Family of 4 going to Paris for a week in March, reading & researching, seeks pleasurable, well rounded and fiscally responsible culinary experience...
Wow...that title sounds so clinical...however it does get to the crux of the matter ;-)
After too many years..(about 7) , I will be returning to Paris towards the end of March with my husband, my 15 year old daughter and will be 7 1/2 year old son in tow. We are renting an apartment for one week in the 3rd...Metro-Arts et Metiers, 5 minutes to the Musee Carnavalet and the Musee Picasso (which will sadly be closed for renovations...the 7 year old happens to think Picasso work is "cool"-because anyone who broke up the face and moved the parts around like he did...must be "cool".)
Last time we did take my daughter who was about 8 and we stayed in an hotel...however with the two of them...I am thrilled to have the kitchen...it will be great to be able to make coffee, get some bread, wine and cheese. I see us mainly eating breakfast in and we'll probably eat some dinners in as well-well bread and cheese kinds of dinners..;.-) or even sandwiches... purchasing from the markets...(which will not only be fun for me (I love to putter in markets)...but I think great for the kids to see...). I absolutely see us making dejeuner our primary meal of the day-eating out.
I have copies of both Edible Adventures in Paris and Hungry for Paris sitting here in front of me...and I've read a lot of John's posts (including his philosophy of dining with kids) which I concur with about 75%...there really are just some places regardless of how well they're behaved I probably wouldn't take them....well the 7 year old,...the 15 year old could handle anything.
I was delighted to find your experiences with your grandkids John,... It sounds as if you had a marvelous time...and I liked your suggestions...especially Breizh Cafe (which I'd be interested with or without kids...) and Le Souffle and Bofinger.
My daughter will eat anything and beautifully too- save offal, and my son is really very good for a 7 year old...not only is he pleasant, mellow and low key kind of guy...he will happily eat a steak, a piece of fish, vegetables and he has a wicked sweet tooth. He likes couscous-so I'd like to do some Morrocan-Chez Omar, 404? (he also likes sushi and Chinese food but we can too easily do that at home)...he'll be good at most of the places I'd choose...
Anyhow while I'm looking up to make a short list of places I'd like us to try...obviously no two or three star territory...(honestly I'm not even sure if we're going to hit one star...)
I'd like for all of us-especially mindful of the kids-coming away with a feeling of place and that they've see and done and eaten something different then they could have between NYC and DC...we live in Philadelphia...
So with that in mind...a list of some things I've been ruminating on...
Some easy & close options...
Breizh Cafe-for lunch or dinner
Cafe des Musees-just sounds reliable overall
L'as du Falafel (quick dinner) w/ Pozzetto for gelato and coffee nearby
Rose Bakery-(new location in 3rd...for possible take out to put away for evening)
Liza-Lebanese Restaurant -but also has take out/sandwich shop
For that "French" look/feel
Le Souffle-because where else can you get souffle anymore?
Chartier...(not as elegant as Bofinger...but period piece and an experience...)
L' Ami Jean
La Bastide Odeon
Le Buisson Ardent -but I read somewhere they don't allow children?
One of the Constants...either Cafe Constant or Les Cocottes
Le Pre Verre
Ze Kitchen Galerie (I just think this might push my little man's envelope-although I'd love it)
Frenchie-sounds good but maybe "precious" not sure if they'd be happy to see kids
Le Relais de L'Entrecote...again an experience and it's a steak w/ fries and a salad...how badly off track could you go?
I know I might get flamed for this but if I want to take them to a probabably overpriced salon du the for a pastry or chocolate chaud...
Angelina, Lauduree (Bonaparte) or Marriages Freres...
(I've also read that the tea room by the Grande Mosquee is a charming break...)
(This post has gone on a bit so I'll do another one- I'd love it if someone might have some good suggestions for markets and bakeries in the 3rd-or relatively near we are staying...)
Thanks so much for reading and any help,
A few comments...
Les Cocottes might be tough since most of the seating is at the counter, which isn't great for a group of four. no reservations there. You'd probably be better off at Cafe Constant, just a couple doors down.
Chez Omar would be great.
Bofinger was so-so, therefore I am hesitant to strongly recommend it.
Les Papilles was a really low-key place that might work well for a family of four, given the price, setting, food, etc. You can walk over to the Luxembourg Gardens afterwards or go over to the Paris Mosque to have mint tea and pastries.
Mariage Freres is a great option. Go to the one in Le Marais. I'm not sure if this board is critical of it, but I really enjoyed the service, the setting, the tea, and the pastries. You will likely wait in line for a little bit to get a table, but the wait wasn't more than 15 minutes when I was there.
You could eat at Laduree (at Place de Madeleine). I was really surprised by the quality of the food there because I expected something lousy, something over-priced. It was neither of those things. And you get to cut in line for macarons afterwards, which is a coup.
