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Jul 12, 2014 03:33 AM

Recommendation for anniversary dinner in Paris

I'm celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary in Paris on April 18th with my wife and 16 year old daughter. I'm looking for a nice restaurant to bring them to dinner.
I'm looking at a budget of about €200 per person on food (and maybe a glass of wine or champagne). The ideal restaurant in my mind would be someplace with a view of the Eiffel Tower, or arc de triomphe, or notre dame. The wife's got an incredible palate so the quality of food is a top priority. I would prefer somewhere that won't be too noisy/bustling as many excellent restaurants tend to be. Bonus if the restaurant is willing to do a special cake or dessert platter.

Anw I do hope to get some great recommendations from you folks. They've both never been to europe (we're from Singapore) so I'm hoping this will be their best experience to date.
Thanks all!

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  1. Your budget is doable.
    And congratulations for having someone with a great palate who has shared yo ur life for 20 years.
    Alas, good food AND a view cannot be accommodated in Paris.
    The only place that had a nice view and great food was Fogon, one table, by the entrance, usually for a larger party. But it is Spanish cuisine, and I have not been back recently.
    Most places with view have bad food.
    And you want to avoid any place - even good, but there's no chance of that - that has a view of the hopelessly trashy Champs Elysées.
    How about having a drink with a view, get the viewing out of the way, then on to a serious restaurant?

    1. La Tour d'Argent for this "once in a lifetime" anniversary dinner with a fantastic view of Notre Dame.

      1. La Tour d'Argent. Definitely old school but still good, with a killer view of the flying buttresses of Notre Dame. You can do it on your budget if you go lightly on the wine (which can be tough because they have one of the great wine lists in the world).

        14 Replies
        1. re: bill1jan

          I thought of Tour d'Argent but I don't know how to reconcile the OP's budget with the Tour's wine list.

          1. re: Parigi

            On our last visit I asked for a recommendation of a village Bourgone Blanc and had for 80euro an excellent mature Rully. Also recommended was a Vire Clesse. With the duck an excellent Bandol.

            1. re: UPDoc

              I too have eaten there and managed an attire able meal by choosing conservatively from the wine list. They did try to upsell me a bit but there are OK priced list in their wine encyclopedia.

              It is the best view in town (in a city that really doesn't do views). The cooking there has been up and down over the years bit I understand it's in an up cycle at the moment. It is definitely a very very memorable restaurant - great views, ornate room, lots and lots of history - and some classic food especially the pressed duck.

              1. re: PhilD

                I'm a little surprised to hear so many people saying paris doesn't do views (on other threads as well). I, amongst many others, was under the impression that Paris was one of those cities great for dining with a view...

                1. re: SGchef

                  Paris is great for views and it is great for food but almost never at the same time or place. As others have suggested, one concept is to enjoy champagne somewhere with a view, then go on to dinner where the emphasis is on the food.

                  1. re: mangeur

                    In that case, would you have any recommendations for the two?
                    For dinner maybe ideas, some of her favorite dishes are lobster bisque, oysters, foie gras, steak, lamb and seafood of all sorts. (She has an excellent palate, but also tends to clean out my wallet each time I take her out for a good meal haha!) Perhaps €100-120 per head, someplace that feels more private, where the service is excellent but not snooty.
                    My other thought was to dine at Jules Verne. The food seems splendid but too bad they only do fixed menus (or did I miss the a la carte menu?)
                    For drinks maybe I'll just get a couple of glasses of champagne at the Eiffel Tower?

                    I also considered doing a restaurant for lunch instead, and in the evening a simple picnic by notre dame or Eiffel Tower. Is the weather in April warm enough for that or would it still be too cold after sundown?

                    1. re: SGchef

                      Guy Savoy - nice small rooms (two or three tables per room) and some rather more classic techniques, with impeccable service They do a very good set lunch (€110 on the internet booking only). It's not a set menu as they structure from dishes from the ALC. It sounds as though your wife prefers classic so this may suit her better than some of the newer set menus would slightly more esoteric dishes.

                      1. re: PhilD

                        Any thoughts on Les Ombres as well? I read that it's right by the eiffel tower with a glass roof so the view is spectacular when the eiffel tower's lights come on.

                        1. re: SGchef

                          Great for cocktails and view; food not so much of a much and shoes clicking on the planking most annoying.

                          1. re: SGchef

                            Unless it's radically changed the food was very poor. The outside was OK for a drink but sadly a good location ruined by a bad restaurant. I admit I went a few years ago but since then I have never read a positive review.

              2. re: Parigi

                "the Tour's wine list"
                I found Waldo although it took me some searching.

                1. re: John Talbott

                  Well as mentioned, I don't see us ordering more than a glass or two of wine/champagne each, or a bottle if that suits our fancy for the evening.

                  The wife and I don't know that much about wines, so we'd be perfectly satisfied with settling for a decent wine to fit the budget. My only experience comes from working in a French restaurant in Singapore for a couple of years (so mostly name-recognition, knowing general tasting notes, less so actually getting to taste), and the wife can tell if a wine is mediocre/average/decent/too expensive to think about buying.)

