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Apr 24, 2013 07:20 AM

First Time in Paris - staying in the please?

Dear Chowhounds,

You all have come through for me so many times before and so I look to you once again. In June, the husband and I will be heading to Paris on a special trip. We're staying in the 6th and would love some help with dining recommendations. We arrive on Thursday and leave for Bayeux on Sunday morning, so we only will have a few meals. Love to hear suggestions at any price points. Thank you!

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  1. Some guidelines please; types of food, restrictions (geographically, foodwise), previous likes/dislikes when we "have come through for me so many times before," places that intrigue you on existing threads, etc.?

    4 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott

      John, I apologize for not being more specific. As for location, I think we'd like to have it be either walking distance, short cab ride, a couple of Metro stops...something to that effect. After a day of sightseeing we'll be tired without a doubt. As far as type of food, we love classic old school Bistro, but love to try the up and comers as well. We live in a large city and are used to trying new things, but we've traveled all over the world and treasure when we've found local places that were unplanned stops. As far as my comment about the people on the Chowhounds board coming through for me before, they've turned me on to some wonderful local gems (great food and great people) that the guide books or food magazines miss. That's where I look to someone such as yourself.

      1. re: kwe730

        No apologies needed; now it depends on where in the 6th and if you want old standards or new relatively "unfound" places.
        A new favorite of ours has become H Kitchen, 18 Rue Mayet (Metro: Duroc) in the 6th,, closed Sunday and Monday; another is sort of new, at least a new offshoot - Pinxo Left Bank/Rive Gauche, 82, rue Mazarine, in the 6th, (Metro: Odeon),, open 7/7, but our old trusty is Ze Kitchen Galerie, 4, rue des Grands Augustins, 6th (Metro: Saint Michel), T: 01 44 32 00 32, closed Saturday lunch and Sundays. Now this leaves out a lot - Moutache, Cameleon, Ferrandaise - Oh Lordy, the list goes on. Let's see what others say.

        1. re: John Talbott

          We are on rue Cassette in Saint-Germain (Metro: Saint-Sulpice) very close to Pizza Chic, which I have seen mentioned here.

          1. re: kwe730

            That's almost on the edge of the 7th and thuis opens up many more possibilities like Le 122 and the Table of Aki.

    2. Sorry, no serendipity in St Germain des Prés, one of the busiest quartiers in Paris. Booking essential, especially on Fri and Sat night.

      In a 10-min walking radius of your hotel:

      Bistrot de l'Alycastre on rue Clément, updated classic and inventive cuisine in a trad "cadre", somewhat chic, 50 to 70€ (45€ prix fixe + wine);
      Mâchon d'Henri, rue Guisarde, very trad and heavy cuisine/ lyonnaise comfort food, open 7/7, easily under 40€, can get noisy, lots of Chowhounders like it but I think there are better choices...but open on Sunday when lots of other places are closed;
      Bastide d'Opio, rue Guisarde, excellent updated provençal cuisine in a rustic decor, young team who are a delight, fab price/ quality (starters under 10€ and mains 14 to 18€)... open 7/7 so maybe a good choice for Sunday;
      La Cuisine de Philippe, rue Servandoni/ rue Vaugirard, a somewhat sedate but very welcoming classic neighbourhood bistro with excellent and affordable nosh, updated classics expertly done, delightful setting just across from the Luxembourg park, always a few senators from the nearby Sénat, around 40€... probably a good Saturday night choice because its location makes it somewhat immune from the Saturday night fever that infects so much of St Germain des Prés... closed Sunday and Monday;
      Le Petit Verdot, rue Cherche-Midi, very Frenchified Japanese owner & chef, classic French cooking with precision, great wine list (the owner used to be the sommelier at one of the spiffy chateau restaurants in the Médoc), lots of regulars from the neighbourhood, closed Sunday and Monday;
      Point Bulles, rue Clément, champagne bar with good French-Lebanese fusion eats and excellent seafood, jazz on Sunday evenings, trendy and young rather than elegant, open 7/7.

      26 Replies
      1. re: Parnassien

        We stay in the 6th and will be there again next week. It is a wonderful area. The place we keep going back to is Josephine Chez Dumonet. It is that classic bistro that you hope to find. Amazing duck confit and grand marnier souffles. Reservations a must.

        1. re: Parnassien

          Wow, terrific information...thank you! In a big city I rarely expect to be able to just walk in and get seated especially on Friday or Saturday. Very soon we will make our choices and then I will contact the concierge at our hotel to book.

