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Mar 30, 2010 06:28 AM

Suggestions for 1st night in Paris

We are traveling to Paris for 3 nights later in April. This will be my first trip there, and my wife's first in many years.

Here is our current plan for dinners:

Saturday: open
Sunday: Hidden Kitchen
Monday: Ze Kitchen Gallerie

I would love your advice on where to go on Saturday night.

A little about us: we both enjoy great, upscale food but also appreciate simple, casual food. I will eat anything that a chef puts in front of me. My wife is an open-minded eater (in terms of flavors, preparations, etc.) but is allergic to fish (not shellfish, though) and generally avoids red meat. The latter is more than a preference, but less than an allergy -- her body can't process something like a steak, but she doesn't care if food comingles with meat (she'll just give me the meat pieces) and on occasion she can eat small amounts of tender meats (brisket, braised short ribs).

We will be staying in the First, near Place Vendome, but are prepared to go anywhere reachable by a healthy walk or reasonably accessible by Metro.

Because we arrive Saturday morning after an overnight flight, I'm hesitant to plan a big, "marathon" meal. Other than that I am pretty flexible. Target price is probably about 50E/person, although I'm prepared to spend more if the meal is worth it and always happy to spend less. Given her dining restrictions, a menu with more options is preferable unless it's a menu that almost always offers a vegetarian or shellfish option.

Here are some of my ideas, based on reading the very helpful advice on this board (and other sources): Frenchie, Spring (if it is open), La Gazzetta, Rino, Passage 53, L'Agrume, Le Gaigne, Le Bigarrade.

Any comments on those choices, suggestions for other choices, or any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. Now, my trip hasn't occurred yet, so take my suggestion with a grain of salt, but a highly regarded place (on this board) near the Palais Royal is Macéo, and it strikes me as being a good fit for your potentially mixed energy level. We are also going to Le Gaigne.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hbfoodie7

      Thanks, hbfoodie! Maceo looks like it might be right up our alley. Not sure how I missed it before.

      Only possible negative is that it is maybe to close to our "home base" in the First -- we only have 3 days, and I would like to explore as many different neighborhoods and areas of the city as possible.

    2. As to Bigarrade, my meal was fish/seafood-centric with the exception of the last course. Not to mention that at this point, I imagine a Saturday evening dinner reservation for late April is next to impossible, given its popularity and small number of tables.

      Have not yet posted a report, but I was not smitten with Bigarrade. Interesting, yes, but not the deliciousness I had hoped for.

      1. I'm now thinking that we might try to hit some of these choices (La Gazzetta, Rino, Passage 53, L'Agrume, Le Gaigne?) for lunch.

        How long should we expect a lunch at places like this to last? Are reservations important (or taken) for lunch?

        And any thoughts on these choices, either as lunches or dinners?


        2 Replies
        1. re: mdleo

          "Are reservations important (or taken) for lunch?"


          1. re: mdleo

            I had lunch at l'Agrume last week and was very pleased. Three small appetizers (white asparagus soup with kumquats, salad, fried cheese balls), fish main, grapefruit dessert, glass of wine and coffee for 27 Euros. Everything had lively, pleasant tastes, and was light on the stomach. I called around noon and got the last available table! The place is filled with lively conversation (mostly French) and has a semi-open kitchen, but I found the atmosphere convivial without being hectic. I think the lunch took about an hour; there were three people in the kitchen and only one server, so they obviously had their hands full!

          2. "Frenchie, Spring (if it is open), La Gazzetta, Rino, Passage 53, L'Agrume, Le Gaigne, Le Bigarrade."
            I would put Rino and Gazzetta below the others (the chef at Rino came from Gazzetta) and Spring will not be open by then unless a miracle occurs.
            Otherwise Frenchie, Passage 53, L'Agrume, Le Gaigne & Le Bigarrade all all good choices.

            1 Reply
            1. re: John Talbott

              Josephine Chez Dumonet was a hit with first-timers to Paris for us. Classic food, nice setting, a little pricey, and you won't be disappointed. We always stop there!

            2. The original comment has been removed