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Mar 23, 2012 02:28 AM

Dinner before the opera (Bastille) - where's good?

My parents and I will be landing in Paris on a Friday afternoon, staying between the Louvre and the Garnier. We have tickets to see something at the Bastille, though, which starts at 7:30, so I thought we'd head that direction after dropping our stuff at the hotel, have a meal and then go to the show. So, what's good near the Bastille? A classic bistro would be perfect; no need of a pre-theatre prix fixe or other special as long as we are sure to be out in time for the show. My mother eats no seafood, but otherwise we're not dietarily restricted. Oysters would be a plus as long as there are plenty of non-seafood choices. I've seen recommendations here for Bofinger - the menu looks good, what say you Hounds? Another alternative would be to eat closer to the hotel (Chez Denise and La Regalade St. Honore aren't far) but I was planning to go to one if not both of those on other days when we'll be doing things near the hotel (the Louvre, etc.). Any other interesting options convenient to the Metro line between the Louvre and Bastille? Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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  1. Restaurants do not serve meals outside meal time. I am afraid you can't get a meal that finishes by 7:30 in those restaurants you cite. In fact 7:30 is when dinner service starts.
    You can have a bite in a café. Bofinger has mediocre food and a great interior downstairs. The oysters are good though. It opens earlier than others, and all day on wkends.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      Are there really no decent places near the Bastille that offer pre-theatre meals? Argh. I would dine after the opera, but my parents don't like to eat that late (we won't be out until 10:30). I see that Bofinger opens at 6:30 but I don't think that will give us enough time.

      1. re: biondanonima

        As I said above, restaurants are not open that hour. They are not open at the time when you want to finish your meal. You can have a bite in a café.

        1. re: biondanonima

          And yes, pre-theatre is very problematic in Paris. Most folks eat after, rather than before.

          You can try the very decent Le Zimmer on the place Chatelet for a light meal in the late afternoon/ early evening. Or Breizh Café on the rue Vieille-du-Temple in the 3rd for very superior crêpes ... continuous service all day...and walkable to the place Bastille if you're parents aren't too frail.

          The place Bastille is loaded with cafés. Great people-watching and great for just hanging out but horrible food unless you just have something starkly simple like an omelette nature et frites. The only one that might come up with a half decent meal at such an early hour on a good day is Café Français on the corner with the rue Saint-Antoine. But will it be a good day?

        2. re: Parigi

          Neither Bofinger nor the Petit Bofinger open before 6:30 pm. Time for a quick bite at best, but barely.

          I do like the choucroute at Bofinger, especially cheap as a takeout. It's all I've ever eaten from there, other than oysters.

        3. If you go to the opera, you eat after, not before. Plenty of places near the Bastille take reservations for 22:30 or 23:00. 17:00 is not a meal time: too late for lunch, too early for dinner.

          6 Replies
          1. re: tmso

            Yes, this is exactly what I would do if it were just me. However, I'm traveling with people who are older and may not make it through the opera without a nap, let alone through the opera AND dinner. I did find Chez Clement Bastille, which opens at 18:00 - if we eat quickly that would work. However, I've no idea whether it's decent or not - it doesn't look particularly Chow-worthy from online reviews. Any thoughts?

            1. re: biondanonima

              Chez Clément is a chain restaurant. Usually favoured by large families (fab kid's menu), little gaggles of texting teenagers, and suburban daytrippers. Not a place I would choose. And me mum and dad would disinherit me if I took them there. Le Café Français would be better.

              1. re: Parnassien

                Thank you - I'll have a look. What about doing a little shopping for great cheese and charcuterie nearby and having a picnic instead? Are there any decent shops near the Louvre, or will we have to wander a little farther afield?

              2. re: biondanonima

                You have to choose: eat early and badly, or eat later and well.

                what about this?
                Instead of having a bad meal in the middle of the afternoon, you can go to the very nice wine bar "La Tartine", have a plate, or two or three, of charcuteries and cheeses, then take an easy walk to Opéra Bastille. Can this help your parents get through the evening and then you can have a real dinner afterwards?

                1. re: Parigi

                  Actually, that sounds just about perfect - they can decide then if they want to go to dinner afterwards or not (and if not, I can go by myself). I'll make sure we get a heavy breakfast somewhere and hopefully that will do the job!

                2. re: biondanonima

                  My point was that you will not find a good restaurant open at that time. Either eat at a meal time, or eat another way; a picnic is a good plan. You can buy your food at the marché d'Aligre, and eat in the parc on Chemin vert.

              3. Chez Flottes will be open; across the street from the Concorde metro. Try the Aligote side dish. Or, if you want to go high-end, get a sandwich or salad at the Meurice Bar; metro is across the street there as well.

                1. I got Le Cafe du passage at 12 rue de Charonne.

                  They should be running and have decent small plates, could be bigger however...

                  1. A bit like La Tartine, Le Baron Rouge's not far away. It's more bobo than the Tartine, which was tarted up a few years ago, I think they serve charcuterie and cheese all day.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: vielleanglaise

                      Isn't Tartine a chain also? I recall one on rue St Antoine (or could be end of Rivoli.

                      1. re: jock

                        Don't think so. It's at the beginning of Rivoli, or near the end of rue St Antoine.

                        They used to sell a thing called "fromage fort" - they'd take the left-overs of very ripe un-sold cheese, stick them in an earthernware pot with marc and garlic, and then put it on toast. It was like spreadable ammonia .

                        Not seeing it on the menu, I enquired about this " fromage fort " the last time I went there. The waiter told me that they'd taken it off the menu after it had been banned.

                        In the autumn they used to also sell a white Sancerre 'nouveau', which was cloudy and got you drunk really quickly. I've never seen it served anywhere else in Paris.