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Paris - Foodie Dinner and One Great Bistro in only Two Weeks?

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We just booked a last minute weekend holiday in Paris and I need some chow help. Here is what I am looking for:

1) An excellent Friday evening meal in only two weeks time at a fairly high-end restaurant for two foodies who dine out quite frequently; we enjoy tasting/set menus and wine pairings, excellent service, but not stuffy for the sake of it, we are willing to travel to any neighborhood; price 150 Euro/person and up is fine; we love a good cheese cart and fabulous desserts as well; we like innovative food, but not creative for the sake of it and compromising on taste; Michelin stars are great, but not our sole criteria

2) A great Paris bistro experience for a Saturday evening with our two children and my sister; good food, warm environment, comfortable with children, but not "kid" food, any moderate price - looking for one quintessential Parisian dinner

Thank you, hounds!

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  1. 1/ Ledoyen is excellent, but not fun. It has an exceptional cheese cart, and pretty good desserts, but the service could hardly be called fantastic (even if, like most others, it greatly benefits from establishing a personal connection). Le Cinq is safe, but is pretty expensive for dinner. Service is definitely exceptional, food often is, desserts are much better than they were. Definitely stuffy, of course. For wine pairing, not fancy, exceptional food for well trained foodie, l'Astrance is a natural response, but your chances to get a table two weeks ahead for a friday night are slim. I don't know if l'Arpège has reopened, but it definitely might meet your requirement, save for the wine pairing. Dreadfully expensive food, but cheap compared to the wines. No stuffy. Guy Savoy is another safe play, with not only wine but also bread pairings, an incredible half meal of desserts, great service, not stuffy. Food sometimes fantastic, always a great time. Le Meurice has wonderful desserts, world class service, creative food that I find boring but not everyone does, and is definitely a purely jet-set/billionaires place.

    2/ quintessential Paris but comfortable on a saturday night? I'm puzzled. Try Pétrelle if you don't mind Grunge/New Age, etc. Try La Fontaine de Mars for a safe play if the Obama crowd hasn't already reserved everything. There are few comfortable good bistrots open on saturday night. Maybe Chez Georges porte Maillot.

    2 Replies
    1. re: souphie

      I love this kind of reply. Informative in a way that guidebooks and, hell, restaurant guides are not.

      1. re: Parigi

        A foodie friend of mine says Zygomates in the 13th (7 Rue de Capri - 01 40 19 93 04) is her absolute favorite bistro in Paris. We didn't make it there this time but it is open on Saturday night. It's well off the beaten track, which is probably why it's not on everyone's radar. Here's her quote: "Zygomates, in the middle of exactly nowhere is worth seeking out. It’s a beautiful, old bistro occupying two rooms with beveled glass mirrors and partitions and lovely florals on the walls. Décor also has flowers and wine bottles here and there. Feels neighborhoody and homey. Food is excellent with lots of good choices, some modern variations on old classics. Run by a young couple who work to keep prices down. We always go at least once every time we're in Paris and would go more if it were centrally located!"

        My vote for a high end delcious meal with great service would be Le Cinq, particularly if money isn't a big consideration.

    2. my bet for friday night bistro would be le grand pan, in the 15th. the service is light and friendly; the food is outstanding (on offer in addition to the menu: cote de boeuf, cote de porc, cote de veau for two with green salad and AMAZING fries). the desserts are also excellent. it's not fancy but is very very good.

      12 Replies
      1. re: khornstein

        Yep, but isn't it too cramped to qualify as comfortable? I mean, Chez l'Ami Jean is also a great sat night option (admittedly more expensive than Grand Pan), but has the same problem -- it can hardly be called comfortable.

        1. re: souphie

          Quick note re "Le Grand Pan": Two Fridays ago we found it fun and slightly more "comfortable" (physically) than CLJ. We were in the front room, which might be a bit less cramped than the back room? For the three of us, we ordered the cote de boeuf for two and the cote de porc for two. We left some of the boeuf -- which was very good; but we left none of the porc, which was truly excellent. Nice and inexpensive 50 cl. wines, too. -- Jake

          1. re: Jake Dear

            "Quick note re "Le Grand Pan": Two Fridays ago we found it fun and slightly more "comfortable" (physically) than CLJ. "

            Yup. But that's the "experience" there, some like it crowded, and for instance, Colette hates the overcrowded atmosphere of both CAJ and the original Regalade but loves Regalade SH, so go figure.

            1. re: John Talbott

              I agree with Colette, but I do enjoy Le Grand Pan; not quite as many elbows to the head.

              1. re: Laidback

                "but I do enjoy Le Grand Pan;"
                Indeed, it's got leg and elbow room.

                1. re: John Talbott

                  Please stop making a big deal about le grand pan.In no time it will be full with tourists.Prices will go up and you can not get in.I am sorry but i have to be a bit selfish

                  1. re: pierre

                    When I had lunch there, I passed by a nuclear plant next door. At the next table was a heavy metal rock star beating his wife. O and then he rehearsed. Deafening.

                    1. re: pierre

                      Are you the same Pierre?
                      It's already full of what my critic-pal calls "visitors."
                      I've moved on anyway.

                      1. re: John Talbott

                        Its been a year ,since my last visit.So its the beginning of the change.Fortunately its location may save it.

                        1. re: pierre

                          It is indeed rather remote, but still: There was a group of 4 American businessmen near our table two Fridays ago . . . .

                      2. re: pierre

                        ok. i take it all back. Le grand pan should be on nobody's list.

              2. re: souphie

                Three of us ate at the (south) window seat at CAJ several weeks ago. True, a foursome were squeezed into a table for two next to us (north window seat). We had all of the table and leg space one could ask.

                What can I say....