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[Paris] Horns of a dilemma - need help choosing

k
Kelly Sep 26, 2012 11:34 AM

I've got two trips to Paris in the next week and a complete surfeit of reservations (though not, sadly, at the one place I was dying to return to, Chez l'Ami Jean).

Will fellow 'hounds help me winnow through the choices?

Trip #1 - weekend with partner and 3-year-old son

Friday dinner
Chez Casimir (chosen because we're staying right next to the Gare du Nord for convenience's sake, because our train gets in at 7pm, because my partner's been there and liked it and because I've not yet been - but loved Chez Michel)

Saturday lunch - currently three reservations; sticking with 7th arr. because in the morning we'll be wandering through the Musee Rodin garden and visiting the Eiffel Tower, which is tops with the 3-year-old
Chez Lucie
Pottoka
L’Affriolé
Which should we keep?? I know they're all quite different, but looking for food we'll remember and an environment that's tolerant of kids (ours will be diverted with colouring books and the "high phone" if necessary)

Saturday dinner - following an afternoon at either Jardin du Luxembourg or Maison Européenne de la Photographie
Quite proud of myself here, because I think we can do two dinners! :o) We have a reservation at Dans les Landes and I figure if we're reasonable here, we can also stop by Candelaria for a quick taco or two afterward.

Sunday lunch
Les Fines Gueules - never been, but we're meeting friends in the area and it sounds rather nice.

Sunday dinner
Stopping by Saravanaa Bhavan for bags full of takeaway to eat at home in Brussels. :o)

Trip #2 - day trip for work; only time for dinner
Currently have dinner reservations at
L'Office
Les Saisons
Le Bouclier de Bacchus

Which to choose? I don't think I have time for a leisurely lunch; otherwise I'd try to grab L'Office for that, as it's literally around the corner from our office.

Or am I missing a "hey, no toddler with me!" trick by not trying to snag a reservation at Abri? My train is at 21.55 - could I get through the six-course dinner if I were there at 19.30?

Thanks for any insights/advice - and I promise to report back.

  1. Parigi Sep 26, 2012 12:58 PM

    For meals near Gare du Nord with a 3-yr old, the Portuguese lunch counter at Marché St Quentin could be quick, user-friendly and fun.
    The area around rue des Petites Ecuries and Cour des Petites Ecuries has become so hip that food has suffered somewhat from the excessive branchitude.
    Another fun place with good food if you are with a small child may be Urfa Dürüm.

    "We have a reservation at Dans les Landes and I figure if we're reasonable here, we can also stop by Candelaria for a quick taco or two afterward."

    Candelaria is very small. Gets filled very quickly during lunch time. Otherwise child-friendly.
    A gelato chez Mary on rue Dupuis could be a good consolation prize. :-)

    "Trip #2 - day trip for work; only time for dinner
    Currently have dinner reservations at
    L'Office
    Les Saisons
    Le Bouclier de Bacchus
    Which to choose? I don't think I have time for a leisurely lunch; otherwise I'd try to grab L'Office for that, as it's literally around the corner from our office."

    I am confused by your concise prose. You say only time for dinner, then you say you don't have time for a leisurely lunch. Are you talking about dinner or lunch?
    Of your list:
    Best food would probaby be L'Office.
    Quickest, most user-friendly meal would be Bouclier de Bacchus.
    If you are near L'Office, Autour d'un Verre can be a possibility too.

    Don't forget to cancel those restos where you won't go.

    18 Replies
    1. re: Parigi
      k
      Kelly Sep 26, 2012 01:41 PM

      Thanks, Parigi.

      I think Chez Casimir will be the only time we'll be near the gare for a meal save for Moisan breakfast breads, and we have plenty of decent Portuguese and Turkish in Brussels--but it's always good to have backups!

      Agree about Petites Ecuries, though I admit to still really wanting to go to Vivant or Table Vivant or whatever it's calling itself these days...

