Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Paris question: For the umpteenth time I'm sure


Simon_S
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi folks,

Apologies if I'm going over familiar territory here, but searches of the forum haven't really left me with a clear picture.

Basically, my girlfriend Hazel and I will be in Paris for a weekend in early July, after two weeks spent in the French/Italian Rivieras. We've been to Paris many times, but for various reasons have never eaten at anything approaching a "high" level there. This time round we'd like to up the ante a bit, but at the end of a two-week holiday I doubt we'll be able to stretch to Guy Savoy levels. So I'm looking for suggestions in the 100-200 Euro per person bracket, including wine (and I'm not good at holding back!)

I should probably point out that we're not really looking for an ultra-traditional French meal. Something along the lines of Nicolas le Bec in Lyon would be perfect: modern but rooted firmly in tradition. Having dined at Bocuse (awful) and el Bulli (brilliant) recently, we're looking for something in the middle, cuisine-wise.

So, any suggestions? Any up-and-coming 0-1 star chefs I should know about? Should I just find more budget and head to Le Meurice or the like? All suggestions gratefully received.

Thanks,

Si

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the suggestion, folks, it's certainly one I'd like to try. As Matthew says, however, I have a sneaking suspicion we'll struggle to get a reservation, not least because we're only in Paris on Friday and Saturday night, July 7th and 8th. Nonetheless, I'll try calling them later.

Any further suggestions if l'Astrance doesn't work out?

Finally, am I correct in thinking that quite a few high-end restaurants are actually closed on Saturday nights? Did I make that up?

Si

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It always helps to try for a last minute cancellation. I've had several at L'Astrance recently for clients of mine.

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have always had very good luck with Gerard Besson. Seems like they are a Michlien one/two star. Very traditional, but quite well done food. Nice, but not stellare wine list. Very pretty restaurant on the r. Coq Herron, near the Bourse. Service is impecable, formal without being stuffy. Lovely people and really nice food. Reservations are not a problem on most nights. Not as trendy as many restaurants, but very traditional and very well done. And you can eat there twice for what you cna eat at many other places.

But don't give up on l'Astrance if that's where you really want to eat. I have actually gotten in to L'Ambrosie twice by just walking in at 2:30 or 3:30 p.m. and asking if they've had any cancellations. Can't count on it, but it can be done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. I'm so surprised by the universal L'Astrance recommendation. I had lunch there about a year and a half ago and was so disappointed. I suppose it was not the norm . . . .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow.  I'm so surprised by the universal L'Astrance recommendation.  I had lunch there about a year and a half ago and was so disappointed.  I suppose it was not the norm . . . .

As a host and trying to act host-ish, and aware that some members consider me too tough on places, I tried to stay out of this one, but daisy17's comment prompts me to get back in the fray; I too am surprised at such adulation thrown towards Barbot. I think Chauvel is a wonder and worth going back and back again to; Barbot, sorry, doesn't show me much except talent run amok.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, for what it's worth I'm still dithering, not least because I'm still not 100% sure when we're going to be there. I psyched myself up yesterday to call l'Astrance and speak schoolboy French, but just as I was about to reel off my prepared speech I realised I was listening to a recorded message telling me to call back later. I lost impetus then!

At this rate I'll end up eating at McDo...

Si

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have just joined eGullet because of the diversity of knowledge that I have read while visiting.

My wife and I will spend four weeks in Paris beginning September 19. I also am interested in going to some restaurants similar to what Simon_S is seeking. I may be taking this tread off topic a little but since my main question fits I am adding it here.

We went to Les Magnolias last Spring and will definitely return at least once during our stay this year. The tastes, quality, price, service and ambiance are perfect and make the RER ride to Nogent le Perreaux worth it. The Roc d’Anglade 2002, that the sommelier recommended, was a great new discovery. I was able to find it in San Francisco and share it with my wine group and they all (except the Zin nut) loved it and the way it continued to open and show new facets.

In the price range Simon_S is looking and also the one I would be most comfortable in, I have listed these: Passiflore, Drouant (new owner and menu), Violin d’Ingres, and Relais Louis XIII.

The well discussed L’Astrance might be here except for the difficulty of booking and a less than stellar review of a friend.

In the next price level up and a more formal ambiance (maybe too formal for a California native) I have listed Le Bristol, Le Meurice, Le Cinq, Taillivent, Jamin, and Table De Joel Robuchon.

I would appreciate all comments on these restaurants and any others you think that are worth adding.

