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Aug 21, 2007 09:37 AM

Paris: Birthday dinner and other recs?

Hello all.My husband and I along with our almost 2 yr old and a friend/nanny are headed to Paris in early September for a week. We plan to go out [hubby and I] for 3 nice dinners and spend the remainder of the evenings eating at our apartment [ in theMarais, 04eme]. I plan to be cooking the nights at home with stuff I pick up from the markets. We are planning on going to Pomze and Maceo as 2 of our potential 3 nights out. But I am undecided on the third restaurant.It will be my DH's 37th birthday. I am vegetarian [I do eat milk, eggs and cheese though] and my husband eats chicken, turkey and fish but no red meat. I am looking for a romantic restuarant that is about 75-100 euros/pp that is vegetarian friendly. L'arpege is out of our league. i've considered ze kitchen galerie, le ciel de Paris and Jules Verne [although I think Jules verne is out]. Of note, my husband and I LOVE the water and a restaurant that is close to/on the water would be an added bonus.
We do plan to try Angelina's and L'as du falafel with our daughter and friend at lunch time as well. This is our first time to Paris and as I've learned with a toddler having a plan even if it all falls to pieces really helps. So other lunch recs near the Eiffel tower, Jardins de luxembourg, Jardins des Tulieries, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame would be appreciated as we plan to do sightseeing in the mornings follwed by lunch, then home for naptime and low key evenings except when hubby and I go out at night.

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  1. Maceo, with its tasty vegetarian tasting menu, might be a good option for the birthday dinner. I celebrated my birthday there a couple of years ago, and they made me a special cake that was delicious and beautiful. A wonderful surprise!

    We usually stay in the 5th, over near the Sorbonne, and there are a lot of nice small places to get a tasty, "small" lunch in that area. One place I remember was in a pedestrian area on the Blvd St. Michel called L'Escritoire.

    9 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune

      Thanks Chef June.

      Any thoughts 'hounds on le souffle or ze kitchen galerie?

      1. re: ramekin

        Regarding souffles, I prefer La Cigale-Récamier, Rue Récamier, 7th, close to Sèvres-Babylone métro stop. It's less stuffy than Le Soufflé and as good. Besides, they have a really nice terrace which can still be open in early September... in case the weather decides to turn better.

        1. re: Dodo

          One of the greatest terraces in town indeed. But les Soufflés is cool too.

          Haven't been to Ze kitchen galerie but it is reviewed there:

          It is in French but you have the pictures and the guy basically says it was incredible, putting ingredients forward, nice balance and some original associations.

          1. re: souphie

            I find the room a bit spartan at Ze Kitchen and thus the place lacks ambiance. Food is OK, but not certain I would recommend it for a birthday celebration.

            1. re: PhilD

              PhilD/other 'hounds- other suggestions for a Birthday celebration?

              1. re: ramekin

                Ah, so you don't like what we came up with so far?

                1. re: ChefJune

                  ChefJune- your opinions and suggestions are very valuable! I did make a reservation at Maceo already esp. after reading your post and am leaning towards Le Cigale as the second. Ze kitchen galerie I'm thinking we might avoid. We eat a lot of southeast asian food and while their franco-asian [is that the correct term] seems interesting I was hoping that someone would recommend a bistro or something along those lines where they've known the chef to be vegggie friendly? I realize that most restaurants are able to accomodate vegetarian requests especially if informed beforehand but I've found firsthand knowledge from chowhounds often has led me to a 'wow'experience rather than a 'very good' one alone.
                  'Hounds rock!

                2. re: ramekin

                  For a tourist spot, Soufflle is quite good, and they have a no-smoking area...mostly Americans seated there. The prix-fixe, all souffle offering is noteable. And for the area, high rent plus, prices are reasonable.

                  1. re: ramekin

                    I always struggle to recommend vegetarian, as a non vegetarian I find I don't really assess menu's in that way when I read them.

                    You already have Maceo which I believe is one of the best options for price, style, and creativity for vegetarians (and by the way is a very good birthday option).

                    However, whilst I am certain most other restaurants will have the odd option, I am afraid many will be stronger on meat dishes, as catering well for vegetarians is the exception rather than the rule. France's culinary strength (and some would say its problem with lack of innovation in general restaurant food) comes from its respect for tradition in food and I am afraid this conservative approach means a lot of focus on meat and fish.

                    The water option is also a bit tricky (I personally always wary of eating on anything that floats so avoid dinner on cruises...!). But a few ideas, first the "Le Cafe de l'Homme" which is in the Musee de l"Homme. It is much more than a simple cafe and is popular for lunch (and dinner I think). It is on the opposite side of the river from the Tour Eiffel - so a good view. My wife had lunch there and really enjoyed it. Another option is the restaurant on top of the new "Musee du quai Branly" I have had no reports of the food but it is a stunning riverside location on top of the new museum. And finally there is a restaurant in the Bois De Boulogne "Le Chalet des iles" which you reach via a little ferry as it is on an island. Food is quite good and if the weather is nice is a lovely place to sit outside for lunch (get a taxi to the park as it is big like Central Park in NYC)

                    Maybe these could be interesting lunch options - some museum restaurants in Paris are much more than simple refueling stops for tourists (i.e. Cafe Marly in the Louvre) and therefore could add the water dimension.

        2. Le Meurice is not too far from there. they do a 60 E lunch that's terrific. You might think about doing lunch instead of dinner. It tends to be a lot cheaper and you can still get great meals. Some of the 3 stars places offer a fixed price 3 course for 60-80 euros, which isn't any more than you'd pay for dinner at a 1 star.

          1. Also, about water restaurants: Le River Café and l'ile in Issy-les-Moulineaux (just outside of the 15th) and the restaurants on the Ile de la Jatte in Neuilly. And the restaurant on the ile des impressionistes in Chatou. and the huge Chinese hotel and restaurant at the confluent of the Seine and the Marne.

            Le Camelia in Bougival is also nice and has one-star, but is separated from the river by a big road.

            1. Le Tour d'Argent has a prime river view. The brunch on Sunday is reasonable and fun. Also the restaurant in the Arab Institute in the 5th arr. has a spectacular view of the Seine. Both would be able to accomodate your dietary restrictions. As a vegetarian, be sure not to miss the often mentioned L'As au Fallafel for lunch or a quick supper. They close Friday afternoon and Saturday. Enjoy your trip.

              1 Reply
              1. re: faijay

                <Le Tour d'Argent has a prime river view. The brunch on Sunday is reasonable> but the food is less than stellar... Stars notwithstanding.

              2. I was planning on a Sunday brunch at Les ambassadeurs at Le Crillion as well [along with our toddler]. I've read mostly good reviews?
                I noticed that Maison blanche has a 5 vegetables and 5 fruits menu and that River cafe did appear to have some vegetarian choices [based on my limited translation of French] and so does Le chalet des Iles. Amongst these any favorites?

                2 Replies
                1. re: ramekin

                  there's a brunch at les ambassadeurs? thought the restaurant was closed on sunday?

                  1. re: souphie

                    There's a Sunday brunch called 'brunch du monde' but nothing but that between 12 PM and 3 PM! I believe it's mentioned on the Crillon's web page.
                    I'd rather go for the weekday lunch. A better value, IMO.