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Dec 23, 2009 09:47 PM

Romantic dinner in 7th?

We will be coming in next week for a week. I really want to start the trip off right with a nice low-key, warm, traditional French meal. I would prefer not to blow our entire budget in a night, but I can be flexible with this. What is most important to me is that it's quiet and non hectic as we will be fresh off a very long day of travel and I know she will just be hoping to unwind over very good food and drink.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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  1. The 7th has the most impressive collection of little bourgeois bistrots that seem to fit that bill (though I'm not sure exactly what a 'hectic' restaurant would be in that part of town). But if it's early next week, then the main issue is to make sure the one you go to is open. The rue Saint Dominique is a safe bet, with les Fontaines de Mars, Café Constant, Violon d'Ingres, les Cocottes, and the rue Malar nearby (with Chez l'Ami Jean which might or might not be what you mean by hectic and its neighbours l'Agassin and L'Agassin). Chez les Anges, Pasco, Florimond, D'Chez EUx and even Le P'tit Troquet can be on your list. Also the 7th is big, so maybe you're close to Joséphine (6th) or Le Cristal de Sel (15th).

    1. Romantic: Violin d'Ingres, Chez les Anges, Tante Marguerite, and almost l'Agassin.

      John Talbott

      19 Replies
      1. re: John Talbott

        So, romantic means tablecloths and curtains?

        If only I had known that earlier in my life.

        1. re: souphie

          No, not just, also a candle, flowers and cloth napkins.
          Caramels also work.
          Never too late Soup.


        2. re: John Talbott

          It's interesting that folks find le Violon d'Ingres romantic. I found the atmosphere a bit dry, but I guess it's all subjective. It is quiet though, I'll give you that. Maybe in Paris quiet and calm w/ room to move your arms=romantic? An idea: maybe one of the veterans of this board should compile a list of truly romantic restos in this city. I feel like they are so hard to come by. How ironic is that in a city renowned for romance?

          1. re: schtroumpfette

            I think the point is that one person's romanticism is another's kill-love. Except for John upthread, no one has been able to tell me what a romantic restaurant is. My in-laws don't find Venice romantic. They find it dirty and falling apart. Etc.

            1. re: souphie

              "I think the point is that one person's romanticism is another's kill-love"

              Two maybe three years ago there were a series of "romantic" places listed on Bonjour Paris around Valentine's Day. I'll try to recover them.

              Having just seen "Up in the air" where romance blooms in sterile Hilton hotels, I'm even less sure of what romantic is/was. But then I suppose dinner with George Clooney would be romantic even at McDo's.

              1. re: John Talbott

                Oh I found the BP article and in it, I say "For old folks, places like the Tour d’Argent, Closerie des Lilas and Pre Catalan do hold their charms, and for the younger set Georges and MusicHall may do it, but I think you can do better" and then go on to suggest the Grand Vefour, Le Ciel de Pais, Bofinger and a private bateau mouche. I'm beginning to think I cannot define romantic.

                1. re: John Talbott

                  There's also one of these small guidebooks outthere "restaurants romantiques à Paris". Never opened it.

                  1. re: John Talbott

                    OK; travelling as I do on the #80 bus, I passed Music-Hall today on my way to Etchebest's new Napoleone (yes with an "e") and saw that Music-Hall was decidedly shut-down/shuttered/closed/dead/defunct/gone.

                2. re: souphie

                  Agreed. I've seen your pics of Le Petrelle and that to me looks like such a sweet place for a romantic meal. Or is that just the work of a great photographer?

                  1. re: souphie

                    Romantic is one of those words. Like "quaint". Like "best". God invented them to torture us on the France board.
                    Once I specifically un-recommended a very good restaurant in Provence, pointing out that the setting is not romantic, as the OP had asked for.
                    Of course, when you say that, the OP wants to go.
                    This OP had a great meal. And found it romantic as hell.
                    His conclusion: having an excellent meal with my fiancée in Provence, what can be more romantic than that?
                    1. He was right.
                    2.Then why did he ask a question? Did he make us contribute 40-some answers just to make us exercise our finger muscles ?
                    3. He was right.

