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Apr 27, 2010 05:26 AM

Paris: Long boozy birthday lunch near a park. Set menu up to 35e pp for 3 courses, not inc wine, coffee

Hi everyone

A friend is coming to visit for her birthday and wants a "long boozy lunch". Ahem. They're not particularly (look away JT) "foodies", but I am. What does that mean? I suppose I'm looking for somewhere with that is based on traditional French cuisine, but the odd creative flourish would be nice.

As it's a 'special'-ish occasion, attractive surroundings would be nice. Leaning more towards the antique poster, well-chosen knick-knack, mismatched furniture, shabby cool antique end, or even textbook bistro shiny brass and polished wood, rather than the chic, slick, minimalist side of the spectrum. Somewhere with a terrace or garden would be lovely!

Service - impeccable would be nice! Would settle for friendly and relatively efficient. Or at least interested! Long aprons also good.

Atmosphere: Would prefer somewhere not too busy (this will be a Thursday lunchtime) and not too knocking-elbows-with-the-neighbours. Though people-watching opportunities would also be preferred (I know! I'm just a big bag of contradictions!)

Location - I'd like to take them for a post-prandial stroll so I was thinking somewhere near Jardin du Luxembourg, or the Tuileries.

Price - would like set menu with some choice, up to about 35e pp for 3 courses not inc wine or coffee. A good selection of wines under 25e also welcome.

Summary: A pleasant place for a relaxed enjoyable lunch near a park, with a set menu under 35 euros. Too much to ask?

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  1. What about La Ferrandaise, 6th arr. very close to the northern part of Luxembourg Gardens?

    or L'Ardoise, 1st arr. from where the Tuileries aren't all that far?

    A very lovely terrace belongs to La Cigale Récamier (quiet cul-de-sac), 7th arr. near Le Bon Marché.
    However, with nice weather, tables are difficult to get, unless you have a reservation.

    Just thinking of Pasco, 7th arr., near Les Invalides. Wonderful view from the terrace.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Dodo


      They're coming around the end of May so should be time to get a reservation, hopefully.

      1. re: Dodo

        "A very lovely terrace belongs to La Cigale Récamier (quiet cul-de-sac), 7th arr. near Le Bon Marché.
        However, with nice weather, tables are difficult to get, unless you have a reservation."
        Nice place if you're OK with savoury and sweet souffles.

        Nothing against Ferrandaise (great beef) or l'Ardoise but think also of
        La Mediterranee (one block from the Luxembourg)
        2, pl de l’Odeon, 6th (Metro: Odeon)
        Closed Chistmas and New Year’s only
        Menus: 27 & 32€, a la carte 70-80€
        While on a square, no one drives there anymore and by the end of May their enormous artichokes should be in.

        1. re: John Talbott

          Thanks both of you. Love the sound of La Ferrandaise's dishes but the room doesn't do it for me (from photos). Ditto L'Ardoise (though also less excited by the carte there). Not sure about souffles, so perhaps not La Cigale. La Mediterranee has a very enticing carte but the menu seemed a bit of a disappointment in comparison and the room seems, erm, a but fusty. God I'm picky! I think I just want La Table d'Eugene to move near the Luxembourg gardens for one day.

          What do y'all think about Au Gourmand?

          1. re: lapengia

            I've good memories from Au Gourmand, but haven't been since it moved away from Rue de Vaugirard.
            Just had a look at its online menu. Sounds tempting... getting hungry here. ;o)

            1. re: Dodo

              From the archives (just after they moved):
              Au Gourmand in the 1st: Successful wherever they are. An archival* review.
              7.0 Au Gourmand, 17, rue Moliere in the 1st,, closed Sundays and Mondays, menu-carte 2 dishes = 28, 3 dishes 32, all veggies = 30 € is the successfully transplanted resto of the same name from across town and across from the Luxembourg Gardens.
              The maitre d’ (Herve de Libouton) welcomed us warmly, later saying he recalled us from the old place, which is a safe bet since there are probably not a lot of foursomes of gangly, demi-ghastly dressed, tall American geezers stumbling around town; in any case Christophe Courgeau’s cooking has improved with the move and we had a great meal.
              The products are all good, fresh and traceable – vegetables by Thiebault, butter by Bordier, bread by Poujauran, etc.
              We started with two firsts; a “thick” pair of lamb kidneys on 10 strips of chard with a great sauce and a strange “tartare” of langoustines with seaweed and potatoes - strange because searching for the bits of langoustines was futile.
              Then two of us had the bar while the other two had a pigeon and confited lamb; all four served atop a mélange of al dente seasonal vegetables.
              At that point we broke for cheese (perfectly affinated Reblochon and Camembert); terminating with a carrot and nut cake with ginger ice cream, effusively praised by Colette.
              With coffee and wine the bill for four was 203.50 € but we had three supplemental charges totaling 21 €.
              Should you go? Wow!, three hearts hardly does it justice.

