Restaurant to contrast current Paris itinerary? + Wine Bar preferences?
First I want to thank all of you who have written so much on this board. After reading hundreds of threads I compiled a massive list which I was able to narrow down to a reasonable list. There is so much information on this board.
I'm going to Paris in two weeks with my mother for the week between Christmas and New Years. I've been to Paris a couple of time and spent a year in Provence. My French is passable which has always helped, but Paris is certainly different than the country and I really want to make sure my Mom has a great time (and we both eat well!) We have three nights in Paris and are staying near the Opera in the 1st. The first night I have booked us at Violon d'Ingres and the last night at Josephine Chez Dumonet. I'm looking for a restaurant to contrast those two for the middle night. At first I thought about something modern and light like Frenchie or Septime, but because this is a last minute trip (as of this weekend) I'm not sure we'll have enough time to get a reservation. I had thought about something like Robert et Louis just to give a totally different experience or Les Papilles or Le Cave de L'Os a Moelle. I had also thought of a place like Julien or Bofinger because I know my Mom would love the atmosphere but I have a feeling I would be disappointed by the food.
Anyway, all this is to say, what would you recommend for a different experience from Josephine Chez Dumonet and Violon D'Ingres?
In addition I'm interested in checking out some wine bars for lighter lunches along with Breizh Cafe. The ones I have written down are: Les Fines Gueules, Au Passage, Le Garde Robe, Le Rubis, Willis. Would you recommend any of these over the others for good food or a good selection of natural wines?
Thanks for all of your help!
I was just in Paris last week for six days for a business/personal trip. We stayed in the 1st (near the Louvre/Vendome) and my office is in the 2nd (Bourse). My Parisien co-worker highly recommended Les Fines Gueules (though he said to avoid the cheese plate as it wasn't worth the $), but we didn't go. Could not get a reservation at Frenchie's at all.
We did enjoy: L'Ardoise (though lots of American tourists are there, and it's a bit crowded, but near your hotel), and had a super-well-valued meal at L'Angle du Faubourg (in the 8th) by booking the special La Fourchette menu on lafourchette.com (thefork.com) -- honestly it was a better value than any other meal we had in Paris, and with the exception of Le Cinq, had a nicer atmosphere too. Might be a bit fancy for your mom but maybe she may like it for something a bit more formal. Many years ago I went with my parents to Bofinger and they did enjoy it, and I remember the food being decent. On my last trip I really enjoyed Josselin (like Breizh Cafe, a crepe restaurant). Your mom may enjoy the Christmas markets too -- we ended up eating dinner there with the sausages, hamburger-in-baguettes & such, a bit touristy eating but still fun. Maybe your mom might like tea / lunch at Laduree or Mariage Freres? Laduree (we went to the Champs Elysees one last trip) has a more formal atmosphere (should make reservations); Mariage Freres (we went to the Marais one this trip) was a bit of a madhouse as they pack you in. The food at neither is outstanding, but both are pretty decent and kind of a cute thing to do with your mom :)
Thanks for the replies. I'm going to book Les Fines Gueles for the middle night dinner. I think that should offer something a little lighter and different from the other two dinners (we are light eaters in general and in no way underestimate that).
Also, thanks for the suggestion for Laduree; that's a great idea! I just checked their site and it says the Champs Elysees location is under construction. I've been recommended the one on Rue Bonaparte as opposed to Rue Royale, any thoughts on this? Also Mariage Freres (which I'd never heard of but just checked out) looks great. I think two fancy afternoon snacks (Laduree and Mariage Freres) would be a nice treat.
If you head to the Garde Robe, so are in the 1st, head down a block and stop off at Crus (a map is on their site, crus.fr) it is a kooky but lovely wine shop run by one of the owners of the Garde Robe and you can taste all their wines and if you fancy, have them shipped back to the U.S. The staff all speak great English if Language poses a problem...