Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > France >
Dec 19, 2007 11:42 AM

aristocratic, fancy, clubby, and delicious

where would you suggest I have dinner if I wanted a well dressed, elegant crowd without the super trendy groups that invade fine restaurants or honeymooners/couples sitting quietly by themsleves. Would there be a place where some patrons know one another and certainly know the staff? I want to sit with my friends and eat fabulous food and watch haute, fashionable Parisians parade in and out. Not a hush hush kind of place but a convivial environment with people unafraid to laugh and chat. Last year I enjoyed a tremendously fine lunch at Taillevent that was truly remarkable. The crowd was too American for me and people were dressed nicely but it was very quiet and almost a solitary experience in an odd way. On the other hand, I really want a fine dinner too with good service and a lively atmosphere. Any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Try Balzar, at night, no earlier than 8 pm, when the University crowd comes in. Balzar is always an upbeat, convivial brasserie, and if you have a late dinner, the Americans, like us, will be gone, and the locals will provide the environment you seek. BTW, they do a mean steak tartare. The food, however, is not fabulous, but it is as close to NYC's Balthazar as you will find in Paris.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Oakglen

      What would be Paris's equivalent of New York's La Grenouille or La Gouloue (sp?)

      1. re: mikey

        Taillevent! I've been to all three... La Golue does not compare with La Grenouille in New York! Taillevent is the closest to La Grenouille. and maybe Senderens.

    2. Senderens definately has style, elegance, service and good food.

      Parisians do tend to be pretty refined, and good manners in France are considered a sign of true class. So conversations will be quieter, and laughter will be more restrained reflecting French manners.

      Fashion in Paris is tricky, all the central arrondissements will have lots of very fashionable people, but they will be different from area to area. Young and hip in some, to older and stylish in others.

      5 Replies
      1. re: PhilD

        When Parisians want to "see and be seen" they don't go to the ** and *** restaurants. They go to places like Costes, in the 1st. Here you will feel out of place if you are not thin, young and dressed in black. There is one ** where you will not hear much English spoken; Lasserre. Have a local make your reservation if you want to dine here.

        1. re: Oakglen

          I have read about Laserre for years. Is it sill good? This is the one with the movable roof or something like that? I am going in March and last February I dined at Taillevent and it was certainly something special but I want something else this time. Is Laserre older and stylish rather than young and hip? Is it too stodgy or a truly remarkably, elegant affair? What about Le Grande Vefour? I dined there a number of years ago and loved it. Is it still something special?

          1. re: mikey

            Lasserre is elegant and stylish; tables are widely spaced and service is attentive but not intrusive. Once again, the "young and hip" do not frequent these places. If you try to book in English....well, good luck.

            1. re: Oakglen

              Actually, sounds perfect. I would rather a Grande Dame than a young and hip so we will wear our best clothes and give Laserre a try. I was looking for something non-trendy, old, yet fashionable so I will report back.

            2. re: mikey

              I have not dined at Grand Vefour, but several Parisian friends said, during my recent trip to France, that it is much more about the history than the food... that the food can sometimes be quite good, but most often it's very ordinary.

              some day I want to try it anyway...

        2. apicius, and les boquiniestes( spelling??) we were there in october, both were fab

          apicius was totally outstanding