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Le Comptoir and L'Ami Louis (question)

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I am considering these for Saturday or Sunday lunch or dinner for my trip in November. Is there a difference between their lunch and dinner menus? I realize it is probably too late to make a dinner reservation at Comptoir. From what I have read it seems it is possible to have dinner at Comptoir on Sunday evenings without a reservation. If so, what time is best to arrive so as not to have an extensive wait? Also, how are these restaurants similar/different in terms of cuisine? I will be at a few two and three stars during the week and if the food at these two spots is similar, I would perhaps choose only one, so as broaden my dining experiences.

Thanks.

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  1. Le Comptoir doesn't do reservation on either Saturday or Sunday for dinner or lunch. I have been to Le Comptoir many times and found the the best time to avoid the queue is to go early or late. Lunch at 12:00 or 2:00 and dinner at 6:00. However, as this is the weekend it may simply be steadily busy, so a queue but not excessive.
    Le Comptoir is "classic" bistro/brassereie and the concept is to get back to doing the basics well, quite simple and well executed.

    1. Assume you mean the ' Le Comptoir de Relais', as of the staff of Le Regalade. Find these two vastly different, both in style and especially price. Le C is a nice bistro, a bit more roomy and user friendly than Regalade, but just that. L'Ami Louis has become perhaps the toughest ticket in town. The french have rediscovered it; All their menu is beyond top notch, at three star prices. Too much food, fois gras, lamb, chicken, and those potatoes are beyond memorable. Good luck in getting in and treasure the memory

      1 Reply
      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        I could not agree more about l'ami louis. I will remember my meal there forever. Those potatoes were the best I have ever had in my life, the foie, the roasted chicken, the grilled bread served with the foie and perhaps the best creme fraiche in the world! I found the service to be incredible entertaining, it was like watching a dance, front waiter and back waiters cruising through the aisle of tables each doing their jobs with dignity and presence.

        The reservations system is a little off putting, but I will definately go though all of their hoops just for those potatoes alone!

      2. Simple answer is :
        Le comptoir is good, L'ami Louis is bad.

        I've finally been to l'ami Louis after having heard about this bistro for many years.
        Don't go there.
        This is not the real experience. The food is average, in huge portion. It is packed non-locals. And it feels like in the movie Ratatouille that the dishes are prepared by rats.
        I guess you understood I didn't like it. On top of it, for the half price you can get to so many better places...

        I think this is the first time I write a bad review on this board. I was kind of holding myself several times because I think tastes are subjective and everyone deserves a try but really L'ami Louis, no.

        Le comptoir needless to say is a very good option, if you can secure a place.
        The service is not so good at lunch time or on sundays, but I guess this because they have so many customers.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Theobroma

          On the serfvice comment at Le Comptoir. Remember they actually runs two different restaurant formats and so the service is very different depending on the format (however I believe is is still good service for each respective format). A "Bistro" weekday nights and a "Brasserie" at lunchtime and Saturday and Sunday evening. You book for the Bistro, and queue for the Brasserie.

          In the Bistro format they open at 8:30, double up the tables with table clothes so you get twice the space (or half the covers - maybe only 20 to 30) and they serve pretty much a set meal, generally they turn the table 1.5 times a night with what seems to be a late sitting for people they know or maybe hotel guests. The Brasserie format has a more extensive menu, open "all day" (until they close to get the Bistro ready), and they constantly turn the tables.

          I also think that the two formats produce two very different restaurants. Although the Brasserie will often feature some dishes from the Bistro menu, I don't find that it is the same. If you go to the Brasserie you don't really get the true experience. I am afraid the only way to really get Yves Camdeborde's Le Comptoir experience is to secure one of those precious bookings in the Bistro.

          1. re: Theobroma

            Over the years there have been two schools on L'Ami, great or very bad. The restaurant can be very unpleasant to people they either do not know, or worse do not like for whatever reason. A restaurant is more than just food, if one is treated poorly wonderful food tastes like sand and nothing can make up for it. Fortunately, when there was with a group loved by the restaurant both times, so was heaven, if not might be hell. A story related to me that an American couple had booked for their 25th anniversary and reconfirmed and jumped through all necessary hoops. When they arrived at the restaurant they were told that due to a "special" group arriving at the last minute, their reservation was not only cancelled, but were told to' forget the restaurant ever existed for them'. Truly nasty, and who needs it, but on the right night it does shine;

            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

              L'Ami stands out as one of the most memorable meals I've ever had - in a positive way.

              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/35331...

              I still think about the foie gras. We were treated nicely, although we had no reservation, though they did give the table we were promised to a celebrity couple so we had to wait another 30 minutes, but we didn't mind that night.

              1. re: MMRuth

                Nice someone else loved as well, cannot get reservation now

          2. Though both serve excellent food, crowded and lively, Le Comptoir and L'Ami Louis are two very different experiences. L'Ami Louis is probably the most famous of the old classic bistros. The decor and menu hasn't change in at least fifty years. Large portions of simply cooked food using excellent ingredients at 3 star prices.
            Le Comptoir is a small restaurant in a boutique hotel that serves a prix fixed dinner compose of 4 or 5 courses of updated bistro food at a very modest price of around 40E. One of the above poster gives an excellent description of their lunch and dinner service. The owner-chef, Yves Camdeborde, had a large following when he own Le Regalade. Because of his name, small dinner room having to cater to hotel guests and being on one of the busiest corner of Paris, they are always swamp with reservation requests.
            As one can tell from reading the above posts, etc, diners' experiences at L'Ami Louis has been very mixed and depends on one's expectation. I think if one has some sense of what these two restaurants are about, one will have a great experience. But if one is choosing these restaurants because they are often recommended or of their notoriety and exclusivity, then there is a good chance of being disappointed.