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Seems pretty true to our experience from 3 years ago.  We say bonjour/bonsoir to everyone that we interacted with, and I cannot recall a rude interaction from the trip.  It seems like civilized way to behave.  

We reserved at most places when we can.   Most restaurants we went to are quite small compared to American establishments.  We did get a table at Frenchie (reservation was impossible even planning 2 months out and constant monitoring) while trying to get a seat at the ridiculously crowded, loud, and hot Frenchie bar a vins.  I don't think we were even given any non pre fixe options at any restaurants we went to, other than at wine bars.

Parisbymouth has a list of restaurants that are open in late December.  High travel costs and musuem closings would make a Christmas trip challenging, the potential of a heat wave with no AC is sufficient incentive for me to stay away from Europe between June and September, and avoidance of ravenous tourist hordes is a bonus. 

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My wife and I are headed there for four nights in January. I haven't been since my freshman year of high school, so excited to explore the city from a food perspective, since I just went wherever my parents took us. I remember good meals, but they were on the simpler end since my younger sisters were also with us.

We haven't settled on a hotel yet and are just starting to think about which sites we want to hit. But I don't even know where to begin when it comes to restaurants. I think we might want to do one big lunch (do we have a 3-star budget? maybe if on the lower end of the price scale). I know many of the names of the top dog restaurants, but couldn't distinguish which ones to focus on. And then maybe hit up a 1-star for a dinner or two. I love oysters, she doesn't, and this seems like a good time of year for that. Since it's winter, I guess many of the heavier dishes like cassoulet will be on the menu, which would be nice to try there since I generally favor the dish.

I don't even know where to begin when it comes to figuring out food as there are a million and one websites (other than, of course, this one ;) ) . Looking for any and all recommendations for patisseries, markets, cheese shops, bistros, brasseries, nicer places and more. Thanks!

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2 hours ago, Deac said:

My wife and I are headed there for four nights in January. I haven't been since my freshman year of high school, so excited to explore the city from a food perspective, since I just went wherever my parents took us. I remember good meals, but they were on the simpler end since my younger sisters were also with us.

We haven't settled on a hotel yet and are just starting to think about which sites we want to hit. But I don't even know where to begin when it comes to restaurants. I think we might want to do one big lunch (do we have a 3-star budget? maybe if on the lower end of the price scale). I know many of the names of the top dog restaurants, but couldn't distinguish which ones to focus on. And then maybe hit up a 1-star for a dinner or two. I love oysters, she doesn't, and this seems like a good time of year for that. Since it's winter, I guess many of the heavier dishes like cassoulet will be on the menu, which would be nice to try there since I generally favor the dish.

I don't even know where to begin when it comes to figuring out food as there are a million and one websites (other than, of course, this one ;) ) . Looking for any and all recommendations for patisseries, markets, cheese shops, bistros, brasseries, nicer places and more. Thanks!

Scott, ask Andy.

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See Parisbymouth.  Not sure how the restrictions are affecting Airbnb options but when we were there 3 years ago, it was 1/4 of the cost of remotely comparable hotels.

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And for the food, I would plan a couple nice meals, but otherwise, we really didn't have a problem finding good meals at cafes or other places along the way, and if we saw a place one night that was booked that we wanted to try, we would just make a reservation for another night.  We use Amex to do all the reservations, so we didn't have to worry about it, and noted that our phones would be turned off, so we wouldn't be able to answer a call to confirm.  There are so many choices, I just added a bunch of places I thought about to a google map and then figured out which were ones that made sense based on where we would be- I used this site, No Reservations, and a few places from some blogs.  It all worked out well.  It helps that my Mom and I look a little french and I speak a little, although I sometimes will say something that word wise is correct, but slang wise or saying wise is not correct.

The last time I went we stayed on a market street, and that was just fun!

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On 10/3/2018 at 1:14 PM, DonRocks said:

Scott, ask Andy.

I'm not Andy but happy to give some recommendations based on my last trip to Paris.

Re: 3-stars: they're all so different, so it's difficult to make a recommendation without knowing your tastes.  But if you're open to modernist/experimental/molecular cuisine, the lunch menu at Pierre Gagnaire is a steal (at 90 euros now, I think).  You'll get less luxe ingredients than ordering ALC, but my lunch there was still perhaps the most exciting meal of my life -- a four-hour-plus thrill ride in the hands of a creative genius.  On the more classical end of the spectrum, L'Astrance was underwhelming, and L'Ambroisie was the most perfect meal I've had but probably out of your stated price range.  I loved Ledoyen under Le Squer, but he's at Le Cinq now, and Alleno is in (I haven't been to either new iteration).  There's a bargain online lunch offer at Guy Savoy, too, but I've never been, and never figured out exactly how it worked -- perhaps you could call and ask.  

