Paris - Delish Dining Report

Old May 1st, 2009, 04:33 PM
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Paris - Delish Dining Report

We just returned from Paris and had some exquisite meals as well as some key learnings. I always read Fodors Forums before my trip (even if I don't post much anymore), so here is my contribution.

The first night, we did not have reservations, as we thought we may not beat jet lag. As it turns out, we had plenty of energy, we were giddy with being again in Paris, after 10 years, in the city that I studied abroad as a college student 15 years prior, celebrating our 10th-year anniversary, in a completely adult vacation without our kids (which we love and adore, but boy, were we glad they weren't with us!).

Anyways, we set off to Cafe Constant in the 7th. Arrived at 8:15 pm on a Tuesday to a full restaurant. Not wanting to wait, and aware of other good choices in the 'hood, we went to Chez L'Ami Jean. Also full. Kept walking down the street to L'Affriole. Yup, you guessed it, also full. Isn't there a recession going on? Ah, but this is Pareeeee, and everyone eats out. All the time. Recession or not, the French are clearly not cutting out the "gastro" from their weekly budgets. Getting savvier, we phoned ahead to Pasco, on 74, Bd de la Tour- Maubourg (www.restaurantpasco.com), and snagged a table, perhaps even the last one, because after we arrived other people were turned away. Lesson #1: Get reservations! Otherwise, you may risk dining in the type of establishment that makes you wonder why French food is so popular.

I ordered the prix fixe menu (for 28 E), comprised of a romaine salad with octopus in a mayo, a roasted cornish hen with grapes, and some type of decadent pear with chocolate and hazelnut ice cream. Le husband ordered the Daurade special - a whole fish with a side of vegetables en papillote (26 E) and the Moelleux au chocolat, also with hazelnut ice cream. We ordered a white wine, even though we're not usually white wone drinkers, but by this point, we are starting to feel the effects of jet lag. Everything was delish, nicely presented, in a beautiful environment, and with good service to boot. Unfortunately, the portions were tres petite (hey, I'm 4'11 and 114 pounds, if I say portions are small, they ARE small). Out of the 6 places we ate, this was our 5th favorite (it was up against some tough competition). Despite it being 5th, it was still very good.

More to come, demain, I promise!
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Old May 1st, 2009, 04:53 PM
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Love it-- keep it coming!
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Old May 1st, 2009, 05:14 PM
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Just my kind of trip report. Looking forward to more.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 05:14 PM
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Please - I am axious to know the fourth, third, second and first favorites. Research for an upcoming trip, you know.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 05:16 PM
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I am often 'axious' in addition to being 'anxious.'
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Old May 1st, 2009, 08:09 PM
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Yes! I'm leaving for Paris in 7 days so this is great timing. We have reservations as Pasco's on our 1st night and L' Ami jean on our last, the other nights are up for grabs...
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Old May 1st, 2009, 08:37 PM
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Hi Mariarosa,

Sooo glad I saw this thread. My friend K. and I met you and your husband in Sarlat a few years ago. Coincidentally I'm off on my first ever solo jaunt to Paris in a few weeks so your report is quite timely. I look forward to reading more.

Please send my regards to your husband and the newest member of your family, whom I met while still lumpy-bumpy and not yet enjoying sunshine.*

Best,

Leely

*I am of course referring to the baby and not myself.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 12:41 AM
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Salut Mariarosa, thanks for posting your trip report. Isn't nice to come back to Paris as an adult (and not a poor college student) and be able to really pamper yourself?

Looking to your next trip...bientôt, j'espère...
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 12:42 AM
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Isn't nice = Isn't it nice
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 05:20 AM
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Mariarosa - Yes, me too! Looking forward to the rest of your dining experiences as we leave on Wednesday for Ireland & Paris.
We stayed on Blvd La Tour Marbourg years ago and our only dining experience in the area was the bistro at 58 L T Marbourg opp.the metro. The food was probably fine but I had never eaten a steak so rare in all my life!
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 05:33 AM
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Can't wait to read more! We leave one week from today for our 3rd trip to Paris!!! And it's all about the food so I'm looking forward to your report.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 09:12 AM
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Hi everyone! Thanks for the encouragement. We fodorites are certainly a food-loving bunch.

nancicita (is that "super little Nancy?). Yes, it's nice not to have to eat baguette and pate de campagne every day (not that baguette and pate is a bad choice, au contraire, I liked it so much I ate it all the time, but it did get a little old by the end of my 5.5-month stint). It's funny, because I was reflecting about my views of Paris at the various points in time in my life - as an 11-year old with my parents, as a 16-year old in summer camp in Normandy and doing a weekend in Paris, as a 20-year old in college, as a 25-year old in grad school, and now, married, with kids, with job, etc. And while you change and you may notice things slightly different, it's really "le plus ca change le plus c'est le meme chose." You don't change *that* much and Paris doesn't really change that much either. But, it is nice to not eat baguette and pate every day.

