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best brasserie in paris

antonia2 Feb 5, 2014 09:04 AM

We are looking to eat at least one meal at a great brasserie. Any suggestions?

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  1. souphie RE: antonia2 Feb 5, 2014 09:53 AM

    La Rotonde.

    1. n
      Nancy S. RE: antonia2 Feb 5, 2014 10:07 AM

      The newish Lazare?

      1. Laidback RE: antonia2 Feb 5, 2014 10:22 AM

        Our 2 favorites are La Rotonde and Garnier.

        1. f
          francaise RE: antonia2 Feb 5, 2014 10:32 AM

          La Rotonde closed for renovations after New Years and will reopen the end of March - just in case anyone is heading there soon.

          1. John Talbott RE: antonia2 Feb 5, 2014 11:55 AM

            Some of us here have decided not to respond to "The best"'s requests knowing that except for Parnassien, none of us have been to them all.
            What you'll get is an individual's hobby-horse(s).
            Why a brasserie anyway?

            4 Replies
            1. re: John Talbott
              Parigi RE: John Talbott Feb 5, 2014 12:26 PM

              Excellently put.
              1. "Best" has no meaning.
              2. Brasserie is in general a defeatist genre. Why brasserie ? Why confine yourself to a genre of mostly bad restaurants ?

              1. re: Parigi
                Jake Dear RE: Parigi Feb 5, 2014 05:18 PM

                "Why brasserie ?" For "one meal," this is very understandable to me. I was at that point in our first few visits, and still look for that atmosphere every once in a while. Some seek to soak up ambiance that they've seen depicted or read about from yesteryear. And if you stick to fruits de mer, or some cooked to order dishes, it can be a good and fun time. *Sometimes* it's just not all about the food. By the way, we like the Rotonde (but closed for renovation, as noted) and the little Brasserie de L'Isle Saint-Louis. -- Jake

                1. re: Jake Dear
                  PBSF RE: Jake Dear Feb 5, 2014 06:42 PM

                  Great points; can't can't agree with you more. When we have guests visiting, even those that are obsessed with food, we always have a great time at one of the brasseries: Le Rotonde, La Coupole and Bofinger after Opera Bastille. They are uniquely Paris and the people watching is terrific.

              2. re: John Talbott
                antonia2 RE: John Talbott Feb 5, 2014 08:16 PM

                One of our friends who visited Paris many years ago remembers brasseries as being great places to eat. I have tried to disabuse her of this, because few people on Chow mention brasseries when talking about good food. But I wanted to find out what people on Chow thought when actually asked about brasseries.

                Certainly sound like great places to eat lunch or have a drink and watch the world.

              3. mangeur RE: antonia2 Feb 5, 2014 07:17 PM

                Best, perhaps, if you describe this great brasserie meal which you envision. Some plates are better or specialties at specific houses.

                1. Parnassien RE: antonia2 Feb 5, 2014 11:43 PM

                  I quite agree with Jake Dear and PBSF's wise assessment. Every so often my French DNA makes me yearn for a brasserie experience even if my brain knows that the food will not be totally memorable.

                  Because I'm now a Left Bank guy, I like the boulevard du Montparnasse for the landmark La Rotonde but, although the cuisine is maybe not as good, I also heart the similarly historic La Coupole (for the lamb curry) and La Closerie des Lilas. (Note to lawyer: Not yet written into my will but I would like some of my ashes scattered in the Piano Bar of the Closerie des Lilas).

                  My see-and-be-seen side also enjoys Le Grand Colbert on the rue Vivienne in the 2nd... I love the sparkle/ vibe, running into old friends, and the excellent oysters/ fruits de mer but rarely dare order anything else.

                  I used to like Bofinger on the rue de Bastille in the 4th for a post-opera nosh but my most recent experiences suggest it's now less good (especially service) and the clientele tends to be way too old-fart ... yet, for tourists, the interior is spectacular enough to consider Bof for an outing but only if you can snag a table in the main dining room.

                  The brasserie Le Stella on the avenue Victor Hugo in the 16th is also enormously appealling ... so very old school and stylish that you almost expect to find Third Republic ministers feasting on sole meunière with the princesse de Polignac or Josephine Baker... and nowadays certainly one of the better -- but pricey-- examples of brasserie fare ... for me, a big sentimental favourite because of years of Sunday lunches en famille with my clan... for some reason, few tourists venture into the hinterland of the 16th (a bastion of the haute-bourgeoisie and cashmere-sweater-no-matter-what-the-season brigade) but it does represent a very affluent and (once it becomes familiar) enjoyable version of real-life Paris.

                  For updated and more recent versions without the history but very much expressing the spirit, Lazare in the 8th and (my fave) La Cantine de La Cigale in the 18th.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Parnassien
                    John Talbott RE: Parnassien Feb 6, 2014 11:46 AM

                    "Every so often my French DNA makes me yearn for a brasserie experience"
                    Ah Parnassien, it's not French but Alsatian DNA that does that. My Normand DNA points me much more toward butter, Calva and cow.
                    But I will say that the Stella for old style, Lazare for new style and La Cantine de La Cigale for free style are not your run of the mill chain brasseries and should be on the short list.

                    1. re: John Talbott
                      Jake Dear RE: John Talbott Feb 6, 2014 11:52 AM

                      This keeps reminding me to try Stella "again." I called to reserve a few years ago -- and my accent was apparently so bad, they just hung up on me. But I've slightly improved since then, and will muster the courage for another phone try later this year. -- Jake

                    2. re: Parnassien
                      jock RE: Parnassien Feb 6, 2014 02:13 PM

                      "My see-and-be-seen side also enjoys Le Grand Colbert on the rue Vivienne in the 2nd... I love the sparkle/ vibe, running into old friends, and the excellent oysters/ fruits de mer but rarely dare order anything else."

                      We go for oysters, foie de veau and the IMPECCABLE SERVICE.

                    3. mangeur RE: antonia2 Feb 6, 2014 11:55 AM

                      I'd like to add a codicil to the OP. For those of you with the proper DNA or reasonable facsimile, what are your favorite brasserie orders. I think immediately of a few obvious choices, but bet there are some sleepers out there.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: mangeur
                        Parigi RE: mangeur Feb 6, 2014 12:01 PM

                        One must order defensively. Think the kind of dishes that can't be fucked up. Saumon unilatéral. Entrecôte. Preceded by oysters.

                        1. re: Parigi
                          John Talbott RE: Parigi Feb 6, 2014 01:42 PM

                          Parigi has it right -
                          Oysters, tough to screw up
                          Fish soup, at places like La Lorraine, even though now a chain, tough to screw up
                          Crepes, tough to screw up.

                          1. re: John Talbott
                            mangeur RE: John Talbott Feb 6, 2014 05:16 PM

                            Andouillette AAAAA.

                            1. re: mangeur
                              Parnassien RE: mangeur Feb 7, 2014 02:02 AM

                              Sadly, andouillettes are becoming less common. Maybe banished because of the smell. I know Le Stella, Lipp, Au Pied de Cochon, Le Wepler and Balzar (one of the few Groupe Flo brasseries whose menu has not been standardized) still serve AAAAA but can't recall any other brasseries offhand.

                      2. p
                        Ptipois RE: antonia2 Feb 6, 2014 11:36 PM

                        Thoumieux though part of the Costes empire is a decent brasserie. So is Hôtel Amour, strange as it may seem.
                        I like La Rotonde, le Stella, Garnier, La Lorraine, Bofinger for choucroute (can't be beat). Brasseries aren't all that bad. Some are still good.
                        Haven't tried the neo-stuff yet aside from Terroir Parisien Bourse.

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