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Helping in narrowing down the Paris list

In my best French style . . . Bonjour.

We are headed to Paris for two weeks in early July. It is myself and my husband for one week and we are then being joined by another couple. We love to eat and one of us is pretty serious about wine.

We are staying in apartments, one near Palais Royal, one on the Left Bank. But we are happy to travel for good food.

Using Chowhound as a guide, I have compiled a list of 36 restaurants. The "theme", if there is one, is really good food, under 100 E per person. We have some experience eating in Europe (including France) and like the idea of set menus. We also want to have a couple of meals in a brasserie (since we will be there on two Sunday's).

So, here is the list in no order (well, maybe alphabetically). Help us eliminate some and highlight the best. For dinner only.

Abri
L'Ambroisie
Atelier Joel Robechon (well we want at least one Michelin *)
Auberge Flora
Aux 2 Oliviers
Bistrot Victoires
Bistro Volney
Caius
Cafe des Musees
Chatomat
Goust
Huitrerie Regis (one of us loves oysters(
L'Arome
Le Cornichon
Le Pantruche
Le Pario
Le 6 Paul Bert
Le Florimond
Le Petite Cour
Le Saotico
Le Verre Vole
Les 110 de Taillevent
Les Bistronomes
Les Papilles
Les Tablettes
Lilane
Ouidino
Philou
Piroette
Pramil
Regalade St. Honore
Spring
Suave
Toyo Ze Kitchen Galerie

Have at it.

And merci bien.

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  1. 100 Euros... with or without wine?

    4 Replies
    1. re: allende

      Tough question -- but hoping for with wine -- I may be naive, but E100 per person seems like a reasonable ceiling.

      1. re: antonia2

        You're not naive, although I as always would advocate for lunch - in Europe, in France, one walks, one museums, one gardens. But so be it.

        1. re: John Talbott

          John,

          Are you suggesting substituting some lunches for dinners? This is always a big question for us -- usually we are out and about all day, often eating in a museum cafe or something light and then having a larger dinner.

          I know that the French and other Europeans often have a large lunch and light dinner and we would be fine with that. An excuse to buy food at the Grand Epicerie and eat at home.

          We would definitely consider some lunches.

          1. re: antonia2

            "Are you suggesting substituting some lunches for dinners?"
            Yes: I know we are not typical Yankees trying to cram everything into one or two weeks and explained our changes over the year on this post http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...
            And I've given the advantages of eating lunch here
            http://www.bonjourparis.com/story/eat...

    2. So Toni, just to get the rules straight before we let the dogs loose - 14 evening meals, preferably set/menu/prix fixe, under 100 e all liquids included, right? John

      1 Reply
      1. re: John Talbott

        Well, we're trying for that . . . Of course, if it is a very great place, we would spring for more.

      2. I'd eliminate
        Pramil
        Regalade St. Honore

        I would not cross town for
        Pantruche
        Papilles

        4 Replies
        1. re: Parigi

          Parigi (and Ptipois),

          Apologies if I seem to be asking the obvious, but any reason you would not go to Regalade St Honore and Les Papilles? I just posted a request for updates on these two restaurants now and this post caught my attention. Many thanks.

          1. re: chowess

            La Régalade Saint-Honoré : lower-than-average-quality products that even careful cooking cannot redeem.

            Les Papilles : better products but the place IMO has gone downhill. But since I haven't been there in some time, I am ready to be corrected by people with more recent experiences. What I'm sure of, though, is that the wines are far less interesting than they used to be.

            1. re: chowess

              My experience with those two restaurants are quite similar to Pti's. If I work nearby and am stuck with eating out all the time in the 'hood, maybe. -- No. I still would not go. My go-toplace in the 5th is Dans les Landes.
              As for the Palais Royal-Bourse area, Terroir Parisien Bourse is light years better than Régalade SH.
              I so miss the old Chez Pauline. Had my wedding dinner there. Sob.

              1. re: Parigi

                "I so miss the old Chez Pauline. Had my wedding dinner there. Sob."
                wish i'd known you then but we had some mighty fine meals there nevertheless.

          2. And I'd eliminate
            Abri
            Auberge Flora
            Le Verre Volé
            Les Papilles
            Chatomat: reservation quite difficult (phone never answered)

            Careful, you put Toyo and Ze Kitchen Galerie on the same line.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Ptipois

              Any particular recent reason to eliminate Abri ? I went when it was a hot new opening in 2012 and had liked the food, the earnest young team and the great price, and would be sorry to hear if it hasn't kept up the momentum.

              1. re: shakti2

                Based on John Talbott, below, we're keeping keeping Abri.

                1. re: shakti2

                  Particular reason: yes, inconsistent food without much originality.

                2. re: Ptipois

                  That was a typo. Thanks for the help. This is making it much easier.

