PARIS ROMANTIC RESTAURANT
hello i am going to paris in a month and would like to
go some where romantic for dinner it will be our
anniversary, i have heard about JULES VERNE but didnt
know if it was worth it or just a tourist trap. I
sometimes prefer a small very parisian type place ,
perhaps old, i love places with charm and ambiance.
thanks for any help. We are staying on the left bank
by the quai voltaire.
Jules Verne has an absolutely unbeatable view (unless
of course it's foggy) and the staff is nice about
letting you wander around and gape so long as you don't
disturb other diners. The food is good in a very
standard deluxe French restaurant way and it's quite
expensive. But I would say if what you're going for is
a breathtaking panorama to contemplate while sipping
champagne, Jules Verne is your restaurant. I have had
lunch and dinner there, and on all occasions the
service has been outstanding and the food has been just
fine. The decor is modern in a sort of eighties way,
black and white linens and china, Asian-influenced
flower arrangements, dramatic lighting. If you decide
on Jules Verne, make the reservation before you go-it's
a celebration destination for Parisians as well as
popular with tourists-and it couldn't hurt to tell them
it's your anniversary. Do NOT under any circumstamces
consider going to Tour d'Argent, the other Parisian
restaurant touted for its view-it's the French
equivalent of Tavern on the Green. The prettiest
restaurant in Paris, IMHO, is Le Grand Vefour in the
Palais-Royal. The beautiful painted pastel panels, the
chandeliers and the flowers transport you immediately
to another era (this place is QUITE old and was the
favorite hangout of Colette amongst other luminaries).
Again, the food is good but not great but the ambiance
is magical. L'Ambroisie is a gorgeous place (in the
Place des Vosges, the loveliest square in Paris) with
excellent food but it is breathtakingly expensive and a
trifle stuffy (one is just a bit too aware that one is
dining in a Temple of Haute Cuisine). If you want
great food in the top-rank category I would go for
Arpege or Guy Savoy. But both, while pretty places
with fabulous food and service, are not super romantic.
Arpege is a little more intimate than Guy Savoy. BTW,
you're staying near a good bistro-Le Voltaire. Have a
good time what ever you choose, and happy anniversary.
If it's the place I'm thinking of, I ate there a couple of years ago. Not too far from the Tour Eiffel- I want to say metro Felix Faure (?).
I just looked on yahoo.fr and cannot find the address though and don't have the patience right now to go through Paris phone directory on line.
I remember eating at Tire Bouchon and another place nearby called Thoumieux on the same trip. Thoumieux was ghastly in all ways except location.
Tire Bouchon was much, much better. I believe they were serving traditional French food 'with a twist'. I recall some kind of fantastic spicy mousse for dessert, I want to say gingerbread...atmosphere was casual, bistro-like. Very good value - I think the chef was also the owner...anyway, wish I could remember more details for you - perhaps another Chowhound will pipe up and verify?
I notice you have your query posted as part of the 'romantic restaurant' string. I wouldn't think of it as terribly romantic - more warm and friendly. (but that was in 1999). Hope this helps.
re: Martha Gehan
Would also cast a vote for Jules Verne. By all means
have an after dinner drink in the nifty little
bar--right next to the windows. Piano guy is good.
However, also for consideration: Lucas Carton--very
pretty room, great food, clever wine pairings. Very
expensive, but you can't put a price on the quality of
life, n'est pas? A bit less pricey, Le Violin
d'Ingres, a realatively new place (old building) opened
by Christian Constant late of Les Ambassedeurs in the
Crillon. Which would be yet another lovely, expensive,
you-will-never-forget it place. They have these
marvelous little needlepointed stools with gilt feet
that they place next to you. Not for your peds, for
your purse. Can you beat that?
The best bistro I've ever been to in Paris is Le Petit
Marguery which is by the Gobelins metro stop in the
Left Bank. The entire menu is 250 francs prix fixe,
and everything I've had there is amazing. You can have
oysters,a Burgundian pigeon stew with buttered noodles
and a Grand Marnier Souffle, for that much. They have
a caramel cassonade which is a must, especially if you
like Haagen Dazs Dulche de Leche. Let me put it this
way--- my family and I used to go to Taillevent in
Paris all the time. Taillevent, is the greatest
restaurant in the world, but now that we've discovered
Le Petit Marguery, I don't even miss it. And the
waiters are possibly the nicest ones in France.
They'll explain the menu to you in a mixture of
broken, English, French and charades if you don't speak
the language. So go!
Another nice restaurant is L'Orangerie which is on the
little Ile St. Louis, the one behind the island which
has the Notre Dame. It's very romantic, has the best
flower arrangements and is intimate, good lighting.
It's also a prix fixe menu and the house bordeaux,
which is a red from the owner's vineyard is quite nice.
I think the food is better at Petit Marguery but
theirs is quite nice, and they serve Berthillon ice
cream for dessert. Whenever my mom goes there, she
feels like she is the only woman dining with her own
husband. But don't let that stop you.
Allard, which is on the rue des Beaux Arts on the left
bank, is perhaps my second favorite bistro after Le
Petit Marguery. Great frog legs, coquilles St. Jacques
and the Pintade (Guineau hen) with lentilles are to die
for. Also, perhaps has the best frisee aux lardons in
the city. Nice wine list too.