Another great lunch bargain is the lunch menu at Nomicos (65 euros, including wine and coffee), where you'll find excellent, Robuchon-esque food.  I found the cooking more correct than exciting, but at that price, I had absolutely no complaints.  

A major trend is Japanese chefs taking charge of Parisian kitchens, cooking French cuisine (NOT fusion) but bringing a technical perfectionism and attention to detail that are otherwise fading qualities.  I had a wonderful dinner at L'Alliance (a one-star) -- elegant, refined, contemporary cooking in a stylish (and intimate) dining room.  Tasting menus at 95 and 120 euros.

As for more casual eating: Chez L'Ami Jean is a perennial modern bistro recommendation, but for good reason.  Great soba at Abri Soba, if you need a break from French food.  Jacques Genin for spectacular desserts (his cheesecake was a revelation).  Laurent Dubois was my favorite cheese shop (wonderful Comte, among other things), but it's very much a retail shop, and not set up for tourist grazing (though the people there were helpful--though having a modicum of French helped, I think).  Georges Larnicol for macarons.

Hope this helps.  You'll find so many more recommendations than you'll have time for.

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This brief review will include the restaurants visited on our two most recent trips to Paris. Now that Don is asking for detailed reviews of 3-Mich restaurants, I will start to add more "color" there. If you want to get treated like a fine-dining troglodyte then these are the places to go.  Having had meals in the past 4 years at Guy Savoy, Arpege, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee, Epicure,  Ledoyen, and Astrance the only one that I would happily pay my own money to eat at again is Ledoyen. My vehement POV at this point is that 3-star experiences in Paris are not my preferred way to spend my dining dollars anymore. By far the best meals we have had in Paris recently were at more casual places. 

Pastry

Jacques Genin - We always visit there on our trips to Paris and their tea room in the Marais is a long time favorite. Don't miss the caramels (they are 100% worth the €120/kg price tag), tarte citron and mocha.

Pain de Sucre Patisserie - They specialize in savory pastry which is a nice change of pace from the sweet stuff.

Cedric Grolet - The hottest new pastry shop in Paris. Products are stunningly beautiful, but I wouldn't make a return visit.

Gateaux D'Emotions - BEST Canele de Bordeaux that I have ever had. At the corner of Varenne and Rue Bac, its a great addition to the already insane pastry crawl in that neighborhood. 

More Casual Dining

Restaurant Champeaux - Good example of a casual French brasserie. Without a doubt, do not miss the souffles. 

L' Assiette Paris  XIV - Laid back French brasserie with classic preparations. Warm and friendly service.

Frenchie To Go - We went for breakfast. Great coffee and pastry along with heartier options which is somewhat unique in Paris.

Frenchie Wine Bar - Fun and buzzy. Great wine list and fresh, produce forward preparations.

Les Enfants du Marche - We spent an afternoon there eating and drinking while it poured. We tried half the menu and really loved everything. The food isn't light but its modern. Curated but high quality natural wine selection. A must go on all future trips to Paris. 

Le Rigamarole - When Americans make Japanese style food in France and magic happens... Also a great natural wine list. Service is warm and friendly. 

La Bourse et La Vie - We went for lunch. Food is good but not otherwise memorable. Best part of the meal was the young American on a trip with his girlfriend at the table next to us. He mistook the bowl of brown sugar cubes for cookies and ate two of them  while she sat in horror. 

L'Avant Comptoir De La Mer - No reservations, standing room only seafood. Menu is famously on the wall and hanging from the ceiling. Food was great, but we didn't think they were very helpful when it came to selecting wine by the glass. Would just order a bottle of something familiar next time - they have a great selection that is fairly priced.

Breizh Cafe - Modern, high end crepes. We sat outside under blanket and heat lamp for dessert. Very enjoyable. 

La Regalade Saint Honore - Classic French brasserie. You really can't go wrong with anything on their menu except the souffle which had so much grand marnier in it that it was almost inedible. Seating there is both tight and awkward so if that will bug you, not a good choice. Love their all you can eat pate. 

Mokonuts - By far our favorite meal on our most recent trip to Paris. We had the entire menu (only 5 items) and a gorgeous bottle of Pet Nat. Only open for breakfast and lunch. Their sweet-savory cookies are phenomenal as well. 

Restaurant Baieta - Newly opened with a seafood focused menu. Highlights were the octopus and savory poultry. They also recommended a red Sancere that was surprising and really delicious.

