Please suggest: for 3 days worth of meals in Paris- March
My husband & I are going to Paris for 3.5 days this coming March. I'm hoping to make some reservations in advance, particularly for dinner. We will arrive 6am on a Wednesday, so lunch/dinner on Wed, Thurs & Fri, and then fly out Sat around noon (suggestion for a light brunch/lunch would be great that day too).
We are both mid-20's, would like to think of ourselves foodies and enjoy (mostly red) wine, so we're hoping to have a fabulous dining experience on this trip. We are staying near in the 16th er./looks like on the boarder with the 8th er., a 5 min walk from Avenue des Champs-Elysées. I'm hoping to avoid having to go too far for dinner, but would be willing to take the bus/metro for a great meal. I am a huge fan of fish, but so much other meats, so places that would have great meats (particularly duck) as well as some sort of veggie/fish option would be ideal. Also suggestions for wine bars would be appreciated, perhaps for a lighter dinner.
After doing some research, I understand that we are very close to Le Cinq (which we might consider for lunch but it's just too expensive for us for dinner...hopefully this will give you an idea of our budget). I'm hoping to stay around $100 USD total, so about $50/person, for a couple of the nights, but have 1 total splurge (possible to stay under $250 total?)
We are also close to Oscar restaurant, which I thought could be one of our nights since it's close and more in our price range (40/45 euro prix-fixe)- thoughts?
I want to make sure we have at least one awesome traditional French meal, and we also love Mediterranean, Italian & Asian/pan-Asian/sushi. I want to to find a yummy place for duck because it's my husband's favorite.
I also wouldn't mind have one or two awesome lunches and having a light dinner on those nights.
We will try to do our 3 days of sight-seeing/exploring in blocks of geographic areas, such as the Eiffel Tower and possibly Musee d'Orsay 1 day, venture over to the Louvre for a morning then Notre Dame another day, and then one day go out to Versailles and come back to explore...(suggestions). Lunches near these places would be great- either like great cafes for quick sandwiches, or restaurants that have both lunch & dinner and would be a good value for lunch (hoping to stay under $15-20 per person for lunch in general, with the exception of a splurge...)
Please let me know what other kind of info. might be helpful. Also, I'd like to know if my food budget/ideas are way off-base, just so I can adjust my expectations.
I used to work as a pastry chef at Le Cinq, it is definitely worth the splurge, even if it is just for their lunch menu. It would be an unforgettable experience for anyone.
I would also recommend having lunch or dinner at a small (but oh so good) restaurant called La Regalade, in Paris XIV . Reasonnable prices, authentic french cuisine, one of my favorite places and the first one i stop at for dinner when i go back to Paris (i am a french expat).
-- the lunch special at Le Reminet is shockingly inexpensive and very lovely...
-- Huitrerie Regis if you like oysters...one of my fav restaurants anywhere in the world...
-- while i'm no expert on duck, i found the duck confit that i was served at various mellow non-foodie-specific cafes to be delicious (even at a place like Le Petit Cafe near the Sorbonne, which is not known for its food)...ditto at that Fountaine-Sully cafe on Rue de Rivoli...so a cafe might be an inexpensive and tasty way to squeeze a duck-fix into your itinerary...
-- if i was quasi-splurging, i'd go to Monsieur Lapin, a rabbit specialist (though they other good stuff too, on a somewhat small menu)...
-- don't eat sushi in Paris...just don't...i tried tons of places...only one (Tsukizi in the 6th) was good, but it's only notable because all the other ones (even highly ranked ones) were simply awful...
-- consider some Moroccan food (i like Le Souk in the 11th) and/or some Senegalese (i like Le Manguier, in a different part of the 11th)...
-- Chez Janou (Provencal bistro) is nice for a long lunch...
Just a little note on pricing. If you want Le Cinq, and you should and you do it for lunch on their special, as of now it is 82 Euro pp, without water, wine, or coffee, or the champagne cart. This 164 euros at 1.40 as exchange rate is totals $230. If you drink tap water, no coffee, and a few glasses of wine from the expert sommelier, you will be a bit over but you will have the experience of your trip, perhaps your lifetime. Try not to let a little money prevent you from doing what you wish. You have spent a lot of money to get to France, spend a little more if necessary to do it right from your view. The few hundred dollars you save will mean very little to you in a few years, but the memories will last a lifetime. Many cafes have a croque monsieur or simple sandwiches or do a picnic, with a little ingenuity you can keep your lunch money goals without too much problem. Chez Denise with a split app, two entrees, and a split dessert will still be too much food and with a bottle of the house brouilly, bring you in just over your $ 100 target. Enjoy the Musee d'Orsay, one of my 2 or 3 favorite museums in the world and easily a 4 hour excursion but totally wonderful.
I agree with DCM. We are fortunate this time that our Australian currency is strong but a few years ago meals were a lot of money. We were somewhat careful in where we ate and skipped the champagne trolley but it still ended up being painful for ten minutes. All we remember now is the meal.
And we're not talking hundred of dollars - another twenty euro makes a big difference because competition is quite fierce. And wine prices are excellent - very good wines are available in restaurants for what I regard as very sensible prices, and house wines are often excellent.
I would suggest that you blow your budget for a splurge lunch at Le Cinq. Skip the champagne, bottled water and coffee. Ask the sommalier to choose a couple of reasonably priced wines by the glass to go with your food (or 1 reasonably priced bottle to share) and you will enjoy a meal that you will remember always for not a whole lot over your $250 budget. Remember, tax and tip is included in the 82E menu. And you won't want dinner that evening, except perhaps a street crepe.
Unless you both have amazing stomachs of steel, you won't want a major meal at both lunch and dinner. One way to save money is to do your main meal at lunch. There are some fabulous lunch menus out there that will bring you in for well under your budget. Check our John Talbotts blog for recommendations. He always does lunch. http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/
If you're like me and you want your days to wander Paris, see the sites, and soak up the city, as opposed to sitting in a restaurant for 3 hours every day, then you'll prefer to go to dinner (except for Le Cinq!) Save money by skipping restaurant/cafe lunches altogether and get fantastic sandwiches or quiche and a pastry at any good boulangerie, and picnic on a park bench in any of the countless green spaces to be found throughout the city. Then you'll have extra cash available to up your budget a bit for dinner. If you up the budget to $150 all included (always skipping bottled water and coffee) doors open to many great places for wonderful 3 course menus with fairly decent wine. (Le Regalade St, Honore, Spring, Frenchie, Jadis etc) Yes, it'll pinch while you're looking at the money, but you'll really remember the great meals you had in Paris in a way that one should!