Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > France >
Nov 25, 2008 01:04 PM

2 dinners - delicious, romantic and unfussy...possible?

Hounds, you have never let me down and I need your help again!
My girlfriend and I are off to Paris for a romantic three days over Christmas. We have three dinners (leaving lunch to whatever takes our fancy) and we will see the Moulin Rouge on our last night so we will settle for a nice bistro on Monte Marte for that. Thus, I am left with two dinners to plan - Christmas Eve and Christmas Night. Please help!

To set the scene: We are both mid-late 20's (ok perhaps pushing the far end of the late 20's!) and really want a romantic, modern, unfussy, restaurant budgeting about 100-150Eur pp per night.

Night 1: We are staying on Place des Vosges and arrive late'ish on Christmas eve so I thought that Le Dome du Marais could be convenient and tasty for first night. Any thoughts?

Night 2: Christmas Dinner I was thinking either Les Bouquinistes or Gordon Ramsay's Le Veranda.

Ideally I would love to take us to Guy Savoy but it just stretches the budget too far (unless it is so highly recommended that we cheap eat on Christmas Eve and go here for Christmas Day/Dinner). If Christmas Dinner isn't usually available I would be grateful for any Christmas Lunch recommendations.

Many thanks in advance for any comments on the above or any recommendations you may have. Lots of useful information on here!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You don't have to be worry about Guy Savoy, he'll be on holiday. Ramsay's Véranda is a great idea but it is in Versailles, pretty far from the Place des Vosges. If I understand you correctly, you're looking for dinners on the 24th and the 25th. Boy, that won't be easy. Those are bad times for dining out. Many restaurants are closed, those who aren't usually have special christmas menus, pricey and not particularly good -- actually, they're very often less good than what you could eat the rest of the year. For those days, my best recommendation is enjoy the food shopping which, on the contrary, is the best of the year (markets on christmas' eve are just wonderful, but go early if you don't want to stay in line for hours) and stay home.

    Otherwise, if you don't want to break the bank, I suppose a brasserie like Le Dome du Marais or Bofinger is a nice idea. But you should reserve now.

    I would argue that it is worth having excellent but cheap food on Christmas' eve (by the way, come home if you wish) and save your money for a splurge meal on Christmas day. But even then your options are limited -- maybe Senderens or Robuchon. I know le Cinq has a special menu that day, pretty expensive (350pp+drinks). Your Ramsay idea would be great for christmas lunch, methinks, with view on the park and all.

    1 Reply
    1. re: souphie

      I believe L'Ecaillier du Bistrot will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and could be a good choice for either -- I prefer it to Bistrot du Dome, at least. I wonder if Bistrot Paul Bert might be open as well?

    2. Thank you both for your replies. I have been to Robuchon in London and whilst it was very good it was not to my liking in the whole dining experience. Thanks for the recommendation with Bofinger and L'Ecaillier du Bistrot. Although, I can't find any info on the web for L'Ecaillier du Bistrot. Le Cinq is just outside of the budget and perhaps a little too fussy for me. I think that a trip to Versaille for La Veranda could be nice way to spend Christmas day away from home although the menu doesn't really impress.
      So, I think it is 24th - Le Dome du Marais or Bofinger (hmmmm tough choice!) but I also haven't ruled out Les Bouquinistes. I love the idea of Christmas Markets!
      25th - La Veranda (although still not sold on the menu butlimited by Christmas day choices!)

      I think I am sounding far too difficult to please!!

      Souphie - Thank you for your kind invitation. I see that we are both fans of the Iron Chef. Try for a couple of episodes. Enjoy!

      9 Replies
      1. re: joelq

        Compared to the ones you have shortlisted (Le Dome etc) La Veranda is in a completely different and far higher, league. The cooking is very good and service impeccable. The food on the menu may not seem too complex but quality of ingredients and standard of cooking ensures you get very full flavoured food. It is one off my "go back to" restaurants.

        Le Dome, Bofinger, and to an extent Bouquinistes target the tourist market and are solidly in the middle ground of the market they serve. Simply put "you get what you pay for". If you can get to Versailles (are trains running on Christmas Day?) It is probably your best bet.

        Interestingly Ramsay has a tradition in London of keeping a good number of his places open on Christmas Day - looks like he is doing the same in Paris.

        1. re: PhilD

          Trains are running on christmas day, and they're not more expensive. You see we haven't privatized the railroad, so they actually work.

        2. re: joelq

          Joelq, thanks for the link. which one is the one with Gagnaire?

          1. re: souphie

            I don't have access to the link provided by Joelq right now, but I know you can find some Iron Chef videos on YouTube, including one with Gagnaire, with some arguing over a lobster dish... shouldn't be too hard to find.

            1. re: souphie

              Souphie, I am sorry but I am not sure which one is with Gagnaire as I haven't yet watched them myself.

              Would you be able to assist me in getting a copy of the Bofinger Christmas lunch menu?

              1. re: joelq

                They'll have the regular menu plus an extra christmas special at 60eur that is not yet defined but will have foie gras and chapon. Reserve asap (there or anywhere else) if you're interested (even vaguely -- cancelling a reservation is easier than getting one).

                The Gagnaire episode was in 1996. A quick Google search gets it. It was just after his Saint Etienne restaurant went bankrupt and the Iron world cup of 1995 he also took part in.

                1. re: souphie

                  Souphie, thanks again for your advice.

                  One last question: do you consider Les Ombres as a suitable candidate for Christmas Lunch?
                  Many thanks.

                  1. re: joelq

                    Les Ombres = great view, awful food and dire service.