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Nov 3, 2009 10:01 AM

Youthfully romantic...?

Hi guys - I'm taking my wife away for the classic surprise weekend in Paris. We both love our food (especially french!) and some of our best memories are beautiful meals in fine restaurants.

I know this kind of thing is asked a million times on this board, so sorry for the repetition, but I'm after a restaurant recommendation based on the following criteria (in order of importance):

1. Excellent Food. We are adventurous eaters, open to anything.
2. A room that makes you feel special, but not necessarily in the over the top grand ballroom style that seems to still pervade some of the top end of Paris dining.
3. A total bill at the end of the night under E500 all in (and that's going to need to handle at least one bottle of decent wine and a couple of apperitifs...).
4. Welcoming service to patchy French speakers. We can read menus and order fine, but will not get into in depth discussions with any comfort. No need to be formal (we're 30), but we are perfectly comfortable in formal environments if the food warrants it.
5. We're staying in Le Marais, but will be prepared to travel (by reasonable cab fare...).

I've been trying to read through all the previous topics but am having trouble working out what would be best for us! Really appreciate any suggestions. Many thanks.

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  1. Adventurous eaters, willing to travel...How about Les Magnolias in the suburb of Le Perreux, easily accessible on the E4 RER line plus a very gentle several block walk down the hill. Just insolite enough to be special and memorable and the plates are anything but boring.

    1. Take the 160€ menu at le Cinq and a 100€ bottle and you'll still have money for a drink at the Hemingway bar at the Ritz (but then you'll need to walk home). I can't think of a better option for your budget -- food is phenomenal, room is gorgeous and spectacular but warm, service is all about making you feel special, totally bilingual, and you can take the métro there easily (George V or Alma).

      Whatever your choice, be careful with any offer of a little drink at the beginning or the end of the meal as it may well blow your budget (unfortunately allmost all restaurants tend to do that). If it were me, I would be very upfront with the captain about my budgetary constraint.

      I wouldn't call les Magnolias adventurous but it is fun, original and pretty good. It also leaves more room financially.

      You say you love food but what about wine? For wine lovers, a place like Pétrissans or Joséphine or even Le Pétrelle is pretty awesome and you can have extraordinary wines while keeping the cost reasonable for pretty good food. It's more of a bistrot option, so no grand ballroom anxiety.

      1. If you do lunches you can do both Le Cinq and Michel Rostang for 500€ total.

        1 Reply
        1. Many thanks for all of these suggestions. I think we likely to go for le Cinq. We've both wanted to go there for a few years now and it seems much more reasonably priced than I expected. Is 160 the full menu or a short version?

          We both love our wine as well - I've looked into your suggestions along those lines below. Are these places likely to be open on Sunday lunch? Will they be humming or would it be unusual to eat Sunday lunch at such establishments?

          Thanks again!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Lazo

            L'Espadon has a 105 Euro weekend lunch with four courses. During the week it is only 70 Euros. A great combo with Le Cinq, IMHO. This will stretch your budget....but hey, it's Paris!

            1. re: Lazo

              Most restaurants are closed on sundays -- definitely CAJ, Joséphine, Pétrissans... La Grande Cascade et Le Cinq are open everyday. Briffard is not always there on sunday lunches but in my opinion, he has the staff under control enough so that it's not significantly less good.

              At le Cinq, the 160€ has three course, cheese and dessert. I think the tasting is 230€. ALC is much more expensive, with every course being at least 90€.

              1. re: souphie

                About the seasonal menu (the 160 EUR one), it currently is 4 courses and dessert: razor clams, mushrooms, foie gras, scallops or hare, chocolate dessert.
                So probably more like 8 course if you include accras, amuse, pre-dessert and mignardises.

                I'm going at the end of the month (supposedly), so I'll finally be able to taste the Pithivier!