Le Comptoir des Relais (6eme) - We went to this restaurant twice during our last visit to Paris in fall 2007. Back then, we just loved it. The food was terrific, the atmosphere and service were spirited. We went again this time hoping to recapture the magic. No dice. It was 3:30 on a Saturday and there was about a 15 minute line-up. OK, fine. But I sensed a slightly factory-like atmosphere to the place which wasn't there last year. There didn't seem to be as much care and attention with the service. We ordered the beef cheeks, which we fell in love with the first time round, and were slightly let down this time. The beef was tougher, and I though the carrots were cut too big. We each ordered a glass of wine, and I think the bill was around 55E (so, not cheap...). We had the most annoying diner next to us, who was whining about how she couldn't understand the menu, didn't know what a plat was, etc. The kind of tourist who gives others a bad rap. Now, I realize the restaurant cannot be blamed for who dines there, but I think that Chowhounders deserve to know who they will be sharing space with. I guess that once you've had a feature story in Bon Appetit, such things are bound to happen....
Chez Rene (5eme) - A very classic French bistro. Nothing modern here. I liked it alright. I had the beef bourguignon, which was excellent, and my husband had the blood sausage. I had the gateau de riz for dessert, which was probably a poor choice after the bourguignon. The gateau had a very heavy sauce on top of it. My husband and I found the food to be a little dense overall, although it was certainly tasty. Bill came to 106E with a bottle of wine, and there is no prix fixe. The crowd here is also a lot older than the other places we went to.
Kayser - Went to the Rue Monge location (s) every day for an entire week. Loved it. Best croissant.
Cafe de Flore - Yes, I hear you all gagging over there. I am gagging, too, because this place was a rip-off and damn it, I knew better!! It was a warm night and we were in the mood for a late glass of champagne. So, we broke down and hit this place. 15E for a glass of champagne. 10E for a lemon tart which really wasn't very good. I found the cigarette butts and croissant flakes at my feet to be less than appetizing (and we weren't on the sidewalk, we were seating in the covered patio area just behind it). Good spot for people watching, I guess, but you can get that at many other places in Paris for a lot less money! If you want entertainment at Cafe de Flore, take a peek at price list....7.20E for hot chocolate, 4.20 for espresso.....give me a break. As a tourist, it is easy to break down because the place is so iconic and there is a sad little part of you that just wants to say that you've been there....it happened to us...but I am telling you, it isn't worth it. I wish I would have just taken a picture from out front and kept walking.