Just returned from a 3 week France trip with the last 5 nights in Paris.Did at least 6 months or more of research/reviewing etc but ended up going to many of the usual suspect bistro/restaurants mentioned on CH. Avoided Michelin restaurants primarily due to cost and wanted a break this time from more formal, upscale atmosphered places. Also left out many more modern, creative venues...Agape,Saturne, etc. although did do Frenchie.
Lunch: Attempted Les Fines Gueles W/O reservations as we arrived at our hotel around 1:30 and eventually walked on down as planned getting there at 3:00. From sites like Paris by Mouth, and info from CH advisers was under the impression that they were open thru the normal lunch hour into dinner. But no, the kitchen closes at 2:30, reopening at 7:30, at least during the week. I wanted to go specifically to have the steak tartare. Made a reservation for another weekday lunch had the tartare and was blown away at how overhyped it was for me. The color itself was strange, probably the sundried tomato? I found the dish surprisingly bland eventhough made around sundried tomato and parmasean. Didn't really care for the accompaning salad that was overdrenched in white truffle oil.The potatoes were good. Did enjoy the entree of Burrata with hazlenuts as well as there tomato salad.
The atmosphere was terrific. We sat in the main entry room and service was great. It began raining halfway thru our meal which was added to the charm. For what its worth heard no other english speaking people. 2 entrees, 2 plats, 1 dessert, 1 cafe, large bottle of sparkling water, 1 glass of wine and 1 bottle of wine = 105 euro. As dissapointed as I was with the tartare enjoyed the restaurant, natural wine etc and would return.
Black Turtle: We ended up having lunch here on our initilal day. The staff at LFG pointed us across the street at that 3:pm hour. Had there steak tartare which was the best I had in Paris on this trip. It was studded with bits of cornichons and large capers, very good.
Chez L'ami Jean: Tuesday night dinner. 4 of us seatedalong the wall where the tables are literally next to one another. Loved it. Chaos in motion! The staff was spectacular. funny, jovial. They glided with ease pulling out tables for diners getting up to use the WC, smoke, whatever.A great view of Jego and staff working passionately.
The food: We went with the 3 course menu. Not quite sure why so many people say it can be a food overload, yes its rich but didn't find the plates large are overwhelming in size. Perhaps if you select the "feed me menu options" that may be the case. The table of 4 next to us had that, although alot of dishes it didn't appear to be oversized. Although the food was creative, inventive, I was not all that impressed. Again, maybe overhype or too much anticipation. My soup was reminiscent of top ramen in college except it had a little more crisp or cruchiness. My veal cheek dish was spectacular, but another appetizer and the beef dish with morels were both overly salted and seem to consist of overpowering beef bouillion taste. Riz au lait was Incredible with the caramel sauce and toasted almonds.
Another note regarding seating. In my research there was conflicting info regarding seating times etc. We had an 8pm res and didn't get out until 10:30 The people to our left and right were there before we arrived and still thee when we left? Again, no english speakers within earshot. Price: 4 entrees, 4 plats, 1 riz au lait dessert, 2 bottles sparkling water and 3 bottles of wine= 264 euro.
Wednesday lunch: Les Pipos, Had some Chacouterie and Fromage and 2 glasses of wine. Nice ambience, good corner location, friendly staff.
Had no specific lunch plans, walked over to Fish(Bonnasaire?). They were full so went to Bar du Marche on corner, had a Croque Madame and glass of wine. Great people watching spot.
Le Comptoir, planned on going to A;vant Comptoir as it was now 3pm. It was essentially empty. Walked into Le Comptoir, still open and seating people. Sat outside, they were out of the grilled lamb chops so we opted with a Nicoise salad and Croque. Great salad, best Croque I've had. Very nice convival service. Price: In addition to the salad and croque had 4 glasses of wine(2 each0. Hey, we drink a lot of wine, what can I say. Price: 38 euro>>>bargain!
Wednesday dinner: Frenchie Best overalll meal we had in Paris. Very pleasant dining room. We had the 8pm seating, heard nothing but english speaking voices but it was ok as a family of 6 from the States were entertaining enough. 4 boys, ages maybe 16-22. 1 had his face in a book the Entire time, another was texting/gaming the Entire time with his face glued to the phone, a 3rd compalined he didn't like the food and wanted something else. The 4th drank his wine and behaved. The Mother complained continuously about the F*kn taxi getting lost and the Father couldn't eat much because of his allergies. With all this in our ears the food was fabulous, both in presentation and in our tummys. The service a bit harried at times. An outstanding carrot cake dessert. Price: with fois gras supplement, 3 course for 2, with bottled sparkling water, 2 apertifs and a bottle of wine= 152 euro.
