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Aug 18, 2010 10:16 AM

Paris fine dining w/ a less adventerous eater

My Mom and I are headed to Paris for a few days in late September and I'm having trouble finding a restaurant for a special occasion. (Mom is turning 70)

I'd love to try Pierre Gagnaire or Spring or Guy Savoy, but I fear they wouldn't appeal to Mom. We went to Michel Rostang several years ago and she kind of picked at her food. She's not big on seafood or anything moussed, foamed, deconstructed etc.

Ideally, I'd like somewhere where she can get dressed up and feel fussed over, but comfortable with a great 5 course or so menu for 120 euro or less pp. (Not including wine)

any suggestions?

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  1. There are many kinds of picky eaters, and it's not clear which one your mother is. Some refuse to eat what they don't know. Some won't accept anything but steak and potatoes. Some hate anything bitter. Some are very discriminating and only accept the best. Etc. As it's not clear what Mom doesn't like, it's not clear what she'll be comfortable with.

    Often people make the mistake of assuming that simpler food is less culturally charged, particular, specific -- that it requires less education or experience. The opposite is often true, as the simplest dishes belong to a very specific food culture.

    For instance I remember visitors from Texas demanding a typical French bistrot, with the simplest dishes. They were repulsed by the harengs and many other recipes (Chez René), which matched exactly what they had asked for, but absolutely not what they had in mind. I suppose what they really wanted was steak and potatoes.

    Nevertheless, a place like Savoy is usually a very safe bet, with very unchallenging food. But 120 is almost the price of a glass of good wine there.

    8 Replies
    1. re: souphie

      Good point. I should clarify.

      Mostly she has trouble with things she doesn't know - i.e. offal, most shellfish, oxtail. And generally likes to be able to identify them on her plate - moussed items, terrines etc make her nervous.

      That said, she would definitely try most any meat or poultry if she generally understands the preparation. I could see her trying a provencale duck breast in honey and lemon sauce or something like that. She loves braised short ribs and osso bucco. So - she's beyond just steak and potatoes.

      And yes, Savoy might be slightly out of our price range. You are correct.

      Any other ideas?

      1. re: chicagowinediva

        Well, I went back to the Tour d'Argent last month after a hiatus of 50 years and there was much fussing and pretty straightforward food and that superb view; pix at

        1. re: John Talbott

          thanks John.
          I had actually considered Tour de l'argent as well, but I think its just too expensive for us.

          I know this is a difficult mission. thanks for your input.

          1. re: chicagowinediva

            Yah, we were eating at lunch.
            I'll turn it over to Soup then.

        2. re: chicagowinediva

          Sounds like she'd like l'Ambroisie, but talk about out of price rance...

          Not to sound like I'm always coming back with the same recommendations, but La Grande Cascade has a 135 "découverte" menu, with a 45€ wine pairing option. Hiramatsu would also be a possibility. Their tasting menu is 130. It feels less luxurious than La Grande Cascade or Le Cinq but is pretty comfortable, and food is masterful.

          1. re: souphie

            The flower displays are awesome at Le Cinq; good photo ops. Also, the lunch menu at L'Espadon at the Ritz is only 70 Euros.

            1. re: Oakglen

              But we're talking about dinner, aren't we?

              1. re: souphie

                Since they are here for a few days, these places offer great food plus notable ambiance and photo ops.