Paris restaurant suggestions in 5th or 6th?
My husband and I will be in Paris July 8-10. Saturday night we are at Chez L'Ami Jean and Sunday night Le Cinq. For Friday I was thinking Les Papilles but they are fully booked.
I am looking for a restaurant within 15- 20 minutes walk (walking would be nice!) or a short metro ride from our hotel. We are staying on Rue Cassette near Rue de Rennes (M Saint- Suplice.) I need a later reservation and prefer something nearby as my husband will be arriving at our hotel at 8:00 pm from a business event. For this meal I prefer either rustic or traditional French cuisine, brasserie etc, but am open to more modern cuisine as long as the food is wonderful (and as long as it still feels like I am in Paris :-). Budget is in the 40-75 E per person range. I have read many of the posts and blogs on the France board but my head is swimming at this point and could use some direction. Thanks!
Went to Machon d'Henri based on chow rec's, found it inedibly bad...started off fine with nice wine and haricots verts as entree but then the plats were doused in cream/butter/cheese....rich French food is nice, this was just gross. Pommes dauphinoise was insta-heart attack gag-reflex of butter and cheese. Salmon was swimming in cream. Side of crunchy endives was soaked through by the offending sauces. Duck confit was forgettable.
Overheard that current owner took over from his father, who I can only guess ran a tighter ship than the son.
I can't fault Henri's pommes dauphinoise, a dish which is most generally off any heart healthy regime.
Last time, perhaps a few months ago, I ordered the roast chicken, which as roast chicken in Paris goes, was not bad. Andouillette here is always good, as is boudin noir with apples and potatoes. The daily white fish offering has always been quite good. Entrecote not bad. Lamb cooked for 7 hours is almost always on the board and is my husband's favorite.
Many of the plates are sauced, as the ardoise indicates, but one can order them, a la American, sauce on the side. In addition, there are many dishes on both the slate or the hardbound carte that are simple preparations. That said, Henri, is a classic workingman's Lyon-style bistrot, and definitely not nouvelle or modern cuisine.
I don't know about a change in owner, however since Henri stays open all year without vacation, there is always a substitute chef in the summer. There is sometimes subtle variation in the cooking under the substitute, but for the most part there is no difference in style.
While I put little faith in Trip Adviser, I just noted that every writer gave Henri a 4 or 5 out of 5. Not foodie food, but old fashioned French food.
Parigi, John and Oakglen--thank you all for your wonderful (and fast!) responses. I'll let you know where I end up and will definitely do a "restaurant report" when I return.
Suggestion 1: Lilane on the rue Gracieuse off the place Monge. Although it might be a wee bit too close to the very touristy "La Mouffe" area, it is an authentically very French bistro with a light touch. But polished rather than cutesy so maybe you might not get the vibe you are looking for. Getting there from the rue Cassette will be part of the pleasure: just hop on the #89 bus from the rue Vaugirard (I think that the stop is just after the rue Madame) to Lycée Henri IV/ rue Clovis behind the Panthéon and then walk down the rue Descartes, maybe stopping at the place Contrescarpe for an apéro, and then the rue Mouffetard to rue Ortolan to the place Monge.
Suggestion 2: Josephine/ Chez Dumonet at the blvd Montparnasse end of the rue Cherche-Midi. And the #89 bus from the rue Vaugirard to the place 18 juin 1940 gets you there in minutes. After dinner, wander up the blvd Montparnasse to the Café Select for a digestif and peoplewatching on the terrace. A perfect Parisien evening.
Near Rue Mouffetard, is La Truffiere, had one of the best wine pairings ever, was taken by other wine guys and is respected in the wine bus as having unusual and neat stuff.
Patricia Wells wrote a book in 1999 called "Food Lovers Guide to Paris" She reviewed cafes,bistros and restaurnats all up and down the scale. Around that time we went to Paris and found it very useful (We ate at Ze Kitchen Gallerie before it got a Michelin star and was somewhat afforadable) I know the book may be a bit dated by now, but for an all round food guide you might want to look at it.
Ze Kitchen Gallerie
4 Rue des Grands Augustins, Paris, Île-de-France 75006, FR
Thanks for everyone's suggestions. Here's where we ended up for dinners in both Paris and Provence:
Le Bon Saint Porcain
By myself, had the cassoulet--excellent. The cold vegetable terrine before and the cheese after were average. A charming place.
Charming busy atmosphere. Salads, tartare, entrocote, lamb. Good but more or less average cuisine. However, the location for us was perfect as we needed to be close to our hotel that evening and loved being right in the middle of all the night time action.
