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May 2, 2010 03:41 PM

solo birthday dinner in paris - suggestions?

Hello! First post, but I've been doing a lot of research and really appreciate the community here.

I am looking for suggestions on where to have a celebratory dinner on my birthday (next Thursday, 5/6). I will be alone, as my traveling companion will not join me until the next day. I have eaten at most of the great restaurants where I live (in NYC) and would love to experience a wonderful meal in Paris. My preferences are something more modern and not too "grand", but above all else I just want delicious food. I would like to keep the price at 200 euro max, everything included, including wine (I don't drink very much though, maybe a glass or two). Thank you all in advance for your suggestions!

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  1. I would like to wish you an early happy birthday!

    Since my trip is in June, I can only offer suggestions based on what I have inferred on the boards, not from experience. We have chosen to celebrate our special meal at Le Cinq because it seems like the food, while not the most inventive, is superbly prepared and the service is over the top in terms of orchestrated polish.

    Two more I would have loved to try if time and budget allowed would be Arpege and L'Astrance, where I think the food would have been more mind-blowing, even if a few dishes miss the mark.

    1. I had a great meal two weeks ago (by myself) at l'Atelier Joel Robuchon. The restaurant offers both small plates and larger-sized portions, and the venue encourages interaction with your neighbors and the staff. They have seasonal specials (asparagus, dover sole the evening I was there), a set tasting menu, and a la carte. There is a nice selection of wines by the glass. The tab for 4 small plates, plus dessert, coffee and 3 glasses of wine was euro 155. They'll pour tap water if you ask for it, and the staff was happy to provide second helpings of the pureed potatoes, which are perfection. All in all, a delicious and fun evening. One quibble: they only take reservations for dinner for the 6:30 pm seating, so you either start early or show up after 9 pm and hope they can seat you.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Weather

        I would second l'Atelier which is on paper perfect for the OP's request, but there's something profoundly uncelebratory about it, especially the Paris one. Le Cinq would feel more appropriate to me even though it is neither modern nor not too "grand". There is a prejudice about Paris fine dining, that said, that is profoundly unfair -- I've discussed that many times in the past. L'Arpège would be a good match too, if it wasn't for the budget part which is unlikely to fit for dinner (would work for lunch tho). Same for Gagnaire.

        1. re: souphie

          Would L'Astrance fall in my budget? And would it even be possible to get a reservation this late? From the pics I've seen it looks like it fits my preferences.

          1. re: jaejaebee

            I would doubt you could get a reservation, but I would also suggest Passage 53. I had a great dinner there in October. Everything was perfectly prepared and quite delicious. There are a few reviews on other sites, such as Adrian Moore and Meg Z., who also praise the restaurant.

          2. re: souphie

            I decided to go with Le Cinq for lunch. I'm not so sure how extravagant I want to go now, since I'll be spending a decent amount of money on the rest of my meals (at Chez L'Ami Jean, L'Arome, and Les Papilles so far), but I figure at lunch I have the option of going more frugal (relatively speaking, of course) or having a blowout.

            By the way, has anyone used to make reservations? Is it reliable?

            1. re: jaejaebee

              Using anything else than phone for reservation in France is unsafe.

              If you want l'Astrance, you should try to get a reservation there. It may work, especially if you explain that you're alone for your birthday. Call at 10 or 10.30am Paris time.

              1. re: souphie

                No suck luck! I will have to settle for Le Cinq! What's a girl to do?

                I'm very much looking forward to my lunch there. Even though it doesn't necessarily fit the preferences I stated, I'm sure it will be every bit the decadent experience I'm looking for.

        2. Hmmm. All by myself and feeling indulgent. I'd head down the quai and hole up at Le Voltaire. Champagne, oeuf mayonnaise, lamb chops, maybe some spinach, and a half bottle of an interesting red. Cafe but no dessert as I have little sweet tooth. Not modern, but very cosseting.

          5 Replies
          1. re: mangeur

            Does Le Voltaire now take credit cards?

            1. re: amrx

              My Visa credit card was accepted.

              1. re: Oakglen

                Thanks for letting me know. Is it still almost like a private club?

                1. re: amrx

                  Never was like a private club; just a resonably priced restaurant in a very pricey neighborhood. They do quite a job on the non souffle dishes as well; but you must reserve.

                  1. re: Oakglen

                    Just to verify that we are talking about the same place, I don't think of souffle dishes at all as a target order at Le Voltaire, it does have the dark, sombre, small room interior that recalls Masterpiece Theater's interpretation of a private club and Figaroscope (Les Meilleurs Restaurants 2010) describes its price range as "Exorbitant: 123:10€ à deux, sans vin et avec un seul dessert".

          2. I have twice celebrated my birthday solo at Maceo. Wonderful food and ambiance, modern food, too. and a fun place to dine alone.