For bistros to make up for the majority of dining out I think that the postings of John Talbott, the web sites of Whitings Writings and Chez Pim, and the small personal book ‘The Paris Guide’ by Michael A. Bernstein (former owner of Mt. Veeder Winery above Napa Valley) will serve us well. But, if anyone has a new treasure to share please feel free to add it. We will have an apartment in the 3rd on rue Charlot across from the side entrance to Marche l’Enfant Rouge, so anything in that area would be great.

Paul

Edited by Paul Kondeff (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

But, if anyone has a new treasure to share please feel free to add it. We will have an apartment in the 3rd on rue Charlot across from the side entrance to Marche l’Enfant Rouge, so anything in that area would be great.

Paul

There is a nifty wine bar/restaurant just across from the market called Les Enfants Rouges, 90 rue des Archives, that a friend introduced me to recently; it's sort of a watering hole for chefs/food-writers/etc after they've finished lunch run by a woman called Dany.

Also to add to the the Pamphlet recommendation, they've just opened an annex that I'll be reporting on in the Digest called Le Petit Pamphlet, 15, rue St Gilles in the 4th, 01.42.71.22.21, closed Saturday lunch, Sunday and Monday lunch, costing 30-40 € for ceviche of sardines, veal with carrots, risotto with ink and rice pudding.

I think you already know my impressions of the others.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the next price level up and a more formal ambiance (maybe too formal for a California native) I have listed Le Bristol, Le Meurice, Le Cinq, Taillivent, Jamin, and Table De Joel Robuchon. 

I would appreciate all comments on these restaurants and any others you think that are worth adding.

Paul

Go to the Taillevant web site they have restructured their menus to some extent. I also recommend Le Pamphlet and I had a very nice meal at Les Jumeaux near the Place Bastille, on rue, l'Amelot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As with any restaurant it is always interesting to read the various opinions for and against. I had a terrible meal at Gagnaire yet I could see that the restaurant can be truly great even as the particular meal did not suit my fancy. While I respect John Talbott's opinion as much as anyone's and more than just about anyone else's :smile: , I have to add that my lunch at L'Astrance was the best meal I have ever had in Paris. It was thoroughly enjoyable in an absolute sense. Of course, my sample size in Paris is extremely limited compared to his and many others and by no means can I nor do I mean to imply that it is the best restaurant in Paris. I am just very happy that I included it in our itinerary. There are many others I would have liked to as well. My point is that I do not know of one restaurant anywhere that is universally beloved. I do think, however, that it fits the description of what you are looking for.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As with any restaurant it is always interesting to read the various opinions for and against. I had a terrible meal at Gagnaire yet I could see that the restaurant can be truly great even as the particular meal did not suit my fancy. While I respect  John Talbott's opinion as much as anyone's and more than just about  anyone else's :smile: , I have to add that my lunch at L'Astrance was the best meal I have ever had in Paris. It was thoroughly enjoyable in an absolute sense. Of course, my sample size in Paris is extremely limited compared to his and many others and by no means can I nor do I mean to imply that it is the best restaurant in Paris. I am just very happy that I included it in our itinerary. There are many others I would have liked to as well. My point is that I do not know of one restaurant anywhere that is universally beloved. I do think, however, that it fits the description of what you are looking for.

John, you know I respect you enormously as well and have a couple of further thoughts on this subject.

One is that it's worthwhile knowing if a place has off days or nights (I don't buy the argument that every place, no matter how well rated, has a bad day - I have had too many places maintain their consistency year after year, for almost 20 years in one case - to think that.)

Second is that I suspect, only suspect mind you, that when folks see the drift of a thread's comments positive or negative, they back off from dissenting (I know I did here until Daisy17 went counter to the tidal wave of praise).

And third is that I wish we could encourage folks to put more stuff up, good or bad, rather than carry it in pectore (case in point, a trusted foodwriter friend with whom I often eat had a bad meal this week with 3 others at a place I and others have raved about). It would be very helpful to have the details of what made it bad/disappointing to know what surprises to avoid: e.g., dishes bland, improperly prepared and/or plated, sauces over-whelming or oversalted, meat and/or fish over-cooked, etc).

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a very nice meal at Les Jumeaux near the Place Bastille, on rue, l'Amelot.

My gang stopped going because they practically never changed the menu; have they altered their practice?

I don't know as I only ate there the last time I was in Paris in December. I had Soupe de Poitrin au Reblochon; Paleron de Beef de Sept Heures Braise aux Espices, Gratin Dauphinoise; Crepes aux Zestes d'Orange, syrup L'Erable ( new to the menu at that time) Here are my notes:

The soup was hot and just the right consistancy. I loved the look of the orange soup against the modern black bowl in which it was served. The cheese melted into strings of luciousness and I thought the combination very tasty and pretty. I liked the soup alot. B+

The beef was tender and falling apart with a great winey flavour, that was especially good with creamy goodness of the gratin. I especially enjoyed the firmer texture of the potatoes with the beef, but I loved the crispy,crunchy hills of beef that formed in the black cocotte in which the dish was served. I had one complaint, in that the peppercorns were not removed and I occasionally bit into a live one. A- (for the peppercorns)

I did not love the dessert, which is a play on, I assume, North American pancakes with syrop. It needed more taste--I could hardly discern the orange flavour and the maple syrop lacked body and taste. Needed a good syrop from Vermont or Quebec.