                3. I am going to go at this is a different manner, by giving a diverse list to “include” not exclude I (I’ve cheated and added some not on your list):
                  Oysters Huitrerie Regis
                  Other fish Clamato (also open on weekends)
                  Meat Hugo Desnoyer
                  An old style bistro Le Cafe des Musees
                  A new style bistro Bistro Volnay & Pirouette
                  Bistronomique Les Bistronomes
                  An old style resto Le Florimond
                  A new style resto Goust & Les Tablettes
                  An elegant resto 110 Taillevent
                  A bar a vins plus Le Verre Vole
                  One by a Japanese chef Abri
                  One by a French chef with Asian Ingredients Ze Kitchen Galerie
                  One by a Brazilian chef Le Pario
                  One by a Yankee chef Spring
                  One by a Korean/French chef Pierre Sang Boyer in Oberkampf
                  A brasserie Garnier
                  (I confess I have not been to L'Ambroisie, Caius or Atelier Joel Robuchon in years nor Aux 2 Oliviers, Chatomat (I only eat at lunch) Bistrot Victoires, Lilane, Ouidino, or Suave ever)
                  (And there should be a place for L’Auberge Flora, L'Arome, Le Cornichon, Le Pantruche, Le 6 Paul Bert, Le Saotico, Les Papilles, & Regalade St. Honore)
                  (And I dropped entirely - Le Petite Cour, Philou, Pramil, Toyo and the two Darroze's on another thread)

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: John Talbott

                    Actually this is helpful. Thank you. And we're keeping Abri.

                    Toni

                    1. re: antonia2

                      I lunch fabulously recently at Abri.
                      But a couple of things:
                      The very nice waitress kept recommending the "menu supplice" (torture menu). After a while, I understood that she meant, in her charming accent, "menu surprise".
                      Last week I tried to call to make another appointment and had great difficulty. After trying to call for an hour, I got a gentleman who told me the hour when he would have a table. I said: "please wait a second ; I will consult my husband." The gentleman hung up instead.
                      After another hour trying to call the restaurant, I got the same gentleman who this time told me the restaurnat was full for that evening.
                      Therefore do expect a degree of "téléphone supplice".

                      1. re: Parigi

                        Parigi:
                        Your caution about making reservations and communicating clearly at Abri are well-taken.
                        Toni: There are other great places chef'd by Japanese guys: Les Enfants-Rouges, Kei, Sola and Concert de la Cuisine.

                        1. re: John Talbott

                          Kei is fine and Sola better than fine but a person is unlikely to come out under 100 euros at dinner time. Encore in the 9th and Étude in the 16th are good options as well.

                          1. re: shakti2

                            Whoops, forgot the dinner restriction. Looks like Les Enfants Rouges has a 35 E menu at both meals though.

                        2. re: Parigi

                          We will take this under advisement. We hate "supplices".

                      2. re: John Talbott

                        Thanks for the great list John.

                        I took the liberty of adding them to a map for easy location.

                        https://goo.gl/maps/FRNI3

                      3. If you've not done it yet, I strongly recommend luncheon at la Tour d'Argent. The Menu is 80euro, leaving something in your purse for a bottle or 2 from their fabulous cellar. I recommend one of their well cared for village Bourgogne blancs (Rully, Vire Clesse etc and with the plat a Bandol which pairs nicely with the Magret)
                        The view is wonderful and the ambience elegant.
                        A great way to spend 2 1/2hr. And then...a walk along the Seine to Notre Dame

                        1. A great list. Hardly a stinker among them. I'm not a fan of the Atelier Joël Robuchon which is, I think, a concept formulated in Las Vegas and should really stay there... there is a certain lack of joy and "Frenchness" in both his Paris outposts. But since you specify dinner, the other starry option will require a second mortgage... l'Ambroisie is a 300+ € place with an air of formality that might not go down well with Mr No-Tie. A "bargain" alternative might be one-star la Grande Cascade in the Bois de Boulogne... especially pleasant in summer when dusk can linger until after 10pm.... and a set menu with wine and coffee around the 100€ mark ... whee!

                          As long as you have such a good list, I personally wouldn't over-do the planning and allow for whimsy and circumstances to make your final decisions. One of the circumstances is weather. If there happens to be a heatwave, so many Paris restaurants, usually long narrow and badly ventilated, turn into saunas. Dunno about you but sweating like a pig is not my idea of an enjoyable meal... nor do suffocating temperatures help the kitchen produce the best cooking. I know it's difficult for tourists to suss out which restaurants might be no-nos during a heatwave but in general I'd check the Michelin guide and Cityvox.fr for air-conditioning and/or terraces and use Google street-view maps for corner locations (for cross-ventilation) and openable fronts. Perso, I rarely book more than a day or two in advance and, in summer, I often make rezzies at two or three restaurants for the same night and then cancel when I'm sure what the weather will be and can decide which resto would be the more suitable. Some of your choices, like Spring, will require rezzies weeks in advance (but Spring is air-conditioned so no problem even if there is a heatwave). Other choices like La Petite Cour are only recommendable if there is a heatwave... the courtyard, not the cuisine is the asset here.

                          "Quartier" is also a very important circumstance. Maybe I'm just a bad "foodie" but convenience, neighbourhood buzz/vibe, peoplewatching, and the opportunity to explore la vie parisienne quite commonly determine my restaurant decisions as much as the quality of the cuisine.

