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Sunday night dinner in Paris.

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Greetings all, I've been lurking for a month or so as my upcoming trip to Paris approaches but this will be my inaugural post. I've seen some great info in the past so keeping my fingers crossed I'll get the same. I know some of what I'm asking has been answered to some degree in the past but I hope my question is sufficiently novel to not merit a "go and search for it".
Here's the situation: my fiancee is summering at a large firm in town and will be working much too late during the week for us to really enjoy any decent dinners Mon-Fri. As I'll only be there for a week that leaves Sunday night and the following Saturday night. We'll probably be hitting a lot of quick "bibs gourmands" type places for lunches within walking/quick cab distance from her office.

My selection criteria:
1) Open for dinner on Sunday night
2) Memorable setting
3) One Michelin Star or equivalent level cooking (I know Michelin isn't the only barometer out there)
4) 250 euro max (including at least one glass of wine/champagne each)

I've compiled a list of five and I'm hoping for any feedback on them, both good and bad, but preferably recent experiences. Also, if you have any suggestions that fit the criteria but that I've missed please advise. Thank you in advance for any assistance!

1) Le Violon d'Ingres
2) Senderens
3) Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos
4) Pur
5) La Grande Cascade

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  1. I'm a great fan of la Grande Cascade. Especially when I want to have a seduction dinner.

    And I'm not sure what you mean about "working much too late" to enjoy dinner. "Too late" in Paris means around 11pm or midnight. Even then you can find a very decent meal at, say, Chez Denise or Mini-Palais.

    In my company, interns tend to complain about not getting enough time for lunch rather than about working too late to enjoy dinner. Offhand, I can't think of any bibs gourmands that could be described as "quick". And it depends on exactly where her office is. Very few bibs gourmands in the central arrondissements so you will probably have to factor in at least a half hour for getting to and from. And so you are looking at a 2-hour lunch break. Not something too many bosses would tolerate for an intern.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Parnassien

      Thanks for the response Parnassien. 11PM is the latest she'll be working, and though I know we could still get a great meal at that time I guess I was thinking we wouldn't have the time for a leisurely 3 hour type meal, especially since I'm the only one on vacation (I'll nevertheless check out Chez Denise and Mini-Palais). The Michelin guide yielded a few bibs and similar options near her office but I agree that we're going to be hard pressed to fit in a decent meal in the allotted hour. Any quick and good lunch recommendations near rue du bac/rue de l'universite?

      1. re: intbusesq

        If you're up for a picnic, there is a boutique Monoprix grocery on Bac toward St. Germain where you can pick up most of your needs, an Eric Kayser bakery on the corner of Bac and Universite and an Androuet cheese shop on Verneuil near Bac. There are several bar/cafes on Bac where you can get a decent omelette or plat du jour rather quickly, and several more touristy places farther west on Universite in back of d'Orsay. Personally, I've enjoyed the cheese plate at Le Frigate on the quai for a fast and relatively cheap lunch. Farther east on Universite after it has become rue Jacob, there are several more casual options.

        1. re: mangeur

          Thanks Mangeur, this is the kind of prompt and specific response that makes this board valuable. Funny you mention picnics, this is her second summer in Paris, last time I was still in school as well so budget was real tight, which meant that we picnic'd more often than not. Good thing I'm obsessed with a good baguette and run of the mill mousse de canard. Le Frigate sounds appealing.

        2. re: intbusesq

          A decent place in the area is Le Cinq Mars - casual and relatively local (but local in an embassy district is not all French). The there is Aux Fins Gourmets on Boulevard St Germain (just under my old apartment) which seems to get great reviews but wasn't that great when I lived there.

          For a good latish place (although 11:00 is really late - wonder if her company understand the European Working Time Directive) is Atelier Robuchon, no booking for later sittings but worth giving it a shot.

          Lunch in the area can be tricky as it is home to lots of embassy's and government ministries so lunch places can be geared to their needs and their budgets, the good ones can also be jammed packed as all the pollies and the civil servants vie for a seat at lunchtime.

          1. re: PhilD

            Thank you PhilD, your recommendations will be thoroughly reviewed, although we've eaten at l'Atelier in London so will probably look elsewhere. She's with the Paris outpost of an American firm so I think the long hours simply carried over.

          2. re: intbusesq

            le 122 on the rue de Grenelle @ rue Casimir Périer... a 10-min walk so maybe a taxi would be better to give you more eating time... your best choice foodwise for a quick (ish) lunch... around 17 € for lunch formule but popular so gotta book.

            Café des Lettres on the rue de Verneuil... 2 or 3-min walk ... lovely courtyard, usually good but occasionally inconsistent cuisine ... very good value (20 to 25 € for lunch)...since time is a constraint, I'd book here too to save yourself a possible wait.

            La Laiterie on the rue Bellechasse @ rue de Grenelle... 10-min walk... one of the few hip spots in the quartier... and very popular so rezzies necessary... cheap(ish), very cool, but a very varied "mondaine" menu that might disappoint if you are looking for stereotypically French

            le Poulpry in la Club de la Maison des Polytechniciens on the rue de Poitiers at the rue de Verneuil ... 3-min walk... maybe a little too expensive for a quickie but I did once manage to have a biz lunch in an hour here (but it took a lot of pleading) ... and a bit clubby and "tout Paris" so I'm not sure how welcoming they'd be to unfamiliar faces ... but the cadre is fab.

            Maison de l'Amérique Latine, boulevard St Germain @ rue St-Dominique ... 5-min walk... despite the name, oh-so-French... lunch in the garden on a sunny day is an unforgettable experience (if you have a few hours, booked a month in advance, and then lucked out on the weather) but u'd have to content yourselves with a quick lunch at the bar inside.

            la Frégate, rue du Bac at the quai Voltaire ... 3-min walk... touristy but it's close, cheap (ish) and not bad grub

            for a change of pace and if the weather is good, the snack bar in the garden of the Musée Rodin ... 10- to 15-min walk so maybe better to hop in a taxi or grab a Vélib

            1. re: Parnassien

              Fantastic, thanks for taking the time to lay that all out. I've been to Paris a half a dozen times and she's French so we're fine straying from "stereotypically French". Au pire for the lunches if we're short on time she can scurry back to the office while I take my time and wrap up/pay. I will enthusiastically review all your recommendations.

        3. Of the ones you list, I've only eaten at Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos. I thought it was solid but not spectacular but we were there for the cheapo lunch.

          3 Replies
          1. re: PattyC

            Thanks PattyC, I would certainly take a bad lunch service into consideration in evaluating dinner prospects. I know certain business models result in certain services being neglected in favor of others but I don't think that should be the case at a place like Nomicos.

            1. re: intbusesq

              I wouldn't say it was bad at all. I just didn't think it was great. I felt the food was on par with our lunch at Le Cinq on the same trip (minus all the extras, the palatial setting, the service, etc).

              1. re: PattyC

                Thanks for the clarification, it's back on the maybe list.

          2. By the way, I promise to come back with thorough reviews so that I can contribute and not just take from this board.