          1. re: Parnassien

            Thank you so much for the Le Petit Verdot there this week and it was wonderful, everything, food, owner, wine list, other customers, just everything.

            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

              Love it when one of my favourite Chowhounders loves one of my under-the-radar neighbourhood faves... many thanks for reporting back

              1. re: Parnassien

                "Thank you so much for the Le Petit Verdot"
                Yes well ah gosh, I loved it too, but OMG, it was the one in the 17th of the same name but Jake brought me up to speed on his two dinners there, so we'll be trying it soon.
                Thanks P in advance.

                1. re: John Talbott

                  Le Petit Verdot was indeed the special restaurant of our last seven nights here. So enjoyable, in fact, that we went twice for dinner. (And were lucky to get in the second time on only four days notice.) Thanks, Parnassian, for that rec! I will write about it, with some pics, within a couple weeks I hope. Also, in the same area, for lunch we again liked H Kitchen. And somewhat near-ish, Les Climats. All three have Asian influences, H Kitchen the most so. -- Jake

                  1. re: Jake Dear

                    You've just named 3 of my current faves. Add in Le 122 , Chez Graff, Table d'Aki and la Maison de l'Amérique Latine and you've defined happiness in this little patch of Paris.

                    And I'm totally delighted that Le Petit Verdot was able to deliver such joy for you. There is something very magical that happens when the Japanese (i.e. Hide the owner) discover that they were really meant to be French.

                    1. re: Parnassien

                      "You've just named 3 of my current faves"
                      Same for me..

                      1. re: Parnassien

                        "There is something very magical that happens when the Japanese (i.e. Hide the owner) discover that they were really meant to be French."
                        And yet people put down these and other places, demeaning them as just old fusion or not as good as in Santa Monica, etc.
                        And as resident geezer, a position I compete with Mangeur for, I and we should tip our hats to the pioneers at the Carte Postale, Ze Kitchen Galerie (always an Asian in the window) and Stella Maris.

                        1. re: John Talbott

                          John - i wouldn't lump Japanese/French style with the Asian Fusion style they are quite different (as are the cultures). To me Japanese/French is usually a marrying of exceptional techniques and some flavour profiles, whilst Asian Fusion tends to be more about the use of SE Asian ingredients in combination with western dishes.

                          It's interesting to see the continued evolution of the French/Japanese evolution - I often eat French in Japan and the precision of Japanese cooking usually results in excellent results. I assume much the same in Paris.

                          It's a long time since I went to ZKG and so my views are quite old. I didn't like it the first time, but was persuaded back by the comments on the board and confirmed my first impression. However, it's not only the food - true I found it sub-par compared to my experience in Australia where this style was common - I also really disliked the room - in those day it reminded me of a cheap mid-western hotel dining room devoid of personality.

                          I also struggled with the price, the reasonable set-menu was lunchtime only, at dinner the ALC only pricing made it very expensive for what it was (I know you only eat lunch but many mainly eat dinner when visiting).

                          1. re: PhilD

                            As this discussion revolves and returns, I think often of Frankie Peligrino at Rao's in NY who started every order-taking with "What's good? It's all good. So waddaya like ta eat?" Thankfully, in Paris there is a style of cuisine and of dining room to satisfy every dining preference.

                            The important thing is for writers to describe rather than qualify food and ambiance.

                        2. re: Parnassien

                          I really will write properly about Le Petit Verdot later, by for now will just add: As DCM alluded to, the personality of Hide, the proprietor, is part of the equation that made this place so special for us. And his wine list is great. As the name of the restaurant implies, it is heavy on Bordeaux, but also covers the other major areas very well. And with good selections at the lower end, where we lurk.

                          Re Le 122, we lunched there in Jan, liked it. We tried to fit in la Maison de l'Amérique Latine for a lunch this time -- but had to save it for next.

                          Speaking of lunch, Parnassien, the SF offer remains open. --Jake

                      2. re: John Talbott

                        "Thank you so much for the Le Petit Verdot"
                        I'm always fearful when I buck the CH tsunamis but 6 of us, all faithful bloggers/posters/readers/informed folk over retirement age who live here or are here a lot went today and we were underwhelmed.
                        I love Hide, I love all of the Hide Ishizuka Empire and friends that include Hide, Le Concert de Cuisine, H. Kitchen, Encore and Le Sot l'Y Laisse, but this didn't do it.

