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Jun 22, 2010 01:00 PM

Les Ombres vs. Cafe L'Homme

Can I get some comparisons on the two choices listed above?
Food Quality/Atmosphere/Views??
I've read guide book entries but really would like some first hand opinions.
They are in the running for a birthday dinner for a Sweet 16. Thanks!!

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  1. From everything I've read/heard, the view is spectacular at both and the food at both at best mediocre. I would suggest having a drink somewhere with an amazing view (many choices) and spend your money on the numerous places to have fantastic food without the view.

    1. OK, I have eaten at both and find both wanting. Les Ombres does indeed have a great view but the click-clacking of heels of the wait-folk on the fancy flooring is a distraction and not from the food which is at best mediocre. The Cafe de l'Homme inside is equally cursed with so-so food and acoustically unmodified sound inside; I've not eaten outside.
      Must you be outside, because a spectacular view with a bit better food can be found at the rotating restaurant (le Ciel de Paris) in the ugliest building in Paris, the Tour Montparnasse (old joke, why go? Ans: its the only place you don't see it.)

      8 Replies
      1. re: John Talbott

        I did le Ciel de Paris last Bastille Day, John. We did have a great view, right smack center in front of the Tower. Our meal was pretty good, and the staff was very accommodating with dietary restrictions. I wanted to choose one of these two for a specialbirthday meal with my 16 year old niece who isn't a foodie but would love the views. How do you feel about George's at the Pompdou Center, I'm thinking about that for this Bastille Day. I know there are many greater food experiences but I'm picking based mostly on views, though if the food is awful, I'll stay clear. Thanks!

        1. re: travelluver

          The problem (no, a problem) with being really old, is that you've eaten everywhere and I think Georges is like the others you suggest you go to (sorry) - great view, so what food.
          A really great (and terribly edited) description of Georges was in the Sept-Oct "Paris" by Alexander Lobrano entitled "What the Costes Brothers are Costing Paris" and quoted a press attache who said "The welcome was shockingly rude,....the hostess came and told us she needed the table for some show biz types,...[and] we had a bad and very expensive meal." (Disclosure: I too was quoted).

          So new idea: and I'm surprised Soup has not mentioned it: one of the Bois de Boulogne restos - Pre Catalan or Grande Cascade - spectacular settings and pretty darn good food. A sweet 16er would be enchanted, me thinks.

          1. re: John Talbott

            I'll check into it, thanks again! I asked Soup for his thoughts, but haven't heard back. I'm lucky enough to get to Paris at least twice a year, and the spots I've asked about are not ones I'd usually go to - but am looking to make her trip special. PS Do you have a link to the Lobrano article?

            1. re: travelluver

              No link, it never was put up on the web, I have a hard copy but if you go to his Hungry for Paris Diner's Journal (or whatever) website you can search for Costes or Georges and you'll probably get something.

            2. re: John Talbott

              I had a similar experience at Georges when I took a group of clients. But if you can get over the "oh I am so beautiful" attitude from the waiting staff I can imagine it may hit the spot for a 16 year old. It is glam and trendy and the food is quite international. That said the terrace at Cafe L'Homme is probably a better bet for the view.

              1. re: PhilD

                Agree with all on all the restos queried: Georges, café L'Homme, L'ombre. I was invited to those places and therefore could not escape.

                "Food Quality/Atmosphere/Views??"

                1. Don't go there for the food quality. If you must go or are invited, eat a real dinner before your dinner there.
                2. Atmosphere. Distinctly not local.
                3. Views. Very good.

                1. re: Parigi

                  I chuckled when I read your advice "eat a real dinner before your dinner there". That is intriguing, but how can you get away with ordering there, what would you get if not a full dinner? Would they note glare at you (with their oh so lovely model faces) if you just ordered drinks and a starter and dessert?

                  1. re: travelluver

                    I was recommending what one should do if one were invited there. Why would one go there voluntarily for more than just a drink? If you are forced to go there in gunpoint, then order a main, any main, no starter or dessert. For heavens sake cut your losses.

        2. Les Ombres, IMHO, was the worst European meal ever eaten and that is indeed a bold statement. In every respect, food and service.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            thanks for the input everyone. No one mentioned the dress code for the places,
            can someone provide some insight?

            1. re: travelluver

              Why would you still want to go after these "recommendations". Are you really under gunpoint?
              O, dress code: the uncomfortable tourist look.

          2. I didn't respond to the original question because I haven't been to Les Ombres. Now, after having read how the thread progressed, with comments about Cafe de l'Homme and Georges, I feel somewhat compelled to write a few words since I have been to both, several times.

