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Mar 7, 2013 05:22 AM

food plans for an eclectic group in Paris

Will be in Paris early July and have an eclectic group - parents and friends all of whom have various tastes and priorities when it comes to food. A few of the group does not like "rich" food (read cream), or any of the more adventurous stuff (read organ meat or other body parts not usually consumed at home). We will be in Paris for 4 nights (Tues thru Fri). We travel every year, mostly to Italy, and I always make the plans and reservations.
I am trying to hit some highlights and please all 7 of us in the group as best I can. My thoughts were to hit one place that fits the following Bistro, French fusion, a French dining "experience" and maybe a neighborhood joint. Thoughts so far were
Tuesday - early sitting at Chez L'ami Jean (we will be tired arriving this day). Will there be enough choice here to please the group with the prix fixe?
Wednesday - having a late afternoon food tour so thinking of L'Avant Comptoir or Fish La Boissonnerie (staying in this general area)
Thursday - Ze Kitchen Galerie
Friday - Having difficulty deciding between a formal place (suggestions please - do we try Jules Verne, or Spring, or Le CInq or Le PreCatalan or Relais du Comptoir?) One of our group has been to Paris more than I recently and he wants us all to go to La Gran Cascade, I am more inclined to try one of the others... What would you all do?? I am actually more comfortable going to more casual places with great food but I would do fancier to please the group. Really want to try Bistro Paul Bert or Le 6 Paul Bert but not sure when to fit that in... Lunches I think will be based on where we wind up touring around the city. Might wing those. Are these selections solid? When do I need to reserve? Any thoughts and comments more than welcome. THANK YOU!!!

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  1. You have an embarassement of riches to choose from Friday:
    Personally I'd favor Spring (which fits in your category if "more casual places with great food") or Le PreCatalan if you want "formal" over the other 2 but you cannot go wrong with any.

    7 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott

      Thank you John...do you approve of the selection over all for the other nights? And for reservations... 30 days out, 60? Anything I should change on the other nights?

      1. re: njberk

        Sorry, I thought that was inherent in my reply.
        Yes, I think the others are terrific.
        I'm not the person to ask about how far out one needs to reserve for dinner since I only eat out at lunch and I can always get in.
        Maybe Parnassien or Parigi of Soph can give you an idea.
        BTW I would try to squeeze 6 Paul Bert in.

        1. re: John Talbott

          Thank you! I think I may try for dinner there Wednesday then and stop at L'Avant Comptoir for a snack/lunch.

          1. re: njberk

            Be aware that lunch is a "brasserie" affair, quite different from the set menu at night; I've been more satisfied at night than at lunch.

            1. re: John Talbott

              John - Le Avant Comptoir is the wine bar next the Le Comptoir so different menu more tuned to standing up and guzzling rather than sitting down and sipping.

              1. re: PhilD

                Sorry; yes indeed, I lost track between the original idea of going to Relais du Comptoir Friday evening and "stopping at L'Avant Comptoir for a snack/lunch."
                L'Avant is indeed standing and sipping, but the one time I went it was so packed that I cannot imagine a group of 7 fitting in. Unless you're willing to spill out on the sidewalk, which on a good day in July might work.

                1. re: John Talbott

                  Agreed! Every time my husband and I walk by, at reasonable imbibing hours, we can't imagine even an extra two finding room.

    2. <Tuesday - early sitting at Chez L'ami Jean (we will be tired arriving this day)>

      I would not schedule a "major" dinner for the evening of your arrival. If you're anything like us, you will crash early (or at least some of your group will). I always schedule a leisurely lunch for the first day, and wing it for dinner, if we are still awake at dinnertime.

      As for Friday: if one of your group loves La Grande Cascade and would like everyone to go there, that's what I would schedule. However, like many on this board, we prefer to eat our large meal at lunchtime. Not only does it give us the rest of the day to walk the meal off, but the lunch menus and specials are always much better priced than dinners.

      1. I agree that if you are tired, don't waste such a great place like chez l'Ami Jean when you are comatose. You deserve better. It deserves better.
        How about a cave à manger (part of a wine bar) like le Bouclier de Bacchus. The menu is very flexible. Those who mange to have an appetite can have a real meal. Others can have a charcuterie plate or cheese plate. The wine selection is wonderful, with no extra charge over its retail price.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Parigi

          Thank you for your post. Le Bouclier de Bacchus looks awesome. I know we will be tired that night... My thought in going to CLAJ our first night (as opposed to Le 6 Paul Bert for example) was that we would be going on the early side, and we could walk there and back from where we are staying. Part of our group includes my parents (age +/-75) and I was reluctant to have to take the metro or a cab on the first night in case my parents, who speak no French and do not know Paris, had to leave early for some reason. We are staying in a hotel so we have to eat out. We all arrive at different times that Tuesday, so doing a good lunch that day will not be in the cards. HELP!

          1. re: njberk

            OK I admit - I've lost track.
            What do you need help with?
            A cave a manger like Le Bouclier de Bacchus but near your hotel; a resto that night that's not as "heavy" and filling as CLAJ but walking distance from your hotel? - which is where?; or some nuance I am missing?

            1. re: John Talbott

              Sorry... Yes thanks... Idea of workable plans for arrival night, a Tuesday, staying in St Germain between Pont Neuf and Blvd. St Germain. I think the group will want a good meal and we need a reservation somewhere wonderful to start off a fabulous two week vacation. We are all reasonable travelers, so we will be jet lagged but not catatonic.... Thanks again for your help!

              1. re: njberk

                Why not the dinner meal at the Relais du Comptoir or Semilla (while owned and run by the Fish folk its food is different)?
                For another day another thought is Pinxo Rive Gauche where your big group can eat "tapas" portioned stuff.

                1. re: John Talbott

                  Thanks John. I think we will try for Relais du Comptoir and then move CLAJ for our last night if I can convince everyone it would be great not to have to pack clothes for one fancier dinner! Appreciate the help.