I surprised my then-fiance (now wife!) with a trip to Paris back in May 2011. Some people on this board helped me find great places to eat, and even recommended the spot where I proposed - right on the western point of Isle de Cite in the little park by Pont Neuf, which was perfect and nice and quiet.
So, now we're going back for a few days in August (first week, Saturday - Tues... great dining nights, I know... sigh) and will then be spending a few days in Barcelona (will be leaving CDG on a Tuesday night flight). Back in 2011, I salivated over the following restaurants while planning the trip but was unable to score reservations for any as I was doing things a bit last minute / unprepared:
L'Atelier de Robuchon
Chez Ami Jean
Over time, the mystique in my mind about eating particularly at the first 3 grew and grew so now they're bucket list items of a sort. Now that we're going back, I have the chance (maybe) to try them all, or at least a couple. But I just worry that given all the hype and hoopla that they've become tourist destinations in their own right and the quality has suffered as a result. I've heard mixed reviews of each, and can't tell if this is due to quality issues or the effects of being overhyped (I mean, it is sort of Anthony Bourdain by the numbers to do this itinerary).
I'm sure there are hidden gems that I could swap in, but right now I'm really having a hard time getting over the "magnitude" of the four places in my mind given how long I've viewed these as "must dos." And frankly I don't know when we'll be back.
I guess my question is this: assuming I can get in these places, are they still great? Have any fallen off the mark substantially? My tentative plan would be as follows:
Saturday dinner: Chateaubriand (assuming its even possible to get in... I plan to call a month in advance and cross my fingers) or Ami Jean
Sunday dinner: Robuchon
Monday dinner: Frenchie
And if we score Chateaubriand, we'll do lunch at Ami Jean before our Tuesday night flight out of town. Generally, we plan to do lunches somewhat casually (might try the Reminet set menu, Breizh cafe, but otherwise we'll picnic).
We tell each other we're foodies, but we're clearly not experts. We dine out a lot in Chicago, where we live. She doesn't eat red meat or poultry, I'll eat whatever. We're certainly not wine gurus but we know what we like. We're not looking for anything super formal or dressy - just a good meal, a good bottle of wine, a somewhat casual atmosphere where we can spend time together enjoying great food in the city in which we got engaged before kids come along.
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