My only dinner at Les Princes, in the George V, was in 1984, so I shouldn't think it would still be a valid critique, but we were thrilled by it. Here's my journal entry:
"WOW! The dining room was incredible the entire central courtyard of the hoteltented and heated for the winter. The staff was attentive and terribly polite. While we were there, a well-dressed Arab guest came in with an obvious call-girl and they were treated as well as anyone else in the room. Maybe better. When their dinner arrived, two waiters took their lobsters apart, cracked the shells, extracted the meat, arranged it perfectly on their plates, and all but spoon-fed them!
Our meal was wondrous. For the first course, Jimmy had snails in garlic butter and I had lobster bisque. My main dish was veal scallops cordon bleu and Jimmys was a dish called La Triplette des Princes, which consisted of three pieces of meat: lamb, beef, and veal. A busboy arrived with a tray of three different sauces (wine, truffle, and béarnaise) and waited for him to pick one. But Jimmy couldnt decide, so he indicated he wanted a bit of each. Slightly confused, the busboy obligingly poured a spoonful of each sauce over each piece of meat. It wasnt exactly what Jimmyd meant, but he said the end product was great! For the life of me, I cant remember what we had for dessert or what wine we drank.
I asked our waiter if I might buy an ashtray to take home as a souvenir and he took one off the sideboard, carefully ran his finger around the rim to be sure there were no cracks or chips, gave me a conspiratorial wink, and handed it to me. Then he repeated the performance with another ashtray for Jimmy. What nice people! Wed been so intimidated for so long by all the negative stories people had told us about the arrogant French. What nonsense."
Since the hotel has been revamped and is now under new ownership, I don't even know if "Les Princes" still exists. But I can't believe you'd have a bad meal. However, for a truly special dinner, my recommendation is the Jules Verne, in the Eiffel Tower. Ask for a table by the window, facing in any direction. The food is superb, the service smooth and not at all arrogant, and the mood is pure romance.
In case you need other places to eat during your
stay--not necessarily romantic but very good--there is
a new trend of very young chefs trained in France's
best kitchens and who have now opened their own
bistrots. I've tried only a few of them and here's my
Au C'Amelot, 50 rue Amelot, 11th arrondissement
This young chef is doing a fine job for a very good
priced: 160 FF for 4 courses ($30). Make sure you
reserve in advance since it's one of the hottest places
right now. He serves a Prix Fixe Menu and you have no
option but to refuse a dish. No change in side dishes,
you just have to trust the chef. There's only one menu
that changes every day according to what's available on
the local market. The meal begins with a soup, followed
by a fish, a meat and dessert. At some point, a cheese
dish was included in the menu but, at my last visit, it
was offered for an additional fee (supplement in
french, a word you have to be aware of because it is
very present on all the menus nowadays). The wine list
is very reasonably priced, with a very good selection
of Bordeaux and Bourgogne. I've had 2 meals there and
both have been very simple and yet very delicious.
Obviously, the chef knows what he's doing with the
Also, I tried the other new hot spot L'Epi Dupin, rue
Dupin in the 6th arrondissement. very beautiful and
cosy place. very crowded too with nice but overwhelemed
waiters. This young chef is very innovative and the
portions are unusually large for french cuisine. Same
principle of Prix Fixe menu but with choices of dishes.
The interesting thing is that the chef cooks with very
cheap cuts of meats, meaning there's a lot of innards
on the menu, veal heart and liver, fried pig's feet and
ears on a layer of bulots (sea snails??), cake of
eggplant and oxtail, grilled sardines on deep fried
peasant bread and melted cheese, etc. He also bakes his
own bread which is delicious. The desserts are very
innovative too: scoop of lavender ice cream floating on
a thin biscuit in a soup of fresh berries for example.
It's worth a try if you feel culinarily adventurous and
ready to put up with a friendly but rather overwhelmed
service. For example, it was the first time in France I
hear a waiter ask a party to leave the table and wait
for their cab outside of the restaurant.
Other restaurants worth mentioning are:
Le Tire-Bouchon, rue des Entrepreneurs, 75015
Le Troquet, rue Francois Bonvin, 75015
Le Restaurant d'Eric-Frechon in the 19th
Le Bistrot du Dome, rue Delhambre, 75006. This one
particularly for the best grilled squid in the world,
called Calamar a la placha. Make sure you go to the
Bistrot, not the main restaurant called the Dome, very
chic and very expensive. They also have another Bistrot
du Dome in the 11th arrondissement, near the Bastille.
I hope you'll have a nice trip to Paris. Don't forget
service is already included in the check. Tipping is up
to you and depends on the service you received. It's
definitely not 15-20%.
re: joyce briand
Joyce, very belated thanks for the great, savvy
To you as well as everyone else who's taken the time to
post great stuff like this but received no replies, I'd
like to say: YOU'RE NOT BEING IGNORED! Your tips are
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I ate at Jules Verne on August 26 and it is touristy and romantic at the same time. A room full of turistas, including us, but we had a window table (reservation made by a Paris friend) and watched the sunset over Paris. Tres magnifique! The cuisine was inconsistent. (As a comparison, we had dinner at Daniel a few weeks before and the cooking there was superior). Terrific langoustines at the start, mediocre veal, average cheese course, great chocolate and a relatively fair wine list in terms of depth and price. As you would expect, food prices were high. The service was surprisingly gracious as we had out kids with us, killing two birds with one stone - a visit to the Eiffel Tower and a good meal in Paris. On the whole, I think you would do better elsewhere, staying away from the Michelin 3 star "shrines", which are usually occupied by business types, if you desire a combination of Parisian romance and cuisine. Bonne chance!