Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > France >
Jul 3, 2009 07:45 AM

Paris, July, near Place de Vosges

any Paris-familiar Hounds want to give a Paris-visiting San Franciscan advice on making dinner (or Sunday lunch) decisions between the following places:
Au Bascou
Le Pamphlet
Chez Janou
Au Petite Monsieur
Le bar a huitres
(I know, I know: all of them....)
had our Arrival Dinner last night at Cafe des Musees and enjoyed it thoroughly.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
      1. I have been to Au Bascou many times and always have on my list of places to visit when in Paris, it is quite good. The ownership change from 2 or 3 years ago did not impact quality. The new chef / owner I think trained under Alain Lucas Carton.

        I have been to Pamphlet only once and that was nearly 5 years ago. It has remodeled since then and my visit was so long ago as to be invalid for making a recommendation now but I did like it at the time. I recall a dish of St Pierre fish served with jus de viande that was quite good.

        1. The three I know: Janou, Pamplet and Huitres are all very different. What are you looking for in the restaurant?

          15 Replies
          1. re: PhilD

            good question. the first two I saw in a guidebook--Huitres we walked by and actually did go to last night. very nice experience, on the Menu a remarkable bargain and afterwards, by accident, we walked by Janou which looked like we would go there later in the week. we tend to judge a restaurant by whether there are reasonable numbers of people in it and they seem to be enjoying themselves... the guidebook said Pamplet is Basque more or less? Basque we like. ...Ms Margaret got intrigued by Bofinger, but after looking in, again, after dinner last evening, I'm thinking of passively making that not happen...

            1. re: chairbc

              Good decision; my meal (trying to impress my two 10 year old grandchildren visiting) in March was horrid.

              1. re: John Talbott

                THANKS, I'm stockpiling ammunition... (Metaphorically speaking)

                1. re: chairbc

                  Some more ammunition for you: I had a 10 pm reservation at Bofinger in April, but a quick look-in convinced me to turn tail and become a "no-show" for the first time in my life (they hadn't asked for my phone number when they took the reservation).

            2. re: PhilD

              realize I replied "wrong" last night. better answer would be...I've walked by Janou during dinner now twice...lot of energy, people waiting for tables, etc. and last night ate at can you describe similarities/differences at Pamplet? (yeah, I think that's more constructive than what I actually did say...)

              1. re: chairbc

                Janou is a busy cheerful restaurant, quite a favourite amongst young professionals, students, groups of friends etc. The food is fine for the price. Pamphlet is more upscale, more refined and at a higher price point, with a slightly older clientele (often a high ratio of tourists). IIRC at Pamphlet you get the table for the evening, at Janou they do turn them a few times.

                1. re: PhilD

                  We had a fabulous meal at Chez Janou last week. I will certainly go back again. Amazing duck and lamb dishes, and I will dream of their chocolate mousse until my next trip to Paris!

                2. re: chairbc

                  We are also San Franciscans who will be visiting Paris in September. Please let us know what you thought of Janou and/or Pamphlet. Thanks.

                  1. re: bobpantzer

                    OK, you asked, a looong time ago I had a:
                    "very disappointing meal at La Pamphlet two years ago and never went back; but it gets continuing great reviews."

                    1. re: bobpantzer

                      looks like we won't get to either, sadly....had a thoroughly memorable meal today at Le Gavrotte, near the Bourse (written up elsewhere in Chowhound)...and the other evening, nearly as good, at I think it was Chez Paul, near the Opera Bastille...

                      1. re: bobpantzer

                        We were just in Paris. Chez Janou was recommended enthusiastically by a colleague of my daughter's, and we were so totally bowled over by our first experience that we chose it again for the final restaurant dinner of our trip. In response to some comments above -- we found a real range of ages and backgrounds there, not at all a primarily younger and less upscale crowd. It was people -- people who relish a meal that really delivers, incredibly efficient and good-natured service, and an atmosphere that puts a smile on your face if it wasn't there already. We made a reservation each time, and stayed till we were ready to leave. We didn't notice anyone asked to leave to make room for others.

                        I don't know Pamplet. One of my other favorites is Au 35, at 35 rue Jacob in the 6eme. Make a reservation! And La Tourelle is also a wonderful experience -- and a very modestly priced one as well.

                        1. re: sheila727

                          Sheila, my comment was in relation to other Paris restaurants. I like Chez Janou and have enjoyed lots of good meals there. However, it isn't sophisticated, or very stylish for Paris, and it does attract a younger crowd than many restaurants in Paris. It is perfect for a casual meal, but it will miss the mark for people who are looking for more than that. I am glad you enjoyed it.

                          1. re: PhilD

                            "Sophistication" and "stylish" by themselves don't automatically guarantee marvelous food, but they do ensure that whatever you're served will be more expensive. And your having noted that Pamphlet has an older crowd and tends to have a high proportion of tourists -- to me, that's the antithesis of what I look for in a restaurant. It says fusty, overpriced, and a menu that caters unexcitingly to what tourists expect. And please realize that I'm older, so my comments aren't age-ist. I tend to prefer a relaxed setting for my dining. Have you ever eaten at Au 35, which involves fairly sophisticated dining in a relaxed environment -- and is quite wonderful.

                            1. re: sheila727

                              I was simply trying to accurately position the restaurants(s) within the overall Paris restaurant scene. I wouldn't recommend them if I didn't think the food was worthwhile.

                              I am afraid your assumptions have led you to draw the wrong conclusion about Pamphlet, it isn't especially expensive, in-fact it has a reputation for delivering above its price point. On all my visits to Janou the average age has been about 25 to 30, some older some younger. It isn't a raucous crowd but it is lively. Perfect if that is what you are looking for, and the reason we go there.

                              Paris has broad dining scene, covering all types and styles. Paris also has millions (literally) of tourists, therefore it is inevitable that any decent restaurant will have tourists. Thus it is a false assumption that a restaurant in Paris that attracts tourists isn't going to be good or is going to be overpriced, especially given the number of informed hounds who use this board.

                          2. re: sheila727

                            The food and service at Le Pamphlet is very good and moderately price, just a little more than Chez Janou. What one gets for the few extra euros is more elbow room and more comfortable chairs. I've eaten there several times and though it has a few visitors, it is by no mean a "touristy" restaurant. Being on very quiet street in the 3e and a little away from the Marais may be the reason.