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Jan 17, 2009 11:30 PM

Cdn tourist needs advice on list

Hi Chowhounds,

I am in absolute awe of the Paris restaurant scene! It seems like I have been reading guidebooks, including the Michelin Red Guide, day and night since the New Year. Every time I think that I have put together a list of restaurants at which I wish to dine, I happen across another one that begs for inclusion. If I were in Paris for 9 months rather than 9 days, the necessity of making good decisions would not be as imperative.

I am a pesco-vegetatarian. The woman with whom I am travelling does eat meat, but says that she will be content with fish and seafood.

We have rented an apartment somewhere near the Anvers Metro station on Rue de Dunkerque. The apartment is quite large - we could seat 8 in the dining room. Part of the reason we chose an apartment rather than a hotel was so we could breakfast "at home." We are unaccustommed to large morning meals, and will find it pleasant to start the days with pain au chocolat or brioche and cafe au lait from our espresso maker. We also will have the option of buying takeout food and eating a dinner or two in the apartment. And sometimes after a hard day of playing tourist, that might just seem like a very good plan.

I have read the advice on this board that it is often a good strategy to eat the main meal each day at lunch. However, we want to devote our daytime hours to exploring the city and so plan to eat our main meals in the in the evenings. Our plan is to eat lunch at boulangeries, since sandwiches or slices of quiche will be adequate. We don't have unlimited resources to spend on food, but want to enjoy some fine dining while we are in Paris. And we're willing to pay for the privilege.

Also, could someone let me know how far in advance I will need to make restaurant reservations?

I don't want to make plans for every night that we are in Paris, since I know that one can discover wonderful gems while wandering. But I will likely make reservations for 6 or 7 dinners.

So, here's the list that I have compiled after hours and hours of reading posts on this board and perusing the guidebooks. Please let me know if you think that my choices are appropiate, especially considering my dietary limitations. Here goes:

Le Cinq - for our big, memorable Paris dinner. (Thanks so much for directing us there!)
Les Fables de la Fontaine
Cafe Constant
Fish le Boissoniere (A "Bib Gourmand" restaurant, as is Cafe Constant.)

Here are a couple of places that are quite near our apartment (I believe) that sound good:

Carte Blanche (Another "Bib" selection)
Au Petit Riche.

Any other recommendations for the area would be especially valued.

Friends of my travel companion who live in Engleand have highly recommended:

Le Suffren, about which I know very little.

I would really appreciate any direction that you could provide. I don't know when I will be able to travel to Paris again, and really want to make the most of our time there. If I have made any ill-advised choices, please let me know. Thank you.


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  1. You might want to check out Le Petrelle, open for dinner only with a 27E prix-fixe menu. All of the restaurants you have mentioned are good to great, maybe with the exception of Petit Riche, which gets mixed reviews: personally, I haven't been there for some time.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Oakglen

      Thanks, Oakglen -
      I really appreciate your advise. I'll strike Petit Riche from my list - I don't have time for what would be a mediocre a mediocre meal. Our local newspaper, the Edmonton Journal, recently ran a feature on 10 places to eat that are " worth travelling the world for." Au Petit Riche was on that list, which puzzled me, since the posts here certainly would not back that claim. But each to his own taste, I guess.
      I'm going to check out Le Petrelle. It sounds like a real bargain. Thank you.

      1. re: jennyanydots

        Taking Petit Riche off your list is very savvy on your part. With apologies to Souphie and a wish for his apparent good fortune, my meal at Petit Riche for a friend's birthday was a fiasco of food that ranged from acceptable to unpalatable and service that ranged from careless "absent". I can only assume that the reporter for the Edmonton Journal hasn't traveled to Petit Riche.

        1. re: Cher Martin

          There can be anight off anywhere. Le Petit Riche is a place where I go regularly, to my satisfaction.

      2. re: Oakglen

        I for one am a big supporter of Le Petit Riche. Food is always good, and often very good. The ambiance and setting are very special, extremly Parisian. I love their big cote de veau gratinée, their feuilleté aux morilles, their rillons for instance. And they serve late, which is uncommon in Paris. It may not be an ideal place for a pesco-vegetarian, though.

        Le Pétrelle's menu is now 30€. I was resolute not to post about it but since Oakglen started it, I have to say it is an exceptional place for people who do not care about luxury or fashion, but only about comfort, top ingredients, and extraordinary wines (they buy wines in auctions -- the last two bottle I had there amounted together to more than 60years and less than 250€). That said, count rather 70€ than 30e if you eat ALC, which you may have to do as the main on the 30€ menu lately was boudin (blood sausage).

        Some pics there:

        Since you mention having lunch from bakeries (a good idea, in my opinion), I also listed some good bakeries on one of my maps:

        As Oakglen says, you have a good list. Le Suffren is a decent neighbourhood bistrot. Recommending one of these is tricky because the turnover of chefs is high, and food can be delicious one day and only decent (or not even) the next.

        In your area, also recommended: Wally le saharien, La Grille, Chez Michel, Spring, Casa Olympe, Chez Jean, Le Pré Cadet.

      3. Jenny, I stay in that area frequently and assume your apt. is the nice, 2 bdrm one managed by Paula. There is a good evening market on Fridays at Square Anvers which is almost across the street from the apt. for cheeses, fruits, veggies, and most anything you need for dining in. Good to above average restaurants abound in the area. I like Carte Blanche, Corneille, Sobane, Auberge du Clou, Casa Olympe, Fontaine Fiacre...all reasonably priced. You can catch the 85 bus that runs right by your apt. and head up to Montmartre, get off at the Eugene Sue stop and have an excellent, inexpensive meal at Table d'Eugene on rue Eugene Sue. Rue Martyrs is an easy walk from your apt. with it's abundance of market goods and one of the best bakeries ( Del Montel) in Paris.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Laidback

          Laidback, you are absolutely correct! That is the very apartment that we have rented. Thanks for the information on the markets in the area.

        2. I'm so gratful to all of you! Now I have to get back to work and revise my list to incorporate some of the wonderful suggestions that I have received. It's great to know the names of restaurants near the apartment, and I will keep the list in hand when we go wandering in the neighbourhood
          I will be thinking of you with thanks every time that I enjoy another wonderful Parisian meal. I can hardly wait!