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dinner thoughts in Paris for 5 nights

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Hello Chowhounders,

I will be going to Paris for the first time in two weeks and despite years of French classes and ten years of working in restaurants in L.A. I am at an absolute loss of where I should be having dinner. Three guidebooks and days online have only gotten me hungry, so I figure I should get your advice on a couple of restaurants. I am familiar with the 4 star places, and their chefs but don’t think I can break the bank on this trip. I am looking to have two great dinners with my wonderful girlfriend (her first time in Paris as well), but want to keep the dinners up $250 for two (except for the splurge on wine). This rules out the 3 month waiting list and 14 course tasting menus I am sure, but can I get some help from you eating experts. I am used to managing the restaurants, not eating in them. Thanks!!!!!!!

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  1. 250$ is ca 180€. I don't understand if that is the food or the total budget for dinner.

    The way to make good deals on fine dining is at lunch, as you probably know. In France, there are special prixfixe menus for lunch but the rest of the menu is the same for lunch and dinner.

    Apart from the budget, why don't you tell us more about the kind of experience you'd like?

    4 Replies
    1. re: souphie

      Agreed. So many options in Paris! I would also suggest that you pick up Pudlo Paris (english version). It will tell you everything you need to know about parisian restaurants.

      1. re: souphie

        Thanks for the reply Souphie. The budget I would like to stay within is for each of the two dinners. So about $75-100 per person, excluding liquor and wine. As for the style of dining I am not looking to stick to any specific style, classical or modern, French, fusion, international, doesn't matter either way, as long as its great. If there were to be two dinners that you had in Pairs where would they be? I have been reading reviews about L'AOC, Fontaine de Mars, Au bon Accueil, and L'Ami Jean. L'Atelier De Joel Robuchon. Cannot seem to make up my mind.

        1. re: mallard

          Two dinners in your price range? Again, that depends on the kind of experience you want. If you don't mind crowded, narrow, "convivial" atmosphere, then one would probably would be Chez l'Ami Jean or La Régalade for wonderful food, though I'm personally a fan of Au Bon Accueil, which is a more comfortable place in the same bistronomique category. Then the next day (or the day before) I would hit a more traditional place, say la Fontaine de Mars or Joséphine or l'Auberge Bressanne (for which I have a sweet spot). For a funnier experience (and always great food), I might turn to l'Auberge du Quincy, Chez Boboss, but that's assuming no one with me is afraid of cassoulet, tête de veau, caillette, pieds et paquets, etc. If I was a fan of novelty and innovative cuisine, I would totally rush to Le Chateaubriand.

          Does that help?

          By the way, l'Atelier de JR is not in your budget, unless you literaly only have two bites.

          1. re: souphie

            I just want to add that you must make reservations. I called l'Ami Jean and it was almost complete for next week in the 8 pm time slot and they only had 10 pm left. I also emailed a few places but didn't get any answers so it's best to call.

      2. I would go to Dominique Bouchard in the hinterland of the 8th and Jean in the 9th. DB is a wonderful restaurant and just received it's first star--the food is inventive, delicious and beautifully presented. Jean leans towards molecular gastronomy and the service is wonderful. Frederic and his wife, the patrons, worked at Taillevant for many years and they learned to be restauranteurs from the best. Jean also has one Michelin star.

        2 Replies
        1. re: faijay

          Do you mean Dominique Bouchet?