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Advice on Good Food/Great venue


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I know John Talbott has posted a compendium of private rooms in Paris. We've looked at those options...

Our 20th wedding anniversary will be held in Paris next April.

We have investigated many restaurants already via a friend in Paris who has called places for us.

Le Comptoir just won't do private parties, even if it is a year in advance. Crazy Horse would be fun, but that too, is extremely pricey.

We have a couple of friends of friends, that run boats on the Seine. How fun would that be! Different boats would charge around 3,500 Euros plus about 50 Euros per person for dinner or lunch. That's pricey for us.

So, we've resorted to contacting places that have a website that we can email for prices, with separate rooms.

Tourist places, mainly, like Le Procope, All the restaurants of the Flo Group which include: Bofinger, Chez Jenny, etc. etc.

Are they too tacky, do you think? Would our friends from Paris, England, Germany and the U.S. (all are into good food and wine) balk at going to these places? What do you think? Where should we book?

Thank you for your advice!

Philly Francophiles

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Our 20th wedding anniversary will be held in Paris next April.

My response is that brasseries are not tacky at all; a place like Bofinger or Marty would be classic; although a place like Papilles is more like funky; Goumard elegant; Mediterranee light and bright; Senderens pricey but neat; Grande Cascade rustic; it seems to me you have to settle on the tone you want.

And by the way, happy 20!

Edited by John Talbott (log)

John Talbott

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Our 20th wedding anniversary will be held in Paris next April.

My response is that brasseries are not tacky at all, a place; a place like Bofinger or Marty would be classic; although a place like Papilles is more like funky; Goumard elegant; Mediterranee light and bright; Senderens pricey but neat; Grande Cascade rustic; it seems to me you have to settle on the tone you want.

And by the way, happy 20!

Tarte Tatin, you didn't say how many you would be.

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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Yes, it's in my subject line description...30-60 people.

Oops, sorry I missed that somehow.

I think one of the problems you are going to run into is that for a group of that size most places would be forced to book the entire restaurant for you, something that a lot of places aren’t willing to do. Even if it were advantageous financially, most restaurants don’t want to turn away their regular clientele. If there was a restaurant who knew you, they might, or might even be willing to do it on a night when they were normally closed.

You will also want a place that is used to doing large groups, as it’s not something that every restaurant does well. I recently organised a dinner for 30 guests in a restaurant near my work that everyone really likes and the food was pretty terrible when we were there as a large group. We set the menu ahead of time with no choice, which should have made things much easier. I don’t think they were used to handling large groups and it was just too much for them. Now I know not to use them for a banquet.

I’m sorry, I realise this isn’t much help. I will ask around to see if there are other choices you might look into.

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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The only place we've found so far with private rooms is Le Procope.

They have different rooms for different amounts of people, and they offered us different priced menu options.

It just seems so touristy, and I don't think they are that respected food wise?

John's suggestions seem good. I'm sure some of The Flo Group has upstairs private rooms.

We'll be investigating those.

Oh, of course, Chez Jenny has the private rooms upstairs.

Thank you all for your advice so far!

Philly Francophiles

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You will also want a place that is used to doing large groups, as it’s not something that every restaurant does well. 

I've been to huge dinners at La Grande Cascade, le Jules Verne + Fermette Marbeuf 1900, altho' admittedly at the latter, I think my hosts bought it out. As you know, the Red Michelin lists places with private rooms but has stopped listing the number accomodated. I don't have an old one available on my shelves, but maybe your library (in the US) does - I know l'Ebauchoir here does.

All the places I listed several posts above do have private rooms, which is why I suggested you figure out what tone you wished to communicate.

Another thought is to cater it in a spectacular setting; say the Hotel de Ville, Senat or Opera Garnier (all of which I've had good food at) and the later, in particular, has a stunning caterer, and is where I bumped back-to-back into Madame Chirac, but that's not only OT, it's barely legal.

John Talbott

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You will also want a place that is used to doing large groups, as it’s not something that every restaurant does well. 

