I'm taking my wife to Paris for 4 days at the end of the month to celebrate her birthday. I have never been to Paris and my wife hasn't been since she was a child. As a consequence, I have no idea where to book for food! I have looked at some of the recommendations on this site, but as is often the case on the internet, am slightly bewildered by the number of options I've found!
Please could someone recommend friendly, romantic restaurants? I would love to find somewhere romantically Parisian for my wife's birthday meal (cost of around €50-70 per head not including wine) and for the other 3 nights places that offer the quality of food Paris is famous for (these will need to be cheaper, although I'm not asking for budget-eats).
We are staying on the boarders of Saint Germain and Montparnasse, but I am not expecting to spend all our time on the left bank!
Many thanks in advance!
Saint Germain and the Quartier Latin have a lot of tiny restaurants where you can eat. Those run around 17 Euros per person. You have to be careful though because there's a lot of places in Paris that exist solely due to tourism and make some bad food. For more expensive places I have no idea but those are a lot easier to find.
Unfortunately, many restaurants will already be closed for vacation the last week in July, and continue away until the end of August. I suggest you get a copy of the Michelin red guide as it will tell you what will and won't be open. The touristy spots will pretty much all be open, but you should be able to find some good spots with careful searching.
Perhaps some of the Paris residents who frequent Chowhound can help you out with some specific recs.
According to the Guide Lebey, Les Ombres, the rooftop restaurant at the Musee du quai Branly, is open every day all year. It would be a stunning and romantic spot I believe. Haven't yet been, but I have heard good things about the food as well as the views. Also in the 7th Au Bon Accueil should be open, as will be the Cafe de l'Alma. Near Montparnasse, La Coupole is open every day all year, as is Le Dome. Of course there are lots of others; those are the ones I particularly like at the moment.
Given your limited budget, take a look at the brasseries, Bofinger, Rotonde and Balzar. Rotonde and Balzar should be walkable. All have decent web sites.
I don't think you have to limit yourself to brasseries, many restaurants will still be open the last week in July. I think Mon Vieil Ami would make an excellent choice for a romantic dinner, followed by a stroll on the Ile Saint Louis. They should be open, but make sure to call in advance to reserve. The dinner menu is somewhere around 45€ so should be in your budget.
If you want to venture out of Saint Germain (highly recommended, there is so much more to Paris than Saint Germain and the left bank), try the Repaire de Cartouche near Bastille.
Near Odeon, Le Comptoir du Relais is a great choice for lunch (gastro bistro) and a fun place to people watch. You could also try to get reservations there for dinner where chef Yves Camdeborde takes thing up a notch. The prix fixe is somewhere around 40€, while lunch salads are around 15€.