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Restaurant in Paris, wishlist

Me and my wife are going to Paris in April 2012. I know many of the best dinner experiences are made by just walking around and discover local restaurants without any research (maybe based on recommondation by the hotel). However with all the restaurants in Paris I would also like to book at least one dinner well in advance, based on info on CH:)

I have looked through many topics on this website, but since we have quite a few wishes I was hoping someone could guide me a bit more.

This is our wishlist in prioritiesed order (will give more detalis on the various items below the list):
1. Romantic setting
2. Good, friendly service to non French speaking guests
3. Very good food, with emphasis on meat
4. Walking distance from Hotel Petit Paris (close to Jardin du Luxembourg)

1. Romantic setting for us is a beautiful dining room or beautiful view from the dining room. We prefer a bit of space between the tables/other diners which I understand will rule out places like L'Ami Jean.
2. None of us speak a word French and it is important that this is not a problem at dinner. Been to Florimond earlier and they treated us very well. But understand this is not the case in all places so would for instance rule out Le Pavillon de la Grande Cascade. I also belive this can limit the places in which we may be able to book a table (like Frenchie)?
3. Of course we would like the food to stand out, but it does not need to be a three star (or any star) restaurant. Been to Noma in Copenhagen and allthough this restaurant fits my first two "criterias" the food I felt was not good value. Too much vegetables/flowers and fish, and very little meat. I can appreciate some fish courses (for instance as starters) but also like to have meat as the main part of the meal. Would like to try very good classical French food but we are not very fond of either cheese or fois gras (now you are starting to wonder why we want to eat at a French restaurant at all:)
4. We enjoy the possibility to walk to and from the restaurant, so if there are any choices that you feel covers the first three criterias and in addition are within walking distance from our hotel please tell. However this is the least important thing so if you have other suggestions that you feel better fits our wishes but are not in walking distance, please tell me this as well.

Would Les Papilles be an option?

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  1. For your 4 conditions, you can look on on this board the reviews of:
    - Les Papilles
    - Le Réminet.

    Les Papilles is especially well known for its meat dishes, but Le Réminet is not for vegetarians either. :-)

    "I know many of the best dinner experiences are made by just walking around and discover local restaurants without any research (maybe based on recommondation by the hotel). "

    Excuse me, that is insane.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Parigi


      Maybe I should rephrase or explain the part you find insane:)

      Going to Noma I had read a lot on the web so when I finally got there it did not feel as "new and exciting" as it probably would have had i stumbled upon it. Maybe also because I ordered the 12 course menu and got the 7 course so some of the dishes I had been looking forward to based on the research were missing which was disappointing.

      Also when in Paris last time we went to Le Florimond based on its then nr. 1 ranking at TripAdvisor. It was a good meal but maybe the expectations were to high for it to be a true great dining experience. Actually had a better time at the small restaurant Chez Pierrot which decided to eat at based on the hotel suggestions.

      I feel that walking around in a great city like Paris with your wife and dine at a place you choose spontaneously can be a very romantic and a good dining experience. It becomes sort of "your" place. However I do understand you have to be very lucky with your choice and that food quality probably would not be the only thing to determine that the dinner experience were great. So in order to make sure we get one great experience I do this research and get your very welcommed suggestions of Les Papilles and Le Rèminet:)

      1. re: Norwegian

        The problem with wandering around Paris to find that great bistro is that Paris bistros look so good. They exude that classic romantic vision that many have of the perfect restaurant; unfortunately in many cases this is form over substance. There is a lot of bad, overpriced food in Paris that is beautifully packaged in a lovely romantic venue.

        The other problem is that with a finite number of good places serving hordes or ravenous food tourists in Paris. It (+Rome) is probably the city mst people who visit are determined to eat well in (look at the number of posts on this board) so there is a lot of competition to get a seat at a good table, and like Rome the locals like good food as well and compete for the same tables. So if you don't book, bagging a good meal is a real lottery, in other cities it is less of an issue so slightly easier to take a chance.

        As for hotel recommendations I rarely get good ones. Some say the concierges are in the pay of restaurants, but I think there is a more practical reason. The concierge doesn't know you so always plays safe and recommends something that won't offend - safe and boring.

        One question: when you went to Noma and you ordered a 12 course meal why did you let them serve you a 7 course meal?

        My recommendation: Maceo - it may not seem close but it is a pleasant walk across the river and it will be a nice stroll after the meal.