                          Strange how personal preferences can be so different. I'd put Auberge Flora in my top 10 while Pti dismisses it. As a local, I'm not terribly taken by Les Papilles but know that visitors do appreciate its warm welcome and unfussy cuisine and so would not discourage you from trying it. Lilane and Cornichon, both overlooked by JT and others, are two of my faves. Huîtrerie Régis almost universally recommended on Chowhound is great for takeout but, as a restaurant, always makes me wonder "why did I come here when I could have gone to Ecume des Bulles around the corner?".

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Parnassien

                            Thanks so much for this great information. We were in London a few years ago in the summer and experienced some of that sauna-like dinning. I'm usually not a great fan of airconditioning -- despite living in Ohio which is awful in the summer. But there are times when it makes all the difference.

                            We are tourists and although we are very conscious of our poor accents, two of us do speak passable French and so can handle making a phone call on the fly, as it were.

                            And we also like the idea of "quartier" and exploring "la vie parisienne" is very appealing, In fact, we are trying to combine just that with great food.

                            And I'm taking Joel Robuchon off the list. And taking a long look at Grande Cascade.

                            1. re: Parnassien

                              I have to agree with parnassien on Les Papilles. I'm still wondering what's so all-fired terrific about the place. It wasn't bad, but nothing to gush over. And I LOVE Ecume for oysters. :)

                              1. re: ChefJune

                                Les Papilles is where we take or direct first timers to Paris, non-foodies, those who would otherwise just find a salad or omelet or steak frites in the cafe nearest their hotel. No need for them to speak French, read a menu in French, make hard or even soft choices among confusing options. And the food is accessible, wine drinkable and the cost of 4 courses a bargain in terms of quality and quantity, a stress free experience, one of welcome and comfort food. (The same people who have loved it, love Machon d'Henri.)

                                When I make restaurant recs, I try to read between the lines of the OP. LP fits some requests like a glove, and is all wrong for others.

                              2. re: Parnassien

                                "Cornichon....overlooked by JT"
                                Not so; I said "there should be a place for it" - along with Flora although I was disappointed by its limited menu on New Years Day but t's my fault for assuming they'd be up & running.

                                1. re: Parnassien

                                  About L'Auberge de Flora, I admit it needs a second visit. The first one was dreadful and the chef was present. But I know Flora is basically an excellent chef so I'm ready to update.

                                  Abri, on the other hand, has never shown me anything but inconsistency (some dishes quite good along some incomprehensible cooking errors) so I can't recommend it.

                                  I'd warmly recommend L'Hédoniste, which hasn't been mentioned at all.

                                2. While we've enjoyed several outstanding dinners at Chatomat when it first opened, we have since found a disconnect between the kitchen and dining room. That is to say, that while we are sure that someone is knocking himself out in the kitchen, the delivery is cool and ho-hum. We haven't been back in a year.

                                  We also wouldn't return to Les Bistronomes where we found the food nothing special and the service what I would describe as tourist oriented, "fawning" and up-selling. In the same vein, we don't return to L'Arome which opened sweetly but since seems poor quality/value ratio and aimed at the local hotel crowd.

                                  1. No one's mentioned my personal favorite -- Maceo -- and it is both near the Palais Royale (15 rue des Petits Champs) and well within your budget. It's fine dining w/o the high price. :)
                                    http://www.maceorestaurant.com/maceo_...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                      ChefJ, we were counting on you to mention it. :) Since Antonia is staying near the Palais Royal, light, airy and very comfortable Macéo should indeed be a strong recommendation.

                                    2. With all respect to Parnassien, My wife and I enjoy atelier JR St Germaine and book it for the Sunday 6:30 seating.
                                      Though it is seating at a bar the stools are very comfortable. For a group of 4 request a corner which makes conversation easier. The rosewood and red decor with jars of colorful fresh vegetables, eggs etc.is pleasant.The multiple choices in the tapas;like oriented menu allows for an infinity of variations so each visit becomes unique for us. We generally depart Paris at noon on Monday so we have plenty of time for last minute packing.

                                      37 Replies
                                      1. re: UPDoc

                                        I often wonder if people who like the Atelier Joël Robuchon like it because it's objectively good or because of Robuchon's international renown or because of a narrow experience that limits their ability to compare. I'm often obliged to have expense-account meals there and, I must say, it's my least favourite starred resto. Food is good and can be a great value but I am quickly turned off by the formulaic ritual, well-rehearsed script, and joyless presentation. As a Parisien, I simply feel it's just for the tourists and that its soul has been lost somewhere between Paris and Las Vegas. Of course, opinions are just opinions and someone else might have another reality that makes the Ateliers JR unmissable stops on their passage through Paris.

                                        1. re: Parnassien

                                          For very much the same reasons, L'atelier JR leaves me cold these days, although it did not use to.
                                          And I don't know if it is a Parisian thAng, although I am a fellow Parisian. The Atelier is just intensely unexciting. -- I do remember it being exciting once, or was I dreaming ? Who changed?

