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Oct 2, 2012 11:09 AM

Please review my restaurant selections

We will be in Paris December 19-26th. I was there many years ago & this is my husband's first trip.
This is what I have reserved so far and what I am considering. I've done a lot of research, but would like more up to date opinions. This will be our honeymoon, so I really want it to be special. I'm planning the restaurants, he's busy studying French! We will not be able to have 2 large meals a day. Initially, I was thinking of having a main meal at lunch, but I am rethinking that due to the short days to do sightseeing. We do not mind small servings.

For our first night, we have reservations at Le Comptoir which I consistently read good reviews. Any thoughts? Should we also try to go to Chez L'Ami Jean or is the cooking too similar?

Friday, we have reservations at L'Atelier's de Joel Robuchon St Germain.

These are the only reservations I've made so far. Please help me choose the best/interesting restaurants:

Ze Kitchen Galerie
Le Galopin
Chez Josephine Dumonet (although, recent reviews have not been kind)
Le Carre des Vosges in Marais
Le Clarisse
Chez Denise
Chez Paul
Frenchie (can't get a reservation, but am thinking about going when they open and trying for a table)

For casual:

Breizh Cafe
Le Procope on Sunday afternoon
La Tartine
Barron Rouge
Huitrerie Regis

For Christmas Eve, I was thinking of Au Petite Marguery
Christmas Day, lunch at Le Violin d'Ingres which would be our last meal except for a snack that night.

What do you think? Please help me to narrow down my choices. Am I missing something?

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  1. <Chez Josephine Dumonet (although, recent reviews have not been kind)> ????

    Which ones were those? It was my favorite meal in Paris last December, and we're planning to return next month. I'd recommend it with no reservation.

    However, some of these places may well be closed for the holiday at leat part of the time you are there. If you are renting an apartment (I recommend that, too) I'd suggest Christmas day bringing in a plateau and Champagne rather than braving the "holiday rush" in a restaurant.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ChefJune

      I've read several good reviews which is why Chez Josephine Dumonet is on my list. However, I've read some not so favorable ones also. The one that I remember was written by uhockey. I've followed his reviews for several other cities and typically agree with his conclusions, so in light of his review, I was hesitant about going there. I wanted some other more recent opinions because a kitchen can have an off night and perhaps that's what he experienced.

    2. Just a few thoughts.
      Perhaps, Pleine Mer in the 10th instead of H Regis. Regis is great but a lot more money the Pleine Mer. One guy in a similarily tiny shop seats you, shucks, serves, and cleans. Great oysters from Cancale.
      My experience at La Galopin was less than stellar for me, but many others like it.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        maestro de fromage, what didn't you find satisfactory at le Galopin ? we're considering it for one of the meals still available on our compressed Paris visit. merci beaucoup.

        1. re: moto

          Let me help DCM out here. To begin with, we went on one of the hottest evenings of the year. Drops-dripping-off-your-brow hot. The room is not well enough ventilated to accommodate this kind of heat. Ot was stifling. A six-top table next to us was intrusively loud. We were all uncomfortable and cranky with heat and noise. DH and I had been here three times before and the food this night was not the best we'd had. It was merely okay.

          That's for starters. Okay, DCM, have at it. ;)

          1. re: mangeur

            merci, mangeur. 'merely okay' for seriously-fussed-over seven courses in a small, crowded venue is discouraging, putting it mildly. and mi querida espousa is sensitive to heat ; probably less a factor in a few weeks, during our sojourn.

            1. re: moto

              To be fair, our last meal there in early September was stellar. The concern at LG is that there is no choice although they go through the ritual of asking about allergies and hates. But/and portions are quite small. If you hate it, there isn't much of it; it you love it, it's gone in an instant. There are three or four small portions of protein, but no large servings of meat or fish. It is all about technique and inspired combinations. DH and I prefer a progression of small plates. If you prefer three or four large courses instead, you won't be happy here.

              1. re: mangeur

                understood the format for dinner, merci. with two of us the small courses work because if one of us really likes one, there's more on the other's plate. and the impossibility of getting large servings of just-o.k. food is a positive of course.

