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Restaurant with view of Eiffel Tower

f
forgap Feb 26, 2010 01:38 PM

We are looking for a restaurant open on Sunday in late May for the celebration of a 60th and 70th birthday. I have looked at Les Ombres and Cafe de l'Homme. Can you suggest something else or give me an idea as to whether these are good choices? Thank you for your help.

  1. t
    trav Feb 27, 2010 05:00 AM

    We liked Les Ombres for the price fixed lunch last summer--good value and spectacular close view of Tower. A visit to the Branley is an extra bonus!

    8 Replies
    1. re: trav
      John Talbott Feb 27, 2010 09:14 AM

      Just to balance the scales, I hated both the resto (I ate in the summer outside) and the way they've merged the three collections of art. To be specific:
      1.01 Les Ombres, 27, quai Branly (in the Musee du Quai Branly), 7th, 01.47.53.68.00, closed Mondays. I went to this over-priced (entrees 18+, mains 26+, wines up to 180 €) but beautifully-sited place with my eyes wide open. My terribly perspective food critic friend called it “crappy food,” an acquaintance who uses our apartment when I flee the summer canicules said that “the roof restaurant has an amazing view” (Note bien: no comment on the food) and GaultMillau, that largely now toothless and pale imitation of its past incarnation, called it “chic et cher” and suggested it should be serving brasserie food at brasserie prices. Good things first, it does have a great, really great, 180° view (from left of the Eiffel Tower to right up the Seine); second, it’s not crushingly expensive if one takes the 3-course market menu for 32 €; third, the waiters are dressed in black tees with custom-fitted really cool off-white linen suits, next, the men’s room had urinals with lids, lids I say, and a little black fly painted near the bottom of their bases, (yes, I peeked at both) and last, the coffee was respectable. Ah, but the negatives: first the noise: between the wait-staff (the women in heels were worse than the men) clattering across the admittedly beautiful parquet exotic wood floor endlessly (remember the way the waiters at the St James, outside Bordeaux, paced back and forth in the railway car salle like guardsmen outside Buckingham Palace?) and the kitchen staff shouting up the passage between the kitchen and salle like workman maneuvering I-beams at a construction site – one could hardly think. Then the food; to be charitable, it wasn’t crappy, it was pathetic. The amuse bouche was strange but passable; the bread unimaginably bad for anyplace but Auchan; the carpaccio of bar lacking in zip (one teeny, tiny miniscule piece of lemon when it needed tons of it; one had to scoop up the bar and try to eat it with a teeny slice of radish and grain of salmon egg to offset the blandness); the rouget was that type that was gamey as can be (I take responsibility for that – rouget is always a crap shoot) but refuse to be responsible for the tasteless baby artichokes which I left without eating; a moelleux of chocolate that was lukecold (now that was a first for me - the King of Moelleux); and the mignardises were not much of a much. Was it worth the 48 € sitting by the window watching the clouds go by? Funnily enough – almost. (P.S. Downstairs, on the ground floor, the café was doing a land-office business and the moules/frites looked pretty good after my miserable fare.) Oh, by the way, you didn’t ask, but did I like the museum without a name? (Clearly in anticipation of calling it le Musee Chirac after he leaves office). Actually no, I hated it; OK, so put me in the Philistine/Michael Kimmelman box. They took art collections I love and know well, stuffed them into glass boxes in a building that only an architect who thinks taking Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim stairwell and smooshing it into Richard Meier’s Barcelona Museum, could love and called it macaroni. The museum deserves the restaurant and vice versa; you’ll never catch me at either again. By the way, don’t even try to enter by the entrance gates indicated as such on the map, like the Metro entrance to the Bibliotheque Francois Mitterand, they’re just there to fool the tourists.

      1. re: John Talbott
        PhilD Feb 27, 2010 12:26 PM

        John - I echo your thoughts. We had a dire dinner there, food was woeful, service poor, but the view was nice. That said I liked the museum, or at least the bit at the top of the circular stairs.

        My wife used to lunch with her girlfriends at Cafe de l'Homme and they loved it. She says the food was OK, not spectacular, but perfectly fine. The terrace is great on a warm day, but I believe they have DJ's later in the evening, so depends how youthful the 60 & 70 year old's feel.

        Not sure about the boat, I have a prejudice against any restaurant that moves, I am certain there are exceptions but I have yet to find one.