      Dans les Landes and Candelaria will be for dinner -- so the lunch choice is really between Chez Lucie, Affriole and Pottoka. Any thoughts on those three? Excellent reminder about chez Mary after dinner btw. :o)

      Sorry for confusion on Trip 2 - one of those instances where I ended the paragraph thinking differently than I'd begun it! My point of departure was that I'd need to do a quick baguette takeaway for lunch and the three in contention were therefore only for dinner. But then wishful thinking about a decent lunch intervened, though I'm sure it won't happen. Glad to hear your thoughts on L'Office-- that's the winner for dinner, then, as Abri is booked solid.

      And yes, I'm meticulous about cancelling unused tables ASAP. :o)

      1. re: Kelly
        Parigi Sep 26, 2012 01:49 PM

        Which restos are with child and which not? my brain is esp slow today, sorriest.

        Vivant rocks. But very small. The interior configuration and length of meal may not be child-friendly. Am of course not talking about the staff.

        1. re: Parigi
          k
          Kelly Sep 26, 2012 11:17 PM

          Trip 1 is avec enfant - so really, the only open question is whether to do Pottoka, Chez Lucie or Affriole for a Saturday lunch. Or whether I'm somehow missing an amazing meal somewhere in that neighbourhood that I would kick myself for not pursuing later.

          Trip 2 is sans enfant (L'Office, Les Saisons or Bouclier de Bacchus). I would have seriously loved to do Abri, because that definitely isn't a kid-friendly outing. Oh, well.

          Would you do Vivant over L'Office?

          And thank you again for your patience. :o)

          1. re: Kelly
            Parigi Sep 27, 2012 01:37 AM

            "Would you do Vivant over L'Office?"
            absolutely.

            "whether to do Pottoka, Chez Lucie or Affriole for a Saturday lunch."
            I rarely go anywhere else besides Chez L'Ami Jean in the 7th. Am afraid if I go anywhere else, I will be sucked into ClAJ any way. :-)
            When Pottoka first opened, I had a very nice meal there. Have not been to l'Affriolé for EVER. It was one of my fave bistros before ClAJ opened down the street.
            And I have no reading about eating with a child there, except I would consider two obvious child-friendliness factors: meal duration and size of interior.
            All this is not very helpful for you, sorriest.

            1. re: Parigi
              k
              Kelly Sep 27, 2012 02:45 AM

              No, no, 'tis indeed helpful. Very glad for the cue on Vivant - I'll see if I can grab a table there instead for my solo dinner.

              I hear you about ClAJ - I'm still mourning not being able to get in this weekend. All else is a feeble second-best.

              And actually, child-friendliness comes secondary to food quality. We will be equipped to deal with anything up to 2 hours. I'll do some google imaging to check on the interiors of Pottoka and l'Affriole.

              1. re: Kelly
                Delucacheesemonger Sep 27, 2012 03:54 AM

                If it matters, the interior of Vivant makes CLAJ seem roomy.

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                  k
                  Kelly Sep 27, 2012 04:07 AM

                  Yes, I walked by it a month or so ago and peered in. Another reason it's a nice option for a solo dinner -- I can revel not only in the food but in the luxury of not having had to manhandle a stroller inside!

                  1. re: Kelly
                    Delucacheesemonger Sep 27, 2012 04:56 AM

                    Then you might also want to look at Pierre Sang on rue Oberkampf, just a counter and no reservation.

              2. re: Parigi
                n
                Nancy S. Sep 27, 2012 06:47 AM

                Just curious, have you been to Vivant with the new chef. The menu seems to have veered in a "new-ish" direction. I'm debating between L'Office and Abri -- is this an easy choice?

                1. re: Nancy S.
                  Delucacheesemonger Sep 27, 2012 08:53 AM

                  Was there with new chef last night, owner now runs the bar and front. Chef is Asian, small pretty portions, but good food. Bio wines , expensive but interesting, wines and food similar to Septime, Rino, or maybe Saturne.