        2. re: Delucacheesemonger

          Thanks Delucacheesemonger. Pleine Mer sounds more our style. We lived in New Orleans for years and like to sit at a bar to eat oysters and drink wine!

          Chef June..we are staying in an apt this time as we thought it would be good to have hotel help back-up! We are staying in the 6th.

        3. "For our first night, we have reservations at Le Comptoir which I consistently read good reviews. Any thoughts? Should we also try to go to Chez L'Ami Jean or is the cooking too similar? "
          Did anyone answer this; I've lost track.
          No I don't think they're alike at all besides the chefs being culinary sons of C Constant.
          The rest of your list looks fine - my ranking of "interesting" would be
          Chez Josephine Dumonet
          Le Galopin

          2 Replies
          1. re: John Talbott

            May I urge all hounds to specify Le Comptoir du Relais, and not Le Comptoir, which is a different resto in a different arrondissement, serving very different food and food quality?
            One hound actually wen to the wrong one because of this lack of specification.

            1. re: John Talbott

              Thanks John. Your review & photos of Ze is what sparked my interest.

            2. It is obvious that you have really done your homework, as about the only real loser to me is your casual Sunday selection of Le Procope. A proposed substitute would be Dans Les Landes.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Laidback

                Laidback, glad you pointed Le Procope. I have it listed in my notes as an oyster place/bar where the oysters are brought in fresh & you end up eating on the street since the bar is so small. Obviously, I'm missing something. Now, I have no idea where I first saw the pictures of the oyster place. Any thoughts?

                1. re: topeater

                  "an oyster place/bar where the oysters are brought in fresh & you end up eating on the street since the bar is so small."

                  Le Baron Rouge?

                  1. re: topeater

                    We love l'Ecume St. Honore. It's just an seafood stand and all they serve are oysters with rye bread and butter and Sancerre or Muscadet. The background "music" of seagulls is kinda cute.

                    1. re: topeater

                      Parisiens are so fond of and so finicky about their oysters that you can find good ones in every neighbourhood. Rather than "sillonner"/ crisscross Paris in search of something so common and uniquitous, I'd focus on the quartier where you will happen to be (whether Saint-Germain des Prés where you are staying or some other neighbourhood whose delights you would like to explore) rather than turn an oyster bar into some sort destination in its own right. If you happen to find yourself near Gare de l'Est or Gare du Nord, Pleine Mer is indeed your best bet but otherwise not really worth a safari from St Germain des Prés just to bag a plate of oysters. If you happen to be around the Louvre/ Tuileries/Palais Royal, a little detour to l'Ecume St Honoré would be in order. If you take in the Marché d'Aligre on Saturday or Sunday morning, le Baron Rouge is fine and indeed much liked by tourists (but not by me). If you are wandering around the Butte Montmartre/ Abbesses/ rue Lepic, l'Ecaille de la Mascotte on the rue des Abbesses or Cépage Montmartrois on the rue Caulaincourt are fab pit stops for an oyster fix. In St Germain des Prés, Huîtrerie Régis (where the welcome can be a little less than warm if the owner is doing the welcoming), Le Petit Zinc, the coquillage stalls at the open-air Marché Raspail (Tue, Fri & Sun), and at least a dozen other places. In Montparnasse, almost any of the landmark brasseries and bistros on the boulevard Montparnasse or the Cabane des Huîtres on the rue Antoine-Bourdelle or the coquillage stalls at the Marché Edgar Quinet (Wed, Sat). And the list can go on and on and on.

                      1. re: Parnassien

                        Wow, that's really helpful. Thanks Parnassien.

                    2. re: Laidback

                      Yup, Laidback as usual is spot on; Le Procope is very yesterday; avoid, unless you've never been there and want to people-celebrity-Yankee-watch..

                      "We love l'Ecume St. Honore."
                      Me too, the seagulls repeating tape is one-of-a-kind.

                      1. re: John Talbott

                        "yesterday" ?
                        Yester-century or two.