Just One Saturday dinner...
What to do? I will be back in Paris first week of May but most of my time will be occupied with the Lebovitz gastronomy tour. The tour ends Saturday, May 7th and I will be on my own that night for dinner. I honestly don't know if I'll even be hungry but it feels like an opportunity wasted if I don't eat out!
I'm open to absolutely anything, low-end/high-end, etc. as long as they won't treat me too badly as a solo lady! Just looking for great great food, probably something that epitomizes Paris or French food as it will be my last dinner before heading home to LA. I haven't had too much time to think about it, but off the top of my head: L'ami Louis, Denise, George types or L'ambroisie, Le Cinq types? I don't know if these places are even open Saturdays. Advice please, oh wise fellow Chowhounds?
A favorite of mine that gets little mention on CH is Monsieur Lapin. It is a particularly great choice if you like rabbit as they do it 3 different ways, but they also have many other meat and fish options, and the food is all really good. The atmosphere is warm and charming, but sophisticated with nicely spaced tables, very comfortable, great service. Prices are moderate. It does not attract too many tourists as it somehow remains under the radar. Another place that is open on weekends is Le Petit Celadon. This is the slightly more casual weekend menu at Le Celadon, which has a Michelin star. The food is very good and the atmosphere posh. It's quite a deal at 55 euros with wine, water and coffee included.
I went to Le Dome (Montparnasse) and had a very good, albeit somewhat pricey meal. The atmosphere is great and I think you would be fine alone there. There seems to be no prix fixe menu so everthing is a la carte and I would guess €100 for a meal with a couple of glasses of wine. Also, the menu is primarily seafood.
L'Ambroisie is open on a Saturday and as you can only order a la carte, you would just be served what you're hungry for. That's a stunning place to go, if money is no object, and certainly very French/Parisian. There and elsewhere, as a solo lady, you'll probably be treated better than you would in a twosome! The kind of places where you sit at a bar -- Spring, l'Atelier de Joel Robuchon -- might also be pleasant for a solo diner but would be less "French".
Save for Denise, the places you mention are open on saturdays. As is Chez l'Ami Jean, for instance. But for most of them, I wouldn't recommend going not hungry.
In my opinion, fine dining in Paris is unlike anything anywhere else. I think l'Ambroisie is a great idea, if you like what it looks like. I would say, if you have one night and can afford it, it's one of the best bets.
You can also try and find hounds with whom have dinner that night. I believe quite a few will be in town. And hopefully they won't treat you too badly as a solo lady ;-)
I was kind of leaning towards something like l'Ambroisie as it seems pretty sedate and I'm thinking I might want something like that by the end of the week(I know I won't have much opportunity for fine dining with the group!).
I also really like your idea of looking for other hounds! I might have a few meals without the group spread out over that week, once I can confirm the exact nights, I'll definitely post and try to set something up!
ETA: BTW, does anyone have any ideas what the menu might look like at l'Ambroisie in May? I wish I could've gone during the fall/winter for the truffles...
OK, so I've got a little better idea of what my schedule will look like and I don't think I will have too much room to play with. Will be arriving Sunday afternoon, May 1 which is apparently a holiday, does anyone have any suggestions of where to go or what to eat as soon as I arrive? I am scheduled to have dinner around 8 probably but want a light snack or sweets beforehand(maybe around 3-3:30ish?), bakeries, etc. are all fair game. I know it's a weird time PLUS it's Sunday PLUS a holiday, so I'm willing to suck it up and not eat if there's nothing worth having....
Then I have a free Wednesday lunch, but will be having dinner at Hidden Kitchen so I am looking for a light meal earlier, maybe Bellota-Bellota? Would have something like a falafel but I wasn't that impressed with L'as du which is supposed to be the bee's knees, any other suggestions? Is there a good market that day with worthy lunch? I'm fine with bread and cheese or sandwiches if all else fails.
Saturday I still have not decided! Does anyone know how late one can eat at L'Ambroisie? I think my train arrives close to 8pm and I would like to check back into the hotel before heading out to dinner, most likely 9pm.
Greatly appreciate any and all advice!
Another update: L'Ambroisie - booked, not gonna hold my breath for this one.
Does anyone know if Le Cinq accepts walk-ins and what my chances are on a Saturday evening? I'm thinking at this point, I won't be able to get a reservation anywhere great and the time I arrive(8-9pm) will most likely cause me to wait quite a bit of time anywhere. I was thinking of trying to walk-in to either Spring(crazy, I know!), Bellota-Bellota, or LJR. What do you guys think?
Sorry, I meant L'atelier de Joel Robuchon. I figured 9pm is prime dinner eating time especially on a Saturday and I read that they don't accept reservations except for the first seating(which I guess makes sense).
Of the bunch(L'atelier, Le Cinq, Spring, Bellota), how would you guys rank them? This is basically going to be the only dinner(of my own decision) I will be able to have this trip....
Your other three don't seem that comparable amongst each other.
L'Atelier is walk-in only after the first seating and in my experience you could end up waiting a long time to eat, if at all, when showing up around 8-9 pm. By that time you could be quite far down the queue. Although I guess that for a single diner there would be a seating advantage.
Nothing put me off l'ambroisie, they didn't have any reservations available!
I'd still of course prefer something more "French", but Chez Denise(which I would love love love to go to) et al are closed weekends.
OK, I'll just have to wing it and hope that people don't show up or cancel last minute. I'll be giving all of them calls closer to that Saturday....
As my sainted Mother used to say "You're all right."
"I am worn out from searching for a perfect restaurant in Paris..."
So am I. INDEED
I am amazed by the infinite patience of contributors on the France board. Literally, it's the same question every other day, yet contributors keep responding. INDEED
Look at parisbymouth.com and do a search on that site (which you can do by day of the week). INDEED
PS I would add:
Fables de la Fontaine
131, rue Saint-Dominique, 7th (Metro : Ecole Militaire
)T : 01 44 18 37 55
A la carte about 40 €.
22, rue Hector Malo, 12th (Metro: Gare de Lyon)
A la carte about 30 €
Lao Lane Xang 2
102, Ave d’Ivry, 13th (Metro: Tolbiac)
T: 01 58 89 00 00
Lunch menu 10,80 €, 20–25 € à la carte
44, rue Jean Pierre Timbaud, 11th
T : 01.43.57.16.35
Lunch menus 19.50-29.50 €, a la carte 30-35
16-18, place Gaillon, 2nd (Metro: Quatre-Septembre)
Plat de jour 20 €, Lunch Menu 45 €, Menu-carte 67 €.
3, rue des Grands-Degres, 5th (Metro : St Michel, Maubert-Mutualite)
T : 01.44.07.04.24
Lunch menu 13.50 €, dinner a la carte 40-60 €.
re: John Talbott
"I am amazed by the infinite patience of contributors on the France board...Look at parisbymouth.com and do a search on that site."
Even though she has linked to her own blog on Parisbymouth, and Barbra Austin's a hoot and writes well, Parisbymouth's just a fun aggregator, like a hungry Huffington in Paris wannabe.
But I have the impression that some of the bloggers featured on Parisbymouth scour CH, and other, especially French sites, but without crediting them, for many of their "finds" tips and insights.
Parisbymouth's not as repetitive as CH, true, but nor is Francois Simon's site, or the Figaro's, or the the Fooding's. But it's also far less fun, futile, interactive and generous than CH, but more rapacious, and self-referential - re your post. Gotta increase that traffic, eh?