                  1. re: Nancy S.
                    John Talbott Sep 27, 2012 12:52 PM

                    "Just curious, have you been to Vivant with the new chef"
                    Yes, loved it.

                    "Currently have dinner reservations at
                    L'Office
                    Les Saisons
                    Le Bouclier de Bacchus

                    Naughty girl, make one reservation, commit, choose.
                    Me, L'Office #1, Les Saisons #2, Le Bouclier de Bacchus #3)

                    "Pierre Sang on rue Oberkampf"
                    Right on.

                    "Chez Lucie
                    Pottoka
                    L’Affriolé"
                    I'd vote for Pottoka

                    "Or am I missing a "hey, no toddler with me!" trick by not trying to snag a reservation at Abri?"
                    With a double negative, I cannot figure out the question; but if you can get a rez and they get your name right, I give you a Gold Star.

                    1. re: John Talbott
                      n
                      Nancy S. Sep 27, 2012 01:26 PM

                      How about ranking L'Office and Abri -- with the caveat that I would prefer less Asia combinations (e.g., Sola) and more new-Scandinavian ones (e.g., Saturne).

                      1. re: Nancy S.
                        John Talbott Sep 29, 2012 08:10 AM

                        "How about ranking L'Office and Abri"
                        Come on, what's with all this ranking stuff?;
                        OK it's true, I did give L'Office a 6.7/10 and Abri a 7.1 but do you really think the difference between and among these silly numbers I make up means anything?

                        1. re: John Talbott
                          mangeur Sep 29, 2012 09:11 AM

                          or that we can really calibrate the parameters of all reporting hounds on a 1-10 scale????

                          1. re: John Talbott
                            n
                            Nancy S. Sep 29, 2012 10:04 AM

                            I only said "ranking" because in your prior post you voted L'Office as first choice, Les Saisons as second choice and Le Bouclier as third. My question of ranking actually had more to do with the style of cooking, given my defined peramters, and not a numerical "review" ranking. Apologies for the confusion. It's only because I respect your analysis . . .

                            1. re: Nancy S.
                              John Talbott Sep 29, 2012 01:25 PM

                              As the other Nancy would say "Sorriest" I didn't mean to be snippy.
                              It's very hard to rate one place against another or recommend one or another, we're no different here than in NYC or SF, every place is truly unique, for better or for worse. There are few clones.
                              I'm a newbie-searcher so I find places like the new Vivant, L'office, Au passage, Pierre Sang Boyer and Abri or Flora and Pirouette cool but that in no way diminishes joints like Sola, L'escargot and Volnay/Jalles.

                              1. re: John Talbott
                                n
                                Nancy S. Sep 29, 2012 02:41 PM

                                I too like Les Jalles and Sola. This trip is just a long weekend, and one night we're returning to Saturne and the another night we're having dinner in our flat, assuming our kitchen is finished (and the bed has been delivered), so we have only one slot free. We'll go somewhere newish -- I'll report back afterwards.

                        2. re: John Talbott
                          k
                          Kelly Sep 27, 2012 02:01 PM

                          Thank you, kind sir. (Nothing like doppelganger internet conversations!)

                          No joy with Abri, alas.

                          I quaver at the thought of getting to Pierre-Sang and being turned away and having nowhere to go and finding solace only in the Delifrance kiosk at the gare. Must have reservation to breathe easy. :o) But Pierre-Sang and Abri have just moved into the tusked elephant and snow leopard slots on my restaurant big game hunting list.

                          Thanks for advice on Pottoka. I am dreadful for playing the field, but commitment is so HARD.

                          Trying tomorrow for lunch at L'Office (in direct contravention of my original post, I know) and dinner at Vivant. If I can pull both of those off, I'll be happy. Otherwise, I'll stick with L'Office.

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