Paris restaurants review

Old May 30th, 2005, 03:43 PM
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Paris restaurants review

Hi Guys,

We were in Paris for 8 days in early May 2005, just wanted to write a couple of reviews of some restaurants. I did my pre-trip research using both Fodors and Frommer's websites, and then I carried along the Zagat reviews for the palm pilot. The palm Zagat really came in handy, we were able to search immediately for a restaurant based on the area that we were in, and also able to locate it reasonably quickly.

Here we go:

Day 1 - Bourguignon du Marais (Au)
4th arrondissement
52, rue François Miron
Paris, France 75004
01 48 87 15 40

This restaurant was rated by zagat with a 21 for food, and 19 for service, which is bang on. The first waiter was a young blond fellow, who seemed a little rushed. He placed a plate of pastries on our table as soon as we sat down, but after I took a few bites on one, he came by again, took my partially eaten pastry and put it on the table, and took the rest of the plate away (strange?). The older gentleman who seemed like the owner, came by to explain the menu to us. He seemed quite knowledgeable, but cold. They also have an open kitchen, with 2 young fellows doing the cooking.

My wife had the white asparagus appetizer, which was blanched and served with some sauce. This tasted quite niced and cooked perfectly. I had the escargots, which were served not in shells but in small ceramic pots. Unfortunately, there was too much alcohol in the sauce, and the escargots were quite small and tough (both dishes around 12 Euros).

For mains, I had the seared tuna with leeks. It was 15 Euros and quite flavorless. My wife had the duck confit with beets, which was much better than my fish dish.

After seeing our younger waiter take our partially eaten bread basket and given to another table, we decided not to stay for dessert. I did have a glass of wine (price 5-8 Euros), and they do have quite a good selection.

Overall, this restaurant was a dissapointment, given the mediocre food and poor service.

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Old May 30th, 2005, 04:21 PM
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Day 2 - Le Trumilou
4th arrondissement
84, quai de l'Hôtel-de-Ville
Paris, France 75004
01 42 77 63 98

We chose this place because we took a huge nap from 6-10pm and couldn't find too many places still open for dinner.

Rated by Zagat with 16 for food, 9 for decor and 17 for service. Food and decor was about right, but service for us was excellent.

It's a real home style kind of restaurant, with large servings and hearty bistro food.

I had the Prix Fexe Menu for 17 Euros. I chose the Seafood salad (not the freshest of seafood), the main was a Roast Pork, with scalloped potatoes and mushroom (over cooked pork cutlets), and for dessert the creme caramel (standard).

My wife had a mixed salad for 5 euros (large plate of veggies, not much else), and the breaded rack of lamb which was huge, with potatoes wedges. The lamb was a bit overcooked with not much spices used. I also tried a glass of wine (my wife is pregnant so she couldn't drink), which for 25cl it's around 4 euros, and 50cl for 8 euros.

The restaurant is quite smoky though with poor ventilation. Otherwise, the bistro atmosphere was quite homey and refreshing.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 04:26 PM
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Day 3 - Chez Rene
5th arrondissement
14, bd St-Germain
Paris, France 75005
01 43 54 30 23

We chose this place since Zagat mentioned about it being hearty Lyonaisse food with "the best boeuf bourguignon". Food they gave it 20, Decor 15 and Service 20.

They offer Prix Fixe menus for 41 Euros, which we didn't have (includes appetizer, main course, cheese plate and tea/cofee.

Instead, I started off with a 7 euros "seasonal salad" which was literally a small plate of lettuce and vinegar sauce. What a rip off. My wife had the Swiss chards, which was much better.

For mains, I had the boeuf bourguignon, and my wife had the Coq au Vin (both 18 euros). Both came in these black cast iron? pots, with ample amounts of meat. The only strange thing is that they used the exact same sauce for both dishes! The sauce truly was quite dark and heavy, but lacked the refined flavors that I've had in other places.

