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Jul 22, 2009 04:05 AM

Some Paris questions

Hello :-) We gone spend a week at the end of September, rented a place in sixth querter but not restricted only to that area. Would be very glad to get updated info from recent expirience:

1) We check currently the Michelin guide for "hidden gems" that don't have a star yet but got gourmand sign etc and potential is there.. will be glad to here recommandations for those 25-50 lunch/dinner places, mainly French cooking but other cuisenes also welcomed..

2) Is there a place in the 100-120 budget area pp (all included) for lunch but prefferebly dinner that gives an exceptional dining expirience? We really want to try a truly good tasting menu/fix prix but a little intimitated about prices and possibility of a hugh let down..

3) I'm an avid home ice cream maker :-) What is the best place to find special ingridients and pastes (like the Boiron fruit pastes, high Quantity Dark chocolate, nut pastes etc..) hopefully in reasonable prices?

Thanks a lot..

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  1. I will answer question 3 as another avid ice cream maker. Definitely G Detou at 58 rue Tiquetonne (2nd) which is a restaurant supply store. I used to get the Cocoa Barry pistoles there before I found them in Montreal (easier to get home). But they have all sorts of chocolate, dried mushrooms (if you are into cooking too), wonderful almond paste. The only thing is that they don't speak English. It is the only place in Paris that they are willing to try but you can manage to get want you want and you will want lots here.Here is a link ( to a piece on David Liebovitz's website about G Detou. Also if you are into ice cream check out David's website since he has written an excellent ice cream cookbook.

    1 Reply
    1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

      Thank you very much.. Definitely G Detou enters list to visit. David's book is my "bible" and i cannot express how good and approchable it is in this genre.. I have a note to myself to check archive on site but didn't get to it yet. Did you get to check the ice cream places in Paris? I bet you did.. Is Berthillon better then the ice cream place in Montreal main farmers market? :-) I tried it in my visit to Montreal about 2 years ago, it was pretty good and felt "homey", but wasn't blown away, maybe expectations too high or i just didn't try the more special flavours.. But overall good.. Always happy to meet fellow ice cream lovers :-) Thanks again

    2. 1/ I'm not sure you'll find. The price range is that of modest establishments, and more and more rising stars do bistrots things unlikely to ever get a star. In general, it's a good rule of thumb that there are very few interesting restaurants between the good bistrots (eg Chez l'Ami Jean, La Régalade, etc) of all sorts and the best fine dining experiences. Now if what you want is experience the new generation of creatives chefs, I would argue for Le Chateaubriand, Le Bistral, La Bigarrade, and some would vote for Ze Kitchen Galerie but I wouldn't. But that is not your request and does only fit your budget for lunch and if you're careful.

      2/ Lunch at Le Cinq, La Grande Cascade, Lasserre, Ledoyen fit that bill. You won't have exceptional stuff for dinner at that price, in my opinion and experience. But again I would argue for trying Le Chateaubriand for dinner, where the tasting menu is less than 50, I think. Nothing fancy like the ones I just mentioned, but a great and truly original chef.

      12 Replies
      1. re: souphie

        Thanks you. I think i didn't explain it right, we do want to experience mainly bistros direction and new generation of creative chefs, the existence of a star is not really important, especially when a star will probably make it much more expensive.. It seems that we will have to stretch this budget for at least 2 "special" meals, defenitly will check your suggestions. And maybe lunch is more the direction, for dinner we will try to cook more indoors and take advantage of great markets produce..
        Apart from your suggestions, my list currently holds some places i gathered for around 5 meals we want to have during the week:
        Au Gourmand
        Chez Lami Jean
        Les Pappiles
        Le Timbre
        Violon d'Ingres
        Le Clos des Gourmets
        Le Relais Louis
        L'Epi Dupin
        Au Bon Accueil
        Chez Les Anges
        Aux Lyonnais

        Any places in list that really deserve "top 5"? Most of them around the centric area and place we gone stay, maybe better places in different Quarters. Any places to avoid?
        Would be very glad to hear opinions, thank you very much..

        1. re: oferl

          I don't know all of them, but I would not keep le Relais Louis XII, Aux Lyonnais or Ribouldingue. Chez les Anges and Au Bon Accueil have the same owner and very similar food -- food is great Au Bon Accueil, setting is great Chez les Anges. Violon d'Ingres is good not great foodwise but a great experience on all other aspects. My top 5 in your list would probably be Gourmand/Ami Jean/Papilles/Bon Accueil/Epigramme, but that's me.

          1. re: souphie

            Thank you Souphie. I'm goin through your blog and enjoying it a lot, maybe bew ideas will come from there.

            1. re: oferl

              La Biggarade; Frenchie (see my "July in Paris" post for more detail -- any other posters been?); Yam'Chat; Ze Kitchen G.; Glou, in the Marais.

              Chez L'Ami Jean, absolutely!

              We didn't make it to Passage 53, but it has had glowing reviews.