        1. re: PhilD

          Regarding Noma, we got so many extra courses that I did not really think it was the 7 course meal and not the 12 course meal. You do not expect that type of error from this restaurant. Only when the bill arrived did I realize and understand why some dishes were missing that I had expected (but since menu changes from time to time I just thought they had been replaced).

        2. re: Norwegian

          No one ever "stumbles upon" Noma. :-)
          It is one of those restaurants that must be reserved way in advance.
          And from what I read, I get the distinct impression that people go there more for a novel experience and secondarily for the food.

          Tripadvisor is one big generic review site. Not even its hotel reviews are all that reliable. And one must remember that many travelers who write the restaurant reviews are not necessarily specifically food-focused or particularly experienced diners. Their reviews are listed alongside well-researched "food tourists" like many regular chowhounds, which makes the general rating a bit iffy.
          And those superlatives ! "The best dining experience of Paris", "the best restaurant of France", they are not even the best of that arrondissement !

          1. re: Norwegian

            If you don't speak any French but manage just by walking into local restaurants I don't think your "must speak English" condition really counts!

          2. re: Parigi

            (I'm not talking about hotel recommendations)

            When you are visiting a city (country) for the first time; you sometime stumble into a restaurant and you have the "best meal ever", just because it fits the moment and the mood of the time; it might not be the best culinary experience, but can be the best foodie experience.

            It happened to me in Spain; I've had couple of nice meals just by walking and entering into small restaurants and tapas bars without overly thinking about it.

          3. We ate at Les Papilles last spring and loved it. We just made online reservations to eat there again in October. You can email in English and the owner will email you right back with confirmation of your date and time. Very convenient for a wonderful meal.

            1. Your wish list of 1 to 4 is quite specific. Chances of walking around spontaneously around Hotel Petit Paris in the 5th and finding something that satisfy the first three is practically nil. You will more likely eat among the students of the Sorbonne. Bringing back the remembrance of university days might be romantic but it would not have a beautiful dining room or beautiful view from it.

              24 Replies
              1. re: PBSF

                I know and that is why I highly appreciate any input on where to go.

                As stated in the original post item 4 is not that important so would very much like input on restaurants in other areas of Paris as well that you really feel matches nr 1-3 on my list.

                1. re: Norwegian

                  Walking home after dinner is indeed a luxury.
                  But you will find Paris very walkable. For example, you can easily walk home from St Germain.

                  Since you do not speak French, then do try to be more adventurous diners. Don't expect good bistros to have an English menus. In fact, places with English menus are often suspect. Chez l'Ami Jean is one of very few exceptions of a good restaurant with an English menu. Some waiters speak English, but again, don't expect all of them to. Your solution is:
                  - to enjoy your occasion in Paris and try everything on the menu;
                  - and learn the food vocabulary. There are no more than 30 words to learn, no biggie. I learn those 30 words for whichever country I visit. It helps immensely if one can ask the waiter: "what are the specialties" and understand the gist , or at least the nouns, in the answers, LOL
                  - or bring with you a food glossary, which you can find online or buy. Many guidebooks have such a section.

                  The staff at Frenchie speaks English excellently, from the chef to the lone waiter. That is, once you're there. Its phone problems are pathetic. I recently ended up walking there to knock on its door to confirm a reservation on behalf of a hound, LOL.

                  "Been to Noma in Copenhagen and allthough this restaurant fits my first two "criterias" the food I felt was not good value. Too much vegetables/flowers and fish, and very little meat"

                  if a set menu is fish-oriented instead of meat-oriented, it does not mean it is bad value. A lot of seafood is more expensive than meat. Isn't it that way in your country?
                  Les Papilles, which I recommended above, has a carnivorous traditional cuisine in a lovely setting, and is very near where you are staying. But after a meal there, you actually need a much longer walk. :-) I don't remember if the waitstaff speaks English.
                  Le Réminet is more romantic, but admittedly I don't know any more what romantic means for others. The waitstaff speaks English.
                  Aux Fins Gourmets and Le Machon d'Henri in nearby St Germain are very much meat-oriented and traditional. I don't remember the English proficiency there. Le Machon d'Henri is small and intimate, with tables close together. Severo is the meat temple and is not far either.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    Thanks again Parigi.

                    I would like to to give some more info on my items 2 and 3 because I think it gives a bit wrong impression of what I mean.