FOr drinks, we only had a bottle of perrier for 5 euros. Overall, this was a real dissapointment. Maybe that was why the restaurant was only 1/2 full for most of the night.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 04:32 PM
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Day 4 - Chez Bernard (Le Francois)

I don't have the exact address of this place, but it's literally across the street from the Chateau de Fontainebleau.

We both went with the Prix Fixe lunch menu for 28 euros. Wines by the glass were only 3.50 euros, and for 50cl is 8 euros.

I started with raw oysters (9 of them) which were very fresh and good sized. My wife had the goat cheese w/ walnuts and veggies, which was also very good.

For mains, I had the highly recommended duck cassis (black currant). The duck was a bit tough, and the black currant was a touch bitter for my tastes (I tend to like sweet fruits with my duck). My wife had the 3 grilled fish meal, which was very fresh and flavorfull. For dessert, she had a strawberry with cold syrup and pepper corns/mint soup (fantastic) which I had a chocolate mousse with whipped cream (one of the best chocolates I've had).

Just make sure you go early, since if you show up after 12:30 it'll get full. We were able to get a table for 2 without reservations when we arrive right at noon. Definitely a great place to go for lunch if you're visiting Fontainebleau.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 04:54 PM
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Day 5 - Brasserie Balzar
5th arrondissement
49, rue des Ecoles
Paris, France 75005
01 43 54 13 67

This is the second time we've been to this restaurant while in Paris (last time was in 2002). They serve the standard brasserie type food. We showed up at 6:30 and only one other table was eating at the time (as well as the owners).

We ate the standard french onion soup and escargots, which were both good (not fabulous though). Both were around 10 euros. For mains, my wife had the roast chicken for 15 euros (huge size) and I had the Andouillette (chitterling sausage) which was really stinky (in a bad way) to the point that I only ate 3/4 of it. Both came with fries. Service was excellent, the waiter was very attentive, but then again there were only 2 tables at the time.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 04:55 PM
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I'll post the last 3 days of food when I get home...
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Old May 30th, 2005, 05:31 PM
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I loved Trumilou! Agree with every word you say. Looking forward to the rest.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 05:22 AM
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the details are very helpful, thanks for posting
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Old May 31st, 2005, 05:35 AM
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Hi RJ,

Thanks for the reviews.

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Old May 31st, 2005, 05:47 AM
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Thanks RoyalJelly! This is a great help.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 06:31 PM
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Ok, finally found some time to post our last 3 days of our food trip...

Day 6 - Le Christine
6th arrondissement
1, rue Christine
Paris, France 75006
01 40 51 71 64

Since this was a saturday night, we were worried that all the good places would be booked up. So after sifting through all of the places that had a food rating of at least 23 on Zagat, we decided on Le Christine. Boy were we treated well.

Zagat's ratings are 23's for food/decor/service and it's all bang on.

We took a chance and got there right at 7pm, and lucked out by getting the second-last unreserved table. They were steadily turning away walkins by 7:30pm.

The waiters there are just like the description, mostly young, well spoken and good looking people that speak very good english.

They have 2 Prix Fixe menu's, either the 3 course for 36 euros, or 2 course for 30 euros (no dessert). Wines by the glass are 8 euros, and their house red was this fantastic Bordeaux (Chateau Moulin La Bergere 2002). They also serve bread from the famous bakery Poilane (I saw all their bags on one table).

My wife started with a gespatcho (sp?), which was served chilled (nothing special), while I had a Dublin shrimp ravioli in cream/oil sauce (very rich flavorful textured sauce and good sized ravioli). For mains, I had the saddle of lamb in rose mary sauce (nice thick piece of meat done to perfection) and my wife tried the seared seabass in white cream sauce (very fresh, perfectedly cooked with a nice light sauce to compliment it). Both came with a very light whipped mash potatoes & pepper sauce in it.

For dessert, I had a Trio creme brulee (chocolate, coffee and vanilla). The vanilla one was amazing with lots of fresh ground vanilla beans in it, but unusually runny compared to most creme brulee's).

