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Dinner recs for 10th wedding anniversary meal in Paris

  • oolah May 15, 2014 12:07 PM
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My husband and I are celebrating our 10-year wedding anniversary this June with a few days in Paris. We'll be staying in Le Marais, but don't mind heading anywhere in the city. We are adventurous eaters with no allergies or restrictions and we really like wine.

For those who know New York, I'm looking for the Per Se / Eleven Madison Park equivalent in Paris -- great service, great food, great wine in a luxe atmosphere without being stuffy.

Also curious to hear about more casual, trendy places in Le Marais for our other meals there. We live in Brooklyn, and would like to try a Brooklyn-style organic / locavore type place as well to see how the French do it.

Thank you for any suggestions.

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  1. Get the lefooding app. It has great suggestions by arrondissements and is geared to very on trend restaurants as well as old standbyes. Parisbymouth.com also has a pretty good list of restaurants by district.

    We are going to Le Mary Celeste one night that is in haut Marais. Cocktails and small plates with Asian influence. We are also going to Le Taxi Jaune in the Marais and hoping to get a reservation at Hai Kai in Canal St. Martin area and walk in at Pierre Sang Boyer on Rue Oberkampf.

    Good luck with Per Se like restaurant. We are going to Maison Blanche, but only because it is a work event and we are invited guests. I know it has nice views of the Eiffel Tower, but have no clue what the food is like.

    1 Reply
    1. re: macdog

      Thanks, very helpful. Downloaded the app and it's great! I had also heard about Le Taxi Jaune so that's likely to be one of our stops.

    2. It would be useful to know which days of the week you will be in Paris and the day of your anniversary. Here restaurants are often closed for one or two days a week... Saturday, Sunday and Monday can be problematic.

      And budget. If you are willing to spend 500 € per person on your celebratory meal, lots of choices. If 100€, fewer.

      "Le Marais" is a pretty moveable feast. Much of what tourists call the Marais is very touristy but the northern tier (called, inter alia, the Haut Marais) is quite trendy.

      For a start, I suggest looking at the recent trail of a fellow Brooklynite, Mitchleeny.
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9715...
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/970751

      2 Replies
      1. re: Parnassien

        We're there Thursday thru Sunday and our anniversary is a Thursday. Budget is limitless as long as the food is good. Thank you all for the suggestions so far. These are great and helpful!

        1. re: Parnassien

          Correction: Mitch is a confirmed Manhattanite.

        2. Not Per Se, but not shabby, you might consider Les Tablettes by Jean-Louis Nomicos.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mangeur

            Thanks. This looks really interesting. Will investigate!

          2. Now about Epicure or it's brasserie, Le 114 Faubourg?

            1. Per Se is fairly "stuffy" all things considered. If you're considering 3-star restaurants in Paris, they're also likely more expensive than Per Se. You'd probably need to state your budget.

              Then again, you mentioned the "B-word." What restaurants in Brooklyn do you like? France's version of New York and Brooklyn is pretty skewed, and Brooklyn in general means young Americans opened something...

              3 Replies
              1. re: yakionigiri

                Interesting regarding Per Se - I ate at Manressa and thought the "formal French" service was quite amusing. It's was definitely more stuffy than the real thing. The best bit was all the waiters who walked around with one hand behind their back rather like a '50's young ladies deportment class.

                1. re: PhilD

                  Careful... You might inspire stuffy service in Brooklyn restaurants. Then, 5-10 years later, there will be stuffy, Brooklynized service in hip Parisian restaurants.

                  Be careful what you wish for, PhilD.

                2. re: yakionigiri

                  Hehe, Per Se to me is formal, but not stuffy. Fine line, though. I do prefer something more modern. Really no budget -- this is a big anniversary. We're willing to spend.

                  In Brooklyn, my favorite places are Colonie, La Vara, and Prime Meats, in that order.

                3. For the wedding anniversary the obvious choices are one of the 2 or 3 Stars as they seem to tick off all the requirements. Contrary to popular belief they are far from stuffy, even the most grand may be formal but not in a stuffy way more in a proper way. The multi starred are much discussed here and the choice comes down to subtle difference in style of food and ambiance - modern or classic, palace or stylish etc etc.

                  1. Adventurous, want a party, and a good wine list at reasonable price (for a high-end Parisian restaurant): Gagnaire could be the one you're looking for.
                    I really like it, some despise it. There's a lot of hit and misses, but the hits are really, really incredible as far as I'm concerned. Also, it is generally too much food if you want to do the whole starters+mains+(cheese)+dessert. But I always have fun there. Service is really nice, not stuffy, but not the absolute best in Paris.

                    Best service is probably to be had at Le Cinq, which is one of the restaurants that epitomizes Paris classic high-end dining, with probably the best service ever, in a gorgeous, luxurious setting. However in my experience, Briffard's cuisine requires extreme precision, which they did not always deliver in my 5-6 meals. But the last one was in 2010, and a lot of people on this board go several times a year and are never disappointed. Oh and the wine list weighs like 20 pounds.

                    Finally, in the area you're staying is l'Ambroisie, which is another favorite of mine. Setting is more bourgeois than royalty, but still very nice. I've always found the service to be really relaxed and even fun, provided that you break the ice. Otherwise they can seem slightly distant. I love the food. It lacks the precision and consistency of, say, Ledoyen, but they do textbook French cuisine extremely well. It probably won't feel as celebratory as the other two, and the wine list is less impressive/safer than the other two, and definitely more expensive than at Gagnaire.