                                          1. re: Parigi

                                            An interesting reflection, Parigi. It applies to all of us as our experience grows but also dining rooms wax and wane.

                                          2. re: Parnassien

                                            We are of two minds about eating in Michelin starred restaurants. The idea of doing such a unique experience is extremely appealing. Many years ago, I had lunch at Moulins des Mougins and I can STILL remember the food, the ambience, the service, etc. Nothing like it in the world. If my memory is correct the cost was 500F for lunch!

                                            On the other hand, these restaurants are sometimes joyless (Moulin was not) and without French "soul".

                                            Now, if there a Michelin starred with joy and soul, we're there.

                                            1. re: antonia2

                                              Antonia,
                                              for the fun and soul factor, have a look at perennial Chowhound favourite Le Cinq, especially for the bargain lunch. I also enjoy Guy Savoy, Michel Rostang in the 17th for its "frenchness" and, more recently and more surprisingly, Le Meurice.

                                            2. re: Parnassien

                                              "I often wonder if people who like the Atelier Joël Robuchon like it because it's objectively good or because of Robuchon's international renown or because of a narrow experience that limits their ability to compare."
                                              Well, that lets me know what your imagination is like. I've travelled the world and visited Paris numerous times since 1968-71 when an "obligated volunteer" with the US Army in Europe. For several years now we've been fortunate to visit Paris annually for a week.
                                              So far I've successfully avoided Las Vegas and therefor cannot comment on your comparison of JR's "soul" in S Germaine with the LV venue.
                                              Mrs Wells' book on l'Atelier and JR's "the Complete Robuchon" have given some insight to the "soul' of his cusine. I don't find it lacking at l'Atelier St. Germaine nor have I yet found it a boring place.

                                              1. re: UPDoc

                                                UpDoc, sorry if my remarks ruffled your feathers... they were only meant to explain a different perspective.

                                                I'm not all that familiar with Ms Wells but do note that her assessment of Robuchon dates from 1995. Dunno if she would be pleased or displeased by his "brand" in 2014. In any case, I'm not aware that there is any infallibility when it comes to food writing. My own opinions are based simply on experience and very specific personal preferences distilled over the years.

                                                As the ever wise Mangeur points out in another post, experience grows but restaurants also wax and wane. One of the great joys of Paris is that the depth and breadth of the food scene allows us to change course, avoid repetition, and explore. Such exploring has caused me not to value the Ateliers JR very highly.

                                                1. re: Parnassien

                                                  I enjoy your comments to the France CH blog, but here we are in agreement-we disagree about JR
                                                  Please see ; http://parisbymouth.com/our-guide-to-...

                                                  1. re: UPDoc

                                                    Doc, your conversation with Parnassien highlights one of my favorite themes, the importance of vetting one's restaurant guru. Palate and style are not absolutes. They are continuums and exist on different planes. I love Chowhound, and I religiously follow the recs of those Chows whose likes parallel mine while respecting those whose don't.

                                                    1. re: mangeur

                                                      Mme Mangeur, I sorta disagree. Some of my most memorable meals have been accidental. I'm rarely in the position to make my own choices about where to go. Dining companions (friends, family, colleagues, clients) all have a say and sometimes I just allow lazy convenience/ whimsy to guide me. So, I end up at lots of restos that are outside my usual palate preferences. And very often I'm pleasantly surprised. Nature and tribal allegiances do make a few food critics trusted guides but my "unguided" accidents still account for far more successes.

                                                      1. re: Parnassien

                                                        While I am not saying "I want your life", if i lived in Paris and was literally dragged around to a different restaurant each day, I wouldn't complain for a long time. Since I'm stuck in mine, I need to cash my dining opportunities with a little more caution. Like most Chows visiting France, we have an ever growing list of new names to consider as well as a stable of favorites that we don't have enough time to revisit.

                                                        Go to bed at night and thank your stars!

                                                        1. re: mangeur

                                                          Amen

                                                      2. re: mangeur

                                                        Thank you, Mangeur. Your additions to the France blog are valued. It is a joy for us to be able to visit Paris and the variety of experiences there have been memorable. This Feb. I have finally been able to gain a reservation at Spring and the new David Toutain.
                                                        A couple of years ago we tried the JR Etoile venue and found it less pleasant than St. Germaine. In planning this year's visit-fortunately my son and his wife are again able to join us- they and my wife have insisted on the St Germain location again.
                                                        It must be difficult to be required by others to eat where you expect that you will not enjoy your experience.

                                                2. re: Parnassien

                                                  Not often mentioned, but Robuchon's former place, Jamin, provided some of the most amazing food I've ever experienced. I've not been to either Paris Atelier, but my experience and the reports of friends who have been there is that they are not in the same ballpark. At all. Ao if you're thinking of reliving the old days at Atelier, you will surely be disappointed.

                                                3. re: UPDoc

                                                  My two cents: I have been lucky enough to eat at JR St Germain three times over the last few years (most recently in November 2013) and have always found the food absolutely delicious, and the service friendly and engaging. To me, it is filled with joy, and one of my very favourite places to eat. The small plates allow you to create your own menu if you like.