Total bill was 82 euros, and it was probably our best french meal of the trip. Would highly recommend this place, especially given it's reasonable prices.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 06:45 PM
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Day 7 - Fogón Saint Julien
5th arrondissement
10, rue St-Julien-le-Pauvre
Paris, France 75005
01 43 54 31 33

By this time, we were sick of french food for dinner. So we decided to try some spanish food. Zagat rated Fogon as the best spanish food in the city, and they were probably right: food 23, decor 14, service 19.

This time we got there at 4pm on a sunday afternoon and were able to make a reservation (either 7pm or 10pm), we went for 7pm. The restaurant is small and narrow and only 2 waiters that were very efficient and explained everything to us on the menu. When the place was full by 8pm, it was mostly locals that seem to be eating there, with only one other table of touristy looking couple.

Their Prix Fixe menus are 35 euros, 8 euros for a glass of sangria (very good), and 18 euros for a full pitcher. Water served in a very sexy green pitcher was 4 euros.

For starters, we had the recommended tapas, which were these tiny sized but very delicious appetizers. The best of the bunch was this marinated raw tuna cube that was one square inch. We tend to eat a lot of sushi back home, but this was one of the best raw tunas that we've had anywhere. It also came with a marinated cherry tomato, a fish soup, one with cold peas & cream sauce, and a fruit salad with herbs and oil. My wife really loved the baguettes that they served as well, very fresh and perfectly crunchy on the outside, yet tender on the inside.

For our main course we shared a rather large iberian pork (proscuitto like) paella, which was served in this large elevated cast iron pan. Since the pan was still quite hot, the rice on the bottom gets a bit crunchy and is very flavorful. We saw another table have one with squid ink (totally black) and they were loving it.

For dessert, my wife had the cheese plate (some very nice spanish cheeses that I can't recall the names), and I had the tapas sucre which featured a chocolate mousse, a very brown sugary alcholic shooter drink, lemon gel with meringue, and a custard with raisins.

Overall a very satisfying and unique meal, especially after all the french food we had consumed the 6 nights prior.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 06:52 PM
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Day 8 - Le 404
3rd arrondissement
69, rue des Gravilliers
Paris, France 75003
01 42 74 57 81

We really wanted to go out on a limb on our final night, so we settled on trying some good Moroccan food. This is one of our first times at a upscale Moroccan food like this, where the lighting is dark yet beautifully decorated with fantastic lamps, window panes and long elbow-to-elbow seating, while you are bathed in funky yet exotic lounge music. Zagat ratings were 21 food, 25 decor, 18 service, although I'd rate the service a little higher.

I had their special cocktail of the day, which was a mint vodka (11 euros), while their mint teas (very sweet) are freshly brewed.

I started with an eggplant stuffed salad, while my wife had 3 stuffed sardines. The sardines were fantastically seasoned and very fresh, while my salad was mediocre.

For mains, we went with the recommended cous cous (very light and good portions), served with this vegetable broth that you pour over the cous cous), and this enormous lamb shank that was 24 euros (I couldn't finish it). My wife had the Trajine duck, with almond/apple and cinnamon sauce, which worked very well with the duck.

We didn't have any space at all for dessert, and felt totally satisfied with the meal.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 06:57 PM
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I'll post a quick review of this fast food joint that we found while walking back from shopping at Galleries Lafayette. It's called:

La Ferme Opera
56-57 rue St. Roch
75001 Paris
Tel 01 40 20 12 12

It's a mix of soup 'n sandwiches that you self serve or order from 3 cashiers. We tried a quiche with salmon and 3 cheeses (5.2 euros), a brocolli soup (3.9 euros), a greek salad (5.7 euros) and a can of coke for 2 euros. Lots of seating in the back area (although 1/2 of it was full of smoking), mostly younger people there during 3pm. Good place to get a quick bite if you're in the area.
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 03:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Thanks for some good suggestions, RJ.
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