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Almost afraid to ask - Another "Restaurants in Paris" input post

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I've been reading this board for over a month now, read all the restaurant posts (okay it feels like all the posts but I'm sure not all of them). . . . . . and am a little apprehensive about posting this question . . . you all are a rough crowd for new comers to CH (just saying - don't mean to detract from my real reason for posting).

I feel like I have an incredibly long list of places to eat while in Paris from the boards. My husband and I will be there for 3 days next week. I love food, he lived in Paris as a child, and this is a quick "food" trip. Three days to eat and enjoy Paris with a museum thrown in to help digest. Our preference is for local (as local as one can be in the heart of Paris) "family" owned type restaurants but it being Paris after all, sometimes you have to throw in a "big name" now and again - and this is a "birthday" present trip. So we are venturing away from that preference a little.

Here are our reservations - I just feel that if I don't ask for opinions/suggestions I may regret not having asked . . . . (read the nerves coming through).

Thursday Dinner: Spring - after its recent bashing on here I'm a little worried about this one. Sounds like we may have missed the "heyday"

Friday Dinner: L'Atelier (Saint Germain) - Hardly family/local I know, and I have read all the mixed reviews of Joel Robuchon in general but I'm curious about this one.

Saturday Dinner: We were going to find Steak Frittes somewhere either Bistro Paul Bert or Relais de l'Entrecôte - maybe . . . .

The rest of the day will likely be filled with finding pastry/bread/etc as we walk the streets . . . . heading to Sacre Coeur one day for sure - it was under scaffolding last time we were there.

Are we making any huge mistakes? Any places we should add for lunch given the dinner reservations? (We were thinking of just showing up at L'Comptoir one day for lunch to see if we get in . . . )

I wish we could eat everywhere you all have posted about but life is short and our stay in Paris is even shorter! I'll do my best to post how it all goes as well - though I am not sure i can be as complete and insightful as many of you are - I'll try my best!

Thanks!

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  1. You are not making a huge mistake with Spring and Joël Robuchon. They are still an exceptional inventive experience. You will enjoy yourselves.
    All your other picks are fine.
    You may be making a huge mistake with Sacré Coeur. All that scaffolding hides a very ugly place with no soul, surrounded by portraitists who double up as barkers. Check out the non-touristy side of Montmartre instead: rue Lepic, rue Durantin, rue Burq, Avenue Junot, Bateau Lavoir, Avenue Junot, allée des Brouillards, rue des Abbesses where you can pick from 2 boulangeries that got the best baguette award.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      Thank you for your generous response and I'm glad we aren't making any mistakes.

      The 2 boulangeries are already on the list to do when we are out that way! And thanks for the other areas to explore. My husband remembers Sacré Coeur fondly from his childhood so I may not be able to get out of that one. Compromises . . . .

      Thanks again!

      1. re: Parigi

        Parigi -- you and I think alike. After reading the original post, before I read your reply, I was planning on writing a response that exactly mimicked yours!

      2. I agree with Parigi on all counts. The buzz that Spring was receiving verged on the ridiculous so some backlash was inevitable, but I was there last month and was most impressed. A tip: if your budget allows, get the wine pairings. They work with some really innovative winegrowers and it's one of their particular strengths, IMO. I checked out Robuchon's new Atelier at the Etoile Drugstore in April and enjoyed it tremendously; it's been a while since I was at the one in the 7th but they tend to be pretty consistent. Le Comptoir for lunch without booking is totally doable, especially on the late side.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Rebecca48

          Will definitely do the wine pairings! Thanks for the tip!

        2. Relais de l'Entrecôte in Paris, is the quality much different than the one in NYC?
          I've been to the one in NYC and didn't like it at all but hopefully, it's better in Paris?

          4 Replies
          1. re: Monica

            The NYC outlet is second rate, according to our family, but it is still going to be a relatively cheap cut of beef. The positives relate to price and service efficiency. For more $$ you can do much better. Your call..

            1. re: Oakglen

              For more $ I can do better in Paris or NYC . . . I'm open for suggestions . . . . (I know it may not sound that way based on my post, but I'm a firm believer in "don't ask the questions if you don't want to hear the answers" - so any suggestions or changes are welcome) . . . .

              1. re: thimes

                l always repeat myself, but for 130 euros at L'Ami Louis, yeh, yeh, yeh, l know, you will get a Cotes du Boeuf for two, really three that is my fav beef dish in the world. Comes with frites, constantly being replaced, and a potato galette, which is just amazing.

                1. re: thimes

                  Thimes,

                  Your list is terrific. During my March visit, my wife and I loved Spring (with wine pairings), had a great time at Joel Robuchon (rive gauche) and had no trouble getting into Le Comptoir at lunch -- joined the line at 11:40am.