                                                  1. re: AussieBeth

                                                    One of the things I love about Chowhound is the discussions. Always informative about specific restaurants, but also the discussions about food and food philosophy are equally interesting.

                                                    So, we have narrowed it down to 30! And we do have 14 days/nights, so that's basically 2 choices for each night/day.

                                                    I'm thinking we will try to narrow it down further by focusing on those restaurants that are in walking distance of where we are staying -- for the most part -- so that we can "walk off" our meals and enjoy a Parisian stroll. And staying mindful of eating outside if possible, our budget (goodby Michelin 2-3 stars), and air conditioning.

                                                    Here's the list:

                                                    Abri
                                                    Ambroisie
                                                    Atelier Joel Robechon (kept it after all)
                                                    Auberge Flora
                                                    Aux 2 Oliviers
                                                    Bistrot Victoires
                                                    Bistro Volney
                                                    Caius
                                                    Cafe des Musees
                                                    Chatomat
                                                    Goust
                                                    Huiterie Regis
                                                    L'Arome
                                                    Le Cornichon
                                                    Le Pario
                                                    Le 6 Paul Bert
                                                    Le Florimond
                                                    Le Saotico
                                                    Le Verre Vole
                                                    Les 110 de Taillevent
                                                    Les Bistronomes (might go)
                                                    Les Tablettes
                                                    Lilane
                                                    Maceo (unless . . .)
                                                    Ouidino
                                                    Piroette
                                                    Sola
                                                    Spring
                                                    Suave
                                                    Ze Kitchen Galeries

                                                    1. re: antonia2

                                                      You are doing an admirable job of cutting your list. I do realize how hard it is to let go of a name.

                                                      The way I pare the list for each visit is to re-researh each name, making sure to visit such sites as le fooding as well as scouring the restaurant's website if it has one, each time asking myself do I REALLY want to eat here? Often i will pick up on something that is a real turn-off and problem solved. I have learned not to heed the herd consensus that any place is a "must do".

                                                      1. re: mangeur

                                                        That's pretty much how I do it too. Takes a ton of time -- I'm lucky that I am both obsessive compulsive about these things and have enough time to start early.

                                                        But it works and we have had memorable meals in many, many places thanks to Chowhound.

                                                      2. re: antonia2

                                                        Bistro Volnay on rue Volney

                                                        1. re: UPDoc

                                                          Thanks for the correction.

                                                        2. re: antonia2

                                                          This is becoming difficult - for instance Le Pario is way away (M: Charles Michels).

                                                          1. re: John Talbott

                                                            John,

                                                            We're going to use proximity as one "filter". But we are still going to travel wherever for good food.

                                                            1. re: antonia2

                                                              While I do strongly advocate using restaurants to explore the more buzzy real-life quartiers like the Haut Marais, les Batignolles, Sud Pigalle, Faubourg St-Antoine etc, I'm carried away by your proximity cue and seize the chance to illustrate the fact that one's own quartier can be a source of delight and discovery... I don't mean to add to your already long short list but I just want to point out that restos close to home can sometimes be as good or better than the ones in other quartiers that get all the Chowhound accolades. (That sentence is way too long... sorry)

                                                              The perimeter of the Palais Royal, for instance, yields lots of gems... Franck Enée (for creative cuisine) on the rue Mozart, Lulli (for a dose of well-priced style and elegance) on the rue Valois, Bistro Valois (for a bit of re-created old-fashioned style) on the place Valois, Le Balm (if in the mood for style, trendy clientele, and good but somewhat overpriced nosh... but still can fit under your 100€ ceiling) on the rue Valois, Aux Bons Crus (for some old-school bistro fare) on the rue Petits Champs, the light and airy and very stylish Macéo on the rue Petits Champs, Willi's (for wine and wine bar fare) on rue Petits Champs, Juvéniles (another wine bar) on the rue Richelieu, L'Entr'acte (for an apéro or snack) on the rue Montpensier, Bistrot Victoires (for one of the best price-quality ratios in Paris) on the rue Vrillière... and hell why not? I also enjoy the Brasserie Le Grand Colbert on the rue Vivienne for the setting, see-and-be-seen buzz, and superior oysters (but rarely risk ordering anything else).

                                                              A 10-minute walk west through Little Tokyo et voilà.... the Place du Marché Saint-Honoré for another cluster of foodie goodies and much patronized by office workers on their lunch breaks... Café des Abattoirs (a carnivore's delight and my current fave du moment in this area) on the rue Gomboust, the pâtisserie Victor et Hugo (for very superior pastries and chocolates) on the rue Gomboust, Les Cartes Postales (for a taste of nippon-français), Très Honoré (for an expensive cocktail in the very designy downstairs lounge... but just cocktails, ok?... the food is kinda mediocre), L'Ecluse bar à vins for a sample of excellent Bordeaux (but again food is not the greatest), the now inconsistent Rostang-empire L'Absinthe still decent enough for good-value lunch, Le Pain Quotidien for breakfast, Le Rubis wine bar on the rue du Marché St-H for some lunch or early evening charcuterie, and Ecume Saint-Honoré for some take-away or eat-there coquillage for lunch Tue to Sat or dinner Fri-Sat.

