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Jun 18, 2013 10:40 AM

Restaurants for Large Family Group Near Musee d'Orsay

I'm looking for a location near the Musee d'Orsay for a relatively early dinner on a Thursday (7:30 or 8pm) with a group of jetlagged family members.

I'll be with family who've never been to Paris and want to ease them into the experience so was leaning towards something a bit more rustic. We have a group of 8 and tried unsuccessfully to get into Chez L'Ami Jean. What else would you recommend that's not too far away that might be approachable for a large party? I was thinking Maceo but that feels like more on the fine dining side.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Brasserie Thoumieux, rue Saint-Dominique. A group of eight is very unlikely to enter Chez l'Ami Jean. Thoumieux is quite near and seems to be one of the only places in the neighborhood that would accommodate such a large group. Pretty good food, too.

    1. There is a buffet in the Museum. I never got around to trying it. Comments please.

      22 Replies
      1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

        Thanks. I've heard the museum restaurant is beautiful with mediocre food.

        1. re: bfkirk

          It is beautiful with mediocre food.

          1. re: Ptipois

            It is beautiful with surprisingly good food, given one's expectations. Sorry Pti and kirk.
            And while I'm at it, my last and only meal at Thoumieux since the Costes/Piege takeover resulted in my co-dining food writer friend's verdict "if it's Sunday, you're wealthy, lazy, need a voiturier and work-study coat check person as well as "beautiful," tall, rail-thin, tanned, slit-skirted waitresses, it's better than Bofinger."
            My rec: Les Climats, esp if it ever stops hailing/colding - 8 can sit in the garden or inside if awful.

            1. re: John Talbott

              Menu looks good. Is it more fine dining or brasserie feel?

              1. re: bfkirk

                Which one?
                Les Climats?
                Gastrobistro or bistronomique, in the vocabulary of Demorand, I'd say.
                But red red red; take a look at Figaro's pix or mine.

              2. re: John Talbott

                Sorry to differ from your distinguished food writer friend who unfortunately isn't a contributor here, but I still recommend Thoumieux as a sensible option for a family group of eight people trying to find a decent meal in the neighborhood.
                Once you get past the typically Costes coat-check floozies, the food is good and the place is spacious. I'm afraid the food at Les Climats would be a bit too fussy and ethereal for the OP's demand.

              3. re: Ptipois

                It is beautiful with surprisingly good food, given one's expectations. Sorry Pti and kirk.

                1. re: Ptipois

                  Mediocre is being kind. Very kind.

                  Still, I can't say I regretted eating there. A picture is worth a thousand words:

                  1. re: Steve

                    Indeed, that sure must help the prepackaged salmon tartare and canned île flottante go down.

                    1. re: Ptipois

                      Jeez guys, lighten up.
                      The day I went the Vichyssoise was really different and good, the fresh not frozen but drab rouget came alive with the bitter orange rind accompaniment, there were lots of fresh veggies and the creme caramel was different - with mango and Szechwan pepper.
                      For what it is, it is.

                      1. re: John Talbott

                        John Talbot .How much is it? What is extra? How much?
                        Fresh fish, bitter orange rind accompaniment? A buffet? Wow! This would be past some "good" North American restaurants.

                        Two days ago I went to an expensive "Irish" steakhouse. The garlic mashed potatoes were mostly instant- garlic included.
                        The chocolate pecan tart was disgusting - literally- and tasted stale to boot. Sysco!

                        Pitipois. I assume that you confirmed that the salmon tartare and ile flottant were industrial. I didn't know that you could can ile flottant. Why would anyone want to? Were there some good things to choose from? I do agree that Gresham's Law is operative on a buffet- bad items on your plate drive out good.

                        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                          I'm confused what we're talking about.
                          The Restaurant at the Orsay serves a regular meal not a buffet and my meal was 97.10 E for two of us (the menu is quite reasonable (16.50 E) and even a la carte is about 25-40 E.)

                          1. re: John Talbott

                            The last time I saw Paris there was a buffet there. Obviously, I have been away too long. But I have promised the Ms. -often.
                            My apologies to all.

                            Know of any good buffets in Paris? Fifteen years in college dorm dining halls made me what I am now.

                            P.S. A quick and subsequent internet search shows that the buffet is no more, except for a cold lunch buffet at 14.90 euros.
                            Comments please.

                            1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                              There are some awesome breakfast buffets in palace hotel restaurants (Le Meurice, Le Bristol, Le Crillon - oops closed for renovation) and there are some not-so-awesome Chinese buffet restaurants at lunchtime in the 13eme, but I can't think of any other buffet around here.