                    My conclusion: the "romantic" concept is as abstract and contextual as it gets. I urge all OPs to help us help them: give us concrete, not abstract terms. Otherwise when you ask for quaint, I sincerely recommend a diner in Jersey (it is transcendentally quaint, for ME). When you ask for best, I wonder who has hit all the restaurants in which case he has earned the right to use the word "best". When you ask for romantic, I remember a ride on elephant back in the Golden Triangle, where we were covered with dark matters sneezed from the beast. Maybe not romantic for others, not even the gentleman (and future husband) I was with.

                  2. re: schtroumpfette

                    I am with you on Le Violin, I thought it was a little too modern to fit romantic in my book. When people say "romantic Paris" I believe they mean old fashioned cosy candlelit bistros, they search for the "romance of Paris" rather than "romance in Paris". That said it can be tricky to remove the image of Audrey (Hepburn or Tautou) from dreams of Paris...!

                    As Soup says it is such a personal thing, for example our most romantic meal was a pre-Christmas lunch at Le Cinq, perfect food, great christmassy feel and service which was fun.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      "old fashioned cosy candlelit bistros"

                      Hummmm. But places, say, like Les Papilles or the Repaire de Cartouche or Regalade or CAJ have that feel but I wouldn't go there for romance.

                      1. re: John Talbott

                        ....sorry should have added some space and not turning tables...!

                        1. re: PhilD

                          I was also thinking that one of the biggest variables can be your neighbours.

                          So any restaurant even Chez L'Ami Jean when full of intimate couples can be quite romantic. But the same place with the drunk English rugby team; a US family with "difficult" teenagers who don't eat foreign food; and hordes of happy snapping foodies use flashes on cameras will be less so....!

                          My guess is you control that variable in two ways, first head way off the beaten track (thus you won't see it mentioned on the board), or head up-market, as price deters many "problem" diners.

                          1. re: PhilD

                            "even Chez L'Ami Jean when full of intimate couples can be quite romantic."
                            What can be more romantic than a multi-orgasmic meal (with 30 other diners), especially when the bemused lady at the next table has to scream at you because you can't hear "MONSIEUR SAYS: 'WILL YOU MARRY ME?' "

                            1. re: PhilD

                              "head up-market, as price deters many "problem" diners."

                              er, "many" is the qualifier here. Worse, in quieter upscale venues, jerks are all the more obvious and intrusive.

                              1. re: mangeur

                                Well obviously, but it's less likely, and I have had far fewer boorish experiences at the upper end. That said, each to their own - romance is in the eye of the beholder, one persons red hot romantic hot spot can be another's turn off.

                                And after all is said isn't the only thing you need to have in Paris to be romantic is a padlock or two and a sharpie....?

                    2. For what it's worth, I had a very romantic meal a few years ago at an italian neighborhood restaurant, right in the 7th.
                      The food was good (well, their tiramisu was way too cold), the setting quite old-fashioned, outdated even, and the owner was singing to old love songs. So there was this corny touch that may not be for everyone.

                      I almost forgot the restaurant's name: La Casa Campana, rue de l'Exposition.

                      1. Well, I've already said my piece so I shouldn't get a do-over, but with others, I agree that what's romantic for one is not for all. I would never ever call L'Ami Jean romantic; nor brunch at the Hotel Amour, nor lunch at Lazare, no matter what the anniversary or proposal.
                        John the unromantic. Give me bistro or give me death.

                        5 Replies
                          1. re: Ptipois

                            "Paris is entirely romantic."
                            Not so, my dear friend - Flunch, McDo's and the Costes boys have brought us down. To what - padlocks on the bridges? Veiled ladies on the Metro eating HAM sandwiches; 40 yo's texting and dog doo doo on my sidewalk - romantic?; when I want romantic, I go home.

                            1. re: John Talbott

                              That goes to show that romanticism is in the eye of the beholder, right?

                              1. re: John Talbott

                                Dog doo doo shaped like a rose can sometimes be romantic (although I wouldn't want to see the dog's behind that created this masterpiece)...

                            2. re: John Talbott

                              Bring it with you and revel in time shared together. One way to avoid disappointment.