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Mar 8, 2011 10:04 PM

Great restaurant in Paris for a birthday celebration.

My husband and I will be celebrating my birthday in Paris in late May, luckily not on a weekend. I'm looking for a celebratory place with exceptional food. I like cutting edge cuisine, but am quite happy with classic cuisine done very well. We've been to L'Ambrosie, which was quite good, but I'm hearing mixed things about it these days. I've thought of Le Cinq, and would be interested in hearing about that. And Apicius, Grand Vefour, Ledoyen, Pierre Gagnaire...Thoughts, other suggestions?

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  1. Concurrent with your request are three threads on the Michlins. I'd follow those discussions and then ask for some details...maybe enter the conversations....

    13 Replies
    1. re: hychka

      Thanks, I've been doing just that. I think I am coming down on the side of Le Cinq. But I'll probably change my mind several times. So any details about Le Cinq would be helpful. I've seen many comments about lunch there, but not so many about dinner, particularly lately. At some point duing our five days in Paris we will probably go to L'Atelier Robouchon as well, even though the wait the last couple of times we have been there has been pretty horrendous. Any advice about the best days to go there, if there are any best days?

        1. re: souphie

          Thank you! That is very helpful. And since I'm interested in more than this one dinner in Paris, I found your blog very helpful in general. I usually can only go to Paris once a year and it's hard to keep up with what's happening with the restaurants there. I used to consult Gault-Milau quite a lot, but I can't find it in American anymore. But Chowhound is proving to be a more interesting source of information anyway.

            1. re: hychka

              With your help and the fantastic pictures on Souphie's blog, I've definitely decided on Le Cinq for my birthday. They won' accept reservations until a month before the dinner and for the life of me I can't find a means of reserving online with them, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I've also tried to reserve online for another night with Apicius, but they haven't responded. I actually have never had any luck getting reservations there, so any advice on strategy for doing that. I still have a few dinners to plan (we don't eat big lunches), so advice on other restaurants would be welcome. I've thought of L'Epigramme, Le Gaigne, Jadis, Le Chateaubriand.....I'm looking for a couple of interesting bistro like places and a couple of cutting edge places. Still debating whether to endure another endless wait at L'Atelier Robouchon, but we love it so much, we'll probably opt for that as well

              1. re: kromsky

                Successful reservations in Paris are taken by phone. That's the trick.

                Why Apicius, if I may ask?

                Don't wait at l'Atelier: go at 6.30pm (they actually take reservations for the first service) or at 11pm.

                I'll talk about it more but, in the search for the perfect typical dreamy bistrot, I think that Café Cartouche seriously rocks.

                1. re: souphie

                  Apicius has always sounded very interesting to me. I guess your reply indicates that it's not. As for L'Atelier Robouchon, we've never been able to bring ourselves to eat dinner at 6:30, but I guess there is a first time for everything. We've tried 11 PM several times. Once they cut off names on the waiting list at that time, but usually we go quite late. I have never heard of Cafe Cartouche, so I'll research it. That's what I'm looking for--places I haven't heard of before. A friend of mine love Itineraire. Thoughts?

                  1. re: kromsky

                    You might, if staying at a hotel, ask the hotel to get you the reservation. Several chowhounders have reported extraordinary results at the better hotels. As we only stay in apartments, I am left to rely on the the Internet, telephone and walk-ins while on our jet lag walk far, so good.

                    1. re: kromsky

                      I went to Apicius once, maybe five years ago. All I remember is that I had a nice, tender, juicy slab of veal, and that my general impression was of a pleasant but nondescript meal. I might characterize the atmosphere and decor as "Singapore corporate retreat".

                      1. re: fanoffrance

                        Oh, dear, I guess I needn't have wasted so much time trying to get in there. And thank you very much for the Le Cinq information.I think I'll never plan a trip to my beloved France again without going to Chowhoud,

                        1. re: kromsky

                          The thing that is exceptional at Apicius is the setting -- mansion and private park in the middle of the 8th, that's quite something. It feels super special. The number of regulars and the good wines and the generosity of the cooking make the place pretty celebratory, full of very well off "buddies".

                          Now, food wise, there's just nothing remarkable. And what is, is very literaly bistrot cooking, like the tete de veau or the roast lamb. You know 'bistronomie"? The idea of fine dining ingredients and cooking in a casual environment? Apicius is the exact opposite.

                          1. re: souphie

                            If I was lucky enough to spend more time in France, I guess I might go to Apicius for the celebratory ambiance. But given how little time we have in Paris, I think I'll pass up any place that has unremarkable food. Your comments have been very helpful.

                  2. re: kromsky

                    To Kromsky re Le Cinq reservation: That's strange, Le Cinq has never told me I was too early with my reservation. Most recently I sent them an email Feb. 15 to reserve for lunch April 17. They confirmed it right away, no problem. The email address is