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Bonjour mes amis! ;)

My husband and I will be taking our first trip to Paris the beginning of May and thought it wise to get some guidance here. We're looking for recommendations along the lines of Scott's post above - somewhat casual great fare - bistros, cafes, etc... (Scott, how was your trip and any "musts" you'd care to share? We're staying in the Westin by the Louvre - similar location to the Renaissance you mentioned you were staying.) We love the fact that we'll be staying close to a lot of sites... but are a little worried we'll be in such a touristy area - we'll be limited with nearby good eats or paying way too much for a mediocre experience... Of course we can taxi or metro as well, but walking a "safe" mile or so is fine by us too. (we live in Clarendon - so we enjoy hoofing it.) :P Thanks in advance!

Going to paris in two weeks

Lots of good suggestions, but we can use more. We are looking for hot little bistros and strong romance.

LEbauchoir

Louis Vins

L'Osteria

Le Gaigne (we have reservations)

Chez Michel

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I'll be traveling to Paris on my own in January and have one night free for a special meal. From past experience, the places with the best kitchens sometimes serve dinners with a healthy portion of attitude and condescension. So I'm hoping on this trip to find a great little spot with wonderful food (Michelin star not at all essential but might be nice!) that has a welcoming, fun and friendly atmosphere. I do speak French passably well and think I can avoid the appearance of being an Ugly American, but would love a recommendation for a place where I can have a fun and relaxing (yet top-flight) dinner. Can't wait to hear from everyone!

Walt

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There are, I suppose, many reasons to hate the Michelin Guide, but I've always found it reliable and have a particular affection for their value "Bib Gourmand" selections. Available on-line here.

I confess that I have never found attitude or condescension to be a problem in Parisian restaurants. In fact, usually the atmosphere has been one of gracious hospitality. Maybe it's because I end up in the Bib Gourmand places rather than the starred restaurants.

It's been a while, but both Clos des Gourmets and Le Petite Troquetprovided excellent dinners and welcoming service to an extremely touristy-looking family, the former being somewhat more formal and the latter being deliciously cute.

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I'll be traveling to Paris on my own in January and have one night free for a special meal. From past experience, the places with the best kitchens sometimes serve dinners with a healthy portion of attitude and condescension. So I'm hoping on this trip to find a great little spot with wonderful food (Michelin star not at all essential but might be nice!) that has a welcoming, fun and friendly atmosphere. I do speak French passably well and think I can avoid the appearance of being an Ugly American, but would love a recommendation for a place where I can have a fun and relaxing (yet top-flight) dinner. Can't wait to hear from everyone!

Walt

I love Paris! Probably my favorite European destination. I can't count anymore how many times I've been there, most memorable one is when my husband proposed under the Eiffel Tower in Sept 17,2006. So many Restaurants to recommend, so many choices. I will just give you some choices. If you are in the St. Germain area, just right after "Les Deux Magots" is a cute small restaurant called "Le Petit St-Benoit" at 4 Rue St. Benoit, price is reasonable, food is great! Another one favorite of mine is "Le Chartier" you wont missed it as soon as you get off the metro Grand Boulevards, because of the long line of people wanting to dine, go for lunch and order "foie gras" steak frites or a whole fish (if u like seafood) check is very very affordable. I heard "Au Pied de Cochon" at 6 Rue Coquilliere has the best onion soup (and their specialty "grilled pig's feet in bearnaise sauce, I would definitely love to try this!!!). Of course you won't go wrong with "L'Atelier de Joel Robouchon" 7eme arron. (he was the "Chef of the Century 1990's). If you like to dine looking at the lovely square of Places des Vosges "Ma Bougogne" is also a good choice. In between your meals you want to have some snacks or hot chocolate so try "Angelina" in front of the Louvre, they have the best hot chocolate, thick, creamy. Also have some of "Laduree" macaroons. Have some coffee at "Cafe Le Flore" or "Les deux Magots" or any coffee shops along champs Elysees. Goodluck & have fun in Paris!

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I love Paris! Probably my favorite European destination. I can't count anymore how many times I've been there, most memorable one is when my husband proposed under the Eiffel Tower in Sept 17,2006. So many Restaurants to recommend, so many choices. I will just give you some choices. If you are in the St. Germain area, just right after "Les Deux Magots" is a cute small restaurant called "Le Petit St-Benoit" at 4 Rue St. Benoit, price is reasonable, food is great! Another one favorite of mine is "Le Chartier" you wont missed it as soon as you get off the metro Grand Boulevards, because of the long line of people wanting to dine, go for lunch and order "foie gras" steak frites or a whole fish (if u like seafood) check is very very affordable. I heard "Au Pied de Cochon" at 6 Rue Coquilliere has the best onion soup (and their specialty "grilled pig's feet in bearnaise sauce, I would definitely love to try this!!!). Of course you won't go wrong with "L'Atelier de Joel Robouchon" 7eme arron. (he was the "Chef of the Century 1990's). If you like to dine looking at the lovely square of Places des Vosges "Ma Bougogne" is also a good choice. In between your meals you want to have some snacks or hot chocolate so try "Angelina" in front of the Louvre, they have the best hot chocolate, thick, creamy. Also have some of "Laduree" macaroons. Have some coffee at "Cafe Le Flore" or "Les deux Magots" or any coffee shops along champs Elysees. Goodluck & have fun in Paris!

