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Please help me with this list!

Bonjour! Chowhounders have always been very helpful to me in Europe, and I'm hoping you can do so again. Four of us will be in Paris the first week of November and we would like to dine well. Our top choice is Le Comptoir du Relais, but I realize that may be a difficult reservation to secure. If we do, great. If not, here are the other contenders for the four nights we'll be in town: Le Chateaubriand (second choice); Chez Georges (for the traditional bistro experience); then Yam'Tcha; Frenchie; Les Papilles; Le Pantruche; and maybe Thoumieux. So, what say you all? All comments very much appreciated. Merci bien!

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  1. Your list looks great, I'm sure you'll enjoy all of them! Thoumieux I think is good but not stand out. Comptoir du Relais is all but impossible for the weeknight gastronomique menus. You pretty much have to stay at the hotel. I ate there on a Sunday night, and they said for the weeknight reservation, you have to ask at the hotel. We walked over to the hotel, and the guy said they were booked until January, so to just call at 2pm the same day and see if there are cancellations. I said, okay, we'll just reserve for January. But he refused to let us reserve and kept saying to call at 2pm. It was the weirdest thing. All that to say - Sounds like they only let hotel guests reserve, and then if anything is available the same day, we minions can attempt to join. Comptoir due Relais is still great on weekend nights and for lunch though, just have to wait. Go early. You'll love everything else on your list, and it's a good mix of traditional/bistro/contemporary/fusion. Go for it!

    12 Replies
    1. re: juliemarie8

      Julie Marie,

      Thanks for your feedback. I'd be happy to go to lunch at Comptoir, but I heard it was not the same as the dinner experience. Know anything about that?

      1. re: Shooley

        Weeknights at dinner (the reservations that seem impossible to obtain) are a "gastronomic" no-choice menu, and supposed to be really wonderful. Lunches and weekends are their standard brasserie menu, but they have a lot of choices and are often well done. I ordered a beef shoulder the other week that was wonderful, and my dining companions enjoyed their choices as well. It sounds like weeknight evenings are really enjoyable and well worth pursuing, but I think the normal menu is nice as well.

        1. re: juliemarie8

          I must disagree, dinner is super, lunch is not.
          I'm not allowed to refer you elsewhere, but I'm sure you'll figure it out.

          1. re: John Talbott

            "I must disagree, dinner is super, lunch is not."

            I read Juliemarie to say that midweek dinner was best but difficult to book for non-residents of the hotel, but that she had also enjoyed the standard brasserie menu at lunch and weekends.

            I don't understand the context of your statement. Are you saying that weekend dinner is super as well as mid-week? That lunch is not worth booking?

            1. re: mangeur

              In a word - Yes.
              Indeed, I would say next door, even with Rugbypals th food is better.

              1. re: John Talbott

                next door aka l'Avant Comptoir? Or next door in another direction?

                  1. re: John Talbott

                    Ok, I was thinking about L'Avant Comptoir, but there will be four of us so how would that work for dinner? I thought it was standing room only. Also, I am intrigued by Roseval since looking into that. So, maybe if we can't get a res at Chateaubriand, go there?

                    1. re: Shooley

                      L'avant is good for a drink and snack but I would not go for a relaxing meal. Lunch and weekend dinners are the same brasserie menu so I don't understand John's comment. The specials board often features dishes from the impossible to book mid- week dinner menu. The mid-week dinner is very good but part of that is they halve the number of covers so it is more spacious....the food is slightly more refined but not significantly.

                      1. re: PhilD

                        Phil
                        My (perhaps very skewed) experience is that the brasserie menu is vastly inferior to the regular dinner one.
                        Again, one dope's opinion.

                      2. re: Shooley

                        Four for dinner will be a scrum. Unh unh.

        2. re: juliemarie8

          There is a reason for this seemingly strange system: the restaurant doesn't do the bookings, all bookings are taken by the very small hotel reception next door. And no you don't need to be a hotel guest, they do keep some tables back for guests and a good tip is to ask the hotel reception at about 6:30pm if there are any tables that night - it often worked for us.

        3. Re. Le Comptoir: I just learned that the week we're in Paris, it's a school holiday (Nov. 3-7), so the restaurant takes no reservations. So, it appears we have to just go and get in line. When should we do that to ensure a seat? We don't mind dining early, if need be.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Shooley

            Cannot answer yr ?
            "it's a school holiday (Nov. 3-7)"
            but people should know the Toussaint Holidays run 27 Oct - 12 Nov.

            1. re: John Talbott

              Hi John, Not sure what you mean...Please advise!

              1. re: Shooley

                Sorry, I'm guilty of Parigi's Sin #1; over-brevity.
                What I meant was that I don't know when to get in line, first because I've never encountered this at the Comptoir and second because I don't eat out after sunset. (I do arrive at the Cafe Contant and :Pierre San Boyer right on the stroke of noon, however, when they open the door, if that's of any guidance.)
                As for my comment about the Toussaint School Holiday, it was just a general warning to all readers that restos where say there are Moms and Pops with kids there might be closings between 27 Oct - 12 Nov.

                1. re: John Talbott

                  Ok, so you're saying the restaurant may be closed altogether? How can I find this out? So far, we have reservations at Le Chateaubriand, Le Pantruche, and Roseval. The hotel is trying to contact Chez Georges (so we can have the traditional bistro experience), but to no avail! Any suggestions? We're trying to go to Chez Georges on Sat. Nov. 3rd. If we get in there, then maybe we'll cancel Roseval and try to wait in line for Le Comptoir, if it's open. I've never been there and I am dying to go.

                  Thanks for your help...

                  1. re: Shooley

                    And one more thing...if we can't get into Chez Georges, how about Terroir Parisien instead? OR Caius? Should we skip Roseval? We're staying in the 5th.

                    I hate it when everyone leaves me in charge of the restos...I have anxiety about making the right choices and making everyone (not the least of which is myself!) happy and content :)

                    1. re: Shooley

                      It won't be closed. Best time for dinner is probably early around 7:00 or late after 9:00 but it is pot luck and depends if others have the same idea.

                      1. re: Shooley

                        Chez Georges on the Rue Mail (there are at least two in town) is pretty big; otherwise for the bistro experience, how about Paul Bert or Chez L'Ami Jean or Petit Marguery.
                        Terroir is very good mind you but not typical old bistro-type; theit hot dog alone is worth the price of admission. I have not eaten at Roseval and have yet to re-evaluate Caius which I didn't like Time #1 although I liked the Caius offshoot.

                        1. re: John Talbott

                          our impression of Terroir Parisien was that the menu was based much more on traditional bistro stuff, compared to the contemporary menus and presentation we saw at Semilla, Septime, le Galopin. its ambience is contemporary, no doubt. the hot dog was a highlight of our trip, but it's derived from a bistro classic, head cheese. we also relished the terrine made from pig's snout, the ris de veau, and the heap of thick poached pollack fillets resting on lightly dressed, barely wilted baby spinach.

                        2. re: Shooley

                          Both Chez George and Caius are closed Saturday and Sunday.

                          1. re: Ian F

                            Well, then, let's throw in the Repaire de Cartouche as well

                            1. re: John Talbott

                              So, we're set for dinner on Sun Mon and Tues at Le Chateaubriand, Chez Georges and Le Pantruche; and I've asked for help on Saturday with a reservation at either Spring or Terroir Parisien. I'm hungry thinking about all these great places.

                              Thanks for all your help...will try to report back soon.