              1. re: ricodanles

                Thank you :-) Exactly when i started thinking what should cover the more "modern" cooking category. If indeed Frenchie/Passage 53/Biggarade still offer 30-35 menu, maybe one of them should enter the list.. This i will have to check.. Which preffereble in your opinion? Passage seems very interesting from blog photos..
                Till now i think list is Au Gourmand, Chez L'ami Jean (or maybe Regalade, tuff call), another one "more modern" with maybe Sea/Poisson direction and last one is still mistery.. Very Appealing to try something more expensive and special, if not inside Paris itself (Le cinq and Cascade that Souphie mentioned..) maybe in closeby surronding area. 30 min-1 hour travel by train may we find something like that? I guess Roellinger that looks AMAZING in Souphie's blog is too adventourus to get to (and expensive..). Is it true to assume that Michelin places outside of Paris are significantly cheaper than inside?
                Again thanks everybody, really helpful stuff..

                1. re: oferl

                  I defer to the real Paris experts on this of course, but I think that Frenchie would fit the bill price wise. Sans wine, we paid 35 euros at dinner. We paid 45 euros for the "gourmand" menu at Biggarade at lunch (higher than your goal, but certainly worth every cent). You can't go wrong with either, but Biggarade is really an extravagant treat.

                  Everyone raves about Passage 53, but we didn't get a chance to try.

                  1. re: oferl

                    Roellinger closed, alas. It was amazing indeed. It was also four solid hours away.

                    FIne dining at one hour train is mostly in Reims -- the magical Les Crayères and the remarkable L'Assiette Champenoise. The North Burgundy top restaurants are also accessible: Meneau at Vézelay, Lorain in Joigny and Loiseau in Saulieu (my favorite of the three). But none has direct train -- the surrounding countryside, that said, is gorgeous.

                    Indeed some three star outside of Paris are significantly less expensive, not all of them. One of the most "affordable" is Lameloise in Chagny.

            2. re: oferl

              On your list, we've been to five, and of those, our two favorites (from June 2009) are (1) Au Gourmand, and (2) Ribouldinque. Note: As you probably know, you have to be adverturous for this last place, but I loved the sauteed lambs brains, and the fellow behind me had roasted bone marrow that I must return for. L'Epi Dupin was very good, but not great; and we've heard of service problems at Aux Lyonnais. Speaking of which, in November 2008 we found Regalade quite good, but the service there was very confused (e.g., 45 minutes before they came over to our table for four after we were seated at 8:30 -- all that time without even wine!). L’Épigramme looked great to us when we peeked in, and we've heard good things, but when we called in mid June 2009 to reserve the answering machine informed us that it was closed for three days "exceptionnellement," tant pis. Finally, I have to throw in my favorite simple neighborhood place: Le Languedoc in the outer 5eme, 64, Boul. de Port Royale, Tel.

              -- Jake ( http://parisandbeyondinfrance.blogspo... )

              1. re: Jake Dear

                Thanks everyone for the tips.. The "formal" list seems to be pretty much closed and we will try to reserve soon places at Chez L'ami Jean, Au Gourmand, Frenchie, one "high end" place for lunch and one Asian oriented place for some diversion (and maybe to fill up the Sunday spot).
                For the expensive lunch we are not sure between Le Cinq and Le Pre Catelan, both seem to offer 85 euro lunch menus.. Ledoyen looks of course good too but i think price a little higher, will check and would be glad to hear opinions.. Regarding asian we are leaning towards a good Japanese/Thai and no clue here, will have to check board..
                And on a different note but still some connection - will be glad to get links to Paris sites that hold good information regarding live "intimate" music concerts and venues, "off the beaten path" exhibits/cultural events etc.. Thanks again..

                1. re: oferl

                  Everybody says Asian food in Paris sucks. I disagree, but asking for Japanese/Thai is really unrealistic. One good Chinese (cantonese) option is Likafo, av. de Choisy.

                  1. re: souphie

                    Thanks for likafo. I meant of course either a good Japanese place or a Thai place (not doind both..), is it still unrealistic and Chinese (Likafo..) is the better way to go in your opinion? I btw preffer Chinese direction but it is not only my decision here :-)

                    1. re: oferl

                      I don't think Asian food in Paris is all that bad either or I've been very lucky. Yen is a very good soba restaurant worth a try and it'd give your digestive system a much needed break from butter and cream.

          2. I have been to neither Le Cinq or Pre Catalan, but my very good friend is a Parisian born foodie and gourmond who teaches cooking classes and she RAVES about Pre Catalan. And I'd follow her advice all the way to the bank!

            Just my two cents.....

            3 Replies
            1. re: MyMelange

              Thanks :-) I will try to find more web reports and photos from Catelan to get more "feel" for the place.

              1. re: oferl

                There aren't many detailed reports from Le Pré Catelan -- Food Snob probably has the most extensive. Robuchon says he thinks highly of it. I personally know no diner who does.

                1. re: souphie

                  I had lunch at Le Pré Catelan once a couple of years ago and enjoyed it very much. I chose the sea urchin starter; the main dish was a roast "pigeon" spread with foie gras, and the dessert was some kind of hard, translucent, edible green sphere with a delicious filling (apple cream?--my memory fails me).

              1. I think that Ze Kitchen Galerie should be on your list (lunch, especially).