Around the corner from the Christain Constant restaurants, on Rue de Grenelle, there is a corner bar that had a huge spread of oysters, shrimp, etc. in front. We very happily made a light dinner there of beer, oysters, and those little grey shrimp that you eat whole (they explode in your mouth). It was a comfortable place.
Da Rosa in the 6eme would be a fine option, especially since they might seat you in the cellar, which might be cool for the kids. You can eat all sorts of great spanish foods there. It's also a market for ingredients and a wine shop. And there's a GROM across the street, so you can taste the best gelato on the planet.
re: Nancy S.
They certainly have tables. I was only pointing out that all the parties of one or two that came in were seated at teh counter within about 15 minutes, but the parties of four or more were waiting and waiting for those tables to open. With kids, that might not be fun.
Breizh is great, so I'd definitely put that on the list. Love those Bordier caramels at the end of the meal...
I had a very good meal at Bofinger, but a much better meal -- a really exceptional meal -- at Place du Dome just across the street and down. The fish was to die for, and the service was really lovely. It is a bit less expnsive that Bofinger. Note that on the same block as both restaurants is a chocalatier/sculptor. The kids (and you) will love window-shopping there.
On the inexpensive side, we had a late lunch at le Zinc Honore that really surprised me with its quality. I had roast chicken whcih turned out to have a lovely stuffing in pace of the thigh bone
Thanks you all for taking the time to read and reply to my post...I appreciate it very much...
Phil-thanks for the hope/encouragement that we might get a table for lunch (in March ;-) at Frenchie...it is worth a shot...and we might get lucky...hope springs eternal... The food sounds perfect for our group...(I think I misused precious in lieu of popular) I'm going to give it a try...
John- I had considered Le Train Bleu because if you are a 15 year old girl-my daughter-I imagine on some level that room would be your fantasy Paris come to life....but I don't know if I can justify it based on the reviews of the food/price...
Thanks dcbbq-It's nice to hear you had a good experience at Bofinger...and I will look into Place Du Dome...nice tip on the chocolate...we will be there the a little before Easter and I'm sure there should be some interesting chocolate to see....
Last restaurant question-might I want to consider La Regalade as an alternative to LAJ?
Well, I've already told my tales of eating here with kids from 3 months to 46 years old but cannot resist another shot:
Cafe des Musees-alright
L'as du Falafel- everyone has to do it
Rose Bakery- I don't get it
Liza-Lebanese Restaurant -ditto
Bofinger - my view is here /johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/john_talbotts_paris/2009/03/eating-with-kids-at-least-10-year-olds-in-paris.html
L' Ami Jean - sure
La Bastide Odeon yes
Le Buisson Ardent -no
One of the Constants...either Cafe Constant or Les Cocottes - all of the above
Le Pre Verre, with kids, I guess
Ze Kitchen Galerie - I am M. Ledeuil's PR man and I think it's not for kids.
Frenchie-sounds good but maybe "precious" - not precious at all, simple, you'll not get in.
Le Relais de L'Entrecote...again an experience and it's a steak w/ fries and a salad...how badly off track could you go? I guess
Laduree great for kids
re: John Talbott
If I remember correctly- you weren't too pleased with the coffee at Bofinger John...;-)...but I'm assuming you like Bofinger the most in it's class...
If you don't think I'll get into Frenchie...I'm assuming you might feel that way about Le Timbre...?
also forgot to ask about Itineraires...I read that about a month ago that it disappointed and yet Le Temps au Temps rec'd such lovely reviews...does anyone have hope that the kitchen will get its grove back?
Also I believe that l'Atlas does well for Moroccan...
& does anyone have any thoughts on Les Delices d"Aphrodite if anyone gets a Greek craving for some reason....?
If you mean the class of dazzling decor, I guess so along with Le Train Bleu. It wasn't just the coffee, there's lots of bad coffee here, almost all our dishes were so-so.
I think Le Timbre is much easier to get into now that Frenchie has hit everyone's "top" list.
Maybe Itineraires has recovered, Lord knows I never had a bad or uneven meal at Temps au Temps, so he has it in him. I hope so.
About Greek; I happen to like the mother house Mavrommatis better, how it can be different I cannot explain.
l'Atlas is fine esp with kids.
If you are planning lunches then Frenchie is fine, not precious at all and will be OK with kids. It is quite cheap (or was) and I thought the cooking was superb at this price point (it was approx €23 a head for three courses). The cafe at the Mosque is nice, it is a bit off the beaten track, but does some nice North African pastries.
I think the rest of your selection strikes a good balance between food quality and Paris experiences. For soufflé you could also try "La Cigale Récamier", it is where Michelle took the kids whilst Barack was working, and it is near Le Bon Marche one of the best food halls in Paris.