What a wonderful set of recommendations, thanks Audrey!! Will definitely check out Petit St-Benoit and/or Le Chartier. I've walked by "L'Atelier" many times (I actually stayed in the adjoining Hotel Montalembert once) but have not been in- -it always looks bustle-y and buzz-y- - -must try. La Duree definitely a must as well as their competitor Pierre Herme'!

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If I were to leave tomorrow for Paris, my first spot that I would have multiple meals at would be Le Comptoir. Ate here in 2008 in the Spring and really loved it. I think about this meal often, it was perfect in every detail. My second place (if I was not on a budget) would be Helene Darroze. This is a very expensive meal- but also executed at the highest level. A must visit! Enjoy your trip!

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The last time my wife and I were in Paris we ate at a restaurant named Mon Vieil Ami. It's located on the St Louis island in the Seine. We thought it was very good, and reasonably priced.

Have to second Mon Vieil Ami -- that's a link -- although it was nearly five years ago that I ate there (and I'm partial to the Ile Saint-Louis anyway). The chef plays with traditional Alsatian cuisine a bit, with a huge focus on (and talent with) vegetables. The decor is a bit modern, the ambiance welcoming, and the service knowledgable and engaging.

Ooh, wish the plane I'm about to board were heading to Paris instead of back to DC ...

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The last time my wife and I were in Paris we ate at a restaurant named Mon Vieil Ami. It's located on the St Louis island in the Seine. We thought it was very good, and reasonably priced. They have a web site you can find easily with google.

Thanks! Will check it out. The Ile St. Louis is so pretty.

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If I were to leave tomorrow for Paris, my first spot that I would have multiple meals at would be Le Comptoir. Ate here in 2008 in the Spring and really loved it. I think about this meal often, it was perfect in every detail. My second place (if I was not on a budget) would be Helene Darroze. This is a very expensive meal- but also executed at the highest level. A must visit! Enjoy your trip!

Todd, thanks for both!! I was actually just checking to see if I could book at Comptoir (as I've seen recommendations that one must book well in advance (i.e., months). Will look up Helene Darroze too.

Thanks again!

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Have to second Mon Vieil Ami -- that's a link -- although it was nearly five years ago that I ate there (and I'm partial to the Ile Saint-Louis anyway). The chef plays with traditional Alsatian cuisine a bit, with a huge focus on (and talent with) vegetables. The decor is a bit modern, the ambiance welcoming, and the service knowledgable and engaging.

Ooh, wish the plane I'm about to board were heading to Paris instead of back to DC ...

I'll third it. One of my favorites in Paris - probably my second or third favorite in town.

We just got back from Paris a few weeks ago. Had an amazing meal at Le Regalade St Honore. Superb in every way and still vividly remember everything I ate. At 32 euros for the 3 course meal, it is a ridiculously good deal. Currently my top pick in town.

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I'll third it. One of my favorites in Paris - probably my second or third favorite in town.

We just got back from Paris a few weeks ago. Had an amazing meal at Le Regalade St Honore. Superb in every way and still vividly remember everything I ate. At 32 euros for the 3 course meal, it is a ridiculously good deal. Currently my top pick in town.

Thanks Adam, and everyone!! This is going to be a meal-packed two days but a memorable one!

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Bob and I are going to Paris over New Year's, and will be going to the Paris Opera Ballet at the Palais Garnier on New Year's Eve. We're looking for a nice, not overly expensive place to dine afterward not too far away (this is in the 9th). Any ideas?

You're really not that far from La Régalade Saint-Honoré, where my wife and I had an excellent dinner last month.

The 3-course prix fixe is 33 euros, though there are usually some nice items which add a supplement. I blogged about La Régalade Saint-Honoré and compared it to Le Chateaubriand here.

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Thanks for all the recs. We wound up going toLe Gaspard de la Nuit, near the Bastille, on New Year's Eve, and it was wonderful. A small, old restaurant (around since 1900?), it seems to attract a fair number of Americans, but there was no sense that they dumbed down the menu for tourists. We went for the seven-course degustation menu, for 72 euros, and each course was expertly done and amply sized. The starter was a good-sized slice of foie gras seared with a cider sauce, followed by a lovely mix of sauteed mushrooms, then a pair of large scallops in a "red and black" sauce that seemed to be caviar (it had a distinctly but not unpleasant fishy taste). Pear sorbet in pear liqueur served as the palate cleanser, then the main course of sauteed beef en croute with foie gras-stuffed mushrooms (maybe the weakest course, but still very good), a large cheese course (seven large pieces of various, perfect cheeses apiece, with salad), and a nice gateau with a frozen chocolate center and vanilla sauce. Coupled with a lovely wine from the Loire, it was a lovely, intimate evening, a perfect way to enter the new year. It's worth seeking out if you're in that part of the city--not groundbreaking food, but well done and with a charming couple as hosts.