Leely, of course I remember you. I'm so jealous over all the interesting travelling that you have been doing. I wish Fodors would finally implement a PM (private messaging system). I mean, with all the "upgrades" you would think that feature would already have been added (so people like me can share how interesting and spirited is that baby that was in my tummy, 2 years ago in the Dordogne).

Day #2 coming right up!
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 09:42 AM
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On to Day #2 of Delish Dining

Day #2 started with me finalizing reservations before I even got out of bed (hotel did have free wifi). I had scoped that various restaurants that I was interested in were bookable through a website called: La Fourchette (www.thefork.com), which is great because you can book in English and it gives you an instant confirmation. So, without dawdling further, I booked Au Bon Accueil for that evening, and La Regalade for a few nights later (more on this later).

Au Bon Accueil (www. aubonaccueilparis.com, 14 rue de Monttessuy, in the 7th) has been highly recommended by Patricia. That’s all the info I had given my husband, who thought Patricia was someone I knew personally. I sometimes forget he’s not hounding restaurants like I am. In the course of the meal, he realized “Patricia” is Patricia Wells, and Au Bon Accueil has been one of her favorite bistros for many years. And I can see why. The outside tables have a view of the Eiffel Tower. But don’t feel like you have to eat outside. The interior is very warm (done in natural materials, like wood, stone, cottons, with chocolate browns and taupes), containing comfortable banquettes, wines by the glass written on the chalkboard, and soft lighting. Wine list was interesting with different price points. Service was superb. They only do one sitting, so we were able to eat, chat and enjoy our vin from 8 – 11 pm and not be rushed out, which is getting to be a luxury in Paris.

The menu is seasonal, I think it may change daily. The prix-fixe, at 31 E, was an amazing deal. The food was fresh, flavourful, beautifully plated, and perfectly executed. I started with a sashimi-style salmon just slightly seasoned with infused oil, served over small greens. My husband had a creamy asparagus soup that has inspired me to try to do a creamy asparagus soup at home. For main dishes, I had the cod, which was perfectly cooked and seasoned, while hubby had the veal, which was good, but not as good as the cod (which does tend to happen frequently in France - fish is usually a sublime experience, while veal and beef may be “good”). We finished with a moeulleux au chocolat (when it comes to moeulleux, if it’s on the menu, I’m getting it) and a rhubarb tart that allowed you to taste the ingredients (not just pure sugar). This is traditional food, based on whatever’s fresh on the market, but it’s not inventive, so it may not wow everyone. However, the whole dining experience was flawless.

In terms of overall dining experience, this was our 1st or 2nd favorite place. In terms of food, it placed 3rd on our list. So for those of you keeping track, I’m placing it 3rd.

Tomorrow…our second favorite place…tight quarters did not prevent us from enjoying a creative menu.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 09:47 AM
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Wonderful! Please keep it coming.

I love daurade-had it for the first time in Marseilles. Since Paris is a tad inland from the Med, I'm wondering if that was why the meal only made a 5th place!
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 09:57 AM
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So with your hint about tight quarters, I'm guessing that #2 is L'Ami Jean. Am I right?

Thanks for taking the time to do this report. I'm apparently not at all alone in loving it.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 10:08 AM
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I love daurade too, and this one was very nicely done, with a subtle, anise-ginger broth. Paris has an unbelievable food market outside the city called "Rungis." It's not really open to the public, I saw a report by Andrew Zimmern (the bizarre food guy) on Food TV, and it is absolutely HUGE (the size of a village). Food is flown in frequently, so a good restaurant will serve fish that evening that could have been caught within 24 hours (especially, if the restaurant has high turnover). Definitely fresher than what I can get here in Atlanta!
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 10:10 AM
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...so all that explanation was just to say that don't be afraid to order fish in Paris, even if Paris is inland.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 10:16 AM
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Looking forward to tomorrow. Enjoying your report.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 05:05 PM
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omg I LOVE Andrew Zimmern. Bizarre Foods is my favorite show.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 07:54 AM
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Thanks so much for this delicious report. EJ
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