I've been to huge dinners at La Grande Cascade.

I have too and it was very nice.

There's another place in Le Bois called Chalet des Iles that we use after conferences at work that people seem to like. You even take a little boat to get to the island and they definitely do large groups.

What about a Guinguette ?

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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  • 5 months later...

So we were just in Paris looking at a few venues:

The options we looked at were:

The Bateaux Mouches - A two and a half hour boat trip up and down the Seine with lunch and an accordion player. The boat is enclosed, and air conditioned so weather would not be a problem in April. Not sure how great the food would be, but it's perfect for tourists that are coming to Paris for our party. Lunch is 50euros a person.

Planete sur Seine - Another boat, moored outside the Peripherique, at Clichy. A fabulous view, almost totally private, dance floor... Tres cher. We'd also have to hire a catering company.

Chalet d’Iles - Depending on the number of people who come this could either be in the restaurant, or in one of the private portions of the facility. It’s located in the Bois de Boulogne on an island in one of the lakes. You have to take a short boat ride to reach it. Very pretty and very rustic. It's 120euros a person, which is also quite expensive for us. I tried to ask Madame to lower it, but to not avail...If we are 25 or under, we can just be in the restaurant for 60euros a person. I liked this place the best, but I think we'll be about 30-35 people.

Les Papilles - This would be a change of plans, because the restaurant doesn’t open on Sunday. So, instead of a Sunday dinner or lunch, it would be a Saturday lunch. The restaurant is small, in the 5th and excellent. It’s also a high end grocery and wine shop. This is really just a nice restaurant, maybe we'll go there with our group for Saturday lunch, but I don't want to make it our party soiree place.

Marty - This is a gorgeous brasserie in the 13th on Avenue des Gobelins. Decorated in Art Deco, you feel like you’re back in the thirties. There's plenty of room upstairs. Can't remember the price of the menu they emailed...

Any thoughts? A lot of the people that will be coming are food lovers, wine lovers. But we also have to consider our budget. We welcome your opinions!

Philly Francophiles

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Les Papilles - This would be a change of plans, because the restaurant doesn’t open on Sunday.

Marty - This is a gorgeous brasserie in the 13th on Avenue des Gobelins. Decorated in Art Deco, you feel like you’re back in the thirties. There's plenty of room upstairs. Can't remember the price of the menu they emailed...

I say either, for very different experiences; Papilles, bistrot-winotisch; Marty classic brasserie. You cannot go wrong at either.

John Talbott

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  • 5 months later...

We just came back from a wonderful week in Paris, celebrating our 20th!

27 people joined us for the weekend, from England, Germany, Vermont, Canada, Philly, and D.C.

The Soiree itself was on the Bateaux Mouches last Easter Sunday. We were worried about the quality of the food, since this is a touristy catered operation. Not bad at all! First of all, the weather was gorgeous-about 70 and sunny (as it was all week). Just stunning. It was your typical foie gras pate to start, a choice of duck or lamb, cheese and a chocolate dessert. The red wine was a Saumur and the white also a Loire, I believe. Nothing totally creative, but really ok. And, it really was just a perfect luncheon! So beautiful, and we all went up on the deck, so romantic! We had a small boat with just one other party on it, we were on the front end; so it felt very private.

Friday night, April 6: Les Papilles.

We had dinner downstairs for 10 people. Monsieur Blui put together this incredible Charcuterie as we started....app. was a Sweet Potato soup with sweet potato chips, lardon, croutons, creme fraiche, etc.....then there was a Beef Daube-tender as can be, really delicious! There was a cheese plate and then the most incredible Strawberry Panna Cotta. Not usually to my taste, but I loved this! The wines were just super, which we chose ourselves off his walls- including a 1988 rose champagne, I have to find my notes....

Saturday lunch:-basic at the Marche des Enfants with 6 of us. Broccoli soup, goat cheese quiche, smoked fish platter, charcuterie/fromage mixte platter. Pichet of vin rouge.