                        1. re: John Talbott

                          Hi John, It's interesting that Hide Ishizuka (such a likable guy) also runs H Kitchen, right around the corner, etc. From your blog review it seems that you had a menu different in some respects from ours (for one, maybe you were not offered our main "wow" dish -- rolled lapin with its own liver and gambas). Perpahs that's available only at dinner, not lunch. As you wrote, some in your party ranked it a very respectable 7 on your meter. But in any event, as we all know so much of these experiences comes down to how it strikes you at the time. And so for selfish reasons we'll not be sorry if this small resto avoids "the CH tsunami." -- Jake

                          1. re: Jake Dear

                            I'm with Jake on this one. The dinner is usually very good indeed. There was (I hear) a recent change of chefs which may in part explain your disappointment. I haven't been recently but my parents ate there last week and say the food is just as good as it used to be.

                            1. re: Parnassien

                              Since Jake has "outed himself" I'll add that it was his enthusiam and two meals just last week that prompted me to go (as well as Parnassien's endorsement).
                              Maybe we went with too high expectations but I asked one of our bunch if I was too tough and he commented thusly: "I think you were perhaps a touch lenient, none of the offerings were bad, in fact for the most part were tasty and properly cooked just rather boring entrée offerings...5.1 is about right."

                            2. re: Jake Dear

                              Let me say that I enjoyed the little place but perhaps like JT, My expectations were too high after reading the always reliable DCM, Parn. and Jake and the fact that I love Hide in the 17th. My complaints were not with the food, the Canette, vegetables and galette of seafood were delicious and perfectly cooked; my points off were for a too long interval between courses, having only 2 bottles of Morgon Côte de Py (we were a party of 6 winos) and primarily for the sameness of the menu selections. Of the 3 entrée selections, all 3 were fish as was one of the 3 main courses. The other 2 mains were the Canette and a bavette. This presents a disquietude, certainly not for a mange-tout like me, but for those with a problem with seafood. I understand that a small place should not be expected to have a large carte, but a little more variety would be a plus.

                              1. re: Laidback

                                l agree with everything you say, long time between courses, limited menu, but for that night with the company l had it was perfect and magical. We shared wine with three of the four tables downstairs and was more like a party than a restaurant.
                                When we left we all praised the place, but l remember saying l am not sure l will return as repeating the experience would be very difficult.

                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                  Deluca - make no mistake - at our meal too "the company was perfect" but "magical" the food was not. And we were upstairs with the foreigners (ie Japanese).

                                2. re: Laidback

                                  "...I love Hide in the 17th."

                                  I have been interested in this discussion of LPV and of the Hide empire. We only tried the first Hide (17e) once and that was when it was quite new. M. Hide was indeed welcoming and interested in finding out where we were from and how we found out about his place. We never returned. It was certainly inexpensive and a value for the money, but the food didn't warrant a second visit.

                                  Again, more blindfolded description of different parts of that damned elephant.

                              2. re: John Talbott

                                My baby duck was awesome as well with perfect vegetables.

                        2. re: Parnassien

                          We tried La Cuisine de Philippe based on your recommendation back in May, Parnassien, and found it both "excellent and affordable." It's a great stop after the Musée de Luxembourg, and its soufflés are a real treat, both as entrée and as dessert.

                          1. re: alohatoall

                            Glad you found it as enjoyable as I do (or did). It used to be one my great pleasures to walk through the Luxembourg in high-summer from my apartment for the exceptionally friendly welcome and great-value nosh at La Cuisine de Philippe. In recent months, however, it's been "discovered" by tourists and whimsical spur-of-the-moment me is having trouble getting a table as easily as I once did. Just another example that any good restaurant in Paris and in Saint-Germain des Prés in particular doesn't remain a secret for very long.

                          2. re: Parnassien

                            Any idea what time does the jazz start at Point Bulles on sunday nights (in november)? what's the price point for this place? many thanks!

                            1. re: grovina

                              Point Bulles' Sunday jazz starts at 7:30pm... usually until 10... it's a very open menu with tapas (8 to 19€ each), shellfish, and larger plates to share ... my typical bill: shareable quail kebabs @ 21€ per person + a glass of champagne @ 12€ + dessert @ 9€ = 42€ ... but you can easily get away for around 20€ with just a plate of oysters and a glass of champagne. There's also a cocktail happy hour from 5:30 to (?)8pm if you want to check the place out to see if it fits you.