                    Regarding my item nr 2. I have no problem being an adventurous diner and really do not need a menu in english. I am happy to try either a set menu or what the waiter recommends. If the waiter has some knowledge of english and can explain the main parts of the choices that would be great, but as you say I could also either bring a food glossary or learn the basics before we travel. The main concern for me is that in some restaurants it seems that the fact that the diner does not speak French (either very well or at all) can reduce the quality of the service or the atmosphere. I only put up this item to rule out the restaurants where you know this might be the case.

                    Regarding item 3. I do not need a T-bone steak or a meal only consisting of meat (or a meat temple). But if it is a set menu I would prefer meat over fish as the main course. Regarding Noma I think only 1 of the 7 courses contained meat. When I say value I mean for me, not depending on the price of the raw material. I understand fish is more expensive than meat.

                    I understand Le Cinq is tha favourite of many on this forum. How would it compare to my list and Les Papilles? And recall item 1 is most important (I understand Romance is a very individual but hope my original post give a bit more info on what I mean by Romance), than 2 and so on.

                    1. re: Norwegian

                      Le Cinq is in a class by itself. The recommndations on this thread are good bistros near your location.

                      1. re: Norwegian

                        About Les Papilles, keep in mind that it is an exceptionally crowded restaurant. You will be eating cheek by jowl with other diners. It thus may or may not fit your criterion of romantic. They do speak English and are very courteous to non-French speakers. Another thing to keep in mind is that the menu has no choices and is not written out. They bring and you eat. The food is hearty and enjoyable, if generally lacking finesse.

                        About Le Cinq, I am in the minority: I did not have a high-quality meal there. The service is excellent. It may just have been an off day for them.

                        1. re: wea74

                          Thank you for your input. I think we will enjoy Les Papilles as long as we know what to expect with regards to crowding and type of food.

                          As you did not have the best meal in Le Cinq, what place would you recommend to suit our wishes? And if we were looking for something between Le Cinq and Les Papilleswith regards to type of place but still with our wishlist in mind?

                        2. re: Norwegian

                          I'm surprised that L'Ami Louis was not mentioned, but it should be included. L'Ami Jean and Regalade and Les Papilles are probably good options as well. If you need a few other suggestions, I can recommend another 3 or 4 'French comfort food' restaurants where you willl get excellent quality, large portions and great meat dishes. Let me know if you have a preference for steak, pork, chicken or lamb.

                          As mentioned here, most French bistros are not worth visiting if you want quality food. In point of fact, I think that the majority of restaurants in Paris are not worth visiting if you have a discerning palate and like well-prepared quality food. Of course, there are great restaurants, but it really depends on what you like. There are a lot of great chefs serving 'gourmet' cuisine. There are a number of restaurants that do a very good job with comfort cuisine. But there are way too many restaurants that put out a product that is poor. The words overcooked, dry, tasteless, not fresh and blah come to mind.

                          Having said that, if you are thrilled with the city, town, forest or lake that you are visiting, a plate of rice and beans could be one of the best meals of your life.

                          1. re: Buzzy2

                            Buzzy2, I am sorry you have had such dismal experiences with food in restaurants in Paris. I wonder what your criteria are for "delicious, well prepared food."

                            And whose restaurant recommendations you are following.

                            1. re: ChefJune

                              If you want to understand my POV, please look at some of my posts. You will find a lot of details regarding my criteria amongst them. As to the recommendations that I follow, they are from many, many sources. I look to those on Chowhound that appear to have first hand knowledge. For example, when it comes to ethnic food, I look for those that either grew up in the cultures that produced the food or those that have enough experience to impress me with their comments. I also have many friends that are chefs in many parts of the world and from many cultural backgrounds, so I look to them for advice. I also read dozens of books on food every year as well as thousands of articles. I watch many TV shows on food and cooking. I cook, I have owned restaurants and I have worked as a chef, so I know the difference between properly and improperly prepared food in many cases, especially when it comes to fish. The term 'delicious' is of course, subjective, but I don't apologize for my opinions.

                              In Paris, I experienced tough meat, overcooked fish, marginal French fries, frozen product when I expected fresh and other disappointments. One respected Chowhound contributor whom I enjoy reading recommended a bistro that I was not impressed by and suggested that my expectations were too high. Perhaps they are, but I would rather go to a cheap bistro and have a very good pizza or crepe than overcooked, previously frozen fish. I don't care where the restaurant is or how famous or how gourmet - I just want quality - fresh ingredients that are not overcooked, undercooked or otherwise mishandled. I'm opinionated - and proud of it. LOL

                              1. re: Buzzy2

                                Clearly we have eaten in completely different restaurants in Paris, and definitely at different times. I too have very high standards, and I've had no trouble finding reasonably priced places in Paris that meet them.