        1. re: John Talbott
          BlueOx Feb 27, 2010 05:55 PM

          John, thank you so much, this post is what sets Chowhound apart. Please do not not let the PC Police from keeping this opinion from living on.

          1. re: BlueOx
            f
            forgap Feb 28, 2010 12:46 PM

            I appreciate all the debate on this thread! I think I will suggest a different spot and then a toast with a view. It's really a shame to pay a premium for a view and choke down a bad meal. I'm curious why the two can't be combined!

            1. re: forgap
              PhilD Feb 28, 2010 01:02 PM

              "I'm curious why the two can't be combined!"

              It is quite a simple answer, first Paris is quite a flat city, there used to be more hills but they were levelled, thus getting a restaurant on a hill (and with a view) is rare. Second the building code prohibits buildings over 6/7 stories (approx) so all buildings are roughly the same height, there are a couple of exceptions in Paris (Tour Montparnasse and Concorde Lafayette hotel) and these both have bars and restaurants. So bottom line, there aren't many locations that afford a view.

              1. re: PhilD
                souphie Feb 28, 2010 11:57 PM

                True. The bar at the Concorde Lafayette is often overlooked, and that's a shame. In my opinion, the view is better than Montparnasse because the tower is not as high -- so you see more of the relief (even though, as Phil says, it's not what it used to be in the 18th century). Also, I confess a certain love of high end 1970s design.

                You can have a sunset drink there and then dinner at one of the many good local options (such as Chez Georges, l'Entredgeu, l'Entrecôte le relais de Venise, La Table de Joel Robuchon, Sormani, etc).

                Another place with a view that is often overlooked because of its unappealing location is the former Sofitel at Porte de Sèvres. now Hotel Pullman.

                The restaurant on top of institut du monde d'arabe should also be mentioned, if you don't mind North African food. Lovely terrace too.

                1. re: souphie
                  mangeur Mar 1, 2010 11:24 AM

                  "The bar at the Concorde Lafayette...."

                  Woohoo! Who knew?! http://www.concorde-lafayette.com/en/...

                  1. re: mangeur
                    PhilD Mar 1, 2010 12:08 PM

                    It is quite good for a quick drink with a view: don't forget to wear your '70's retro chic to fit in.

      2. John Talbott Feb 27, 2010 12:13 AM

        I always hesitate to recommend anything in the Tour Montparnasse because I don't want to encourage them to think we like it, but the rotating resto just below the viewing roof on top, Le Ciel de Paris (http://www.cieldeparis.com/) is suprisingly good for what one would think is a touristy place. If it's good weather, you'll see much more of Paris than the Eiffel and not have to see the monstrosity of a building you're dining in.

        John Talbott

        4 Replies
        1. re: John Talbott
          mangeur Feb 28, 2010 05:01 AM

          While the OP's request is understandable, I keep thinking that it is an oil/water proposition. Either the view with ordinary dinner or a great dinner with no view would pose no problem. Is it possible to combine a lovely dinner (e.g., once more Le Grande Cascade) with an after dinner cab ride to Tour Montparnasse' Bar Américain for a drink and a view of a twinkling Tour Eiffel at midnight?

          1. re: mangeur
            John Talbott Feb 28, 2010 07:21 AM

            I don't want to pull my punches but the meal Colette and I had there (at the invitation of the exPoet Laurette of the USofA) was not at all bad.

            1. re: John Talbott
              mangeur Feb 28, 2010 08:11 AM

              "There"?

              1. re: mangeur
                John Talbott Feb 28, 2010 10:32 AM

                At the Ciel de Paris. Sorry again Mangeur. I thot I was replying to your comment about the "Tour Montparnasse."

        2. h
          hychka Feb 26, 2010 04:42 PM

          Since no one relied, take the boat/dinner thing. I haven't, but you'll see the Tour Eiffel.

          1 Reply
          1. re: hychka
            fanoffrance Feb 26, 2010 06:45 PM

            According to what I read, there's a temporary rooftop restaurant called Nomiya (one table, 12 seats) with a great view of the Eiffel Tower, open every day but Monday until it closes definitively next July. Due to high demand it's best to log on to their reservation website at the exact minute it opens, a month before the day you want to eat there. I have no first-hand knowledge of it, but since no one else has mentioned it in this thread, I found a couple of links for you:

            http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2009/08/art_home.html
            http://www.art-home-electrolux.com/en/

            There was also a thread about it on Chowhound last December with another link.

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