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Sep 13, 2009 10:32 PM

Thoughts on Restaurant Helene Darroze?


I'm traveling to Paris with my husband in the next couple weeks (i.e., mid Sept/early Oct), and we've already come up with a few restaurants that we're planning to make reservations for:

- Le Cinq
- Les Fines Gueules
- Aux Lyonais
- Les Papilles
- Josephine "Chez Dumonet"
- L'Atelier de Joel Rubochon
- Le Dome
- Au Petit Margueray
- Cristal Room Baccarat

I came up with this list after weeks of random research, so I forget exactly why each place made the cut... A number of these restaurants have been blogged about extensively in this board, but if any new (and/or old) bloggers have any additional comments on the restaurants listed, we'd love to hear from you--esp. if your last visit was within the recent months! (This board has been SUPER helpful, btw; I'm adding Guy Savoy to this list, after reading so many positive reviews here!)

Also, I recently heard about Restaurant Helene Darroze from Gwyeneth Paltrow's blog, GOOP. Any thoughts on this restaurant? I like the place already in theory, given how Helene's a female chef running a 2-star restaurant, but I haven't read much else about her...such as what to order, whether she's worth the trip, if prices are reasonable, etc.

Finally, can anyone recommend a restaurant in or near Montmartre for dinner? We plan to end one of our sightseeing days near the Basilica Sacre-Coeur, and haven't yet come up with any dining options. We don't mind taking a subway there, so long as it isn't too far...

Though we've mixed in a few suit-worthy experiences, my husband and I are pretty laid back and, for the most part, are looking for a 'local' experience...and we hope to taste the one or two key dishes for which a particular place is renowned.

Any tips or advice would be most welcome. Thanks very much! -- Marce

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  1. I ate there approx. 3 years ago so it may have changed. At the time Helene was being touted as a "the" hot chef, we thought the meal was lackluster, the service was quite poor, and we didn't like the attitude (we were residents of Paris at the time so this was extreme for us to notice), worryingly we have no memory of the food apart from the enormous petit fours cart....!

    Interestingly her London restaurant gained rave reviews when it opened 18 months ago, but is rumoured to be struggling to attract punters. Other London restaurants, despite the credit crunch, are still full so read into that what you wish.

    1. I haven't eaten there, but I have never heard anything positive about the food or service from those who have. I've often wondered who keeps this place in business: I guess it's Gwyneth Paltrow.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rswatkins

        She and Alain Ducasse. At least she's cute.

      2. Thanks very much! I'm scratching it off my list!

        How about suggestions for dining in Montmarte?

        5 Replies
        1. re: mtjandra38

          Depends what you are after. Basically, there is probably nothing in Montmartre people would travel to but there are plenty of places to get an OK meal. So it depends how fussy you want to be that night. If location takes precedence over food, then just drop down the hill to around Place des Abbesses and grab something there. The top of the hill near sacre coeur is pretty poor, but it is pretty - the ice cream shop though is brilliant.

          1. re: mr_gimlet

            Antoine Heerah, formerly Le Chamarré in the 7th, now has two restaurants in Montmartre, of which some foodies think highly (haven't tried myself)

            This seems to be the top food in Montmartre now. La Table d'Eugène, further North also has an excellent reputation and when John Talbott is here he should tell you great things about the place.

            1. re: souphie

              My opinion (as Soup says) is that the Table d'Eugene is the best thing that ever happened to Montmartre, others like Chamarre Montmartre, I don't and I hate Heleme Darroze. Sorry I've been absent so long,.
              John Talbott

        2. What sort of food does the La Table d'Eugene serve? It seems Le Petrelle is close by as well... Would you recommend La Table d'Eugene or Le Petrelle? I've not been to either.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mtjandra38

            That's very different. First le Pétrelle is only open for dinner, which may take care of your problem. La Table d'Eugène is a modern impeccable bistronomique, light and tight. Le Pétrelle (see my pics -- is a "bohemian place" with lots of room, little light, a cat and a dog, and a very simple cooking which to my taste is close to perfection -- it's just the same few seasonal vegetables with every dish, and some excellent piece of meat or fish. Also le Pétrelle has out of this world bottles of wines at prices that are incredible bargains (including some three digit numbers). I just wouldn't recommend le Pétrelle to people I don't know, but I do go with my wife when we have a date.

          2. From the way you describe it, I really like how intimate and down-to-earth Le Petrelle sounds... the family pets give it an extra touch! Thanks to everyone for helping me solve our problem! It may take awhile, but I promise to post my experiences after my trip! Thanks again...

            2 Replies
            1. re: mtjandra38

              The chef also really takes an interest in what you like and think.
              Although I must also stand up for the gang at La Table, most sympa.

              John Talbott

              1. re: John Talbott

                My wife and I ate at La Table d'Eugène while on our honeymoon in May. It was our first meal in Paris and it ended up being one of our favorite meals ofthe trip as the food was wonderful and the service was very charming. We loved the tiny restaurant and if we had our way we'd eat there again when we return in December (it'll be around Christmas and per the Michelin guide they will be closed).