                                1. re: ChefJune

                                  I have to agree with Buzzy. After living in Paris for 1 year, I'm very much looking forward to returning to the US. Too many places in Paris serve frozen food. We discovered that you can not just pop in to a local place and expect a good meal. I've come to recognize the signs of a frozen food purveyor - the menu is exactly the same at every restaurant! We were warned off of Chinese and Indian because we were told the quality would not be up to par with the US or UK, but eventually we started frequenting ethnic places because at least we knew the food would be fresh!! In all honesty, the best meals we have had have generally been outside of Paris. You can eat well in Paris if you have the income to go to great places every time you go out, but there is no such thing as quality, cheap eats in Paris. We traveled to Paris frequently before we came here, but living here is a different animal. It was better 10-15 years ago, I think.

                                  1. re: perduinparis

                                    What a disapointing experience - did you follow many recomendations from here?

                                    I lived in Paris for a few years and generally ate very well, great fresh produce in shops and lots of wonderful restaurants. And like any town you would be a fool to simply pick the closest local place, a litte research and travel (walk, bus and metro) pays hansome dividends, in Paris as it does where ever you may live. We did not eat out daily but a few times a week were affordable and didn't break the bank, and yes it was fresh and interesting. That said Europe is expensive so if coming from the US you need to adjust your price paradigm.

                                    1. re: PhilD

                                      PhilD, you were probably responding to Perdu and not to my earlier comment, but just in case I was wrong, I want to chime in. First, I absolutely agree about the great produce in some of the shops. My disappointment was with restaurants. I visited many, many great food shops while I was in Paris last year and I was rarely disappointed. Second, I noted in my earlier comment that one of the bistros that was recommended to me here was serving frozen food and was, IMHO, not good overall. I absolutely used Chowhound frequently and tried to discern those recommendations which were supported by several people whose comments I respected as opposed to the monotype recommendation (one and only one.) I avoided the higher end restaurants because I've always eaten at those in the past and this time I wanted to live in Paris like a local as much as possible. I had some very nice meals as I have documented elsewhere, but overall I was disappointed. I even ended up with a case of food poisoning during my stay. I had much better food, on average, in Nice and Barcelona later in the year. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed eating cooked food in La Boqueria and I ate there as often as possible during my short time in Barcelona.

                                      it's one man's opinion, that's all, but it's mine.

                                      1. re: Buzzy2

                                        "during my stay. I had much better food, on average, in Nice and Barcelona later in the year."

                                        Those cities should be disqualified ! It's not fair to compare with those 2 fiendish food towns. :-)

                                      2. re: PhilD

                                        We read Chowhound, Le Fooding, and other books in both French and English. We've lived in NY and LA so we are used to paying at all prices ranges for good food. It got to the point that we had so many disappointing experiences that we would not leave the house without fully vetting a place to eat!!

                                        I really feel that the UK and France have switched places - the UK used to be bad (my husband is a Brit and I've going back with him for over 20 years) and France was good for food, now it's the other way around.

                                        It's ironic that some of the best places I've been to in Paris have been run by American chefs!

                                        1. re: perduinparis

                                          Honestly, most of what you state is just not possible.
                                          London does not top food in Paris in quality, overall. In any way, really. And if you have no problem paying in London, then Paris(which is surely more than NY and LA) should not bother you so much.
                                          And if you vetted everything 3x over, none of the many 'bests' mentioned on this site and your other sources serve frozen food. That is a fact.
                                          You should name everywhere you went that was terrible. I do not doubt there are many, many but they are irrelevant and easily avoided.Personally, I do not care if 90% of the restaurants are poor, if there are 50 that is more than enough. In NY, I think the number I would consider eating in is maybe 50. That includes where I have been or would try and the number is generous. Stating that food in Paris is sub par is pure nonsense. It is certainly not worse than NY if you are gleaning from this site. And I wish that were not the case.I am in NY more often. Yes, Paris is very expensive and I can see that stinging on the everyday. But there is a difference between that attribute and the quality. And if you just 'walk in' in NY without a care, the food is certainly not fresh and fab. The best places run by American chefs in Paris? What count is that among the top 50 or 100? It sounds to me as if you went to bad restaurants(your own fault, how you managed it with so many guides, I am not sure) and do not like the prices or maybe there are other factors that rub you the wrong way. You compare to eating in La Boqueria which is certainly a different animal. Maybe if you bought some cooked choices in the better Parisian markets, you would have a better comp. It seems that when you were spending 30,50 or more euros on a poor meal, you were definitely not liking it as much as spending 10 euros in La Boqueria. And I am a big Barca fan(though not the football club). I just think it is a disservice spreading this misinformation, that's all.