                          2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                            No need to describe any further. Who wants mango and Sichuan pepper on their crème caramel? Just serve decent crème caramel. Fussy added details often mean that they were added to something not quite right (as was the case, lettuce, tomato, cherry tomato, olive, stale breadstick, etc., etc., on my - duh - industrial tartare de saumon in a brasserie recently, I won't say where).

                            The main idea is: just don't go to the musée d'Orsay restaurant to eat, but you can perfectly go for the beautiful setting.

                        2. re: Ptipois

                          Hey, I'm pretty sure they removed the fish from the box before microwaving. Which of the two got microwaved, I am ill equipped to say.

                          FYI: I had a table-service meal.

                        3. re: Steve

                          Given where the buffet is and given the lack of enchantment of those who have gone before us, I suspect that there is considerable inconsistency in the offerings. (It ain't the Ponderosa in Niagara Falls, and even there one can cobble together a sort of reasonable meal at the price. No, no, I just looked).
                          One but essential determinant of the quality of your buffet meal is how good you are at the art of buffet. Another is that you conform your expectations to the potential of the format. So it is up to the individual glutton, I mean diner. In any event, rump steak is a favourite. Can you reserve a particular table?

                          I used to go out as a group of eight. Two ninety- year old grandparents, English working class, one was a salt fiend, the other had an amazing list of allergies some of which even were real, a Ms. who is a superb cook but went vegtoid lite on me after marriage, four young children, and me who of course is the perfect gourmand. Oh yeah, except for the grandparents, we keep kosher lite. And we had great success at our family outings. Of course I had to find the right buffet.

                          Say you go to one of the recommended restaurants. Do you really think that everyone in your party will like rognon? Carp? Tepid soup? Make sure that the place that you choose has steak on the menu! And remember, there is no ketchup, and salt and pepper are not on the table.

                      2. re: bfkirk

                        You are going with a group of people off an airplane who probably have diverse tastes. Get real! Get ideal!

                      3. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                        I didn't realise there was a buffet restaurant - I know there is a restaurat that has a menu (its on-line) plus there is the cafe behind the clock - but that wasn'y a buffet either. Have things changed?

                        1. re: PhilD

                          I don't know what goes on there now and I didn't know then. Anything that I said about buffet was based on inference not experience. One of my inferences is that things have changed and now the buffet format is greatly restricted.
                          Someone who actually knows something please post so that all my posts can be ignored.

                          Perhaps the buffet had been offered and continues to be offered to a limited extent in the same room as table service.

                          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                            My question was based experience - so happy to see you admit you don't know what you are talking about.

                      4. I sorta agree with Vinnie. Jet lag can turn a usually great restaurant into a wasted and wasteful experience. And even without the jet lag, a group meal needs lots of compromises to be successful

                        So, maybe La Frégate on the quai Voltaire @ the rue du Bac would be a better bet. Classic brasserie food that's not going provoke any tastebud ecstasy but usually decent enough for the genre. Just a 2-min walk from the Musée d'Orsay. And glorious setting overlooking the Seine, Tuileries and Louvre.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Parnassien

                          Thought I was the only one in the world who touts La Frégate. It is what is it: on the river, charming welcome, tourist central but always rather well dressed and behaved tourists, simple food that is often surprisingly good from the perspective of the visitor, rather reasonable prices. Only been once, then with my d-i-l. We had a charming and memorable time. Would go back with her in a heartbeat. Or with a family group of 8.

                        2. Is Cinq Mars still going and is it still good? Used to be a great little bistro behind the museum.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: PhilD

                            TMK, I thought about it too Phil but rejected it due to size of the group.

                            1. re: John Talbott

                              Its not a bad size for 8 - booking essential though

                              1. re: PhilD

                                Cinq Mars is still going and it's still good.
                                Thoumieux (the brasserie, not the upstairs which I don't recommend at all) maintained as iconically perfect considering the initial question.

                                1. re: Ptipois

                                  We are in Paris in September and my wife has Thoumineux on her list - good to hear it gets your OK (don't worry we have others known for the food).

                                  1. re: PhilD

                                    Good. Remember - downstairs not upstairs and don't miss the freshly churned vanilla ice cream with toasted hazelnuts.

                          2. Ok; ignoring the chatter and chatterboxes here, I will report that my/our meal at Les Climates today in perfect weather, in the garden, with meself and four fine ladies who were between seances at the Musee d'Orsay, was pretty close to perfect. And with a zillion bottles (actually 8,500) of Burgundy (for 15-5388 €) to arrive at the end with a total bill of under 100 € a couple, for a star-quality meal, it cannot be beat.