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hausfrau Aug 31st, 2006 11:16 PM

Please help me with Paris restaurants before I lose my mind!
The challenge: Find four inexpensive to moderate-priced (restaurants (up to about 40 Euro for a 3-course menu, plus wine) to provide a high-quality, authentic Parisian dining experience.

The diners: 2 couples, mid-30s, first time in Paris for my husband, 2nd time for the other couple, and 5th time for me.

Us: adventurous eaters, no kids, drink a bottle of wine every night, have been known to spend $300 on an excellent meal.

Them: not-so-adventurous eaters, 2 kids (staying home), nervous about budget, looking for nice atmosphere.

Locations: We will be staying at the Hilton Champs-Elysees (not my preference but the lodging is being paid for), so at least one dinner needs to be in the vicinity. We will probably be near the Eiffel Tower one evening. St. Germain is also a possibility. Or, anyplace else easily accessible by metro so we can get back safely at night.

The possibilities: I know this is tough, but please help me by selecting ONLY from the following list. I've done my research on this board and Trip Advisor. I'm looking for places with consistent positive reviews on food, atmosphere, and service. My friend has looked in Fodor's and picked out the restaurants marked with an *. To make her happy we should probably pick at least one or two of these.

La Bastide Odéon*
Le Bistrot d'Opio
Le Boeuf sur le Toit
Brasserie Bofinger
La Butte Chaillot*
Chez Andre
Chez Savy*
Le Coupe Chou
La Fontaine de Mars
La Fermette Marbeuf*
Le Grand Colbert
Brasserie de l'Île St-Louis*
Brasserie Lipp
Le Petit Troquet*
Le Pied du Cochon
Le Troquet
1728 (out of our budget?)

Thank you for your assistance, awesome Fodorites!

GattoBaci Sep 1st, 2006 02:14 AM

Paris drove me crazy on the first two many choices for hotels and restaurants.

One vote for Le Petit Troquet, within your price range, food is excellent and it's charming atmosphere. We've eaten their twice in the past and will return again next April. In the 7th so it's convenient to your hotel.

JeanneB Sep 1st, 2006 02:40 AM

On our last trip we ate at La Bastide Odéon* twice. Everything was excellent, but not too "fussy". The atmosphere is sophisticated, but relaxed and comfortable---our waiter (Arnaud) was a delight. We had just come from Italy and he insisted I try the risotto with scallops and he was spot on. The chef even came out after he heard how much I enjoyed it.

Le Bistrot d'Opio is another favorite. "Hopping" atmosphere. Be aware, it's very small---tables are rather pushed together. They have a dish with meat skewers hanging from a little rack, served with several mustards...Mmmm.

Fontaine de Mars was also good (especially the duck). A quieter ambience. Nice to be able to walk down to the tower for the light show after dinner.

At all these our bill for two was 110 - 130 euros with kir royales, wine and a shared dessert.

ira Sep 1st, 2006 03:40 AM

Hi H,

Sit down. Have a glass of kir. Relax.

You are overestimating the importance of choosing the perfect restaurant.

Every one on your list is fine.

Your friend has some good choices:
Brasserie de l'Île St-Louis*
Le Petit Troquet*

I like
Brasserie Lipp for the choucroute.

Have you looked up the retaurants on your list on this forum? They have all been mentioned.


fun4all4 Sep 1st, 2006 04:44 AM

Thanks for posting this - I would like to follow this thread. :-)

Gretchen Sep 1st, 2006 04:55 AM

Fontaine de Mars is a VERY good and VERY typical truly French bistro.It has a very passable cassoulet and very good seared foie gras, in addition to much more. It is all a la carte. Make reservations. Open on sunday but be sure to make reservation the day before.
Le Petit Trocquet is very good as is Brasserie en l'Isle (lunch is fun there because if you eat outside you have a great view of Notre Dame).
Not on your list but the best is La Florimond.
Au Pied du Cochon is open 24/7 and has the best onion soup in Paris.
You don't have to eat close to your hotel--transportation is too easy in Paris to be tied to that.
For a great meal that will impress your friends for being SO inexpensive for what you get eat Auberge du Jarente on rue Jarente in the Marais. VERY good cassoulet and good magret. Plus other stuff of course.
Another great bargain is Bistro du 7eme and Bistro du 17eme.
For an old style historic bistro that won't break the bank eat at Balzar.
Make your friends splurge on a lunch at Jules Verne.

amwosu Sep 1st, 2006 05:01 AM

Don't forget that if you think a restaurant is over the budget but you'd really like to try it you can eat there for lunch one day at lower prices and do dinner on the cheap that night.

hausfrau Sep 1st, 2006 05:13 AM

Ha! Very funny! No really, I will calm down eventually. It is really sick though...I have actually made a SPREADSHEET. I have never done that for a vacation before...EVER!

