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Aug 26, 2008 10:19 PM

L'Ami Jean, Bistro Paul Bert, Le Baratin or Le Chateaubriand?

Hi everybody! LA chowhound headed to Paris. I have 4 dinners and am definitely going to L'Atelier Joel Rubuchon.... will you please help me pick between L'Ami Jean, Paul Bert, Le Baratin and Le Chateaubriand for the other 3 nights? Which can I loose?
I know Chateaubriand has gotten some negative write ups but it gets so much great press...
thanks very much!

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  1. Don't know if this will help in your decision-making, but here's what I wrote about Le Baratin after I ate there a couple of months ago:

    I'd heard some great stuff about this wine bar up in the 20th, specialising in good food and bio wines, and thought it would also be a good reason to take my partner to an arrondissement he'd never been in before. It has a cool ambience -- very down-to-earth, resident cat sleeping on one of the tables, packed to the gills with regulars -- and I would have been happy to pay 25 euros or so per person for what we ate. Unfortunately, it cost closer to 50 euros per person.

    Starters: a half-dozen incredibly fresh langoustines served just with their own lovely selves, and a slightly bizarre "mi-cuit" tuna dish with "Mexican" flavours. The overall effect was of decent-quality oil-cured tuna with cilantro and coriander. Drank an interesting sparkling Touraine rose. Mains: palette de porc roti and gigot d'agneau. Workmanlike but uninspired -- but the 2005 Les Laquets Cahors we drank with them was lovely, with nicely structured tannins and hints of tobacco and cedar. Split a slightly overly-ripe Saint-Marcellin for dessert (I'm all about gooey, but prefer my St-Marcellin to be more floral than barnyardy). Would I go back? No; too far out of the way for too little return.

    1. Le Chateaubriand is very interesting but can be miss or hit. The chef is not always equally inspired, or even present. On an on night, it is clearly very exciting, not really cheap. L'Ami Jean is the must in your selection, because it really has high-class food in bistrot setting and at bistrot prices -- many places claim to do that, few actually deliver. Le Baratin is good quality but mostly renowned for being relatively cheap in an expensive city. I personally find le Paul Bert boring and even annoying but it is a textbook bistrot -- unlike la Régalade or l'Ami Jean, there's no discrepancy between the setting in the food, which is solid, pleasant, reliable, not exciting. All have limited comfort, very crowded, very tight -- no towel in the bathrooms at le Paul Bert. Le Chateaubriand is innovative and trendy, Chez l'Ami Jean is extraordinary food at vulgar cost, the two others are competing in the same bistrot category.

      2 Replies
      1. re: souphie

        Souphie- do you know if it's possible to reserve Chez l'Ami Jean online? I can't find a website for them nor can I find definative open/close hours and days. Different websites have different information.

        1. re: wired2theworld

          I'd be surprised. Just call. Or if you're really too shy, leave me a message at and I'll call for you.

      2. I just got back from Paris and Le Chateaubriand suddenly decided to close for holiday after being open most of August. I did get a chance to make it to Le Gaigne, which was probably the second best dinner I had in France.

        Le Bristol was far and away the best, L'Arpege was surprisingly hit and miss, which is disappointing. Ze Kitchen Galerie good, but not great. I'd say it's a little overrated.

        The menu is at and the 5 course tasting menu at E39 is a steal when you consider the price of Le Bristol or L'Arpege (one of those dishes is not quite edible, but still). You can make reservations on Top Table, which worked quite well for me.

        I'll post a full review with photos soon.


        1 Reply
        1. re: mgovshteyn

          I was in Paris last week and had a chance to have dinner at Le Gaigne which was lovely - certainly not nearly as good as Le Chateaubriand, but they are not open on Monday - I think it's well worth a visit - Here are photos from it:

        2. I was just in Paris last week and had an absolutely wonderful dinner at L'ami Jean. The staff explained the whole menu to us because we did not understand the french menu and we sat near the kitchen where the chef spoke with us and was very friendly. I had a delicious beef dish (i think it is the only one on the menu) that had onions and potatos in it and also the scallops with celery root puree and mashed potatoes. definitely recommend it!!! when our hotel called to make reservations they said they were all booked but then they said they "fit us in" so i recommend making reservations - they were very crowded.

          1. We ate last week at Chez l'Ami Jean and loved it. We called about two weeks prior to that for reservations, and had no trouble with that or with explainations about the menu, which was great by the way. We had the salmon and the liver entrees, and both had the skate for the plat. The rice pudding was out of this world. Both my husband and I agreed that we will certainly return. The other restaurant that we've visited (last year) was Bistro Paul Bert, which we agree that we will not visit. I know that it gets good reviews in magazines, but we honestly did not care for the food.