Overall great dinner--the wait staff had some attitude, but to be honest I had some fun with it and gave it right back--and as usual, humor works in most languages and we all got along famously.
- Appetizer--hard salami, bread, their pot cheese like spread
- Wild mushroom saute--really wonderful
- Mains, suckling pig with apples, veal chop
- Dessert- the de rigueur rice pudding---AMAZING. Any clue how this texture and flavor is arrived at...?
Le Cinq- the big dinner splurge
-Tasting course with wines for me (husband doesn't drink). Amazing dinner in the most stunning room with incredible service. Chef substituted the shellfish courses for me (allergic) with some great choices. Most courses were exceptional and the overall experience was stellar. Because it was summer there were many vegetable based courses--and no foie gras, which I honestly didn't miss due to the inventiveness of the cuisine. The cheese cart contained the most amazing wheel of gorgonzola that had been "affinois-ed" with a special honey. Honestly, I could have taken a bath in it--it was so large a wheel and incredibly tasty. Served to you on a spoon. My only regret is that it wasn't a bigger spoon! Great chocolate desserts and at the end of the day the whole thing seemed like over a dozen courses. Expensive but actually less than comparable dinners we have had at the French Laundry (for example....)
- We did a wonderful food tour of the Marais with Meg Zimbeck, editor of Paris By Mouth -- http://parisbymouth.com . (This was through Context Travel, my all time favorite tour company.) Meg is darling, has extensive knowledge on both the Paris food scene and all my favorite Parisian food groups--cheese, bread and chocolate. We ended up at a terrific chocolatier-- Jacques Genin-- stuffing our faces with napoleons and praline mille feuilles filled al a minute. The best part was watching an older gentleman at the next table consume his pastry with a reverence most people reserve for church and new born babies. I love Paris.
- Also did a food tour with Carolin Young the previous day on the history and culinary traditions of Les Halles and the surrounding area. Equally enjoyable. Best souvenir--beautiful wooden spoon from Dehillerin.
Bistro Decouverte- St. Remy
- Ate there several times, wonderful fresh food, great wine. Salads, cheeses, provencal tarts, beef from the Camargue with incredible flavor. Husband fell in love with a strawberry pistachio mousse dessert. I loved their wine list and the quality of all ingredients, including the olive oil served in lovely perfume like bottles.
Grain du Sel- St Remy
Delicious but one of those places that gives you way to much food. Wattled out of the restaurant. Great beef--husband's entree was a beef fois gras overkill--beef topped with foie gras, foie gras sauce accompanied by a foie gras mousse. Also served with sauteed peppers and onions and a salad--all on one HUGE plate. Not exactly my dining style but everything tasted wonderful.
Mas de Cornud- St Remy
Stayed here for our six nights in Provence. Wonderful, well run inn, great owners. Had a lovely dinner one evening with the hosts David and Nito and their extended family. Great puff pastry based appetizers over a game of petanque. Nito, the chef, served a Provencal goat cheese tart, excellent duck breast with a risotto and green beens, and a fabulous cheese course, including an amazing fleur de maquis (sheep's cheese in herbal wrap). Nice strawberry dessert. A delightful meal and evening with great company in a beautiful setting.
Bistro A Cote- Arles
One of my favorite meals of the trip. Started out with wonderful Iberian pata negra ham, great bread, incredibly flavorful almond gazpacho with a touch of chive and sesame oil. Husband had an amazing seafood platter. I had cod covered by a layer of chorizo over a celery veloute napped with a very light orange tomato based sauce. The flavors were spot on and a great combination. Dessert was a berry tart with rustic short crust. We had a great time and loved watching the chef slice the pata negra ham on a beautiful Wismer red enamel meat slicer.
Thanks again to all the posters on Chowhound for great suggestions.
I meant that an equally outstanding dinner with close to the same level of quality, quantity and type of cuisine (in this case the French Laundry--albeit that is in a somewhat less formal setting with fewer wait staff) cost us more money--about 25% more. So in comparison, Le Cinq was a better financial value, as well as an amazingly fabulous dinner.
As for CLJ rice pudding, that texture comes from folding in whipped cream after the pudding cools. It makes for a "lighter" version compared to La Regalade's, the other "best" rice pudding in Paris IMO. I love them both.
Thanks for the report. We'll do only one real splurge meal for our next trip and it's hard to not return to Le Cinq (we've already been twice) as opposed to somewhere new. It really does seem to be the best value for that kind of food and service. Niether Guy Savoy nor Rostang even came close.