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Les Fines Gueules

Chez Michel

Violen D Ingres

Au Fil De Saisons

Bistro Paul Bert

Les Papilles

Chez Dumonet

La Regalade

There are all go to places for me

They all range in price, but none are too expensive and all serve great meals and wine with a smile

I can't wait to go back

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I had a great lunch when I was last there at Le Dauphin, a wine bar adjoining (and sharing celebrity chef Inaki Aizpitarte with) Chateaubriand. EUR 5 wine-by-the-glass and a very abbreviated lunch menu but spectacular food in a comfortable and friendly setting (I had this pork jowl and winter vegetable dish that blew me away!). Seems, along with Verre Vole' in Canal St. Martin district, to be a real "buzz" restaurant of late.

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Just returned from Paris where I ate at my weight in macarons! I actually liked Laduree's the least even though they get the most hype. The macarons at Arnaud Delmontel and Dalloyau were both better. I have heard Pierre Herme's are great but didn't have time to stop by.

We ate so much amazing food in Paris but sadly, our most expensive meal was also our most disappointing. I made reservations for Pierre Gagnaire exactly one month to the day we wanted to dine and was so excited when they confirmed my request! I had read such wonderful things about this Michelin 3-star restaurant on this website and others. The presentation and service were fantastic but the food was just not that memorable. When we are paying an ungodly amount for a once in a lifetime meal for two, one would hope the food would be revelatory. Also there was a fruit-fly buzzing in and around our food the whole time we were there- pretty disgusting. The servers saw it too but said nothing. I finally couldn't stand it anymore and killed the little bugger and asked the server to remove the plate. Luckily, we had much better experiences with our other meals in Paris. Le Chateaubriand, near the Goncourt metro stop, was amazing. Chef Iñaki Aizpitarte, is a native of the Basque region and his food reflects this mix of cultures and cuisines. They do not take reservations for their second seating so showing up around 9:30-10:00 is a good way to get in if you aren't able to make a reservation. Dinner is prix-fixe only but very reasonable for Paris at 50€/per person. The chef used so many creative flavor combinations, like a take on vitello tonnato using veal and cod liver mousse. The experience was also unique because the chef would bus tables himself, serve food and interact with customers alongside his servers. It made me appreciate his cuisine even more, knowing that he didn't think he was above performing tasks that most world-renowned chefs would think beneath them. Our last meal in Paris was at Le Comptoir (du Relais). They do not take reservations so showing up early here is a good idea. The foie gras with pears was decadent but well-balanced. The daube was meltingly tender, the perfect French comfort food for a chilly evening. I miss Paris already :)

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Three nights and two days, a third companion with different tastes/preferences, and a hotel near Porte Maillot didn't provide a whole lot of opportunity for culinary exploration. Simple lunches of crepes or sandwiches at cafes and brasseries filled a need and our stomachs. Funny how atmosphere and ambiance can make just about anything taste better - a simple jambon-fromage is magical after a walk in Tuileries.

The night of our arrival we ate at Chez Bebert, a mini-chain (with 3 locations) featuring couscous. It brought back memories of a long-ago study-abroad year in another part of France and my first experience with couscous. The meal started with a complimentary tray of various olives, pickled vegetables, etc. Fun to order for a group, the couscous and accompanying veggies are served from a divided platter in the center of the table; meat toppings are served to the individual. Nothing transporting, but comfort food of a sort that hit the spot after a bit of travel.

Berthillon's mandarin flavor is amazing on a sunny day on the �le Saint-Louis. I learned that you have to work your way into the center of the island to find the actual Berthillon - along the way you will pass many restaurants serving it. I'm sure it tastes just as good and the lines are shorter than at the mother ship smile.gif

Companion #3 was bound and determined that we dine at least once at the restaurant at our hotel, L'Orénoc. Since she was buying, we obliged. As expected, pricey, but our dishes (a lamb curry and a spiced pork tagine) were generous, satisfying, and flavorful. Drawing a blank on dessert (guess that's what happens when you wait 3 weeks to write something up). Perfectly agreeable as hotel dining goes, just not my first choice.

The standout meal was at Chez Georges, a short walk from our hotel - we'd worn out diner #3 again with all of our walking around. I had asked the concierge for something local and authentic and he definitely steered me in the right direction. From the neighboring table of ladies of a certain age sporting fishnet stockings, fur collars, tiny canine companions, to the crisp, white, floor-length aprons worn by the servers, it was just what I had in mind. My quenelles de brochet-sauce Nantua (pike quenelles in a crab/crayfish sauce) were lovely - the mousseline light and airy, the sauce smooth and more assertive. Probably not a dish for everyone, but nicely prepared. The others ordered a pan-fried calamari and roasted sea bass - both were properly cooked and tasty. We shared an enormous portion of oeufs � la neige for dessert - fluffy and sweet, a nice finish to the meal.

Unfortunately, I only discovered the rue Poncelet market the morning of our departure and didn't have much time to enjoy it. Definitely a neighborhood market, with a great variety of beautiful produce, seafood, meats, etc. Worth a visit if you're in the area.

I didn't get to try Eric Kayser's bread, but Wes at the Ovens at Quail Creek Farm is making a very good loaf from one of their recipes (I picked some up at the Arlington Courthouse Market a few weekends back).

