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Bouillon Racine

We arrive in Paris this coming Saturday with our 10 and 12 year olds, who will be visiting Paris for the first time. On previous trips my husband and I have loved restaurants like Le Comptoir, L'Ami Jean, L'Epi Dupin but we think they might be a little sophisticated this time around. We are staying in an apartment on Boul. St. Michael near Luxembourg Gardens and for our first night it was recommended that we have dinner at Bouillon Racine. Just wondering what Chowhounders think? I didn't see much about it on this site.

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  1. It's been so long since I ate there (in the old smoking in resto days) my opinion is not worth much, not that it ever is, but we didn't think it was go-back-to-able.

    14 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott

      Thanks John. I know you don't like to be limited by geography, but can you recommend a restaurant in the area that would be suitable for a family?

      1. re: tartytatin

        Bouillon Racine went down rather steeply soon after it opened and has been consistently horrible since then. Don't go.

        1. re: tartytatin

          I agree that Les Papilles is a terrific choice.
          Despite Adam Gopnik's peaan to Balzar, I'd avoid it.

          1. re: John Talbott

            Oops, must disagree about the suitability of Les Papilles. Great for 50+ folks who speak little French but, with limited choice, not so good for 10- and 12-year olds.

            1. re: Parnassien

              I am 50+ and used to love Papilles. The operative words are "used to". Now it is just mediocre and way overpriced.

              1. re: jock

                I used to be 50+ and I still "love" Papilles. But I do see a parallel with a recent thread we had here on the comparative charms of L'Ami Jean for first timers and repeat dudettes.

                We've been visiting LP several times a year since it opened. We always are given a joyously warm welcome, the window table, aperos, cheerful recognition and attention from the waiter(s). We feign surprise at the menu just as Bertrand recites it with enthusiasm as if he just thought it up that morning. He always takes time to inquire about our family and show us newest cel photos of his children. We leave feeling not wowed, but cossetted and well fed, at home.

              2. re: Parnassien

                "not so good for 10 and 12-year olds."
                Not so good for any age. Not terrible, but not really so good.

                1. re: Parigi

                  Whoosh, you guys are tough.
                  OK, 10 and 12 yo, not too far from Lux RER: how about Cigale-Recamier, 18 minutes on foot.

                  1. re: John Talbott

                    That Parigi woman/ Impératrice douairière has toughened us all... thank god! :)

                2. re: Parnassien

                  When I ate lunch at Pappilles( the weekend before Christmas) there was a very large table of approx 20 adults and a smaller table with 8 or so kids. Both tables had lots of fun and seemed to like/demolish the food - but all locals - so children used to real food.

                  I don't really understand the backlash surrounding it, it's a simple place that delivers decent food, at a reasonable price with a nice wine selection. Good for a simple, uncomplicated meal - "it does what it says on the tin".

                  1. re: PhilD

                    "I don't really understand the backlash surrounding it"
                    The food.

                    1. re: Parigi

                      Precisely that's what I don't understand - the food is good, and not especially expensive. The cooking won't ever set the world on fire but is that a problem? I for one like variety in my dining and Pappilles works well in a spectrum of dinners.

                      1. re: PhilD

                        "Precisely that's what I don't understand - the food is good"
                        We disagree.This I understand.

                        1. re: Parigi

                          More importantly is understanding the palate of our various posters. No, not important, invaluable.

          2. If you're on Blvd St Michel, you may not be far from Les Papilles, which might be lovely for your group.

            1. First night with kids in tow, I'd head to a café-brasserie like Au Petit Suisse on the rue Vaugirard/ rue Médicis or Le Rostand on the place Edmond Rostand/ rue Médicis... both with decent cuisine, fab terraces for that I'm-in-Paris moment, and just a minute or two from the boulevard St Michel.

              Or a 5- to 10-min walk via the Panthéon or back streets to Les Pipos on the rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève/ rue de l'Ecole Polytechnique... really fun bar à vins with good grub... kids love it... and most parents too.

              Sat night, rezzies essential no matter where you go.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Parnassien

                Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I had thought about Les Papilles but I was concerned it might not suit the kids. les Pipos sounds great. I'll give it a look.

              2. Even a tourist trap brasserie can be a fun experience, as long as you don't expect too much. Especially on a Saturday night, order dishes that have to prepared to order, and don't let them seat you upstairs. The Menu Enfant should satisfy the kids.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Oakglen

                  Oakglen are you referring to Bouillon Racine or the other brasseries mentioned in this discussion?

                  1. re: tartytatin

                    I'm referring specifically to Bouillon Racine; but I suppose the commentary could apply to most of the large establishments that offer children menus. We like some brasseries, Balzar being one, but seldom see kids there. Good luck.