                                          1. re: dietndesire

                                            Dear Dietndesire,

                                            You are confusing comments from different people. You should review again which people made which comments. I will address your thoughts as they pertain to some of mine, and I will add a comment regarding NY.

                                            'Good food' means many things to many people. I have tried to make it clear that for me, it can be anything from a hot dog or a crepe to a 3 star restaurant meal. I have also stated that having eaten food prepared by dozens of the top chefs in the world (3 stars or whatever) I am now more interested in local specialties and 'ethnic' food. Thus, for me, a 10 euro lunch at a stand in La Boqueria can qualify as one of the best meals of the year. Of course, since this is purely subjective, I admit that my love for Barcelona may have influenced my perception, but not unduly.

                                            I also stated that I was very pleased with most of the food purchased in Paris specialty stores and many markets including farmer's markets and La Grand Épicerie. It wasn't all great, but overall it was very good with a few outstanding experiences.

                                            You asked me to name every spot that was terrible. I have documented many of my disappointments in other submissions to this board, but I will mention some again that come to mind at the moment. I had poor experiences at some of the restaurants recommended here such as Les Deux Stations, Le Dome, Cafe le Nemours and Tsukizi.

                                            Now as for NY vs. Paris, I will limit myself to stating my belief that in the category of 'ethnic' food (not traditional American fare) NY has it all over Paris. Clearly Paris has pretty good ethnic fare, such as French (!) and some of the French colonies. However, in general, I found Asian food in Paris to be disappointing. Chine Massena served me the toughest Peking Duck I have had in many years and several other items were just passable. Although I enjoed Lao-Lane Xang it didn't blow me away and the nearby Le Lotus (LLX was quoting a two hour wait the first time I went there) served me a pho with very tough meat. I think that NY has more non-US restaurants that cater to locals and visitors from these cultures. And then, of course, there's the matter of pizza. 'nuff said.

                                            Finally, regarding Perduinparis' comments, I can only say that I love Fergus Henderson and I love his restaurant, St. John. I have never had a bad dish there. I can't possibly generalize beyond that.

                                            1. re: Buzzy2

                                              Buzz - I really think you either chose badly or were unlucky. Over our week at Christmas we had good food at every meal, and as far as I can tell none of it frozen. I am intrigued that you list three recommendations from here "Les Deux Stations, Le Dome, Cafe le Nemours and Tsukizi." that are not really regular recommendations or recommendations with much collective support. None of them made my A, B or Z list.

                                              I do agree with your assessment of non-French food. I find it average at best and whilst I ate it when there (you need a change once in awhile) nothing ever excited me. I think you and I are in a minority though.

                                              I also find some of Perdu's comments quite odd. I agree London is a lot better than it used to be but it is far more patchy than Paris. I found London's mid range could be a real lottery whilst in Paris it was reasonably reliable. That said Perdu's comment about fully researching a place to eat before venturing out is spot on. There are lots of great looking places selling below average food - but that does apply to anywhere these days Barcelona and Nice included

                                              1. re: PhilD

                                                Hi Phil, thanks for the comments. I was definitely unlucky, but that doesn't change the fact that the food was sub-par. Keep in mind that I was not looking to go to the typical restaurants recommended here (le Cinq???) since the A list (and the B list) was not what I was interested in. However, these restaurants were recommended here in their categories (bistro, seafood, casual lunch and Japanese non-fusion.) And keep in mind that I did have some nice meals at other locations that were recommended. I was living in Paris for months, not visiting for a few days, so I wanted to experience more casual venues, such as bistros. I was also located near Porte d'Auteuil which influenced some of my choices.

                                                I notice that you have stated that there is a lot of bad, overpriced food in Paris, so I know that at some level you agree with me. :)

                                                I don't want to beat a dead horse, no French meat puns intended, and I don't want to suggest that all the food in Paris is bad. At the top there are some truly great restaurants. In specialty shops and markets you can find awesome food. I just expected a trickle down effect on casual restaurants that I didn't experience. At home my meals of choice are primarily Asian, and Asian food in Paris was another source of disappointment, but I didn't come to Paris to eat Asian food. However, it does express a bias which I freely admit to.

