My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Paris for 8 days in June. I've been to Paris before (and speak decent though out-of-practice French), but then I was a college student living on crepes and picnics, and he has never been to Paris at all. We're in our late 20s and still plan to do some casual picnic dinners, but we'd like to experience more of what Paris has to offer. We'll be renting an apartment, but I’m not sure where yet.
We'll eat pretty much anything but want to focus on French food (though we'd certainly consider ethnic foods that are well represented in Paris - maybe Moroccan or Vietnamese?). We don't eat French very often and are eager to try the classic dishes and the general way of eating, as well as modern takes on the cuisine. I guess what we're looking for is a (brief) restaurant selection that provides a glimpse of what's great about dining out in Paris, without being able to indulge in extravagant meals.
Below I have a few ideas based on research on this board, arranged in a few categories based on how I think we’ll eat out over the week. I’d really appreciate your advice on these options, whether I’m missing anything we shouldn’t, and how to narrow down the list:
1 RELATIVELY EXPENSIVE DINNER (100-125 euro each, including a bottle of wine on the lower-priced end of the wine list):
Josephine Chez Dumonet
*I had some trouble finding places in this range. Are we better off focusing on the moderate price range if we're not going to go up to the extremely expensive range? Or are my price range estimates off?
2 MODERATE DINNERS (50-70E each):
Le Comptoir du Relais
La Biche au Bois
2 INEXPENSIVE DINNERS (<40E each):
Les Petits Plats
Le Roi de Couscous
Au Dernier Metro
1 OYSTER/SEAFOOD LUNCH:
La Cagouille (reserve table on terrace?)
3 PRIX-FIXE LUNCHES at places we won’t be able to go for dinner:
Bistro Paul Bert
*As I'm looking at prices now, it turns out a "bargain" prix-fixe lunch at high-end places is more expensive than I expected. Would we be better off skipping a 100-125E dinner in favor of a 70-100E lunch at someplace like L'Atelier Joel Robuchon or Michel Rostang? If we wanted to stay under the 40E mark for a lunch prix-fixe, are there specific places that are especially good deals? Should I just pick places from the "Moderate" list above for both dinners and lunches?
One note/question about pricing: When we eat out in Boston or NYC, we rarely get three courses each. Usually we split an appetizer and a dessert and each get our own main, or we might get two or three appetizers and split one main. Can we get away with eating at a slightly more expensive restaurant by ordering this way, or is it bad form in Paris not to stick to the appetizer-main-dessert model?
Also, how far in advance do I need to make reservations?
Sorry for the very long post, but I wanted to be thorough. Please let me know what you think. Thank you so much in advance for your help!