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Mar 26, 2011 02:01 PM

Paris in 2 weeks: The setup, the dilemmas, the list, the questions

Hi Paris aficionados, it’s been fun / frustrating following the recs and debates as I prep for a few days in Paris. Having Lobrano, Pudlo, Clothilde, Time Out and the internet at my disposal have proven to be too much of a good thing when it all boils down to five dinners and 3 lunches, a limited budget and a large cast of players

I know the following is weighted (no pun intended) towards heavy & traditional, but my group includes my 78-year-old half-French traditionalist dad, who, while adventurous in his time, has no patience for cumin/mangoes/raw parsnips in his French food. But he loves and appreciates good food and I’d love to show him there’s something beyond Le Troumilou and Chartier. Just not too far beyond.

We’re staying way up in Clichy, so logistics for long days of doing a thing or two between meals drives some choices. Also, French restaurant hours….considering our days include a Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday…enough said. And to top it all off, for some of these meals we’ll have 7 people. Oof.

A convivial atmosphere / joie de vivre / warm ambiance / funky setting goes a long way. Vats of communal terrine a plus. And I need a good value-to-quality ratio. No matter how “cheap” I pick, I risk a parental heart attack (and not just because we have a proclivity of pig parts, charcuterie and duck fat).

What I’d love from you-all: A reality check on accommodating our whole group, and reactions like: if you want THAT kind of food go here instead; you’re dreaming if you think you’ll get a rez for a meal in early April; there’s no way you can eat those two meals in one day, etc.

THE LIST (includes our whole group of 7 unless noted)

- Dinner at Aux Lyonnaise or Carte Blanche (based on locale; day or arrival)

- Dinner at Les Papilles (too tiny?)

- Breakfast at Bistrot du Peintre or lunch at l’as du Falafel (we’ll be at Bastille Market, heading to the suburbs for Sunday family dinner)

- Dinner at L'Ambassade d'Auvergne…could use a lunch candidate for this same day….

- Lunch at Café Constant (convenient to d’Orsay, may be a smaller group)

- Dinner at Jadis or La Cave de l’os a Moelle , same day as Café Constant

- Dinner at Chez Dumonet, sole meal of the day.

- l’Atelier for just 3 of us for lunch: is the 150 euro menu avail for lunch, and is it worth it or is a la carte better? Crazy to do this the same day as Les Papilles for dinner?

The following are the fallen soldiers due to complex logistics and, frankly, fear of risk. If you think any are must-haves to shake up a conservative list, I can try harder. Also, we’re traveling the week of April 8 so it may also be too late to reserve at some of these hot spots.

- Le Temps au Temp (friends raved about lunch at but it sounds like it’s on a downward trend?)
- Spring
- Frenchie
- Le Chateaubriand
- Le Violon d'Ingres
- l’AOC

Thanks in advance….if my question is this long, imagine how long my follow-up report will be………

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  1. As to your location and travel problems, I think you are close to the 18th and there have been several threads recently on some very good, but relatively low priced places there. Certainly John Talbott's blogs cover the area quite well.

    As to lunch, I'd bag one of your choices and go to Spring.

    3 Replies
    1. re: hychka

      "Dinner at Aux Lyonnaise or Carte Blanche (based on locale; day or arrival)"

      Carte Blanche, which I used to like a great deal, has not had as good reviews lately. It also tends toward sweet&sour fusion notes, done very well, better than Ze Kitchen Galerie.

      "Dinner at Les Papilles (too tiny?)"

      You can ask the restaurant to give you the big table in its own private room in the basement. Very nice space.
      Yes it is a very hearty resto. I would go easy on the lunch before that, like a picnic with Finkelstajn nosh on Place des Vosges or the Saint-Gilles-Grand-Veneur rose garden.

      I love Spring and Frenchie. But it seems you are saying you want consensus restos that please everyone. Well, at Spring you get no choice (already I have always loved everything) and Frenchie gives you a choice of 2 dishes for each course. For less traditonal but not too radical-revolutionary, I recommend Dans Les Landes, where youe can order a lot or little, and Saturne, which is not a gut-buster although very satisfying.

      And for time-machine traditional, I recommend Le Quincy.

      1. re: Parigi

        Perfect input, I appreciate the suggestions, some of which have already had an effect on the spreadsheet. Other weigh-ins welcome; I'll tweak until tomorrow. Parigi, yes we're slanted towards traditional, but one meal out of the comfort zone is a must, I think. And once no classics are on offer, "picky" isn't a problem...if that makes sense. Hychka, I've got a longer list going for the parents, who are there a whole month, with rec's in the northern Arr., many pulled from John's excellent and entertaining blog. Thanks!

      2. re: hychka

        I would consider the newly redecorated brasserie Wepler as a fall-back option. Your Dad will love the traditional menu.