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Fun, festive dinner recommendations for Paris?

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Going over the xmas holidays and looking for restaurants that will have a good combination of quality food and a fun, sophisticated ambience? I was looking forward to Guy Savoy but they are closed the days we are there. We are planning to dine at Alain Ducasse, Bristol or Meurice for a fine dining night but would really love to find some casual places that offer great food and a festive atmosphere.

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  1. Why not do both at the same time? Fine dining and fun: Le Cinq!

    1. Les Fables de la Fontaine in the 7th matches your description, if you would be happy with a menu devoted to excellent seafood.

      1. My choice for a party atmosphere is and has been Chez Denise.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          DCM, I was thinking of going to Chez Denise by myself tonight (Friday). Would you recommend that I reserve, or could I just pop in?

          1. re: schtroumpfette

            If you're going at eight, reserve, and there are chances you won't be able to get in. If you're going at eleven or later, maybe you can pop in.

            1. re: souphie

              "I was looking forward to Guy Savoy but they are closed the days we are there. We are planning to dine at Alain Ducasse, Bristol or Meurice"

              With all due respect for la cour des grands, I think Chez Denise is Rabelaisian fun while the others are not, although it is fine dining indeed.

            2. re: schtroumpfette

              Sorry l missed this post, On my last visit on a Friday night, popped in at 23:30 could get a reservation for 1 AM, took it, and it was wonderful. This occured in early November. Their first seating is at 20:30, and you usually can get same day reservations. In addition they have treated me when a single as nicely as when in larger parties.

          2. my rustic fun place is Le Plomb du Cantal (magret de canard, aligot, etc.)--loud, crowded, lively but always polite waiters, as you say casual and festive

            3 Replies
            1. re: johnmarseille

              Wow thanks for the suggestions! It seems a bit harder to track down the "fun, festive, good food" combo among all the restaurant rankings out there. Being in NYC, we love Minetta Tavern and hope to find some places with a similar vibe in Paris.

              1. re: mc24713

                Again if you like Minetta, you will like Chez Denise. Granted, no models, and the steak is a lot chewier, but the morue auvergnat and the civet des cerf l liked better than stuff at Minetta. And the brouilly, 25 Euros for a liter, charged for what you drink from the bottle. Le Plomb du Cantal is indeed a lot of fun and a lot of food. IMHO, the truffade or aligot get tiresome, rich, and heavy after a few bites, sausage good though.

                1. re: mc24713

                  Minetta is a favorite of mine as well- was recently stuck there during the snow storm this weekend. Was just in Paris in november and loved the vibe of both Chez Josephine and Chez L'Ami Jean. Food was amazing at both (especially at the latter) and at both places we absolutely fell in love with the staff and diners on either side of us. you cannot go wrong with either one- though after reading the posts lately, it looks like you will be out of luck for l'ami jean over the holidays. have fun!!