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On my recent and (I'm embarrassed to seem like bragging but delighted to have) annual trip to Paris, I finally decided to bite the bullet and have one truly extravagant meal. For it, I chose L'atelier del Joel Robuchon. I picked it because I passed it a few years ago on my first trip back after more than a decade and was jealous of those waiting outside for it to open for dinne;, because my dining companion is intimidated by over-the-top, blowout tasting menus (they offer a la carte); because I think of it as a sort-of culinary bellweather (it’s Robuchon’s flagship restaurant, in a way); and, mostly, because I wanted to. The place is, in a way, the “home” of, perhaps, the most famous chef in the world. And, though its namesake is nowhere to be found, those there are among the best understudies in the world. It also represents (at least to me), a measure of the state of the art with respect to "normal" food -- they don't do the kind of food that you'd see in the $600 cookbook Modernist Cuisine, but they do modern riffs on the familiar awfully, awfully, well.

I can report that the experience lived up to my expectations, but also surprised me in a reassuring way. I got the 150 EUR tasting menu and my guest (um, girlfriend . . . who, if you've read any of my previous accounts, is a quasi-vegetarian with an occasional bloodlust and, I have to admit, thinks we're all weird for devoting this much time, effort, and money to food) got a single, 14 EUR dish. For my $214.60 (give or take), plus, I believe $128.43 for Champagne that I shared (NV Bruno Paillard Brut 1ere Cuvee), I got nine courses, a few of which were among the best things I've ever eaten.

It all started with a rather ordinary-looking smoked salmon, cucumber, and dill amuse bouche, which looked high-end but otherwise ordinary. But it was good; damned good.

Next, I think (there were lots of dishes and Champagne . . . delicious, delicious Champagne . . . so the precise order is approximate) was a few slices of raw scallops, with citrus and olive oil, topped with uni. Not unlike a lot of "crudo" I've had, but better for the addition of the very-fresh uni (what wouldn't be) and very enjoyable if you like sushi/crudo/etc.

Next was the caviar, which was out-of-this-world, ridiculously good, and the reason that I got the tasting menu (it's 50 EUR, by itself, on the a la carte menu, and I was curious). I didn't actually know if I liked caviar or not; I have mixed memories of it (and not for lack of trying). Turns out, I like caviar. A lot. Or, at least, I loved this. Nicely fishy caviar on potato with other stuff nearby which was good but not THE RIDICULOUSLY GOOD CAVIAR was so I don't recall it. I should have taken notes, but I was (1) eating THE RIDICULOUS GOOD CAVIAR and (2) am, more importantly, not THAT GUY.

Third was a nice slice of foie gras with a sweet sauce and rhubarb. I immediately thought that, maybe, the rhubarb was an exotic ingredient in Europe, but coming from DC my reaction was: "More fucking rhubarb? Can't people just bake this into a pie with strawberries and be done with it?" I thought this until I hit the head on the way out and saw a menu outside the bathroom from a French restaurant circa 1930 with, what read, looked like the same dish. I thought that was cool. But I also thought that maybe, just maybe, Parisians have been saying "more fucking rhubarb" for 80 years.

Fourth was, perhaps, the most ridiculously good thing I’ve ever eaten. It was, essentially, described as “eggs,” though in French, so it sounded cooler. It was, in fact, cooler. It was in your typically trite martini glass and looked EXACTLY like a pina colada. Except it wasn’t. It was runny egg yolks, wrapped in egg whites, with crab and other good things. I can’t even quite describe how good it was. But if you like it when you break runny eggs and like crab, this may be your new religion. It, frankly, doesn’t look that great, or sound that great on the menu. It is, in fact, the single greatest thing I had here. Or maybe anywhere. But perhaps I’m being hyperbolic. I can’t wait to eat it again to see.

Fifth was a sole dish that I remember being excellent, but ordinary. Perfectly cooked, delicious, and loveable. But overshadowed by the eggs that preceded it and lamb that followed.

The lamb that followed was milk-fed baby lamb. I concealed this fact from my dining companion, who wasn’t tasting (or liking) much in the first place. It looked REALLY small, but was somewhere between butter and pork belly and was served with the most perfect, garlicky mashed potatoes ever created by man. They were as smooth as fake potatoes, but the texture of cream and actually tasted like potatoes and roasted garlic. I was originally thinking that it was a stingy portion. After I ate it, I thought that an ounce more would have spoiled it. I’m not rationalizing. It was perfect.

Next came a pre-dessert of sorbet. There were three, they were excellent, and I don’t recall a single one (though I know they were tropical flavors like mango or papaya). Possibly because the next, and last, course was a tiny apple tart with caramel ice cream that was crazy, slobberingly, good. It was tiny. Though, it was like someone took the flavor of an ordinary tarte tatin and concentrated it in two or three bites. I’m not usually a dessert freak. But it was freakishly good.

The one other dish we had was my girlfriend’s aubergine (did I mention that she ordered ONE DISH?). From top to bottom, it was: micro basil, sundried tomato, zucchini, Asian (skinny) eggplant, and mozzarella, with a basil puree on the plate. It was much better than you can imagine. Absolutely delicious. But not so far afield that I didn’t think I could make it.

