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Jan 10, 2014 04:49 PM

Mom's 80th Birthday Dinner in Paris on Easter Sunday

My wife and I are taking my mom to Paris for her 80th birthday, which falls on Easter Sunday this year. I'm looking for a dinner spot that's not too trendy or loud, yet not too fancy either, priced in the 50-85 euro range if possible, and with contemporary and creative french food, maybe with a some elbow room and comfy chairs. My frugal mom would not be comfortable if she knew we were paying 400 euros or something similar, but we still want it to be a special meal.

Looking around, seems Drouant, Axuria, Les 110 Taillevent, and Violon d'ingres are some of the regular recs for sundays. do any of those fit the bill?

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  1. As much as I like Axuria for a Sunday lunch, it's not a very celebratory place. Drouant, I don't really enjoy on any day and even less so on Sunday when the surrounding quartier is more or less lifeless. I like Les 110 de Taillevent a lot and if you stick to the "formule" pretty doable at your budget but easy to go way over 100€ a head if you do à la carte and are not careful with the wine selections. Le Violon d'Ingres, not bad but will be mostly tourists on Easter weekend.

    La Grande Cascade is, I think, one of the best value upscale restaurants in Paris. It won't fit in your 50 to 80€ budget but the 79€ "formule" (without wine) is exceptionally pleasing ... and the second-empire grandeur, "frenchness" and lots of elbow room makes it ideal for any celebratory meal. My less-than-frugal but very value-conscious 85-year old gran loves it ! In the Bois de Boulogne so it might not seem all that convenient but Paris taxis are cheap or, to please your penny-pinching mom, métro to Porte Maillot and then #244 bus to almost the front door.

    1. Although I'm sure all of Parnassien's recs are spot on, I have to speak up for Drouant.
      The food is impeccable, it is mostly traditional with very few fusion twists here and there, but nothing too crazy (one example would be a sardine marinated in orange juice and soy sauce, which was great, not "artificially" asian, but still with a twist that made it both original and delectable).
      The only thing I didn't like about the place is probably what would make it perfect for your mom's birthday... it was very quiet, and in my opinion the room feels too much like a hotel lobby, but having said that it is classy, not too stiff but formal, and again... very quiet and relaxing, which I think would be perfect for someone of your mom's age. (not that I assume your mom is not still rocking, but you can go to Drouant and head on to the nightclubs afterwards !)

      If you want to see a few pictures of the dishes (and a review, in French, sorry), you can check out :

      4 Replies
      1. re: Rio Yeti

        Like my Dad would say to my sister and me - "you're both right."
        Drouant or La Grande Cascade (she'll never see the bill).
        And give her a hug for me, the oldest guy here still standing.

        1. re: John Talbott

          Thanks everyone for your advice!! much appreciated. Grande Cascade looks beautiful. John and Rio, what's your take on 110 Taillevent on Sunday night. A little more energy than Drouant?

          1. re: Thanksformutton

            Thanks: Hummmm
            I'm not an energy person (never even tried Red Bull) and despite my undeserved reputation, I'm neither terribly hip nor Bobo; thus I would toss this ball to Parnassien or Souphie who are closer to that demographic for an energetic decision.
            For me, two years away from the nineth decade, I would go to 110.

            1. re: Thanksformutton

              I've never been to 110, but based on reviews (including one shot on video by a french critic) there does seem to be more energy at 110, it also looks less formal than Drouant, but still classy.

              Since I didn't go, I can't specifically recommend the place for your mother's birthday. But it's definitely a restaurant that's on my list, and I doubt you'll have a bad time there (again, based solely on reviews, not personal experience).

        2. Another concept, when an anniversary falls on a Sunday or holiday, is to celebrate a day before or after in order to integrate the celebrant's preferences and appropriate restaurants' closures.

          Something else to consider is the celebrant's happy place. My birthday usually falls while we are in France, sometimes when we are in France profunde, aka real boonies. Some of my favorite memories have been of simple meals among locals, some unheard of kind of sparkling wine, lots of the local stuff, hosts delighted to share the moment. I'd choose the same ambiance in a heartbeat were I to have the opportunity to celebrate a birthday in Paris.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mangeur

            Or another strategy is to do what the Queen of England does and pick another date when the weather is nicer.