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Apr 30, 2010 11:43 AM

Paris Recommendations similar to Farallon and Jardiniere in SF

My husband and I will be in Paris for five days in September. One night we will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. I would like to take my husband to restaurants that are similar to Farallon and Jardiniere in terms of food quality, price and service. These are two of our favorite SF restaurants. Although Masa's and Fleur de Lys are excellent, we prefer the style of the two above named restaurants or those like One Market and Boulevard. Can you please recommend restaurants in Paris that would be similar? Similar in terms of atmosphere, cost, service... I made the mistake of taking him to La Tour d'Argent 10+ years ago and he hated every minute because of the cost and stuffiness. He also hated Jean Louis in the Watergate in DC when I took him there in the 90's. Again it was not his style. Any recommendations for the Paris versions of Farallon and Jardiniere?

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  1. Well, tho' I know most of those referenced I think you'd best wait for Mangeur and Soup to answer. I think comparing SF or NYC or LA places to Paris doesn't compute.

    One Market for instance - a Costes place maybe, Thioumieux?
    Masa's - Ze Kitchen Galerie maybe?
    Farallon - Rech maybe?

    IMHO, you should consult the discussions here and find a French place that sounds like where you'd like to go, not a SF-clone. And I certainly don't mean the Tour d'Argent altho' I'm not sure what's wrong with Jean Louis?

    Again, wait for Mangeur and Soup who know the N Calif scene. You've got lots of time.

    Our 25th we were doing the likes of Les Ambassadeurs, Le Petit Colombier and the Trou Gascon.

    3 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott

      Thanks John. I appreciate your response and have taken note of your recommendations. I am not trying to clone the restaurants that I have named, but just giving those as a reference for the type of restaurant enjoyed by BOTH my husband and me. (I would gladly go to Guy Savoy but my husband would only be thinking of the cost.)

      1. re: John Talbott

        Sorry, John and Keolu, but we don't visit that kind of restaurant in Paris. For the kind of food, service and buzz you are talking about, what about new Spring which should be open then?

      2. I am afraid I don't know of the SF restaurants, however I did have exactly the same reaction to "La Tour d'Argent" that you and your husband had. That was my first big meal in Paris and it really put me off.

        However, I persevered and I am happy to say it was an exception, a real anachronism. All of the other top Parisian restaurants I have tried have felt warm and generous, rather than cold and stuffy. True they can be equally expensive but they make you feel like an honoured guest rather than a sub-standard interloper.

        I encourage you to try another top French restaurant in Paris. How about lunch at Le Cinq. It is an opulent, grand palace, but lunch is good value and the staff make you feel very special interacting really nicely with guests and even having fun.....the complete opposite to La Tour d'Argent.

        2 Replies
        1. re: PhilD

          Hey, I built/financed One Market, along with many other restaurants; if you are trying to replicate your SF favorites, why go to Paris? Bradley Ogden could do well in Paris, but he would have to change his ways. Try to forget your American standards, and experience the French approach to fine dining. SF has nothing like the Michelin Bib Gourmand list; that's where I would start.

        2. Fellows CHs,
          If I understand, the OP is trying to give us a concrete example of the kind of food and setting she likes and dislikes, and is not necessarily seeking the same SF experience.
          Often we are at a loss when an OP describes a dream eatery that is so abstract that we don't know how to advise. Keolu's likes and dislikes give a lot more to go on than, say, requests such as someone seeking a wow experierence, or - this makes me crrrrringe esp - the absolute best this or best that.

          Spring is a very good sugestion. It is supposed to open early June, if all of us pray hard. When does the new place take reservation? Dunno, but watch for a sudden global computer breakdown from a surge of useā€¦

          Frenchie could be a good consolation prize.

          Allow me to give this warning: All the good restaurants that enjoy top buzz are likely to have more English-speakers. Their presence does not mean the place is touristy. I think it has to do with the fact that locals, esp French locals, hate but hate reserving 4 months in advance. But epicurean travellers from outside France - esp Amerians and Japanese - don't mind that and some even seem to build and schedule their trip around certain restaurant visits. I say all the more power to them!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Parigi

            "When does the new place take reservation?"

            You're the second person to ask and I promised I'd find out. The parquet floor is done in the 1st basement, the kitchen eqpt is all inside but wrapped in cardboard, but when I went in/by 2 days ago one of 6 hefty worker-bees was still finishing off the ground floor (RdC). I do not think given all the delays they will take reservations until they know they're ready to roll. Until then we've got the Boutique where Marie's ham sandwiches were most tempting (again). That day BTW, Daniel was home with the books figuring out the money/time situation given the delays.

            1. re: John Talbott

              (I am reminded of a movie line attributed to Michelangelo. When the Pope asked him for the umpteenth time when the ceiling would be finished, he answered, "When it is finished." )

          2. From your post, I think ambience is why you prefer Farallon and Jardiniere to Fleur des Lys, etc. You are more comfortable in high end restaurants that are a less formal with over the top decor, some buzz and noise. That is one of the strength of San Francisco and the Pat Kuleto trademark. I have not found any comparable restaurants in Paris. Just about all high end restaurants are smaller, quieter and more formal but far from being stuffy a la Tour D'Argent of 10 years ago. There is usually very little banter with the staff unless you run into Hubert at Guy Savoy which I think is the best choice for a splurge meal with some buzz, soliciting service and generosity though it is much more expensive then any restaurant in SF. What is expensive in SF is moderate in Paris, both because it just is and the weakness of the dollar. Given the cost of Jardiniere (which I like much better in terms of food than Farrallon, more in the simplicity of the French style to the too many ingredients style), around $18 for first course and $35 to $40 for main plate, it is difficult to find comparable value in Paris. That is the real weakness of it's restaurant scene as mentioned frequently on this board; great high end restaurants and bustling smaller chef owned places but not too many choices in between. No restaurants in Paris can do 300 dinner covers with the general good quality of Boulevard. Places like L'Angle du Faubourg or Au Trou Gascon (have to like food from Southwest France) might work, moderate price, friendly service and comfortable setting with Au Trou Gason more fun than L'Angle.