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Oct 25, 2010 03:18 PM

Paris: Le Chateaubriand vs. Le Comptoir du Relais

For a January trip to Paris from the US, I'm interested in several of the restaurants recommended by Anthony Bourdain on his 100th episode show, "No Reservations." For one particular dinner, I'm torn between two of his favorite places: Le Comptoir du Relais and Le Chateaubriand.

Any chowhound advice as to which you prefer (considering the food, service, atmosphere, crowd, etc.)? We're looking for delicious cuisine with an inventive twist rather than a familiar classic. Lively ambiance is a plus.

Thanks for your thoughts.

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  1. Yours is one of our difficult questions. However, after reading your Chowhound profile, I'd guess that Le Chateaubriand might offer the outre food experience you might enjoy. Neither have an edge on your other perameters.

    1. Both fit your bill with Le Ch√Ęteaubriand being slightly more inventive. It may be easier to book, too. As for the lively ambiance, both have it.

      1. Chateaubriand is modern in the style of Mugaritz, the food is one the leading edge but done to a budget. When it is good it is brilliant, when it falls off it can be painful. I would return as my visit was superb.

        Le Comptoir is quite traditional mixing rustic cooking with some fine dining touches. One of my perenial favourites but I go for comfort not fireworks.

        As Ptipois says Chateaubriand is the easier reservation. Le Comptoir only does dinner Monday thru Friday and doesn't do lunch (yes it is open for food on Saturday and Sunday evenings and at lunchtime but it is a different menu/experience and should not be mixed up with the tricky to get reservation)

        6 Replies
        1. re: PhilD

          Thanks to all. Very helpful.

          Do you know if Le Chateaubriand does lunch? Thinking I might want to walk around the Canal Ste Martin area, now unfamiliar to me. Also, this could open up a dinner slot for Le Comptoir.

          Thanks again.

          1. re: cortez

            Le Chateaubriand serves only dinner.

            1. re: Nancy S.

              Near the canal st martin, I would hit le verre vole!

              1. re: J_A_A

                "Le Verre Vole"
                Absolutely, now that they've expanded into the back and put in a real kitchen it's the only destination near the Canal.
                A word of caution, both times I've been since the expansion, the place has been choc-a-block full so reserve and ask for the back room which is quieter and nicer.

            2. re: cortez

              cortez, I was in Paris and made it a strong effort to get into Le Chateaubriand in August and it did not disappoint. It was a great atmostphere with mixtures of ingredients that should not work but definitely do. And it is definitely worth the money for their 5 course menu being at a great price. Let us know what you choose!

              1. re: boomzdaddy

                boom: Thanks for your comments. We've decided on Le Chateaubriand. New part of Paris for us and a slightly more inventive touch. Also trying for a dinner slot at Frenchie.

                For wine bars, Le Verre Vole and Les Papilles are our top 2 targets. We've chosen not to try to reserve in advance but to play it by ear during our visit . We've left a couple of nights open after big deal lunches.

                Thanks again.

          2. We went to Le Comptoir du Relais last Saturday night (Oct. 23) and it was very disappointing. The pressed chicken tasted like warm, canned, processed chicken. Also, they insisted that we'd ordered an entire bottle of wine when we had only ordered two glasses. (Our French isn't that bad.) Naturally, it wasn't the wine we'd ordered and it was one of the most expensive bottles on the list at 45 euros. Needless to say, we didn't order coffee or dessert.

            1. Do you know if le chateaubriand is open on saturdays and/or sundays? Finding a good dinner option for restos open on sundays is proving difficult. Thanks!

              14 Replies
              1. re: paddlestick101

                I believe it's closed Sundays and Mondays.

                1. re: paddlestick101

                  Michelin and Zagat provide extensive lists of those open on Sunday. It's called basic research.

                  1. re: Oakglen

                    Oakglen, thanks, but that was an unnecessarily rude comment.
                    I've spent the last month reading books, blogs, and websites--the Paris food scene can be overwhelming in its amazing scope.
                    I know Michelin and Zagat are major guidebooks, but without buying the books, the information shared here isn't necessarily readily available. Now that you've helpfully shared that they list restaurants open on Sundays, I have a direction to go, since as I stated it has been difficult to find an organized breakdown.
                    You're right it may be basic research, but I was feeling overwhelmed, and I come here for a supportive food-loving community, not judgmental condescension.

                    1. re: paddlestick101

                      Although Michelin is on-line and free (search for via Michelin if this link doesn't work), and has details of lots of French restaurants, including many that are not starred:

                      1. re: paddlestick101

                        A reliable resource for me is The site has a compilation of recommended restaurants and provides information regarding opening times, prices, etc.

                        1. re: Nancy S.

                          Been using this resource extensively in my planning - love its links to blogs I respect and the original writing is top notch.....even if my workplace blocks it for "adult content" (yeah, makes no sense to me either.)


                          1. re: uhockey

                            That's probably because of the words "mouth", "food porn" and "drool" in the se(x)ction titles.

                              1. re: uhockey

                                I once sent to old classmates queries re reviews of restaurant in Beijing. I made the mistake of using the abbreviation "BJ" in my message title. Nobody got my message.

                                1. re: Parigi

                                  Haha - nicely done.

                                  To get this thread (slightly) back on track, does anyone know if there is a specific time when Le Chateabriand answers their phone? Thus far I've had zero luck getting through - just rings and rings w/o answering machine.


                                  1. re: uhockey

                                    I've had success calling around noon French time.

                                    1. re: Nancy S.

                                      Now they have the new bar aren't they closed for lunch? If so a call early evening at from 6:00pm (Paris time) onwards may work.

                    2. re: paddlestick101

                      They are indeed closed Sun/Mon - and from what I've gathered thus far they never answer their phones. :-)


                      1. re: uhockey

                        As the OP, my Jan trip has been postponed until March. With much debate, we have or are trying to get these reservations :

                        Lunch: Le Comptoir du Relais, Le Cinq, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

                        Dinner: Josephine Chez Dumonet, Frenchie, Spring, Le Chateaubriand

                        I am super excited for this 7 day trip for a special birthday in Paris. If coherent, I'll post an after trip report. We're essentially pursuing a food and art (Louvre, Delacroix, Chartres, Branley, Jeu de Paume, Orangerie, Moreau) exploration of Paris with a little retail thrown in.

                        Can't wait.