            My last experiences were two summers ago, so that is one factor. Perhaps, the quality has drastically changed in each one since this time. Still, I haven't had a bad, or even what I would call mediocre meal at either place. My most recent experiences were lunches, and that is really the meal that I would recommend at either place. At night, they both shift into different atmospheres.

            At lunch, I go for the ambience outside and its view. At Georges, it is Costes brothers type food, so if you have been to any other their establishments, I think you pretty much understand the type of food. As I understand it, the menu hasn't changed much, so I have been pretty happy with a crab first course and the macaroni with lobster second course. I don't always pick the same first course, and don't always have a first and second. I do really like the macaroni with lobster. Sort of Costes brothers take on American food, which is what I think they do a lot of... Depending on whether I am with people or alone, a half to a bottle of rose (or two) accompanies. I have always found something on the dessert menu that appealed to me. The first time I ate there, I have a very good memory of chicken with a curry sauce, but I think that fell off the menu, don't know if it has come back. Yes, it is over-priced for the food alone, but I didn't think the quality was bad, or even mediocre. I figured I was paying a premium for the outside view. I think the interior is something like a bad Flintstones inspiration, maybe Barbarella?, and so try to avoid it. I have had somewhat indifferent experiences with service, but my last service was particularly professional. I did notice that my server was also keeping an eye on several of the other servers. My impression was that he was much more experienced than they were. Dress-wise, this place is pretty much all over the map; nice summer casual at lunch, and I don't know how to succinctly describe dinner... stylish, darker colors, quality fabric, casually expensive.

            At Cafe de l'Homme, I always found the food to be better than Georges. I had a harder time choosing among the fish or shellfish choices, and can't remember being disappointed. I usually had either a starter or main, and then dessert. For wine, again we usually had a rose, occasionally a white, though I felt their markup was higher than it should have been. I usually tried my SO's or other fellow diners' dishes, and generally remember them being pretty good. The prices seem to have risen gradually over time and now I think they are high. I used to think the prices were fair, now it seems as though the charge a premium for the view philosophy is in place. If my only choice was to eat inside, I would go somewhere else. As far as clothing, BCBG-style is generally how I would describe and dress.

            So for travelluver's situation, for a 16th birthday meal, if you are not too concerned about making a price versus quality comparison, and think of it as paying a premium for the view, and are willing to switch to lunch, I think either would work, and the 16 year old could feel special. For dinner, I think Cafe de l'Homme would be better than Georges and again only if you were booked outside.

            I hope you find this helpful, -sou

            6 Replies
            1. re: souvenir

              Thanks very much souvenir, for your wonderful feedback. Thanks to everyone else also, who took the time to respond to me. I am probably going to wait until I get there, peruse the menus, and get a lay of the land. I have reservations at them all, so at least I am covered. Maybe I'll just let the 16 year old pick and that way will consider myself off the hook, in some way!!

              1. re: travelluver

                You are very welcome. I hope your 16 year old and the rest of the party have a great celebration. Please, please post a note about what you end up doing, and how it worked out.

                1. re: travelluver

                  Hi: Not to dominate because I'm such a shy and unopinionated guy but Colette and I just discussed where to take our 16 yo (no not daughter, farther down); our thots if you reject my prior brilliant idea - le Ciel de Paris, Cigale Recamier in the 7th on a closed off alley with a parklete at the end; no view but outside seating - calm, cool, decent food for kids of all ages. Go check out the menus. And while your at it, treat the kids to the Montparnasse Tower view one way or another - you can see the Eiffel Tower from there.

                  1. re: John Talbott

                    Thanks John! I only rejected le Ciel de Paris because I did it last year for Bastille Day, and the menu isn't very conducive to a US 16 year old eater who is not much of a foodie. Even for me, they made a substitution. I was even thinking of taking one of the dinner cruises down the Seine, but I don't think the food is any better, and I heard the boats can't go as close to the Tower as they have previously been able.

                    1. re: travelluver

                      There have been a lot of suggestions on Le Figaroscope (2-hearts) to go this summer to the Restaurant Batofar, Port de la Gare 75013, 01 53 60 17 00 Métro 14 Bibliothèque François Mitterrand, Tous les jours sauf dimanche (dîner) et lundi (dîner): Menu du midi : 19 € Menu du soir : 25 €. Haven't gone meself and it's tied up, but I'm crazy enough to want to give it a go.

                      1. re: John Talbott

                        Thanks very much again!! I'll keep you posted !!