You guys are doing great! Keep the votes coming!

ira Sep 1st, 2006 05:25 AM

>It is really sick though...I have actually made a SPREADSHEET. <

Oh dear, H, you **are** overdoing it. :)


LJ Sep 1st, 2006 05:30 AM

Given ther prestige of where you are staying, I would rely on your concierge to make reservations for you- it will take some of the stress of you and may result in better seating/coming up with a table that you might not.

SuzieC Sep 1st, 2006 05:31 AM

When you two couples are out and about walking around and glancing at the menus... you just might find somewhere you all want to eat that wasn't on the spreadsheet. Please allow for serendipity...

lacontessa Sep 1st, 2006 05:41 AM

Am planning my third trip to Paris and saw your post. Le Grande Vefour for their pre fixe lunch--book as soon as possible. Fabulous experience in jewelbox setting. Willy's wine bar was also a highlight.

MaureenB Sep 1st, 2006 06:18 AM

It seems you might be headed for disappointment with the high expectations you're setting. The search for the perfect French restaurant could overwhelm your vacation.
I agree with the previous idea to let serendipity play a role, too. It's so much fun to 'discover' your own little special restaurant in Paris. We happened across one, ate there on the spur of the moment, loved it, then later found out that many, many posters here recommend it highly. It was serendipity. (But it's not on your list, so I won't name it per your request. Don't want to confuse the matter.)
Relax, and enjoy!

luvparee Sep 1st, 2006 06:22 AM

I dined at Le P'Tit Troquet, Fontaine du Mars, and Jules Verne (lunch) while in Paris in early July. All of them were more than wonderful! Lunch at Jules Verne, however, was approximately $113 US, but totally worth the experience, the view, and the food! One of the waiters had an attitude when we first began, but we had him smiling by the end of our meal.

Le P'Tit Troquet was a totally wonderful French experience with the delightful owner (wife - forgot her name) making our experience even better!

Fontaine du Mars was a jewel also with great food, wonderful atmosphere (sitting outside on Rue St. Dominique) - totally great!

I am very jealous!!!


hausfrau Sep 1st, 2006 06:53 AM

Thanks all for the words of caution. As I joked earlier, I have never done this much advance research on restaurants in my life. We usually DO let serendipity guide us and only rarely make a reservation in advance. But this time my friends really wanted to plan a bit and since it's my husband's first time in Paris....well, you know how it goes!

So don't worry, we plan to use my spreadsheet :-) as a guide and will indeed let ourselves wander and explore. I asked for comments on my list for the very reason MaureenB mentioned - because I know you all have your particular favorite that you've just happened upon, and I'm sure we will too!

Gretchen, French onion soup is perhaps one of my most favorite things on this planet, so thanks for the tip about Au Pied de Cochon!

Joy, from everything I've read, I think P'Tit Troquet and Fontaine de Mars may be the two places that we mark with a big star!

1jan1 Sep 1st, 2006 06:59 AM

I have eaten at all but 2 of the restaurants on your list and my votes would have to be for La Fontaine de Mars (my husbands favorite as well) and Le Petit Troquet.
I would email your hotel and have them make the reservations for you.

nessundorma Sep 1st, 2006 07:06 AM

I'm eternally grateful to La Bastide Odeon for greeting us warmly late one rainy evening when we didn't have a reservation and not only entered the restaurant wearing dripping orange plastic ponchos but mud-spattered running shoes as well. The hostess showed us to a table as if we were her favorite customers (we'd never been there before) and sat us next to Bernardo Bertolucci despite our decidely unglamorous presentation. The food was also excellent and reasonably priced. The service was impeccable.

Underhill Sep 1st, 2006 08:18 AM

Try the Bistro de Breteuil, on the Place of the same name, in the 7th. For around 36 Euros you get 3 courses (lots of choices within each), an apéritif, and after-dinner coffee--plus a bottle of wine per couple. This is a very good deal, and both the food and the atmosphere are excellent.

Maribel Sep 1st, 2006 08:26 AM

I can second keeping La Fontaine de Mars, La B. O. and Le Petit Trouquet on your list, but don't take Le Troquet off!

If you're willing to take that metro ride to the 15th (metro: Sèvres-Lecourbe or Cambrone), you'll have an extremely authentic, wonderful bistro meal with cuisine from the Pays Basque-Béarn. Chef Etchebest came from le Crillon. The 4 course meal is a great value at 37€, and lunch at 27€ and the wine list has many South West selections (Irouléguy, Madiran, Juraçon) that are quite well priced. We had very friendly service from our young waiter who had studied in the US. Very, very worth the metro trip. It's a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin guide-good price/quality ratio. and we thought the 23 food rating from Zagat was well deserved.
But for this one, you must reserve!
Closed Sun./Mon.
01 45 66 89 00

ira Sep 1st, 2006 08:36 AM

Hi nessundorma
>I'm eternally grateful to La Bastide Odeon ...and sat us next to Bernardo Bertolucci despite our decidely unglamorous presentation. <

Has Sr Bertolucci ever been back? :)


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