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Jan 25, 2010 04:45 PM

Another restaurant recommendation ~ Hubby's 50th Birthday

Hi all,
I've been lurking here for a while, reading and taking notes for our upcoming 4th trip to Paris in September (actually, my hubby's 4th but my 5th since I'm taking my daughter for a quick 5 day trip in May!)

We will celebrate my hubby's 50th on September 29 (a Wednesday) and are looking for somewhere special to celebrate (isn't everyone!). We would like to keep it to about 300 euros total, including wine. From reading all your wonderful posts, I'm thinking of the following:

La Grande Cascade (85 euro menu w/wine, lunch or dinner)
Rostang (Club Menu at 95 euros w/wine, lunch)
Le Cinq (I can only afford the lunch special here once we take wine into account)

Les Ombres (menu degustation w/wine, 145 euros pp). This last one would probably be more for the view than for the food, from what I've read. We ate at Jules Verne in 2007 for our 25th anniversary and the ambiance and view certainly added to the overall enjoyment of our meal.

About us ~ we've pretty open minded, we've eaten at Spring 3 times not knowing what we'd get (and loved it each and every time), we love good food but I don't think we're true foodies. Some of the restaurants we've really enjoyed in Paris include Fables de la Fontaine, Fontaine de Mars, Le Petit Troquet, Au Fils de Saison, Au Vieux Comptoir, Chez Janou, Robert & Louise, and the ubiquitous L'As du Falafel! Besides our splurge at Jules Verne, we've gone more for great food in a comfortable atmosphere. We want to have a special meal for Den's big day but I'm worried about feeling intimidated in the fancier restaurants, so that is why I'm asking for expert advice from the Paris Chowhounders! What do you think of my choices and are there others you'd like to add?

Souphie and John, I love reading your blogs and really value your opinions, as well as so many others here on Chowhound. Besides our big meal, we also want to try Frenchies (I tried last year but couldn't get in), Josephine Chez Dumonet, Les Papilles, Le Pamphlet, Les Cotelettes, Le Baratin, Breizh Cafe, l'Avant Comptoir, Le Florimond, LaTable d'Eugenie, Auberge Pyreness Cevennes for cassoulet and of course, a return visit to Daniel's new place in the 1st. I have to say that the most comfortable we have ever felt in a restaurant in Paris were our 2 meals at Spring (and our cooking class with Daniel and Marie Aude for my birthday last year). We also really enjoyed Au Vieux Comptoir in the 1st, going twice during our last trip. I obviously have way too many places to try in one trip, but that's what keeps us coming back!

This is a very long winded way of trying to show you guy what we like and how we like it so you can help us choose for the big birthday celebration. I'm not interested in a place where we could go into food ecstacy but could just as well have a big disappointment since we only get one shot at a 50th birthday, so I'm looking for great, consistent and not intimidating.

Thanks for any help you can give me............Jo

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  1. I think you made good choices when you narrowed your birthday list down to those three. My impression is that Rostang serves copious portions of hearty, almost rustic fare--delicious and perfectly seasoned, but perhaps a challenge for small appetites. (Some of his desserts displeased some Chowhounders, so I tried a different one, based on citrus fruits, and was very happy with it.) La Grande Cascade seems more Mediterranean/Provencal to me, while Le Cinq serves more traditional French haute cuisine. I love them all and agree that their lunch menus are great bargains!

    Like you, I've also enjoyed Fables de la Fontaine (I'll be back for my second visit there next week). I've not been to any of the others you mention, except La Table d'Eugène which I found to be excellent.

    1. Hi Jo,
      I don't think you will go wrong with any of your 3 choices. I would lean towards La Grande Cascade in September. Not that the food or service is any better, but the setting is such a delight for a special occasion.

      Our last trip we had the €85 selection with wine and were very pleased with everything...a true bargain at that price. If you will send me your e-mail address by PM on OPF I will send you my write up and photos.


      6 Replies
      1. re: Laidback

        Thanks Jim, I'll do just that!

        I booked a David Lebovitz book signing in May when I'm there with my daughter, any chance of running into you and Pat again?

        Thanks also, fanoffrance for the breakdown of food styles of the 3 restaurants, that will help us make our decision (we really like Mediterranean/Provancal, so La Grande Cascade just got a point advantage, lol!)


        1. re: parisjo

          Anyone else? Any other suggestions? La Grande Cascade seems to be the winner so far!


          1. re: parisjo

            It is. Great value, extroardinary setting and location, excellent food, close to what you want. I assumed you checked their website? It gives a pretty fair idea of the place.

            1. re: souphie

              Yes, I've been on their website and one of the Food Network cooking shows here in Canada had a segment on them not long ago. It looked magnificent and welcoming at the same time, if that makes sense. The food looked to die for!

              Do you think we could keep it to about 300 euros with a glass of champagne to start and an after dinner drink in addition to the 85 euro menu w/wine?

              1. re: parisjo

                oops, one more question and then I promise I'll stop!

                Will my husband need a jacket or would a leather coat cut blazer style be ok?

                Merci encore une fois!

                1. re: parisjo

                  Yes, yes and yes. And check with them on everyone of these questions.

      2. Jo -
        “Souphie and John, I love reading your blogs and really value your opinions, as well as so many others here on Chowhound.”
        I apologize for not responding earlier to your most generous comments about my friend Soup and me, but, I have the usual reasons….
        In any case my thoughts:
        La Grande Cascade – a great setting, you’ll be fine, indeed for a 50th, a great idea. Glad that Soup and Laidback have already weighed in.
        Les Ombres I hated because every step of every waitperson rang like a Chinese gong in my ears. Too distracting. On the other hand, at sunset, overlooking the river – heavenly!
        If you loved Josephine Chez Dumonet, Les Papilles, Le Pamphlet, Les Cotelettes, Le Baratin, Breizh Cafe, l'Avant Comptoir, Le Florimond, LaTable d'Eugene, Auberge Pyreness Cevennes, I’d rec several places that are newer for other meals when you’re here: Le Marcab, Le 122 and a place I’ve only been once but will be full in a week – L’Agrume. Frenchie sure if you can get in. Daniel’s new, sure, but call the day he opens for September.
        As for “Will my husband need a jacket or would a leather coat cut blazer style be ok?” Is he George Clooney by any chance? In which case black tee; otherwise suit not necessarily tie.

        1 Reply
        1. re: John Talbott

          In my heart, he's George Clooney (though not necessarily in my eyes ~ oh, that's bad!) More importantly, I wish he had George's money, so we could move to Paris and not worry about how much that glass of champagne is!
          I wish I had gone to all those restaurants already, those are the ones on my "to try" list. The first list was the ones we've already been to and loved. I'm planning to reserve at Daniel's for our fall visit while I am in Paris in May with my daughter, hopefully that will be early enough. Thanks for adding to my already full list, I'll give your recommendations extra thought since they're from, well, you!