Fine  Dining

Restaurant Kei - We love Kei. Its not on any cool list. Their price fix 52€ 5 course lunch is the best deal in town. Also they pour insanely good champagne by the glass.

Alain Ducasse at Hotel Plaza Athenee - NEVER AGAIN... Maybe I should have been impressed by the bowl of steamed haricot vert, but I wasn't. The somm was as offended by our preference for Laval (edited) as we were by his recommendation of Comtes. But these are stories for another thread

Ledoyen - We had a really lovely meal there and enjoyed everything we tried. Service was attentive but not cloying and even a little casual, which we liked. The famous caviar tart is not to be missed.

Restaurant Epicure - Totally unmemorable meal. 

Guy Savoy - We ordered the tasting menu and should have ordered a la carte. Service was dismissive. The famous chestnut and truffle soup is the only thing I'd want to eat from that meal again. Also, we were served variations of potato chips with two courses. They were the second best part of the meal. 

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11 hours ago, lekkerwijn said:

Alain Ducasse at Hotel Plaza Athenee - NEVER AGAIN... Maybe I should have been impressed by the bowl of steamed haricot vert, but I wasn't. The somm was as offended by our preference for Lavalle as we were by his recommendation of Comtes. But these are stories for another thread

Spill !

Really? Never again?!

Was there one bean? ;)

Seriously, I am so done with trusting sommeliers - if anyone knows even a moderate amount about wine, never, ever assume the sommelier knows more than you do. Are you talking about the Champagne Georges Laval? (or the Rioja Lavalle?) And the Taittinger Comtes? If so, you have my sympathies - once you get into a pissing contest with the sommelier in a French restaurant, the evening is over.

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At the restaurant in Le Bristol, they bring a Champagne cart to the table when you sit down with 6 or 7 bottles including Krug and Dom Perignon. 

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12 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Seriously, I am so done with trusting sommeliers - if anyone knows even a moderate amount about wine, never, ever assume the sommelier knows more than you do. Are you talking about the Champagne Georges Laval? (or the Rioja Lavalle?) And the Taittinger Comtes? If so, you have my sympathies - once you get into a pissing contest with the sommelier in a French restaurant, the evening is over.

This is just one data point, but I do have to stick up for the sommelier at Gagnaire, c. 2006.  I was dining solo and looking for a half bottle to go with the seafood-heavy lunch menu, and the sommelier recommended a white St.-Joseph, which was the absolute cheapest wine on the list.  And it made sense: a relatively simple, fruity wine to go with really complex food.  

Gagnaire  also had the best overall service I've encountered at a 3-star.  My wine sitting in the ice bucket was getting too cold, so I mentioned to a waiter that I'd like to leave it out.  A few minutes later, another server came by to top up my glass and returned the bottle to the bucket.  Just as I was reaching to take the bottle back out, the first waiter practically leapt across the dining room to do it for me.  And it wasn't this dramatic or overly fussy gesture--just an expert reading of the room that gave me confidence that I was in good hands for the entire service.

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18 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Spill !

Really? Never again?!

Was there one bean? ;)

Seriously, I am so done with trusting sommeliers - if anyone knows even a moderate amount about wine, never, ever assume the sommelier knows more than you do. Are you talking about the Champagne Georges Laval? (or the Rioja Lavalle?) And the Taittinger Comtes? If so, you have my sympathies - once you get into a pissing contest with the sommelier in a French restaurant, the evening is over.

17 hours ago, Mark Slater said:

At the restaurant in Le Bristol, they bring a Champagne cart to the table when you sit down with 6 or 7 bottles including Krug and Dom Perignon. 

Don - you can move this to rants about 3-Michelin Star restaurants thread if you'd like. 

Two trips-ago to Paris we went on a Michelin binge, eating at Epicure (lunch), Alain Ducasse (dinner) and Ledoyen (lunch)  in the span of three days. As noted previously, Epicure was totally unmemorable. I had to dig back into my Instagram to remember what we ate and even then it didn't really ring a bell. 

Alain Ducasse ... It was a totally memorable meal but for all of the wrong reasons. We arrived at the restaurant and they brought around the Champagne cart with, as Mark notes, 6 or 7 different luxe choices including some by magnum. We may be unusual in this preference, but we like to drink Champagne like wine, with a meal. And we prefer grower Champagne. So we declined the cart and asked to see the wine list. A rather surly, older Somm showed up at our table clutching a huge wine list tightly against his chest. In haughty French accent-inflected English he says, "I understand you wish to drink Champagne by the bottle..." and then proceeds to rattle off what was in the cart as if we didn't hear it the first time. We explain, that yes, we want a bottle. I think he assumed we were being cheap Americans, so then he asks what kind of Champagne we are "familiar with". We explain that we prefer grower Champagne and in particular like Selosse, Prevost and Laval. He sneered. Cleared his throat and said, "A meal like this requires something a bit more, errr, refined." Then he recommended Taittinger Comtes de Champagne. 