Saturday night: Cafe Constant.

23 of us upstairs. Madame Constant was just incredible helping us plan this. She's really lovely.

I can't say enough about her help planning all of this for the past few months!

Terrine de foie gras de canard

Or

Tartare d’huites, saint jacques, saumon et gingembre

Or

Bisque de crustacées, ravioles de langoustines

****************************

Boudin blanc, pommes en l’air et purée maison

Or

Pièce de bœuf, échalotes et gratin dauphinois

Or

Filet de daurade cuite à la plancha, mousseline de celeriac

******************************

Tarte au fruit de saison

Or

Riz au lait

Or

Quenelle de chocolat guanaja

Or

Pruneaux au vin rouge

Prix 31€ Hors Boisson

Monsieur Chef Constant was introduced as well, and even ended up getting taxi's for a lot of the parties...the food and wine were delicious. Ended up costing about 55 euros a person with wine.

Sunday lunch was the Soiree on the Boat. We had a Champagne toast for everyone first- on the Pont D'alma, right before the entrance of the Bateaux Mouche. Bought two magnums of a very nice Nicholas champagne and some plastic champagne flutes. Gorgeous!

Sunday night: Marty for 21 of us. Everyone ordered what they wanted, I split a large Plateau with another person. It was gorgeous and very tasty.

Monday night: Chez Janou for 8 of us. It was supposed to be 10 of us, but two left because it was too smoky. I had entrecote with those amazing potatoes they have. The service was very rude, as we asked for a different area instead of near the bar because of the smoke. The waiter couldn't have cared less if all of us had left. Since we reserved and planned all of these restaurants so far in advance, I thought he could have at least tried to please us. Instead of making a couple leave...it was Easter Monday and not much else open.

We had people back to our apartment all those nights, and the wine shops thought we were mad coming in for half a case a day!

Tuesday we didn't eat. Except for the cheese I picked up at Androuet at the Moufettard, near the apartment we rented. Oh, and the cuisse of chicken and chicken fat potatoes. Oh, and the morning kougelhopf. Oh, and, what else? :biggrin:

Wednesday: La Tour D'Argent. That was the first nice restaurant I had ever been to in Europe, 20 years ago, so we went back basically for memories. I'll post a review in a few days on that.

Very good, very old fashioned, as you'd imagine, wonderful service.

Sam has pictures of lots of the food from the restaurants, I'll try to get him to post them.

Basically, it was a ton of food, my descriptions aren't doing it justice right now, as I'm a bit jet-lagged!

More to come!

Philly Francophiles

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You should try Hotel Du Nord on Canal Saint Martin. The food is good, its a hip dark space (one of Johnny Depp's) with tall candles at every table. The room is one of the biggest (for a restaurant) in Paris. Last summer our art history class had a final dinner there with 35 people. They were super helpful in accommodating. We told them they could split us up into several tables and they suggested it would be easier to have one (really) long table. Plus they charged only for the food and wine (no group fee) I am pretty sure they could do a table for 60 on the entire back wall. Depending on the time of the year, you can wander the bars and cafe's around Canal St. Martin before/after. Several of the bars serve drought beer in plastic cups so you can drink outside.

Edited by BradenP (log)
"When planning big social gatherings at our home, I wait until the last minute to tell my wife. I figure she is going to worry either way, so I let her worry for two days rather than two weeks."
-EW
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Monday night: Chez Janou for 8 of us. It was supposed to be 10 of us, but two left because it was too smoky. I had entrecote with those amazing potatoes they have. The service was very rude, as we asked for a different area instead of near the bar because of the smoke. The waiter couldn't have cared less if all of us had left. Since we reserved and planned all of these restaurants so far in advance, I thought he could have at least tried to please us. Instead of making a couple leave...it was Easter Monday and not much else open.

Tarte, thank you so much for the feedback, especially the negative parts of your meal at Janou; it's important we record the good, the bad and the indifferent. Thanks.

John Talbott

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