                                                              1. re: Parnassien

                                                                "Lulli (for a dose of well-priced style and elegance) on the rue Valois, Bistro Valois (for a bit of re-created old-fashioned style) on the place Valois, Le Balm"
                                                                As usual, Parnassien, your human culinary GPS skills astonish; I never really realized how packed the rue de Valois was with good joints until Lulli opened - i guess it's obvious when you realize that all those fine eaters at the Ministry of Culture across in the Palais Royal won't eat slop.
                                                                Another street to add to Parigi's "feng shui" list.

                                                                1. re: John Talbott

                                                                  JT, the rue Valois revival is very recent. The re-do of the Grand Hotel, Ministry of Culture and that side of the Palais Royal seems to have taken longer than the building of Versailles. And so most of the rue Valois was pretty desolate for the last xx years. But what a fab slice of foodie real estate now, eh ?

                                                                  1. re: Parnassien

                                                                    We're doomed, my husband says.

                                                                    But, I am going to add some of the nearby restaurants to our list because that's a great idea -- look everything up again to check out patios, air conditioning, etc. and then make our final choice.

                                                                    (And I'm tempted not to share with anyone . . . )

                                                                    1. re: antonia2

                                                                      When the chips are down, you are your own best counsel. Enjoy every one of your final choices!

                                                                      1. re: antonia2

                                                                        For planning types, Paris is hell, innit ? :) Just way too many choices and too many opinions and no right answers. Hint: Got a hat ? Let the fates decide.

                                                                        With your list and our suggestions, wherever you end up will not be bad. .

                                                                        1. re: Parnassien

                                                                          Too many choices, too little time . . . But it is always that way in places like Paris. And we're going to do a combination of planing and serendipity. Can't go wrong in Paris with the great suggestions from you all. And where we are staying (both weeks) are so centrally located that nothing is more than an hour away and most are within 20-30 minutes, so good for a stroll home to partially work off the calories and the great wine.

                                                                          I promise a report when we get back.

                                                                      2. re: Parnassien

                                                                        "the building of Versailles"
                                                                        Think the renovation of the Musee Picasso; Place de la Republique or indeed Buren's cols inside the Palais Royal.

                                                                        1. re: Parnassien

                                                                          A couple of nice little bistros around there:
                                                                          - La Bourse Ou La Vie. But the food goes through good, bad, good, bad, and is now back to good. I can't vouch for it any more. -- Sort of like L'absinthe. I love the square and once loved the resto. But again I can't recommend it any more. If you say it is back to good, that's good to know.
                                                                          - Juvéniles has the kind of dependable honest food that wine-focused places often do.
                                                                          - Is Un Jour à Peyrassol still good. I had a wonderful meal there a few years ago, but I don't want to recommend a place where I have not been in the past 18 months.

                                                                          Did you or someone else recommend Palais de Tokyo, or did I or Zhuangzhou dream it ? My experience is very different there. It is hip as hell but the food is less than average. My hip friends love it and drag me there all the time. Alas, I am not hip enough to appreciate an all-hip-no-palette kind of place. It's one of those Paris places where I eat at home first before going. Nearby Aux Marches du Palais is so much better.

                                                                          Yes I raise both hands and feet to agree that to limit oneself to 1-7 arrondissements is bafflingly self-defeating.

                                                                          1. re: Parigi

                                                                            A wine-lover & I ate at La Bourse ou.... a couple of weeks ago and despite the classic bistro dishes I thought it only merited a 5.2/10.
                                                                            As for the Palais de Tokyo, the restaurant uptop is a chancy place, best sampled in summer outside and the one down the stairs, Monsieur Bleu, that I think Parnassien was referencing, is strictly for the 1%'ers (5.7/10 last summer).
                                                                            I agree a more down to earth alternate is Aux Marches.

                                                                            1. re: Parigi

                                                                              There seems to be several restaurants at Palais de Tokyo. I know one, Tokyo Eat, and I sure do not recommend it. Except if you're dying to hear a dj sample Les Compagnons de la Chanson, but don't go for the food anyway.

                                                                              1. re: Parigi

                                                                                Parigi, your threads are tangled. The newish Monsieur Bleu at Palais de Tokyo was suggested for another topic (group dining).

                                                                                1. re: Parnassien

                                                                                  Sorriest. Nor has the place improved with the move either. :)

                                                                                  1. re: Parigi

                                                                                    Why oh why does your assessment of Monsieur Bleu make me think of Brice de Nice when he says "je sais nager... mais pas dans l'eau" ?

                                                                    2. re: antonia2

                                                                      <Maceo (unless . . .)>

                                                                      Unless what? ;)

                                                                2. Just to add to the general confusion, our friends read about the new David Toutin Restaurant. Any thoughts?

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: antonia2

                                                                    Terrific; several of us have been and commented positively. I gave it an 8.4/10 which is about as good as it gets http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

                                                                    1. re: John Talbott

                                                                      John,

                                                                      I did check on your website to see if you had gone and saw the great review. We've added to our list!