Ledoyen ... They had a lot of Selosse on their wine list and were more than happy to sell us whatever we wanted by the bottle. Also the food was a lot better than Alain Ducasse and far more memorable than Epicure.

Our meal at Guy Savoy in late September began with something of a repeat performance by their younger, slimmer Somm of what we experienced at Alain Ducasse. This time at least he let us review their wine list. After explaining our preference for grower Champagne, we asked for suggestions from their list. He offered us two - one at 180€ the other around 900€. When we asked him to describe the difference between the two, both were NV brut, he rolled his eyes and said "the maker". Grrrr.... Ultimately he did recommend a rose champagne that was actually really nice and something we would drink again. It was only 200€, marked up 400%. 

So moving forward we will just conduct the Selosse test - our new proxy indicator for a restaurant that will understand our POV on wine and life. 

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41 minutes ago, lekkerwijn said:

Alain Ducasse ... It was a totally memorable meal but for all of the wrong reasons. We arrived at the restaurant and they brought around the Champagne cart with, as Mark notes, 6 or 7 different luxe choices including some by magnum. We may be unusual in this preference, but we like to drink Champagne like wine, with a meal. And we prefer grower Champagne. So we declined the cart and asked to see the wine list. A rather surly, older Somm showed up at our table clutching a huge wine list tightly against his chest. In haughty French accent-inflected English he says, "I understand you wish to drink Champagne by the bottle..." and then proceeds to rattle off what was in the cart as if we didn't hear it the first time. We explain, that yes, we want a bottle. I think he assumed we were being cheap Americans, so then he asks what kind of Champagne we are "familiar with". We explain that we prefer grower Champagne and in particular like Selosse, Prevost and Laval. He sneered. Cleared his throat and said, "A meal like this requires something a bit more, errr, refined." Then he recommended Taittinger Comtes de Champagne. 

Things you wish you were there to say, but weren't:

"An interesting choice, but when I had dinner with M. Ducasse, he mentioned that his humanist cuisine calls out for something that isn't mass-produced."

I'll bet that positively infuriated you.

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50 minutes ago, lekkerwijn said:

Alain Ducasse ... It was a totally memorable meal but for all of the wrong reasons. We arrived at the restaurant and they brought around the Champagne cart with, as Mark notes, 6 or 7 different luxe choices . A rather surly, older Somm showed up at our table clutching a huge wine list tightly against his chest. In haughty French accent-inflected English he says, "I understand you wish to drink Champagne by the bottle..." and then proceeds to rattle off what was in the cart as if we didn't hear it the first time. We explain, that yes, we want a bottle. I think he assumed we were being cheap Americans, so then he asks what kind of Champagne we are "familiar with". We explain that we prefer grower Champagne and in particular like Selosse, Prevost and Laval. He sneered. Cleared his throat and said, "A meal like this requires something a bit more, errr, refined." Then he recommended Taittinger Comtes de Champagne. 

This image is why I dont use the word sommelier much anymore.  I have always tried to combat that perception of the haughty somm. 

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Just now, Mark Slater said:

This image is why I dont use the word sommelier much anymore.  I have always tried to combat that perception of the haughty somm. 

Yes, but have you noticed that people have started to use the term "somm" quite a bit in this country?

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48 minutes ago, Mark Slater said:

Selosse in this country is wildly expensive. 

Don't I know it. We purchase it in France and bring it back to the US.  We've found that restaurants in Europe and Asia can have bottles that are reasonably priced in comparison to what we'd pay for the same bottle at retail stateside. 

24 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Things you wish you were there to say, but weren't:

"An interesting choice, but when I had dinner with M. Ducasse, he mentioned that his humanist cuisine calls out for something that isn't mass-produced."

I'll bet that positively infuriated you.

He couldn't have found a more perfect way to insult us to our faces. 

What we should have said is that 2006 Comtes is "airplane" bubbles. At the time Qatar Airways was serving it in business class. A couple months later we had a good laugh about it while polishing off at least two bottles on the three hour flight between Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires. 

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36 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Yes, but have you noticed that people have started to use the term "somm" quite a bit in this country?

Somm is the hipster word for sommelier. 😆

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