Paris: Yet another quest for value thread
I realize that there are numerous variations on the theme of trying to find value in Paris, but having tried to read a few of the threads I find I get lost pretty quickly. Everyone's circumstances are slightly different, so I'm afraid that I'm going to add another such thread to the pile.
My wife and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary in France in late June and early July, with seven days total in Paris. We have been there previously in 1977 (poor returning Peace Corps volunteers), 1982 (honeymoon), 1999 (with teenagers), and 2004 (with older teenagers). In 2004 we did go to L'Atelier Joel Robuchon, which was a new concept then and very good, but our preferences are more in the traditional direction, and on both the 1999 and 2004 trips we relied heavily on Patricia Wells' Food Lovers Guide to Paris and her weekly reviews in the Herald Tribune. Past favorites include Au Bon Accueil (which I gather has slipped) and Le Reminet, as well as a few classic bistros highlighted by Wells.
I was prompted to start this thread after doing some initial research here, and reading frequent mention of L'Arpege. We are staying in the 7th, so this seemed like a great possibility for an anniversary dinner. But I was stopped dead in my tracks when I read that a meal there is upwards of 400 euros a person, and that main courses are over 100 euros ordering a la carte. My reaction: forget it. In a couple days, we are going to Eleven Madison Park in New York, a newly minted Michelin 3-star, and an entire four course menu, plus numerous additions, is 90 euros in a superb setting with great service.
So .... I am looking for recommendations for places where a three-course meal plus wine will be up to 150 euros for two. We'd like to eat at a place like that once a day and then supplement with sandwiches, salads, and snacks. We have two potential special meals: the anniversary and my wife's birthday (on our last night before flying home). For these meals I'm thinking 300 euros for two, maybe 400 euros max. Obviously we don't mind traveling beyond the 7th, but all things being equal would prefer a relatively short metro ride or a walk as opposed to a lengthy metro trip to the outer arrondissements.
Thanks in advance for whatever suggestions you can provide. And apologies again for initiating yet another thread on this theme.
My first recommendation would be Spring. Saturne, for both food and wine. And after that, I'd suggest that you continue to read previous threads and try to calibrate the writer to your taste. Night after night, we spend well below 150€ for the two of us, and I think that we eat rather well.
re: Roland Parker
Search for threads on Michelin starred lunches. Most offer a lunch "deal" menu for under 100E per person and could be one of your special celebration meals. Myself, I'd pick Le Cinq. I think it's the best overall for food, ambiance, service etc and they'll make a special occasion really special.
It seems to me that you adore traditional French cooking ... perhaps a meal at Arpege would have been a terrible waste of your money even if it was half the price?
I suggest you seek out the things you know you love, stars be damned.