So, you might ask, how was this meal “reassuring”? Because it wasn’t that different than some meals I’ve had in DC. In fact, it reminded me of the Oval Room quite a bit. And the Oval Room, though expensive, is a lot cheaper (maybe not for 9 courses, but you can go there for Restaurant Week for chrissakes – I know, I did). Don’t get me wrong, it was an amazing and unique meal in it’s own, expensive way. But the quality of cooking isn’t terribly different than what we get here. So, if you think DC has world-class cuisine, rest assured: I agree with you. But I’d also recommend L'atelier del Joel Roubuchon if you want to blow some cash.

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Mom and I had a wonderful trip eating, walking and exploring Paris in the absolute pouring down rain for the week we were there. We had an apartment on Rue Mouffetard, which on certain days becomes pedestrian only and the shops open up into markets on the street, although while we were here, it probably wasn't quite as big as normal due to the time of year and did I mention the absolute pouring down rain? But we had multiple great bakeries, cheese shops, tea shops, chocolate shops, rotisseries, fishmongers, butchers, produce shops, canned meat products, sausages and other made meat product shops. It was all just seriously awesome and I wished we had more time to eat our way through it all. If you continued up the street it kind of turned into Adam's Morgan with lots of bars and cheap student restaurants with crepes, kabobs and etc. It was such a fun area to stay in.

Most every morning we started with coffee from the coffee roaster right next door which was very good and a croissant or pastry of some variety.

Our first day there we went to Brasserie Lipp with some friends from Alexandria who were also in the city. While the servers weren't extremely pleasant to our company they were very nice to me. I would recommend going with more hearty dishes, I had a lovely pork shank with lentils and escargot. Mom had a classic fish preparation that she liked.

The next day we went to the flea market at Port de Clignancourt. We stopped into Cafe Voltaire, which was one of our favorite stops, it was like a French diner in the best way possible. I had buttered noodles with leg of rabbit and mustard sauce. This was homey on such a cold day and the sauce was so good. Mom had steak frites and was very happy with that decision.

We then headed to the Centre Pompidou and had some good hot chocolate there which was very rich. We ate that evening at near our place. It was ok. Not mind blowing, but fine. I had foie gras with toast and jam which you can't really screw up and coq au vin. Mom had smoked salmon and chicken with a mushroom sauce that looked good.

The next day we did some wandering and shopping and wandered into Chez Ann for lunch of homemade ramen. I had spring rolls to start and Mom had dumplings. The food was delicious. The entertainment of watching the French try to eat Ramen and spring rolls and etc without using their fingers, or slurping was just great. It was just interesting watching people look at it and try to decide how they thought they were going to tackle it politely.

That evening we had ballet tickets and needed to eat early, Le Grand Cafe was probably my least favorite of all the places we ate, but there weren't many places open at the time that weren't touristy, but I would make a different choice next time. We did stop by to a cannelles shop and was so excited to have Mom try one as I was addicted to these as an exchange student in Brittney. The ballet was phenomenal- L'histoire de Manon. Some of the best ballet I have ever seen in the most beautiful ballet theater I have ever seen. (Although the opera in Guanajato wasn't too far behind)

The next day we grabbed sandwiches from one of the fantastic bakeries on our street, I had a nicoise sandwich and Mom had one with proscuitto and mozarella and marinated slightly sundried tomatoes that was great too. Oh the bread was amazing we got these little chocolate breads with fudge on top called Le Tigre that were very good. We headed to the Musee D'Orsay which in addition to having great art, had a very neat tea salon with a great view where we had tea and mini desserts (mini opera cake, mini finacier and mini fig cake). That evening we had dinner at Les Ombres. A really good restaurant with a really good view of the Eiffel Tower. Everything at that dinner was good, I can't remember our starters but I had a steak for dinner with a potato "risotto" that was very interesting. I believe Mom had pork, great chocolate cake that was overshadowed by much better petit fours that came with the cheque. And a nice wine selection with pretty reasonable prices.

The next day was our amazing awesome shopping day. We lunched at a wonderful little Bistro that I will look up the name of on my receipts. Boisterous with very good service and good food. I had steak frites and Mom had a croque madame as she wanted something sort of breakfasty. We had some snacks in the Grand Epicerie of Le Bon Marche. I should have gotten the beautiful apple tart, but didn't see it till after I got the check. That night we ate at the restaurant in printemps and had steak tartare salads, which were very good. And after a long blow out shopping trip it was just nice to sit down and have a drink and some food. We then went out on the town drinking absinthe which my Mom decided she didn't like so we switched to after dinner aperitifs and had a crepe with nutella from one of the little vendors near our house with all the other drunk students, it was so warm and gooey and good.

The next day we had crepes on our way to Versailles. Mom had one with ham, egg and cheese, mine had salami and feta with tomato and lettuce and dressing. These were huge crepes that were warm and crispy and just so good. That afternoon we had tea at La Flottille at Versailles with a lemon meringue tart. That evening I had an amazingly huge platter of shellfish from Le Bar D'Huites on St. Germain and Mom had a great sole menuiere. She had a starter of these tiny little shrimps with poached egg they had shells on, I had gotten a fish soup. Seeing her eyes when it came, I politely switched her, it tasted good, but did have an odd texture. We had an order of mini-desserts that had a crepe flambeed with grand marnier, chocolate mousse and creme brulee with the top was crusted and set a flame on the table, when they sat it down which was fun.