                                                Here's one difference between us. Over your week at Christmas did you search out great examples of street food? That was one of MY priorities. LOL

                                                BTW, have you tried St. John in London?

                                                1. re: Buzzy2

                                                  Street food in Paris? Not something I consider a strong option in Paris. The culture is all about sitting down and enjoying food and relaxing so i don't think the locals are that keen on it, as a result it is very limited and to my knowkedge not worth seeking out.

                                                  If you wen after street food do you think you may have targetted the wrong style of food in Paris? Place like au Passage are cheap, fresh and funcky and are probably the equivilant of thr street food scene in other countries (i.e. similar demographic).

                                                  As to St John - yes eaten there since the early days. Good but now bores me and now far from the good value it used to be.

                                2. re: Norwegian

                                  Le Cinq was my birthday gift to my boyfriend, and it was truly a treat for myself too. My boyfriend said it was like two kids being spoiled.

                                3. re: Parigi

                                  Parigi, I am totally with you re: learning some French. So many food techniques, dishes, etc. are French anyway, it is not very hard to order in a French restaurant.

                            2. Papilles has no menu, as Wea said, but is only a few yards from your hotel. Not as tight seating as some other restaurants and welcome/service couldn't be friendlier, easy reservation process as well. at Lespapilles@hotmail.fr

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                I also do not find the tables at Les Papilles spaced as tightly as wea described. Granted, it is not a desolate place. One can easily find photos on Google Images of the interior of the restaurant.
                                As for it's lacking in finesse, it is a meat&potato place with wonderful wines. Does it lack finesse? Reminds me of the way a friend criticized Maupassant for being a male chauvinist pig. :-)

                                1. re: Parigi

                                  Parigi, like Norwegian,, we've happened upon restaurants that provide a special ambiance that enhances and elevates a meal into an exceptional dining experience fondly and long remembered, partly because it HADN'T been anticipated, and conversely, being terribly disappointed after extensive "research". But I do agree, research provides the better odds.
                                  We'll be in Paris for just 3 days in November and I've taken the research route and thanks to Parigi, DCM, and so many other contributors on this and all the other threads, am enjoying it immensely, We're staying near the Jardin du Luxembourg as well and will probably dine in the preselected establishments, but are always willing to follow our noses should they lead us elsewhere, and report our findings and opinions.

                                  1. re: catfur

                                    Norwegian, we've just returned from Paris and did dine at Les Papilles and, like many others here, were delighted we did. The tables are close and the space cramped and unless you are party of 4, you will be sitting side by side with two other diners, but I can assure you, you won't mind at all. The service is both professional and warm, the selection of wine extensive and good and the food, well, it will take much restraint to not say it is GREAT. I'll write a full report on my other thread but wanted to offer my recommendation. Dine there, you won't be disappointed.

                              2. I too, will be in Paris next April (for my first wedding anniversary) and we spent our honeymoon there last April. I reported back that Les Papilles was our stand-out dinner and will be our "go to" place when next off the plane after 22 hours. IMO, I think it meets criteria 2-4 brilliantly but I am not sure if I would call it 'romantic'. I would go for 'neighbourhood quirky' myself as a descriptor. But, as I think Parigi may have pointed out, what is not romantic to me may be incredibly romantic to the next person....it really is so very subjective.

                                We are going to Le Cinq for our anniversary lunch and for the other 6 nights, I currently have a "long list" of 18 restaurants so it is lucky that I have another 5 months to sort it out!

                                I know that opinions are very divided on this board about Regelade St Honore but we enjoyed our meal there and IMO it does fit your criteria - I found the setting and space quite appealing, and the service was warm and helpful when we were there. We were staying near Blvd St Germain near rue de Universite (sp?) and it was a very pleasant stroll down to the Seine and across the Pont Des Arts, however my Parisian geographical knowledge is very limited so it may be too far from where you are staying? We did a combo of walk/metro for restaurants that were further afield from where we were staying and this always helped to digest big meals!

                                The only thing about RSH was booking issues - v limited English on their part and our frangled French did not go well together so I would suggest that you ask your hotel to do it for you in advance if you choose this option.

