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Help needed to find a fabulous resturant for a leisurely birthday Sunday lunch in Paris

kristaneon May 23, 2010 08:19 AM

I am taking my brother for a 25th birthday lunch on Sunday 4th July. The surprise is we are going to hop on the Eurostar to take him to Paris. The idea is great but the problem now is to find a wonderful venue!
I would love somewhere very Parisienne, where we can have a long leisurely celebratory meal, in a unique venue. I've been recommended Terminus Nord (I am not sure this is special enough) and La Grande Cascade.
I've looked into the luxury hotels but some are not open on Sundays and are also hugely expensive. Happy to pay around 100 euros per person.
Thank you in advance for your help x

  1. souphie May 23, 2010 09:16 AM

    Terminus Nord is a big brasserie. It's celebratory for people who don't go to restaurants often.

    La Grande Cascade is indeed probably your best choice, because it has an 85€ menu with beverage, so you should be in budget (beware of the extras). The food is extremely excellent, the setting is unique, service is pretty good.

    Le Cinq, the restaurant at the Four Seasons hotel, has a 78€ lunch deal that will feel less like you're the poor cousins invited for sunday lunch but not given the same food as the others. But it's tighter budget wise. It is an extraordinary place, totally worth the occasion.

    100€ pp is a tough zone -- it's border line for the top experience, and you can end up paying that in a lot of average places that are good but not great.

    That said, maybe you're better off pushing all the stops in a more modest place than staying on a budget in a top restaurant. The question then is what you would find celebratory. Would Drouant do? Senderens? La Fontaine de Mars (this might be my choice in your situation)? None of them will be as spectacular as the LGC or Le Cinq.

    Be aware that you probably need to be at the restaurant by 1.30pm in order to be able to have lunch, so make sure you have an early enough train.

    5 Replies
    1. re: souphie
      kristaneon May 23, 2010 09:29 AM

      Thank you for your reply.

      Major concern, our train arrives at Gare du Nord at 1.45! Uh-Ho... now it becomes more difficult :(

      Budget - we can easily raise this if it opens up more options, we do want a top experience.

      1. re: kristaneon
        o
        Oakglen May 24, 2010 07:55 AM

        The Ritz has a Sunday brunch for 115 euros; goes til 3 pm. That would be memorable.

        1. re: Oakglen
          souphie May 24, 2010 12:21 PM

          Just when I though this was hopeless. Brililant, Oakglen!

          1. re: souphie
            kristaneon May 25, 2010 02:33 AM

            Souphie, you have been a most tremendous help. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for La Grande Cascade though, if I can wangle a late sitting from them :)

          2. re: Oakglen
            kristaneon May 25, 2010 02:32 AM

            Oh amazing, thank you so much, I am going to have a look now..... :)

      2. kristaneon May 25, 2010 03:28 AM

        OK This is a very bad news, my Mum has changed the tickets so we don't have to leave so early from London. We now have a window of 2.15-8.30pm. Is there a really fabulous place for a long lunch that is open all day? (slightly losing the will to live here!) Thank you so much for your help xx

        1 Reply
        1. re: kristaneon
          ChefJune May 25, 2010 08:21 AM

          2:15 - 8:30? that's a time when almost nothing will be serving, except for the brasseries that serve all day. Can't she change the tickets back?

        2. kristaneon May 25, 2010 02:28 PM

          I've tried to change the tickets but they will not do it. HOWEVER I have a new and ingenious plan! Afternoon Tea in a fabulous hotel and then an early sitting for dinner @ 7pm. If we go somewhere about the location rather than the food alone 1.5hrs will be plenty. (i am being cautiously optimistic!)

          16 Replies
          1. re: kristaneon
            kristaneon May 25, 2010 02:54 PM

            Afternoon Tea qualifiers are George V, Le Crillon or Le Meurice.... any tips on which is better?
            Early dinner is undecided but if we are in the area of those hotels we could walk it off in the Tulieries - before dinner :)

            1. re: kristaneon
              kristaneon May 25, 2010 03:09 PM

              P.S After such tranquility of Afternoon Tea any suggestions of loud, buzzy, bustling places for dinner that are very typical of Paris would be amazing. Thank you - I promise to report back :)

              1. re: kristaneon
                John Talbott May 25, 2010 03:53 PM

                "Loud and buzzy, bustling" at 7, wow, we're back to brasseries and access to the Eurostar and Terminus Nord which is no big deal, I assure you. But it'll be "loud and buzzy, bustling" and will get you to the train on time (apologies to 'enry 'iggins).

                1. re: John Talbott
                  kristaneon May 25, 2010 04:14 PM

                  Oh groan John, I am almost exasperated :( If I may quote souphie - "Terminus Nord is a big brasserie. It's celebratory for people who don't go to restaurants often"

                  is there anywhere nearby that is really great and French and all the things Terminus Nord is but good food? I want the say to end on a high!