Lots of places we didn't get to so will just have to go back... darn. As a note it seems plate auctioning is quite common and we had to often tell someone that a dish wasn't ours, it normally belonged to a table nearby who was patiently awaiting it's arrival.

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Next weekend I'll be there from Friday night through Monday afternoon.  It's been 15 years since I was there and it will probably be quite awhile before I go again because there is so much of France, let alone the rest of the world, to see and eat.  I'm staying in the 5th in the Latin Quarter.

All I plan to do is wander, read, write, draw, and eat.  Emphasis on eat.

But my anxiety rises every time I try to figure out where to eat and which market to hit.  I will plan my days around meals and markets.  I have no idea where to start.

I'd like one meal to be  a "semi blowout" and the rest "really damn good."

Please help.

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Next weekend I'll be there from Friday night through Monday afternoon.  It's been 15 years since I was there and it will probably be quite awhile before I go again because there is so much of France, let alone the rest of the world, to see and eat.  I'm staying in the 5th in the Latin Quarter.

All I plan to do is wander, read, write, draw, and eat.  Emphasis on eat.

But my anxiety rises every time I try to figure out where to eat and which market to hit.  I will plan my days around meals and markets.  I have no idea where to start.

I'd like one meal to be  a "semi blowout" and the rest "really damn good."

Please help.

This is the Michelin Red Guide's bailiwick, and one of the few areas remaining in which I would use them. They have a rating called "Bib Gourmand" that's the smiling face of the Michelin Man next to the restaurant, and I've had consistently good success with these establishments - they indicate places that serve a good meal at a fair price (but aren't upscale enough to receive a star). When I'm traveling around France, and I'm not dining at starred restaurants, I'm looking for Bib Gourmand restaurants. Disclaimer: it has been a few years now, so I'm not completely current on this, but Michelin is as French as the Eiffel Tower. It's worth the investment to purchase the current copy of the book (you can find it at the train station or the airport, but you may want to find it in advance and do a bit of research) - there's a separate, smaller, slightly less expensive version that covers exclusively Paris. According to their website, the 2013 version looks to be the current one, but I'm not sure about that. Also, if you buy the red guide, you don't need to buy any maps. Note also that where you are, it will be easier to find a hardcopy in French than in English. They also have an online search (the button that says "Best Value Restaurants" will find you the Bib Gourmands), but it's much easier just to buy the book, if for no other reason than to have maps handy. One thing that's a bit confusing about the Michelin guides is the notion of the "star" vs. the "knife-and-fork" (you'll note that restaurants often have one, or both). The number of "stars" represents "the total package with an emphasis on cuisine" (and only the absolute top restaurants have them), but the number of "knives-and-forks" represents the "comfort level." So it's possible for a restaurant, for example, to have 1 star and 2 knives-and-forks; and for another to have 0 stars and 3 knives-and-forks - the latter is deemed to be more comfortable, but to be less of a "total package." To make matters more confusing, if an icon (a star, or a knife-and-fork, or both) is listed in red, it's deemed to be "exceptionally pleasant." Now, as to what "comfortable" vs. "pleasant" is ... think "old-school France." A formal dining room is comfortable; a restaurant inside a 17th-century monastery is pleasant. Beware: I've been to some less-than-wonderful 1-star restaurants in Paris - and they can be quite expensive.

That will be five dollars.

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Next weekend I'll be there from Friday night through Monday afternoon.  It's been 15 years since I was there and it will probably be quite awhile before I go again because there is so much of France, let alone the rest of the world, to see and eat.  I'm staying in the 5th in the Latin Quarter.

All I plan to do is wander, read, write, draw, and eat.  Emphasis on eat.

But my anxiety rises every time I try to figure out where to eat and which market to hit.  I will plan my days around meals and markets.  I have no idea where to start.

I'd like one meal to be  a "semi blowout" and the rest "really damn good."

Please help.

For "really damn good" I'd rec Mon Vieil Ami on l'ile Saint-Louis (ith the caveat that I haven't been there in years). It's been too long for me to have reliable recommendations otherwise. I need to fix that...

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I can definitely vouch for the recommendation of Le Comptoir du Relais. I celebrated my birthday there in August 2012, and it was a wonderful meal. The friend I was visiting went to Le Boudoir (also based on PF's rec) and had very good things to say about it. A local spot we stumbled upon and enjoyed during the same visit (which I swear I had written about, but apparently not) was Café Léa. Great salads, reasonable prices, on a nice corner with outdoor seating. It's not too far from rue Mouffetard, a quaint, old market street - which was, for the most part, closed the day we were there. It's a lovely walk, especially starting from the southeast, near Place Monge.

Les Papilles (mentioned in post above) was recommended by some friends who spent several months in Paris.  We were unable to get a seat at lunch as walk-ins (in 2011). I see that it was a 2008 "Bib Gourmand" spot, though I'm not sure how it currently rates (quite high on TripAdvisor).