                                1. Since you are staying at a hotel near Luxembourg I would suggest checking out La Ferrandaise on the rue de Vaugirard (Google it), it's named after a rare cow... and emphasizes its beef. Also, I have to say that Allard, one of the oldest bistros in Paris is really good. I resisted going there for years, now I wish I hadn't. Eat in the room to the left as you walk in. They have a wonderful veal chop, but the specialty is duck with olives, which I have never had. Not cheap. But I think you will enjoy it. Also, since meat is it, for lunch if nothing else, you really should go to Relais de l'Entrecote on rue St. Benoit very near L'Eglise St. Germain. You don't have to do a thing except sit down and pick out a bottle of wine, any of which will do quite nicely. Then enjoy their one offering. It's really quite yummy. Sit outside. The rest of the afternoon will glow. And for my very favorite steak tartare in all of Paris, including one of the great sites to enjoy a meal, a must is Ma Bourgogne on La Place des Vosges, in the Marais. Not near Luxembourg, but, hey, you want to go over there anyway. Believe me. I have been there every trip to Paris, which would make it about 40 times. Fabulous.. actually everything on the menu is great... lots of tourists of course, but lots and lots of locals. Sit outside on the arcade and soak it all in, but just keep your eye out for what may drop from above, a gift from the little birdies. Cash only btw. Remember, steak tartare, place des Vosges, Ma Bourgogne. And some Beaujolais.... for lunch. Another excellent afternoon will evolve.

                                  1. 6 weeks to go and currently I have the following:
                                    Thursday dinner (arriving day): Les Papilles
                                    Friday: Be shopping so lunch will not be planned. Need suggestion for dinner.
                                    Saturday: Lunch at Le Cinq. Need suggestion for dinner.
                                    Sunday: Need suggestion for lunch close to our Hotel (Le Petit Paris in the 5th).

                                    - Thinking about Ciasa Mia for one of the three meals. Found very little info on this on the board. Is Ciasa Mia only a dinner place or would this be a good choice for Sunday lunch?
                                    - Would be nice to get to another part of town for dinner Friday, maybe near the Tour Eiffel, so we can enjoy a walk after dinner before taking a cab back to the hotel.
                                    - After lunch at Le Cinq Saturday I am not sure how big a meal is normal for dinner, but maybe a place with light cusine?

                                    Le Réminet has been suggested on this board, but I also have read that the owners have sold the place and it is no longer as good as it was?

                                    1. Just to give you an update on our expected scedule in April. Appreciate any comments:
                                      Thursday dinner: Les Papilles
                                      Friday dinner: Restaurant Mariette
                                      Saturday lunch: Le Cinq
                                      Saturday dinner: Ciasa Mia
                                      Sunday lunch: Lilane

                                      Staying in the 5th Les Papilles was an easy choice for our first meal based on all the good reviews on this board.

                                      As mentioned in previous post we want to have dinner Friday close to, or with a view of Tour Eiffel. Considering Le Ciel de Paris but according to the website it is closed. The alternative of Les Ombres was turned down due to rather bad reviews. Having lunch at Le Cinq the next day I went for a budget option based on TripAdvisor: Restaurant Mariette. I hope this will be a cosy, romantic dinner that can be followed by a stroll to see Tour Eiffel. Any thoughts or other/better suggestions close to Tour Eiffel?

                                      Lunch at Le Cinq will be our splurge, and is based on the reviews on this board. Not sure if we can take a dinner after that, but in case I would like it to be close to our hotel so have gone with Ciasa Mia. Enjoy italian food and think it could be a good change from the other meals.

                                      Leaving late Sunday and would like the lunch to be close to our hotel (put our bags in the hotel and just walk to lunch). Based on reviews on this board I think we will try Lilane. Anyone know if it is open for lunch Sundays?

                                      Will be happy to report back on our experience:-)

                                      11 Replies
                                      1. re: Norwegian

                                        Mariette is quite nice, food-wise and setting-wise.

                                        Are you no longer looking for a romantic restaurant?
                                        Lilane and Ciassa Mia are not dumps but are not what I would describe as romantic.

                                        1. re: Parigi

                                          Thanks Parigi.

                                          Yes romantic is our first choice and I hope Les Papilles, Le Cinq and Mariette will give us different type of romantic food-experiences. Regarding both Ciassa Mia and Lilane emphasis has been on location close to our hotel in the 5th and they both have received OK reviews.

                                          If you have other/better suggestions, either for a light dinner Saturday or for lunch Sunday please let me know. It MUST not be in the 5th if other places are superior.

                                            1. re: Parigi

                                              Thanks. Also I understand Lilane is not open Sundays so will change this to Christophe which is open Sundays.