                                                                  2. Ok, we've narrowed it down to 7 restaurants. Here's the list:

                                                                    Aux 2 Oliviers
                                                                    Cafe des Musees
                                                                    David Toutain
                                                                    Goust
                                                                    Le 6 Paul Bert
                                                                    Les 110 de Taillevent
                                                                    Maceo
                                                                    Spring

                                                                    Any FINAL thoughts?

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: antonia2

                                                                      Good list.

                                                                      1. re: antonia2

                                                                        Why Aux 2 Oliviers and Maceo (oh, yah, Chef June)?
                                                                        Replace with BAT and Desnoyer - for something completely different as Monty Python would say.

                                                                        1. re: antonia2

                                                                          Just one -
                                                                          I hate to be negative - especially when it concerns my beloved neighborhood "cantine" of the last 5 years - but things are not as they once were at Cafe des Musees.

                                                                          Too much success, way too many tourists who don't appreciate or understand the place (which really messes up the works), food and service have steadily slipped - and very noticeably so. Sincerest apologies received from the management, but a couple of comp'd drinks doesn't make up for the fact that things are out of control. If I wanted drinks, I would have gone to a bar.

                                                                          It is a shame that this has happened, but I would give CDM a pass for awhile, until they decide how they are going to handle what has become a very unfortunate situation.

                                                                          1. re: manouche

                                                                            "I hate to be negative"
                                                                            But if one does not point out a restaurant's shortcomings how are visitors to know?
                                                                            Even by 2011 (6 years after it's remake) I remarked that "if you want to among Francophones, this is not the place."

                                                                          2. re: antonia2

                                                                            Often, many restaurants can be fine within a specific context. Café des Musées is probably ok for Sunday lunch but not so fine at other times.

                                                                            But Aux 2 Oliviers ?! When La Ferrandaise, la Cuisine de Philippe and even Au Petit Suisse are just steps away ?! I don't get it.

                                                                            1. re: Parnassien

                                                                              "many restaurants can be fine within a specific context. Café des Musées is probably ok for Sunday lunch but not so fine at other times."
                                                                              That's funny. Sunday lunch the only time I go. Both food and service are good. Diners and staff are in a markedly mellow mood. Most tourists are out checking off their sightseeing checklist.

                                                                              1. re: Parnassien

                                                                                Thanks Parnassien -- and everyone.

                                                                                We have eliminated Cafe des Musees, substituted Cuisine de Phillippe, but kept Aux 2 Oliviers.

                                                                                Nothing is perfect . . .

                                                                                1. re: antonia2

                                                                                  Listen Antonia, you're going to have fun, that's what's important. Eat well,
                                                                                  John

                                                                            2. Paris.

                                                                              We had an amazing time eating our way around Paris and I wanted to thank everyone for helping to make our eating time so enjoyable. Here's where we finally ate and our thoughts on the food/restaurants.

                                                                              Spring. Well, we didn't love it. Our first meal in Paris and it somehow didn't hold together well. We did the tasting menu (without wine pairings) and found each individual dish interesting and creative, but . . . and the "but" became more obvious as we ate at other, similar restaurants, like David Toutain.

                                                                              Two of our party had eaten in lots of brasseries during a trip to Paris in the 1980's and insisted we try one. On the recommendation of the experts at Chowhound who had serious reservations about the idea, we went to Le Grand Colbert,. And our friends learned a lesson. Never do that again. C+ at best. But a learning experience.

                                                                              David Toutain. Loved it. Again the tasting menu. Design of the restaurant is peaceful and lovely with a slight "Japanese" feel to the minimalist decor. Service excellent and food delicious and inventive. One of our favorites. Better then Springs (and less costly).

                                                                              6Paul Bert. Very different from above -- much more lively (read noisy), but food delicious and a nice wine from Languedoc

                                                                              Chez Des Anges. Not on our original list, but we were looking for something less "new French" and this was in Michelin. Excellent meal in lovely modern setting.

                                                                              Youpi et Voila. What a find. I had the reservation for Le Verre Vole mixed up and when we arrived they told us it was the next night. Asked for a recommendation and they called Youpi. Wow. We walked in (restaurant still empty at 8:15) and the two chefs and one waiter were dancing !! in the tiny kitchen which is right in the tiny dinning room. That set the tone for the entire meal/evening. Lovely meal and atmosphere and the enjoyment of the staff showed in the food. A must if we ever get back to Paris.

                                                                              Le Verre Vole. Great meal and very helpful staff. Tiny restaurant (although bigger then Youpi, which isn't saying much.) Delicious meal, again at reasonable prices.

                                                                              And speaking of meals. We found that for the two of us, it made sense to share an appetizer (entree), choose our own main dish (plates) and share a dessert. We also stuck to glasses of wine or half bottles. This method not only satisfied our hunger, but kept the calories at bay.

                                                                              Ze Kitchen Galerie. Again, wonderful meal, fabulous service and beautiful decor. Someday, I will return and steal the curtains.