                  Two thoughts: L'Avant Comptoir was even more fun for lunch than Le Comptoir proper. Menu on the ceiling. Communal bread, Breton butter and fleur de sel. Just kept ordering till we were full. Glasses of chilled Morgon from the house magnum were wonderful. Also,

                  your husband's search for steak could be achieved at Joel Robuchon. The local grandfather and his teenage granddaughter next to us at the bar shared magnificent steaks and frites while we had the tasting menu. Although ours was great, their's looked more fun - a meat eaters fantasy. I wasn't aware that L'Atelier had that option. We vowed to try it next time.

                  Have a great trip!

            2. I swear there was another post in here that I saw earlier today that someone must have deleted - or more likely in my excitement about the trip I am confusing boards and posts . . . .

              I swear someone posted something about a little museum by Sacre Coeur that was worth going to and often missed . . . . it sounded lovely but now I can't find where it was mentioned . . . . and Parigi - on another post I think you mentioned a lunch spot on rue Abbesses that I can't find the post for anymore (Coquelicot maybe?) - alas I may not be cut out for this meal planning on vacation thing, too much pressure to get it right . . .

              9 Replies
              1. re: thimes

                "I may not be cut out for this meal planning on vacation thing, too much pressure to get it right"

                Please don't stress. We traveled and ate for decades before the internet made it easy for us to become neurotic about our nightly choices. I can still taste some humble but exquisite mouthfuls in sketchy looking dining rooms in country Greece and alleys in urban Italy that just sang to us as we walked by..

                So, please enjoy wherever you wind up, and please also report back so the rest of us can share your joys vicariously.

                1. re: mangeur

                  Mangeur,
                  Your post should be the mantra for Chowhounders. Thanks for saying it so well.

                2. re: thimes

                  Thimes, I've been reading this board in preparation for an upcoming trip and feeling the same anxiety as you!

                  Thanks for the reassurance, mangeur.

                  1. re: thimes

                    Perhaps one of these?
                    http://www.chow.com/search?query=sacr...

                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                      Thank you for the list CH team - my shaky memory leads me to think someone edited their original post for whatever reason and the recommendation is no longer there. But several others on this post have made suggestions that sound equally as exciting. I'm also working through your compilation and making notes for a last minute flurry of note taking!

                    2. re: thimes

                      I don't recall the post about the museum (though someone did recommend Coquelicot, which I can second), but the Musée de Montmartre in rue Cortot is well worth a visit. The Espace Dali verges on tourist trap unless you are really really into his work.

                      I meant to mention that the Moulin de la Galette restaurant, whose culinary ups and downs over the years would look like an EKG graph, seems to be on an up lately, and offers a reasonably priced set lunch.

                      Finally, while in the vicinity of Sacré Coeur, don't miss the original 12th C abbey church next door, St Pierre de Montmartre, one of the oldest in Paris.

                      1. re: Rebecca48

                        I did recommend Coquelicot. Not life-changing food, but a good bite nevertheless.
                        I wonder if the museum could have been Gustave Moreau - which is in the nearby 9th and not in the 18th. The Musée de la vie romantique in the 9th is another lovely stop.

                        1. re: Rebecca48

                          Ah that is it - Musee de Montmartre, I recognize the website. Thank you for the recommendation - good little lunch spots, award winning baguettes, small museums, and an old abbey - sounds like the trip to Sacre Coeur could be lovely!

                          Thank you so much everyone!

                          1. re: thimes

                            Yes to all, - lunch spots, baquettes, museums, old abbey - but not the ugly parvenue Sacré Coeur !

                      2. In Montmartre we go often to a friendly, family-run cafe called Au Bon Coin at 9 rue des Cloys. It's old-fashioned and lovely.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Cookingthebooks

                          Go there for the wine, there are some really cheap and surprisingly good and original wines at this place !
                          However the food is just average in my opinion, not bad but nothing worth mentioning on Chowhound...

                        2. Thanks again everyone for you gracious responses, for encouraging me to relax about the whole thing, and for the compilation of links CH-team.

                          I guess I shouldn't have been so nervous about posting to this board ;)

                          So excited, I've always loved Paris and can't wait to get back.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: thimes

                            No reason to be nervous. The less than welcoming/enthusiastic responses are reserved for posts that go "flying to PAree this pm omg!!! love me some FRANCH FOOD lol! what are the best restaurants??? help me quick" or "I know perfectly well that this question has been asked and answered 6000 times already, but I am a special snowflake, hear my song: What is a macaroon and where can I buy one in Paris?"

                            You gave us an idea of your tastes, timeline, budget, the "goals" of your trip, and your game plan based on the research you'd already done. Perfect. If anything, your plan was already too well thought-out and there's hardly anything left for us to do but wish you a great trip and look forward to reading your reports!

                            1. re: DeppityDawg

                              Hear hear !