                                              I choose to keep Ciasa Mia over Dans Les Landes for Saturday dinner as i prefer italian over tapas. But thanks for the suggestion:)

                                              Then it will be:
                                              Thursday dinner: Les Papilles
                                              Friday dinner: Restaurant Mariette
                                              Saturday lunch: Le Cinq
                                              Saturday dinner: Ciasa Mia
                                              Sunday lunch: Christophe

                                              1. re: Norwegian

                                                Personally, I can't imagine eating Italian food for dinner after a lunch at Le Cinq. I could maybe do a crepe or an omelet with salad around 10:00 PM. If you love Italian and want to have it as a change while in Paris, maybe you might choose a different night? Also, while the food at Christophe is quite good, I certainly would not call it romantic. The place is stark as can be. Almost depressing.

                                                1. re: plafield

                                                  I totally agree with your analysis on Christophe: good food, unromantic setting.
                                                  On the other hand, eating middling food is very unromantic, downright mood-ruing, in my book.

                                                  1. re: plafield

                                                    Thanks. I think I will just leave dinner Saturday and lunch Sunday open for a while. Was wondering if dinner after lunch at Le Cinq Saturday would be too much and your solution with just a crepe or an omelet seems good. And don't have to reserve a table for that I assume.

                                                    For Sunday lunch I think the setting is most important. I hope spring has arrived and that we might take a stroll in Luxemburg gardens. Would be nice to have a restaurant nearby open for Sunday lunch, maybe with outdoor seating. Agree that bad food is also a mood killer, but decent food is okey for Sunday lunch. If Chistophe is close to depressing I would appreciate other alternatives.

                                                    1. re: Norwegian

                                                      If the weather is fine, I would go to the Richard Lenior market on Sunday morning and collect various goodies and take them to picnic in a parc. Place de Voges is one of my favorite picnic parcs as you can spread a blanket on the grass (many Paris parcs don't allow you to sit on the grass.) In my opinion, there's nothing much more romantic than a great picnic in a lovely parc.

                                                      1. re: Norwegian

                                                        1) la Closerie des Lilas on the boulevard Montparnasse might fit the bill for Sunday lunch. Terrace, decent food, very romantic setting. From your hotel, just a 10- to- 15-minute walk. And what a lovely walk in spring!!.. through le Luco and the avenue Observatoire... and, after lunch, maybe a little detour to the Eglise Val-de-Grâce for a bit of Sunday late-afternoon organ rehearsal....(parigi, no puns please! wink wink)

                                                        2) Steak frites at Le Vin Sobre on the rue Feuillantines @ the rue St Jacques. Small but strategic terrace. Some complaints about the service but the steaks are superb.

                                                        3) If you take Plafield's picnic suggestion, there's a humans-ok grassy part of the Luxembourg near the rue Auguste Comte. Probably quite soggy in April. And the excellent Marché Monge on the very atmospheric place Monge is open Sunday mornings so no need to trek to the Marché Bastille.

                                                        4) A simple café lunch on the terrace of either le Rostand on the place Edmond Rostand/ rue Médicis across from the Luxembourg or Au Petit Suisse on the rue Vaugirard/ rue Médicis across from the Senate-side of the Luxembourg.

                                                        1. re: Norwegian

                                                          Just came across Le Chalet des Iles on this forum. Might it be the place for Sunday lunch? Understand the food is not top but OK and the setting is most important for Sunday.

                                                          How long will it take to travel (by taxi?) from the 5th to Le Chalet des Iles?

                                                          1. re: Norwegian

                                                            Le Chalet des Iles is a relatively popular family restaurant with a great kid's menu on Sunday so its charms can be somewhat dulled if you are looking for somewhere intimate and romantic. Weather is also crucial. If you are confined to the inside restaurant, it can be a wee bit melancholic on rainy days. But when the sun shines, the place is magical. BTW, it also becomes a club venue on some Friday (late) nights in summer ... not relevant for you in April but if others (especially 20- and 30-somethings) are looking a a bit of midsummer partying under the stars, it might be worth the trek.

                                                            Taxi fare from the 5th will probably run around 15 to 20 €. You can also take the RER from Luxembourg to Henri Martin and then take a taxi, Vélibre or walk from there. The #63 bus from the rue des Ecoles in the 5th also goes to la Porte de la Muette (maybe 25 minutes) and from there just a 7 to 10 minute walk through the bois (mostly). On your way back, the restaurant can call a taxi from the nearest "borne"/ taxi rank to pick you up at the boat landing if you want.

                                            2. Norwegian, can you update us on your choices and experiences? Many thanks IA.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: mangeur

                                                Sorry, made another tread for this: "Review Les Papilles, Mariette, Le Cinq"