I had other observations, but I just thought I would give the menu and see if this is the same old, ,same old,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As with any restaurant it is always interesting to read the various opinions for and against. I had a terrible meal at Gagnaire yet I could see that the restaurant can be truly great even as the particular meal did not suit my fancy.

And third is that I wish we could encourage folks to put more stuff up, good or bad, rather than carry it in pectore (case in point, a trusted foodwriter friend with whom I often eat had a bad meal this week with 3 others at a place I and others have raved about). It would be very helpful to have the details of what made it bad/disappointing to know what surprises to avoid: e.g., dishes bland, improperly prepared and/or plated, sauces over-whelming or oversalted, meat and/or fish over-cooked, etc).

I think that docsconz makes a very well-taken point, and I could say the same about L'Astrance - I could see that the restaurant could be great. (I'm also even more disappointed to know that docsconz loved his meal at L'Astrance - I respect his opinion very much and feel like I was cheated out of a superb experience . . . . ) Every diner is not going to walk away with the same impression of a restaurant, for whatever reason. To be fair, much of my meal at L'Astrance was pleasant, but many of the dishes were forgettable. The service was welcoming and gracious and worth mention. One dish in particular threw the entire lunch off for me - a slab of rich but tasteless foie gras layered with tasteless mushrooms. Cold. My friend and I looked at each other, not sure how we could eat more than two bites each, not wanting to offend, but in silent agreement that the dish was simply inedible. Thinking of that dish still nauseates me. In all fairness, if they had been serving the ravioli I'd read so much about, the meal could have gone a completely different way for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, after much discussion, when it came down to it Hazel and I realised that, for whatever reason, we both wanted to dine at Le Meurice. I have booked a table there for the Friday night. Hopefully it will live up to billing (and hopefully my wallet will recover in due course!)

I must admit I'm now intrigued by l'Astrance, and I will definitely try to find my way in there next time I'm in Paris. In fact, I may try to squeeze in a cheeky lunch on this visit if the opportunity presents itself. The differences of opinion on this board are quite entertaining to see, and a timely reminder that "one man's meat", etc. Making (and listening to) restaurant recommendations is dangerous at the best of times, but even more so at the higher end in somewhere like Paris, where the weight of expectation can enhance or ruin a meal depending on the circumstances. In any case, I really want to eat there and find out for myself.

Now all I have to do is find a restaurant for 4 people on Saturday night at the €50-€60 per person mark. Trawling through the many threads on the board left me with Au Bon Accueil as first choice, but I see that it's not open at weekends. I happened across Gallopin on viamichelin and thought it looked interesting in a touristy way, but John Talbott's brief review has put me off somewhat, and to be honest has probably just confirmed what the restaurant's own website suggested. Aux Lyonnais might be a little heavy (?) for the others, although probably right up my alley. I just can't quite separate the wheat from the chaff of the many many choices on offer!! Can I impose upon you all once again for suggestions? We'll be looking for something French (!), lively without being down and dirty, but not Michelin-style either.

Finally, we'll be at St. Sulpice for an organ recital on Sunday afternoon at 4. Is there anywhere nearby for a simple and tasty lunch?

Once again, thanks to all for recommendations and discussion. I know I'm probably going over well-trodden ground here, but such is the breadth of the postings on this site, it can be hard to pinpoint the information we seek. Given the fact that I only have internet access at work, my ability to read through all the previous postings is somewhat limited, so I appreciate the responses.

Cheers,

Si

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finally, we'll be at St. Sulpice for an organ recital on Sunday afternoon at 4. Is there anywhere nearby for a simple and tasty lunch?

Well, it's not really lunch (although I could easily make lunch out of patisserie), but if you're at St. Sulpice you must stop at Pierre Herme on rue Bonaparte right across the street from the church square. My mouth is watering just thinking about his macarons.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, it's not really lunch (although I could easily make lunch out of patisserie), but if you're at St. Sulpice you must stop at Pierre Herme on rue Bonaparte right across the street from the church square.  My mouth is watering just thinking about his macarons.

Excellent! I'll definitely take a look. We'll be leaving for the airport directly after the recital, so that may provide some suitable souvenirs.

Si

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...