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Monday 23 December special lunch in Paris - harder than it sounds!!!

My husband and I will be heading to Europe for our honeymoon in December from Australia.

My husband has the inconvenience of a birthday on 23 December - and to make matters worse its a Monday! We are wanting to go out for a nice lunch to celebrate but it is much harder than sounds.

ABOUT US: We are late 20s, enjoy inventive/modern/fusion food but want a French influence in there. We would be looking preferably for a multi-course meal 100 euro a head or below for food. There is a chance I *may* be pregnant so won't be drinking, eating raw/undercooked meat or seafood, and being careful. We have resos at El Cellar de Can Roca, Tickets and Pakta in Barcelona, and our favourite meal when we visited Paris last was at L'Astrance.

Considered, but closed - Septime, Chez L'Ami Jean, Spring, Bones, Sola, Ledoyen, Frenchie (closed for 2 weeks over Christmas).

Ze Kitchen Galerie and Saturne I am unsure whether will be open or not - I assume I won't be able to find out for the next couple of weeks.

The only other place I am seriously considering is Le Meurice, not sure what the food at lunch is like since Alain Ducasse took over, as I heard lunch previously was not up to scratch. Any feedback? I couldn't find any review since he has taken over. I know this is entirely different to the rest listed and I believe just above budget (115 euro a head is it, for lunch?) but the dining room looks stunning so if the food is worth it may be a good contender.

Is there anywhere else you can suggest or any feedback on Saturne, Ze or Le Meurice? I understand we are still in early November but we will be leaving for Europe in about 3 weeks and it would be great to have a short list to make things easier once it is confirmed whether restaurants are open.

Thanks so much!

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  1. Wow that is a tough question.
    Usually Ze is only closed on the holidays themselves but with two bridge weekends this year may be different. I would urge you to call, Cedric has that reservation system and calendar working like a dream - he'll know.

    1 Reply
    1. re: John Talbott

      Thanks John! Fingers crossed Ze is open, I really like the sound of it.

    2. I believe Dans Les Landes is normally open Monday. Not sure about that crucial Monday when the very few restos that are open on Mondays in Paris are closed for Xmas.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Parigi

        Thanks Parigi we will check.

        I wasn't sure about Dans Les Landes, as we will be spending 9 nights in Spain before heading to France and although I love tapas thought it would be best to have something with a more French influence (I am sure tapas are French particularly areas near the Spanish border, and I am sure Dans Les Landes does them with a French air but I am sure you know what I mean???)

      2. I suspect your budget disqualifies the main restaurant at Le Meurice. For me, It's always an expense account meal so I haven't noticed if there is a lunch special... many of the starters alone are 100+ € so it's difficult to imagine how they can offer an affordable lunch deal... hate to admit it because I've never been a fan of Ducasse but the food has improved (and prices raised) since he took over. Le Dali (the hotel's more casual but still impressively decorated second restaurant) will, however, get you fed within budget... and, much-loved by fashionistas, does offer great people-watching as well... I've had a very swanky afternoon tea but not a full meal since Fréchon left so I can't comment on the current quality of Le Dali's cuisine.

        Another good option for a celebratory lunch around the 100 € mark: La Grande Cascade in the Bois de Boulogne next to Longchamp racecourse... more French than fusion but quite "haute"...may seem a little inconvenient to get to but, hint hint, Paris taxis are some of the cheapest in Europe.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Parnassien

          "La Grande Cascade"
          Wonderful idea, check to be sure open despite what the guidebooks say.

          1. re: Parnassien

            Thanks Parnassien, La Grande Cascade looks beautiful so I will add it to the short list and check back in the next few weeks (seems there online system has up to the 20th at this stage).

            As far as Le Meurice, on the Michelin Guide website it has lunch listed as 115€ - but from a couple of (older) reviews I read it stated lunch was not up to the standard of dinner. I wasn't sure if this was still true since Alain Ducasse took over? And whether the Michelin Guide is correct with the lunch price... I will perhaps check with Le Meurice itself as from your comments above it sounds as if it may be a worthy contender.

            The 100€ budget isn't definite, but I find it difficult to justify too much more as we are away for 4 weeks, unless it is head over heels above others and a must do experience. For example, although we are spending 4 nights in Copenhagen, I couldn't justify Noma for 1500DKK ($285 AUD/pp just for food!) when we are eating at El Celler de Can Roca for $180 AUD/pp.

            1. re: keedm002

              When walking by Le Meurice a few weeks ago I saw the menu posted at the door listed a lunch at €130. There was no detail on what you get for this.

              1. re: keedm002

                I urge you not to scrimp in Paris, its a city that rewards a little investment and given how strong the aussie against the euro it is pretty good value. Also compared to Attica (which I love) or Quay the grand lunches in Paris are very good value as they deliver such a great memorable experience.

                Le Cinq, will deliver. Its room is superb, and the service wonderful. The whole hotel will also be wonderfully decorated for Christmas making it quite magical. Le Meurice will probably be as good in terms of these elements (I have not been) and so it may simply be a coin toss.

                Remember that even with €110 menu should (must) add a cheese course - the chariot at Le Cinq is very good - and with some decent wine, coffee etc you should budget €500-600 for two.

                The other choices on your OP are good but not special enough for a birthday, i would avoid ZKG as it always reminded me of sub par aus east/west fusion from the '90's.

                As to the concern about Le Meurice being now in the Ducasse camp, to me that is more about tall poppy syndrome rather than experience. I for one have enjoyed Duccasse, as I do Ramsay and Neil Perry - all successful chefs who seem to attract detractors yet seem to fill their restaurants.

                1. re: PhilD

                  Thanks PhilD, after some more researching I was seriously considering Le Cinq, and your comments have convinced me.

                  It's most definitely open as bookings are available online, so (unless anyone says otherwise) we may have a winner!

                  We will hopefully have the opportunity to dine at some of the other places I have been looking at as well!

            2. What about Le Cinq? Since it's in a hotel it's more likely to be open. I know the special price lunch has gone up to 110 euros, but it's a really special place...

              3 Replies
              1. re: ChefJune

                Thanks ChefJune. We have thought about le Cinq, and between the two (if Le Meurice lunch is 115 euro) and based on reviews I thought Le Meurice may be slightly more special?? But I would love to hear your opinion as you are a valued contributor to this board?

                1. re: keedm002

                  Well, it's just my opinion, but I don't think Ducasse taking over Le Meurice is likely to make it better than it was.

                  Le Louis XV in Monaco remains very special, but overall, I think most of the places with his name on them are not top tier.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Thanks ChefJune. Maybe Le Cinq is a contender after all?