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Apr 26, 2010 04:45 AM

Special Dinner Experience, budget: 50-80 Euros per person, French food

So... I am fully aware there's an abundance of threats like this on the board already (guess that comes with the territory of Paris being a honeymoon/ food destination), but here goes:

I am looking for a special location for a dinner on Saturday evening. It's my boyfriend's and I's six month anniversary.

Specifics: Nice quality French cuisine, more of a meat than a fish/seafood gal, and definitely looking for a Wow-ambience, since we're not gonna be able to go Michelin on that budget, so I'd like to be somewhere that still feels special.

I love wine but am no grand conoisseur (conoisseuse), so a place with some lower-priced but lovely bottles would work. Sucker for desert. The boyfriend is not a foodie, so he'll eat whatever.

Location doesn't matter, we're staying in Montmarte but willing to travel.

Any help greatly appreciated, and sorry if this is an all-too-common post.

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    1. re: souphie

      Ditto! That is likely to differ from person to person. You'll have to tell us what you, specifically, mean.

    2. I suspect Dr. T. would send you to La Table d'Eugene.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Oakglen

        Well, thanks Oak, I would but it's not got a "wow" ambiance.
        Boru, I await your ans to Soup's query as to what has.

        1. re: Oakglen

          And I'd second Eugene, but then when my plate sings to me, that's all the ambiance I require. For our past several visits to Paris, the food that I recall when I'm home again is Eugene's

        2. One place that could fall within your parameters is Le Violon d'Ingres, depending on your definition of Wow and wine selection, and it is a Michelin one star.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Laidback

            I've been to Le Violon twice, and both times I was struck by (in my opinion) unusually bland sauces. Not bad, but not very interesting, either.

            1. re: fanoffrance

              Le Violon, like all Constant places, is a very good restaurant, highly professional. But they're not pure foodie places, and I would agree that their food is unimpressive to those, like you and me, on a quest for the best possible food. But regular human beings usually enjoy it quite a lot, and with reason.

              1. re: souphie

                Whoops, I guess I'm toast - I hardly think Violin is "unimpressive" and not trying to put out "the best possible food." I'll side with Laidback here.

                I hope I'll never be called a "foodie", I hate the word and I have no idea what are "pure foodie places." Chateaubriand, l'Astrance, Spoon? Sorry, I'll stay a troglodyte/philistine.

                Disclosure: I'm not paid by anyone else to dine out, especially restaurant chefs/owners.

                1. re: souphie

                  Julot, I sort of pegged the enquirer as a "regular human being" perhaps more in my genre than yours. She stated that she was looking for a lovely, lower priced wine(the Faugere on their regular list), on a Sat. night, in her price range, with nice ambience, French cuisine and a great dessert(Vanilla souffle with caramel sauce). I was trying to customize a recommendation based on her request, and would love to hear yours..

                  1. re: Laidback

                    I'd agree that the soufflé at Violon is one of the best things in town. I'll also maintain that, in general, le Violon is a great restaurant but nevertheless not one that delivers exceptional food. People like Fanoffrance, or me, who are very sensitive about food, don't think of Violon as a place interesting for us because the food is not good enough (except for that soufflé) to make us want to go out.

                    I really don't mean "regular human being" as an insult. It's just that some people are food obsessed, and some live a better quality life.

                    As for my recommendation, I still don't know what the OP calls a "wow" ambience so I can't make one. All I can do is try to share what I know about restaurants and let her make up her own mind.

                    John: I'm not a native speaker, and therefore don't have words I like or don't like. I'm aware of the issues around "foodie" which is why I specified what I meant -- looking for the best possible food.

                    1. re: souphie

                      "I really don't mean "regular human being" as an insult"...
                      Souphie, I didn't take it as an insult. I think many of us consider you well above "regular" when it comes to food. If there was a palatal Academie Francaise, you would certainly be among Les Immortels. My point was trying to remain within the parameters outlined by borufkberry.

            2. Ooops, I should have checked it yesterday. Thanks for the many replies. I guess what I mean by wow ambiance is something akin to Dome du Marais, or a nicely lit and homey dining room like in Petrelle, or a really nice intimate courtyard, since we will be there in early June. Just anything that sets it apart, and I hate those really sleek, modern, stylish places. Soft lighting is a must. I cannot stand those really bright restaurants.

              Are Petrelle and Dome du Marais good choices food-wise? As for the term foodie vs. regular human being, ah well... I am not crazy about the term foodie either, but it is short and generally gets the point across. I think I fall somewhat between the two, I have lived in New Orleans where I have had some really fantastic and pricey food, but I think my current budget is too low to go to the really gourmet locations in Paris. So regular human being restaurant will definitely do!

              8 Replies
              1. re: borufkberry

                I think well of both Petrelle and the Dome du Marais, certainly Jean-Luc Andre is a character and a half and I've never heard anyone complain; the Dome du Marais has very good products and by June should really be in full flower.

                If it's different you want, how about a garden in the back; I ate at Le Telegraphe shortly after it reopened and the garden was spectacular on a sunny May day, and short of lunch with the Prime Minister in his backyard, how about the huge garden in back of the Maison de l'Amerique Latine in the 7th as well.

                1. re: John Talbott

                  did you mean in full flower menu-wise, or does the dome du marais have a courtyard?

                  1. re: borufkberry

                    No I meant the veggies would all be in; no courtyard that I know of.

                  2. re: John Talbott

                    Has the Done du Marais changed dramatically over the last few years? We ate there about three years ago and thought it sub-par and have never bothered to return. The food wasn't memorable, service was haphazard, and a room that could have been glorious was scruffy and a bit tatty. But looking at their web page they seem to have some pictures of wonderful food, which seems to be at odds with my memory.

                    New chef, new regime, or good marketing?

                    1. re: PhilD

                      I really don't have an answer; I always thought their fresh veggies were great but haven't been in some time.

                  3. re: borufkberry

                    Well, if le Pétrelle qualifies as wow ambiance for you, it definitely has fantastic food in terms of flavours (not sophistication though, as you can see from my pix for example). There is a very significant price difference there between eating ALC and prixfixe -- I think prixfixe is 35€ but ALC is at least 70€. And they have the extraordinary wines that are almost older and cheaper than John ;-)

                    1. re: souphie

                      This is the problem with abstract adjectives. I too am très fan of Pétrelle but thought the ambience was more funky than really wow.

                      1. re: Parigi

                        "older and cheaper than John ;-)" This is not possible.
                        "the ambience was more funky than really wow." For sure. But I'm not sure of the border between the two.