                  Also, I was reading another thread from 2012 regarding taking notes (it's really the pictures part i'm referring to). Assuming pictures are taken in a manner that is not disturbing the other diners (no flash, no bulky cameras, no non-stop clicking sounds etc) would it be an issue at all? My wife's a little anal about taking photos (she hates the slightest hint of a shadow in the shot if it can be avoided) and sometimes takes a noticeable amount of time to capture the shot she wants (but still well under a minute). We'll be using our phones, so nothing overly attention-grabbing.

                  1. re: SGchef

                    "Assuming pictures are taken in a manner that is not disturbing the other diners (no flash, no bulky cameras, no non-stop clicking sounds etc) would it be an issue at all?"
                    The best is to ask the waiter if it is ok to take photos. I always do.
                    Some restaurants are fine about it. Others say no. That is the best way to know instead of taking pictures then finding out that it was not allowed and alienating the restaurnat staff.

                    1. re: SGchef

                      Most of the starred establishment have excellent sommeliers that will give you sound advice and base it on your stated budget.

              3. Grande Cascade or Pre Catalan

                1. Thanks for the replies. It seems everyone agrees on tour d'argent. But on the off chance that I can't get a table, what's a next best? Also, any dishes you'd recommend?

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: SGchef

                    Is that April next year? If so you can book any table in a Paris. Best dish - the duck - look it up - it is a legend.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      I did think of the duck, it certainly is unique. But given the price I'm worried it'll eat into my budget a little too much. After Paris we're hitting up Belgium and Netherlands so I need to ensure I have reserves for those pricey countries

                      1. re: SGchef

                        It is a whole duck served over a number of courses (like a Peking duck dush) so it anchors the meal. Add a couple of starters and some cheese and or dessert and the bill won't be too far from your budget.

                        The alternative is to go for a non-view grand palace restaurant at lunchtime - Le Cinq is good value and a great view. And reports of Epicure at Le Bristol are very good - another great room. At lunchtime you eat well, the services is great and the rooms look really nice.

                        1. re: PhilD

                          Sorry if I sound a little ignorant with this question. It's considered taboo in Singapore to share dishes in fine-dining establishments, would that hold true in France as well?
                          There are so many items on the menu I want to taste (as would my wife I'm sure) but my stomach will only have room for that much food.

                          1. re: SGchef

                            Sharing has never been a problem for us. We do it almost every meal.

                            1. re: SGchef

                              At this type of restaurant, I wouldn't hesitate to ask if the chef would mind plating a portion for 2, if it is pretty clear that we're ordering full-sized meals already but just interested to taste an additional plate. It has been offered quite frequently without my asking eg. when we've seemed undecided between choices - many restaurants appreciate a diner's interest in their cuisine. Even if the answer is 'no', I'd expect it to be gracious.

                              Another option would be to go with a tasting menu - virtually all the restaurants mentioned here will have one, if not more options. Again, I wouldn't hesitate to ask nicely if the chef would be willing to make the odd substitution or so, if there's something else from the carte which I MUST try. The downside would be that you may need to take the menu for the whole table, limiting your ability to share different orders.

                              And finally, passing forks or plates around after food has been set down is absolutely fine as well.

                              I'm familiar with the Singapore scene. The professionalism of the wait-staff in a grand Paris restaurant is of an entirely different order.

                              1. re: shakti2

                                A friend who is a very accomplished diner always orders this way, i.e., a self-directed tasting menu composed of a half dozen or so dishes to be served "one for two", or split. This is in two and three star rooms, so such an a la carte order is not inexpensive but it does bring them those dishes they want to sample.

                                1. re: mangeur

                                  Well, a whole meal of special requests isn't something I'd try on. But then I'm not a very accomplished diner :)

                                  1. re: shakti2

                                    Shak - I think there is a difference between a special request that asks the chef to change a dish versus a table wanting to try (and share) a broader range of dishes which recognises the chefs expertise.

                                    Most are happy to split plates if a diner is trying to sample more dishes, or at least provide and extra plate to allow the diners to self split.

                                  2. re: mangeur

                                    lovely. thanks for all the very insightful replies all! i'm 90% sure that i'll be dining at LTdA, the wife does love the notre dame after all. the other 10% is still debating jules vernes if the menu happens to change to something we all can't possibly turn down, and if i can wrangle myself a window-side table.

                                    1. re: SGchef

                                      I will toast you. You will do well and I wish you another 32 years.

                                2. re: SGchef

                                  It's quite acceptable to both order a course and ask for it to be shared, so a three course menu would be turned into six half dishes for two people - if the chef can't plate a dish into two portions they will serve it in the middle of the table and give you separate plates for you to serve yourself.

                                  However, It isn't acceptable to order one starter, one main and one dessert and then split them between two to get a half price meal.

                                  And of course it's OK to share tastes from each other's plates.

                          2. re: SGchef

                            Which hotel are you staying at? I'm sure a great travel advisor would be able to secure you the table!

                            1. re: swl123

                              I should be staying at an aparthotel (one of the adagios) around the 15th. Will be in Paris for 18 days so there will be more time for free and easy :)