I should just focus on somewhere with views - perhaps Ledoyen? It is a Friday lunchtime, so I think the Grand Vefour is not an option. My criteria are obviously great food, with perhaps particularly memorable dessets (for the woman of course), central location as I should like to walk from my hotel, quite a light and quiet room, and no relaxing of standards at lunch! What do you think? Le Cinq? By the way I find that I can only take the meals in quick succession with long breaks - ie perhaps two or three in four days or so. That said the richest meal that I ever had, or at least the one which wiped me out for the longest was lunch at the Voltarie once, and I was trying to order lightly having been to Le Crayeres the night before! Perhaps that was the problem...

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I think Grand Vefour is open for lunch, but closed for dinner on Fridays. I'm curious, is a memorable dessert important to this woman, or are you implying that woman are more interested in dessert than men. I've thought the opposite.

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Thanks for the heads-up on the Grand Vefour. I was trying to say that the dessert was particularly important to the woman in this case, but in my experience women are far more interested in desserts than men. In some cases I have seen a bad pudding ruin a whole meal. For me it is the least important of the courses, but that it is a relative judgement not absolute :biggrin:

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What can I say? Good food just brings out my feminine side. :biggrin: In truth, I suspect my attitude towards desserts changed greatly when my daughter was working in pastry and I came to have great respect for pastry chefs and their work. These days I feel cheated if I don't have room for dessert at the end of a meal.

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The Grand Vefour is great. Unbelievable foie gras ravioli! Also the Cinq is excellent, but will probably not have a terrace...although they might decide to change this soon...Laurent and Pre Catelan and Grande Cascade have great terraces...Laurent being the only centrally located one, as the other two are in the Bois de Boulogne...

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We will also venture out to Brittany and visit with our favorites ---Auberge Bretonne, Roche Bernard and Les Maison de Bricourt -- Cancale.  I will report back if you would like, or just remain silent and wait for you to ask me.

Please report back...I would especially like to hear about Maison Bricourt as this is a favourite, but the prices seem to have gone up quite a lot recently. I remember when the set lunch was FF130 ( = $20 I think) and was one of the best meals of my life.

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Definitely report back! It would be great to hear about your trip! Meanwhile, on fresh_a's advice, or my strange interpretation of his advice, I have managed to change my dinner to the Grand Vefour, leaving the Bristol or le Cinq as the options for lunch. One more question though fresh_a, is there a specific room or table I should be asking for? I don't want to get into a L'Ambroisie situation where they put all the tourists in a back room. Thanks for the help!

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. The best time to make a reservation at any restaurant may be just before you leave the restaurant--no matter how far in advace of your next visit.

i had lunch a few months ago at the much hyped (and very good) locanda locatelli in london, i told georgio locatelli it was a great meal and he replied (very politely) that lots of people said that but it really meant something if they made another booking.

i did

gary

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A friend sent me the following request today and I was hoping to get some ideas from every one here.

He wrote:

"We are taking a French family to dinner this Saturday. They live in the 7th - we think we should probably pick somewhere reasonably proximate - 6th, 7th, edge 14th or 15th. We will each have a young-ish (9 year old) child with us so it has to be a bit relaxed and potentially child friendly. Also needs to be cool. And not stratospherically expensive. Any suggestions? "

The child-friendly part makes things a lot more difficult. Although, I imagine they are pretty well behavied.

Any ideas?

How about Les Fables de la Fontaine?

Thanks for any suggestions....

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A friend sent me the following request today and I was hoping to get some ideas from every one here. 

He wrote:

"We are taking a French family to dinner this Saturday.  They live in the 7th - we think we should probably pick somewhere reasonably proximate - 6th, 7th, edge 14th or 15th.  We will each have a young-ish (9 year old) child with us so it has to be a bit relaxed and potentially child friendly.  Also needs to be cool.  And not stratospherically expensive.  Any suggestions? "

The child-friendly part makes things a lot more difficult.  Although, I imagine they are pretty well behavied. 

Any ideas? 

How about Les Fables de la Fontaine?

Thanks for any suggestions....

Absolutely - Fables, as you know, has outside tables in that lovely square and kids can take off and play around the fountain, but let me repeat my broken record refrain - long ago we took our then three year old daughter and later our then three year old grand-daughter, everywhere and as long as we had books, crayons, stickers, jump-rope (when older), things were swimming. There wasn't a single place where our younger guests have not been welcomed, treated specially (salami, ice cream, chocolate, etc) and fussed over. Of course they are darling and well-behaved. But again, Fables is good - food plus running room.

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I would call the Fontaine de Mars and request a table on the terrace. You could do the same for Les Fables, but they are very limited in menu(seafood) and size.

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