                                                                              La Fermette Marbeuf. Not on the list, but recommended by a friend of our friends as a visual experience with decent food. Restaurant interior was truly amazing (it is a landmark) and food was pretty good.

                                                                              We also ate at a lovely restaurant, Aux Enfants Gates, near where we were staying in the 14th. Very, very nice food and atmosphere with wife in front, husband the chef. Small, and very pleasant.

                                                                              Last meal, at Marie Louise also in the 10th. Again delicious food, nice atmosphere.

                                                                              Final words. Universally, the staff at all the restaurants were extremely helpful in explaining the menus, recommending wines, and we were very well treated. And despite the fact that it was cold and rainy for our last week in Paris, we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Thank you everyone for all your help. A bientot.

                                                                              19 Replies
                                                                              1. re: antonia2

                                                                                Fine report. I enjoyed your valuable and refreshing personal takes on familiar names. And what a coup to experience a different, frivolous side of Youpi et Voilla. A great job of paring your long list and ferreting out these happy meals.

                                                                                1. re: mangeur

                                                                                  Mangeur,

                                                                                  Thank you for the nice comments. Chowhounders have been so valuable to us in our travels from Allentown PA to Paris France and we wanted to share our own experiences.

                                                                                2. re: antonia2

                                                                                  Nice report. Only one comment. Grand Colbert is a landmark but is it really a brasserie?

                                                                                  1. re: jock

                                                                                    Let's just call it brasserie-style... nowadays continuous hours is what really defines a brasserie and Le Grand Colbert therefore qualifies.

                                                                                    And I must admit that I do have a liking for le Grand Colbert for its buzz and sparkle. But I only order the quite good oysters/ shellfish and would never hazard a full meal here.

                                                                                    1. re: Parnassien

                                                                                      I also like the Grand Colbert's laid-back buzz. Am surprised to find that the OP liked the Marbeuf much better.

                                                                                      1. re: Parnassien

                                                                                        I only get oysters and foie de veau. What I love is the place itself and the impeccable service.

                                                                                        1. re: jock

                                                                                          To be honest, we didn't find the service so impeccable. Actually found it quite ordinary, which certainly matched the food. The setting was nice, but Fermette Marbeuf can't be matched in THAT category.

                                                                                    2. re: antonia2

                                                                                      So good to hear you found Youpi - it is fabulous isn't it. A pity it's not on the normal CH rotation probably because it's a little far out. One of our best meals of our visit last year.

                                                                                      Thanks for the great report and update.

                                                                                      1. re: PhilD

                                                                                        We are so glad we stumbled on it as well. One of our favorites. We really will never forget walking in and seeing everyone so happy they were dancing. I'm still grinning . . .

                                                                                      2. re: antonia2

                                                                                        What a thoughtful report. Giving me ideas for October. :)

                                                                                        1. re: antonia2

                                                                                          Let me add to the chorus of thanks for your report back. It reminds me that we often forget obvious gems like Youpi et Voilà and Chez Marie Louise because the newer shinier toys distract us.

                                                                                          1. re: Parnassien

                                                                                            Totally agree.Very precious updates on those nice eateries that don't get enough attention. Merci, Antonia.

                                                                                            1. re: Parigi

                                                                                              Wow, coming from you all -- Chef June, Parnassien, and Prigi -- I am feeling very grateful for the nice comments. Someone should do a piece on the "nice eateries that don't get enough attention." At least for us, these turned out to be among our favorite experiences.

                                                                                              1. re: antonia2

                                                                                                There are literally hundreds and hundreds of "nice eateries that don't get enough attention" so it would be Herculean task to cover them. Unfortunately, there aren't many Hounds who are willing and able to try the off-piste recommendations even when they are suggested. Most visitors seem more comfortable with a more narrow and rutted trail. I for one often get a wee bit tired of recommending great places that no one ever goes to simply they don't get validation from 1000 other posters.

                                                                                                1. re: Parnassien

                                                                                                  This is interesting, because we read Chowhound so we can find the "off piste" recommendations. It is easy to find the new and trendy-- the NYTimes is well-known as sources for this information. We look to those of you who live/eat in the cities/towns we visit (Bethlehem, PA just before France) for exactly those kind of recommendations. Of course, Paris IS much more of a challenge then Bethlehem PA!

                                                                                                  1. re: antonia2

                                                                                                    usually by the time NY Times writes about them, the bloom may already be off the rose. And if not, that pr will do it! :p

                                                                                                  2. re: Parnassien

                                                                                                    Parnassien, I am very grateful for your neighborhood suggestions. I know any restaurant in the 3rd is on that narrow and rutted trail, but your suggestion of Le Taxi Jaune felt very off-piste and we thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks for all the time, effort and thoughtfulness you put into every post.

                                                                                                    1. re: macdog

                                                                                                      Blush blush. Many thanks for your kind words. But you are exactly the kind of open-minded, curious and adventurous visitor that we locals enjoy helping.

                                                                                            2. re: antonia2

                                                                                              Great report, thanks !