                  (I am starting to think my wonderful surprise was a really really bad idea :( )

                  1. re: kristaneon
                    a
                    amrx May 25, 2010 05:14 PM

                    I enjoyed an afternoon tea as a guest of my British publishers at the Four Seasons George V. They came by Eurostar and returned after tea; trip was longer since they started at Oxford. Both woman had the tea. I opted for the lobster club sandwich (delicious} and a beer (We "colonials" misbehave). There is a food menu and it might make sense to have the "tea" be the celebration. You should check their website for a menu..

                    1. re: kristaneon
                      Parigi May 25, 2010 07:35 PM

                      Your original idea was wonderful and generous, but the timing is shaping up to be mildly sucky, pardonez mon Français. With a window of 2.15-8.30pm, you neatly escape both meal times.
                      As for the tea in a big hotel idea, but you come from the city with the best of that genre. None of the hotel teas in Paris could be as nice as Browns or Cadogan.
                      Is there not a later train that you can take back to London which would allow you to have a decent early dinner here?

                      1. re: Parigi
                        John Talbott May 25, 2010 08:49 PM

                        "Is there not a later train that you can take back to London which would allow you to have a decent early dinner here?"
                        Couldn't have said it better. Can't you change the ticket or sleep on the floor of the GDN, or, or or?

                        "is there anywhere nearby that is really great and French and all the things Terminus Nord is but good food? I want the say to end on a high!"
                        OK
                        You've got several places nearby but none are open Sundays and none are open at 7 PM.

                        ""Terminus Nord is a big brasserie. It's celebratory for people who don't go to restaurants often"
                        Soup is, as always, correct. And I'd add it's full of Brits (they're not that bad but they burned down Washington after all and we remember 200 years later!) but I've said for years, that I eat here/there (TN) when it's an awkward time, I'm coming off or onto the Eurostar, I'm late arriving from CdG, I'm meeting folks coming on the Thalys, etc. - I'd say at least once a year, and it's not disgraceful. Just not "a fabulous resturant for a leisurely birthday Sunday lunch in Paris. "
                        Didn't your brother beat you up, complain to your Mother you were annoying him, hide your dolls, or something. It's payback time Kristane.

                        1. re: John Talbott
                          Parigi May 26, 2010 03:34 AM

                          I always think of Terminus du Nord as a very good … station restaurant in a very nice setting. I go there in the context as cher John described - "coming off or onto the Eurostar, I'm late arriving from CdG, I'm meeting folks coming on the Thalys, etc." - and find TdN quite enjoyable.
                          But a station restaurant - however nice - is usually not the same thing as a bday restaurant

                          1. re: Parigi
                            kristaneon May 26, 2010 05:19 AM

                            Dear friends and fabulous helpers!

                            I am pleased to write with amazing news and yes, all down to the magnificent Monsier Soup!

                            I've just made a reservation for Le Cinq for 2.15! The absolute deadline for arrival.

                            Parigi - that is a very good point re the afternoon tea in London, why would I come to Paris to do this? Later train - we are taking the last train back.

                            John - Unfortunately my brother and I are great pals and I would be devastated if his birthday was less than amazing. No beating up (he is younger) and no annoying (we were both away at school so couldn't) and no hiding dolls (I was a tomboy ... maybe still am!)

                            Now I am very excited about researching what I must absolutely eat and the star dishes.

                            Thank you all so much, if there is anything I can do to say thank you in return please ask, have tonnes of London advice and also have a blog and pr company if anyone needs any complimentary advice.

                            I AM SO HAPPY/RELIEVED :) XXXX

                            1. re: kristaneon
                              John Talbott May 26, 2010 04:14 PM

                              All's well that finishes well.

                              1. re: John Talbott
                                kristaneon May 27, 2010 03:01 AM

                                That will be the meal! xx

                                1. re: kristaneon
                                  d
                                  DaisyM May 28, 2010 04:25 AM

                                  Make sure you tell Le Cinq in advance that it is your brother's birthday. I'm sure they will do something to make it even more special for him. We celebrated an anniversary there and we still talk about the experience...truly amazing. You are a wonderful sister. Best wishes to the birthday boy!

                                  1. re: DaisyM
                                    kristaneon Jun 2, 2010 03:03 AM

                                    Ah thanks for the tip Daisy, that is really kind of you. Thanks also for filling me with confidence, it is a bit of a gamble actually taking him as it is quite a random thing to do but knowing it is 'truly amazing' is great to hear. I will report back! x

                                    1. re: kristaneon
                                      kristaneon Jun 28, 2010 05:30 PM

                                      Not too long to go now :) This Sunday is the day!

                                      1. re: kristaneon
                                        d
                                        DaisyM Jun 29, 2010 05:51 AM

                                        Wait till you see the floral displays! Have a wonderful time!

                                        1. re: DaisyM
                                          ChefJune Jun 29, 2010 07:20 AM

                                          ... and be sure to file a FULL report! ;)

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