                    There are many other possibilities but these would be my top 3 recommendations. They're all very different, but you should be fine in any of those as long as you know what to expect. That said there's always a gambling aspect to three-star dining. It's part of the thrill, even if I understand that disappointments should not happen at this price point.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: olivierb

                      Thank you, this is really helpful. Will check these out.

                    2. I realize I'm coming late to the party here but I'd suggest you do a search of anniversary or occasion here and see what we've already suggested.

                      1. For an over-the-top experience (on a limitless budget) for the food as well as decor , Restaurant Le Meurice in the Hotel Meurice on the rue de Rivoli... a steady stream of fashionistas saves it from the old-fart plutocratic air that sometimes dampens the ambiance of these temples of gastronomy ... since the change of chefs 6 months or so ago, food is superb... when doing research, confine yourself only to the most recent reviews. If a long, long dégustation appeals, the 12- or 18-course menu at Guy Savoy is almost better than sex... not every course is a winner but that only makes the ones that are more enjoyable... shorter menus and à la carte also available... a very refined international decor that seems to be the standard of high-end restos throughout the world so not particularly French in that respect. For something more memorably French, Le Grand Véfour near the Palais Royal smothers you with history and good taste... food may not be as outstanding or creative as elsewhere but good enough and the lingering spirits of Colette and Cocteau certainly define the sense of time and place better than any other restaurant. La Grande Cascade in the Bois de Boulogne next to Longchamp racecourse is another option... fabulous Napoleon III pavillon ... excellent nosh and one of the best price-quality ratios among the Michelin-starred places... great ambiance for any celebratory meal.

                        You will find that very high-end restaurants are like religion. Some folks are absolute believers in this or that temple of gastronomy but there are always non-believers and heretics. Normally I'm a total sceptic and not a great fan of such rarified places since the stratospheric prices are rarely justifiable. But for a landmark celebration (which is not always just about the food), I do enjoy all of the above, with a decided preference for Le Grand Véfour and La Grande Cascade for the setting + ambiance + Frenchness, Le Meurice for food + setting + fun factor, and Guy Savoy for the cuisine and fun factor. Eeny meeny miney moe is the best way to choose.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Parnassien

                          Since you inject the religion simile, I will toss out my conviction that going to a high end restaurant is indeed like going to church. If you enter believing, you will probably have a good experience, maybe a joyous one. If you enter a skeptic, you will probably be underwhelmed since it will take a superhuman effort to overcome your doubt.

                          1. re: Parnassien

                            I think Oliver and Parn nail the answer to the question for the anniversary meal. But to throw another thought in - should it be lunch or dinner...? I personally love long lunches in these temples of gastronomy as you have the time and inclination to linger over the food.

                            Long meals for dinner tend to see me fade towards the end and head to bed stuffed. In Paris there is nothing better than a nice long walk back to your hotel through the parks and streets on a balmy warm June afternoon.

                          2. While my comments closely mirror Olivierb's who we rarely see on the board much anymore and l for one miss him.
                            A poster above states the Per Se is stuffy, my three visits there were anything but stuffy and great fun. the last being a 38 course extravaganza that took 6 hours and was put together by Uhockey and it ranks as one of best meals ever even at $ 650 with nominal wine service. l also shared a dinner at Gagnaire with Uhockey, his best meal ever, and find that of the choices given most closely aligns with Per Se's very interesting menu and whimsy.
                            OTOH as a big fan of Le Cinq, points must be added for the room, flowers, and service. The food will not be as cutting edge as Gagnaire but usually damned good and the staff will do cartwheels to make you happy.
                            While all at Guy Savoy is indeed wonderful, especially the prices on his wine list, NOT, it seems to lack the celebratory attitude l think you seek. It is fun, with great food, the guinea hen had last year was my fave poultry ever, excepting Souphie's roast chicken.
                            l have not been blessed to go to L'Ambroisie.
                            Thus my choices would be at Gagnaire or Le Cinq.
                            While many say L'Arpege is brilliant, it was certainly less than brilliant when l was there and again not as celebratory as the above two.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                              I'll third Gagnaire, as I find it probably the closest to Per Se as well, and haven't had a bad meal yet at the Paris or Tokyo locations.

                              The last two times I've been to Per Se the food has been great, as has the company, but... if I feel out of place not wearing a tie, I consider it stuffy.

                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                Thanks Delucacheesemonger, unfortunately I'm not living in France anymore, so I don't get to each there much, except for a few "celebratory" meals here and there.

                                Back to the topic though: while I like it very much, I excluded l'Arpège on purpose. It can be very fun, with Passard acting like a showman, the service is really nice, they toned down the prices on the wine list a few years ago, but... The main reason to go there is to marvel at Passard's genius... and hope he is here and actually cooking.

                                You have to be a firm "believer" as mangeur says to pay EUR 80-100 for a minimalist plate of vegetables. This can be overcome by having the lunch menu (but then not very celebratory) or splitting à la carte dishes though: I feel they give you more than half the dish for half the price + there may be some "freebies" (given the price you pay for the rest, I'm not sure they're really free, but...). Also the room is not really my style (which is subjective) and not too comfortable (this is objective) for a three-star restaurant.

                                But at any rate any of the recommendations in the thread should lead to an excellent experience, provided you go with the right mindset.