PF had also mentioned IZRAEL (épicerie du monde), which was closed during for the August holidays. I hope to check it out in a few weeks.

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I walked 30 miles in three nights and three days.   Magnificent meals broke up the wandering...

Le Baratin-My first meal in Paris in over 15 years.  I had the house made foie gras and steak tartar.  Great foie although the slices were thinner than I would have liked.  The tartar was a solid rendition but the fries were the standout in the dish.  Not worth traveling for but a great choice if you are in the area.

Huitrerie Regis-Oyster bar in St. Germain.  14 seat restaurant run by a husband and wife.  Oysters from France that live up to reputation, best sea urchin I will probably ever have.  Everything is seasonal so the offerings change weekly. Worth traveling for.

Cave La Bourgogne-Local bistro on Rue Mouffetard.  I was craving duck confit and this local joint had a classic rendition.  Not worth traveling for but if you are in the neighborhood worth checking out.

Le Comptoir-Great pate campagne and bone marrow. The pate was served in the terrine with a knife stuck in and cornishon on the side.  Bone marrow was served with chestnuts and celery puree, great combinations. Lousy salad nicoise. Worth traveling for.

Fish (La Boissonneire)-Excellent choice for Sunday night dinner, especially if you want to be able to order in English.  35 euros for two courses.  I had the fish soup and brilliant scallops.  I snagged a seat at the bar but reservations are needed for a table, even at 19pm on a Sunday. Worth traveling for.

Mariage Freres-Tea house in La Marais.  The selection of tea was overwhelming until a waiter helped me figure out what I was looking for.  After walking 7 miles it was the perfect place to stop, relax, and reflect on the fact that I was sitting in Paris drinking tea. Worth traveling for.

Biggest ripoff: Paul bakery on Champs Elysees-due to a bit of poor planning on my last day I ended up here to buy croissants and other baked goods to bring home.  Each item had two choices: a lower price for items baked off premise, a higher price for those baked on site.  When I ordered I wasn't asked which I preferred but was charged the cheaper price.  I looked at the shop in the airport and they only had one price.

In all seriousness, does anyone have a place I can use sometime in the next seven months?

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In all seriousness, does anyone have a place I can use sometime in the next seven months?

No, but I wish I could Like your post twice. In one three-day vacation, your knowledge of Parisien culinary culture just vaulted ahead of mine.

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A few days ago, I enjoyed a delicious lunch at Le Verre Volé (as recommended by Poivrot Farci).  This is a very small spot, located just steps from the Canal Saint-Martin in one direction, and trendy (and good) bakery Du Pain et des Idees in the other. The two rooms might seat about 20 each.  In addition to the bistro, it's a wine shop, with the wares displayed on the walls around the front room. The tiny open kitchen is visible to diners in the front room.  The menu items and wine choices are displayed on chalk boards around the room, with specials on their own board.

My starter was the Coquilles St Jacques (from Dieppe), served in the shell, with a simple chive butter, and slivers of endive. Fresh, delicious, and pleasing to the eye. For my main, I chose the seared and roasted pork loin, or carré de cochon (from a farm in Limousin - provenance being quite important at this establishment), served over a bulgur and herb salad with roasted onions and tiny cockles. It was very good, though the thick fat cap and skin made cutting it up a bit of a challenge. The waiter selected two nice wines for me, a white from the southern Rhone region and a Vacqueyras.

I wound up, quite coincidentally, sharing conversation with my neighbors - weinoo and Significant Eater! Small world, huh?  And the conversation started because I heard them mention a restaurant I had eaten at in Rome a few days prior, on the recommendation of flygirl. More on that in the Rome thread, a little later.

Reservations are definitely recommended, as is a stroll up the Canal before/after your meal.

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Well, if you go back mid-May or late June don't be surprised if you wind up starting a conversation with us instead (that is, if the Weinoos bring back more info. for us"¦ wonder if they found any good pizza or Chinese food).  We'll be there for 3-5 days each time at the beginning and end of a month long Provence trip.   

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London:  Rasoi from Vineet Bhatia (Michelin starred and the best creative Indian restaurant on earth-serious.  With all due respect to Rasika this is a whole different level.  You MUST eat exceptional Indian in London.  This, Zayna and Spice Village will spoil you.), Lima (Pervuian is arguably the hottest emerging cuisine on earth-extraordinary representative that also has a Michelin star).  Given the choice between Gordon Ramsey, Le Gavroche and Rasoi I would (and did) go back to Vineet Bhatia.

Back to "Lima":  I have friends who are in Lima, Peru as we speak and rave about Central which is ranked #15 in the world.  It's chef started Lima in London and it has received an incredible reception.  I have not been but trust their opinion of the original.  Given the extraordinary hype of the London restaurant, take a serious look at it.  This is their website:  http://www.limalondon.com/

Paris:  I haven't been in five or six years.  Then, I had too many opinions but I am guessing a lot has changed.  Parisian three stars are nightmarishly expensive (i.e. Gagnaire, Ducasse are around E 250-300 prix fixe + wine).