          2. re: John Talbott

            What about l'agrume, and then jardin des plantes? Or is it not a place for long lunches?

            1. re: lapengia

              Thoughts on Le Restaurant, rue d'Assas?

              1. re: lapengia

                My Take:
                Le Restaurant in the 6th: Innovative and classical.
                5.8 Le Restaurant, 42-44 rue d'Assas in the 6th,, closed Saturday lunch and Sunday night, has a lunch menu at 18 and a la carte 30-35 €. I went today with my very discerning, oldest French friend and we were both pleasantly surprised.
                She had the menu (which had gone from 16 to 18 since it opened 2 months ago) and started with the poached egg in a cream of chorizo which I thought was super; I had an interesting tartare of salmon, enlivened with chuncks of ripe avocado and chives.
                Then she chose the haddock raviolis, which was really green ravioli slices topped with smoked haddock that was not too smoked or fishy and I had a shoulder of falling off the fork lamb (mutton really) in a croustillant crust with a great sauce that combined with the mashed potatoes "made" the dish.
                The desserts were also good; a mousse of mascarpone and pear with sweet-salty caramel
                With a bottle of Bordeaux and two coffees our bill was 86.00E
                Go? Definitely.

          3. Sorry for not reporting back - had a slew of visitors and we're prepping for leaving Paris, sob.

            In the end we went to La Regalade de St Honore, which we all enjoyed and certainly fitted the bill as relaxed place for long lunch. We were the last to leave and the lovely waitress (in whom I thought I detected a Spanish or South American accent - she had that kind of warmth, too!) really made us feel as though we could linger as long as we liked. Service, though, did have the odd glitch: some things had to be asked for a couple (or more) times. One waitress was not exactly rude, but was a bit brusque with plate delivery, but overall nothing majorly wrong.

            Yeah, but what about the food?

            The food? First, the famous terrine amuse bouche. Yes it's kind of fun to have a big hunking great slab of pate as an 'amuse' (we also had some ham - bayonne I think, fine) but it wasn't the best terrine I've ever had and I'd personally prefer something more 'amusing' but it is what it is and I would neither want nor expect La Regalade to change something that is now so them. But I would echo the plea for bread plates - I'm afraid we made rather a mess of our table that had the waitress smearing pate all over it as she tried to wipe the table with her fingers!

            I think I won the battle of the starters with scallops and wild asparagus. V tasty scallops in buttery sauce, though they were rather stuck to the half-shell. One friend had the roast foie - a lightish serving of thin slices of foie- their peppery/lightly crisped edges made a good contrast to foie's buttery texture. Birthday girl had a tuna and roast onion tart which I thought was superb (guiltily, we shouldn't be eating tuna) and she was a bit underwhelmed by. But ignore her.
            Mains were pork belly on lentils - my friend was disturbed by the presence of what he described as a 'strong tasting sausage' (he only mentioned this after we'd left) but I thought the bite he gave me was good if a bit one-note. Birthday girl had a beautifully cooked bit of bream and my chicken stuffed with foie (could have been more tender and was a bit overwhelming in size) was blown out of the dish by its bed of risotto: fluffy, creamy, deeply flavoured and pearled with the most delicious peas. Desserts were all very good - a pair of mousses (meeses?) chocolate and vanilla; the famous Grand Marnier souffle ("like eating a cloud") and a raspberry compote, cream and strawberry concoction which was my favourite. Simple, classic, well executed stuff.
            Overall: Rich, hearty, unpretentious, good cooking in smart but not flashy surroundings with mostly kind and efficient service, all at a good price (about 150e for 3x3 courses, 1 bottle water, 1 bottle wine, 3 glasses dessert wine, no coffees). Not a wow place - more of a contented sigh.

            5 Replies
            1. re: lapengia

              Interesting thread - I often have to find somewhere which satifies me as a chowhound and friends who aren't that bothered ... and thanks for the report back.

              One thing though - if a bottle of wine between three and a glass of desert wine each is a boozy lunch, I think I need to go to alcoholics anonymous ...

                1. re: Parigi

                  Where did I read that the perfect French wife or consort easily drinks one third of the bottle but never more than half? :)

                  1. re: mangeur

                    Remidns me of this toast between gentlemen: "may your wine always be older than your mistress."

                2. re: Theresa

                  Ha ha! you're right! (I just mistyped that as 'tight'. Call Dr Freud!). It wasn't as boozy as I expected. It was very restrained of us. The other two were feeling a bit under the weather, but I have no excuse. We stay with them in London and then we're usually at least a bottle each a night-ers. I think we were just too busy chowing to drink!