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Oct 16, 2006 01:36 PM

Which French restaurant is best?

For my partner's birthday I am taking him to see a Sunday matinee of Les Mis. I want to go to a reasonably priced, high quality French restaurant in the theater district beforehand. One that is not too touristy but still accomodates you when you have to get to a show. Also, we are a young (24th birthday) gay couple--we don't want something too stuffy. I've been reading the posts on here but I can't come to a conclusion! Which of these should I choose?

Rene Pujol
Tout va Bien
Chez Napoleon
Le Rivage

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  1. I've never managed to get to Chez Napoleon, but of the other three, Rene Pujol definitely has the best food and nicest ambiance. Also, a major difference is that, while RP still serves many classic dishes, their menu includes modern/creative dishes.

    1. Too bad you're sticking around in the theatre district. IF you manage to try another 'hood in town, I love love LOVE Le Gigot down in the West Village. Maybe another time!

      3 Replies
      1. re: hps

        I love Le Gigot, I've been there myself several times. When seeing a show though, I like to stick around the theater district so you don't risk running late.

        1. re: 104manhattanite

          Two other French restaurants in the Theater District you might want to consider: dbBistro Moderne, 4-star French chef Daniel Boulud's excellent take on Modern French bistro cuisine; and LCB Brasserie (fka La Cote Basque), where one of the last of the old guard chefs, Jean-Jacques Rachou, continues to serve delicious versions of the classics. Both have special pre-theater dinner prix-fixes for around $40.

          1. re: RGR

            Oops! Somehow, I managed to skip over the fact that the o.p. is going to a Sunday matinee. That changes things considerably. For one thing, Chez Napoleon is closed on Sunday. Also, it completely negates my two suggestions above because LCB is also closed, and dbBistro is only open for Sunday dinner. Therefore, I'll stick with my original opinion that Rene Pujol is the best choice.

      2. If you're dining before a Sunday matinee, many restaurants will probably have lots of brunch offerings. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of any particular restaurant on your list and I usually don't like to dine in the theater district beforehand or I'll try to go someplace on 9th Avenue away from "tourist row" (46th Street a/k/a Restaurant Row).

        With that said, I've had a good time and tasty food at Chez Josephine because I find Jean-Claude Baker, the owner and host of the restaurant, a charming fellow. He's one of the adopted children of Josephine Baker of 1920s fame. If you don't know who she is, then Jean-Claude will definitely have photos and memorabilia all over his bistro. Check out the website.

        Another place I like because it has an outside garden (though not just French food) is Luxia Restaurant at 315 W. 48th Steet bet. 8th & 9th Ave. (212) 957-0800.