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Sitting here in our Paris hotel room waiting to see if we can get into Fish La Boissonnerie for our last dinner here before flying home to Brooklyn, I find I have enough time to note which places we really liked while here in Paris on both ends of our 5+ weeks in France trip (3 weeks in Provence & 1 in Lyon made up the bulk of it). At any rate, a small plates dinner at the bar at Le Bat was excellent, Chateaubriand hit all the right notes (2nd seating, waited on line till 10:30pm & closed the place down at 1am), Ze Kitchen Gallerie was fantastic, lunch at Buvette (hey, had to patronize my home town chef) was lovely & Chez George (the old line one, on rue du Mail) would be my neighborhood go to place if I could live in a neighborhood like that - wow.

Should probably write up Lyon as well...the food there was incredible. Are there any real Bouchons anywhere within the NYC/D.C. Corridor?

Eta: almost forgot to mention that we would have hit up Comptoir &/or Spring if there was more than a snowball's chance in hell at getting into either in my lifetime.

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Regarding Fish la Boissionerie: If you can't get a reservation go right at opening. They usually keep a table or two open. As an alternative you an sit at the bar where the don't take reservations.

You can eat at Le Comptoir Relais without a reservation. First, go for lunch which they stop serving around 5pm. Or go next door, past the creperie into L'Avant Comptoir. It's Yves Camdeborde hidden gem for the rest of us. My first time I had haddock mousse with caviar, pigs feet stuffed with mushrooms, poached egg topped with caviar, and a fois gras velouté for 21€ or about $28. Although the concept is tapas bar-esque, this ain't your papa's tapas. Should you need "safer" food the jam on croquettes and poached eggs on a pile of mushrooms were breathtaking. Just be prepared to get to know your neighbor very well as it is standing room only.

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Quick weekend in Paris.  Of note:

Porte12 - New restaurant open a few weeks in the 10th.  Andre Chiang's first restaurant in Paris. Crappy neighborhood.  Amazing restaurant.  8 course meal at E68 per person plus wine.  Every course was superb.  Some amazing - a very nice veloute; a wonderful perfectly cooked cod; delicious scallop dish, etc.   If you can do one more expensive meal in Paris, make it this.  It's packed, its booked out no for months; go if you can.

L'Arpege - Unless you have money to burn I wouldn't recommend it.  Lots of up and downs.  Some extraordinary dishes - an amazing tomato broth with vege dumplings; vege sushi; beet tartar (would fool you; it is that good).  Proteins were eh - overcooked lobster and fish, though a nicely done chicken.  One terrible dish we sent back and Passard remade himself (which was a bit better).

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Quick weekend in Paris.  Of note:

Porte12 - New restaurant open a few weeks in the 10th.  Andre Chiang's first restaurant in Paris. Crappy neighborhood.  Amazing restaurant.  8 course meal at E68 per person plus wine.  Every course was superb.  Some amazing - a very nice veloute; a wonderful perfectly cooked cod; delicious scallop dish, etc.   If you can do one more expensive meal in Paris, make it this.  It's packed, its booked out no for months; go if you can.

L'Arpege - Unless you have money to burn I wouldn't recommend it.  Lots of up and downs.  Some extraordinary dishes - an amazing tomato broth with vege dumplings; vege sushi; beet tartar (would fool you; it is that good).  Proteins were eh - overcooked lobster and fish, though a nicely done chicken.  One terrible dish we sent back and Passard remade himself (which was a bit better).

Photos below...

Porte 12 I would have to concur with Adam23's assessment of Porte 12. This place is destined for greatness. Our only turnoff was that half the place was from New York- clearly we all read the same blogs.

Arpege I think Adam23 was a little harsh. It is very expensive and not life changing but if you want to experience truly perfectly and inventively prepared vegetables this is a place to go. And that one "terrible dish" it was just under seasoned. If you want to see a famous chef lose his shit, tell him you think he famous dish needs a touch of salt. Chef himself came over to apologize (leaving us with a small plate of Maldon to assure our food was "tasty enough") he personally prepared and delivered a new version of the course and stood over us watching while we ate it. Clearly we've been watching too much Top Chef...

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Arpege I think Adam23 was a little harsh. It is very expensive and not life changing but if you want to experience truly perfectly and inventively prepared vegetables this is a place to go. And that one "terrible dish" it was just under seasoned. If you want to see a famous chef lose his shit, tell him you think he famous dish needs a touch of salt. Chef himself came over to apologize (leaving us with a small plate of Maldon to assure our food was "tasty enough") he personally prepared and delivered a new version of the course and stood over us watching while we ate it. Clearly we've been watching too much Top Chef...

I know two people (in the industry) this happened to at Arpège - they noted one dish (seafood, I believe) was cooked wrong, and were essentially dismissed as rednecks. There is no way they were wrong.

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Working my way through this thread for restaurant suggestions.

In the meantime, are there any places y'all can suggest as the best in paris for the following dishes? Haha!

French onion soup

Steak frites

Duck confit

Steak tartare

Blanquette de veau

Sole meunière

Boudin noir

Soufflés

Foie gras

Salade lyonnaise

Escargot

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