Thursday lunch: Au Petit Fer Cheval: Chacouteie and Fromage, glass of wine
L'as Fallafel: Spicy fallafel and merguez sandwich, with beer. Have been here a number of times before but just didn't live up to past. The actual deep fry garbanzos were good but the rest missed something. Maybe, just used to my specific NY and SF fallafel joints. The tiny little merguez were almost inedible.
Cafe des Musees: Pouring rain, no english speakers heard, great service and table looking out at the rain. Good white asperges starter. Had the steak frites. Steak cooked there way, tastless, bland, lacking of salt. (Do I just not get Parisian steaks) Utterly fantastic fries, best of the entire trip. Tasted of potatoe, right crispness and salted to perfection. My wifes farm chicken dish ok. Price: 1 starter, 2 mains, 1 dessert, cafe, sparkling water and a bottle of wine=104 euro
Thursday dinner: A stop at Le Garde Robe for a glass of wine and carpaccio jambon.Nice funky wine from Jura.
Chez Denise: Origianlly had reservations for Fontaine de Mar but cancelled and booked Chez Denise. Have been to both a few times. Started to feel the effects of all the food so went light on app 6 escargot. Main dishes grilled lamb chops. Lamb delicious but overpowered by charcoal crusted exterior. Lucked out as special of the day was the Beouf gros sel. Wow, is that comfort food and enough to food yours and mine's family. Delicious and only served Thurdays. No english speakers in vicinity, great fun service. Loud, crowded and boisterou Huge plates at least the Beef dish with great bone marrow. You pay for what you drink form the liter bottle poured from the tap. A potable Brouily. Of course we drank the liter. Dessert looked good, but we passed. Price: 1 app, 2 mains, bottle of sparkling water ( i know the tap water is fine just like the French Sparkling waters) 1 cafe, and 1 liter of wine= 97 euro. 1 group of english speakers few tables away.
Friday lunch: Les Fines Gueles (discussed earlier)
L'ecume du Honoree: During the 5 day Paris visit ate hear 3 times having Claires, Belons and excuse spelling Gillardes. All delicious and love this casual fish market, eatery. Had six-eight oyster per seating with a glass of Muscadet. They have a set price for 6 claires, bread and butter and glass of Muscadet for 14.5 euro, pretty good deal. Staff was awesome, friendly, sat each time at 2 seater bar stool at entrance. Only negative, the Price, 6 belons, 34 euro and the ones that start with a G 29 euro for 6 of the midsize. $7-8 for an oyster, gets expensive. I'm from Northern California and eat them quite a bit but would be priced out at that rate.
Friday dinner: Paul Bert: Nice classic Bistro, charming. Very friendly and efficient service. Had an ancient tomato starter and asperges app.Both good and light but wish I had ordered the Langostines..oooh looked and smelled good every time they passed by. My wife enjoyed the farm chicken. I had the steak frites. There known for there steak with the creamy, pepper sauce. I had it blu/saignant, again the meet seemed to lack flavor, all you could taste was the sauce which was good but I didn't want to eat it as a soup. The fries were good, not nearly as good as Cafe Musees but better than Chez Denise. For dessert a fabulous soufle. English speaking couple next to us who live in Paris during the summer. Oh and the Ouef dish there known for with the cramy morel sauce was delicious. Price: 1 order from set menu-starter,main dessert and the Ouef special and steak frites, bottled water, 2 glasses of champagne, and bottle of wine=135 euro.
Saturday lunch Crepe at Aligre Market'
Le Baron Rouge: a favorite for years Chacouterie and Froamge plate and 3 glases of wine each.LOVE this place, friendly with the best atmosphere.
La Verre Vole: A disappointment. Fine service an ok natural white wine and great cozy spot. Had a tomato salad=good, a clam appetizer delicious but only 8 tiny clams? We split a very good sausage and mashed potatoe dish. In retrospect, take out the disappointment, just would have gone elsewhere but....Price: 2 apps, 1 starter, bott;e of wine=75 euro. No english speakers heard.
Saturday dinner: Cancelled Les Papilles s our res was for 7 and just felt to rushed, restricted on our last night. Walked across the street from our hotel and enjoyed some fresh fruit from the Aligre Market and a bottle of Sparkling Saumur that we had picked up in the Loire Valley. Perfect early evening, started to lightly rain and we sat in our green chairs with our umbreallas in the Tullaires Garden..
J'Go later that evening ended up here in the 6th. Just sort of walking around and popped in young, loud and fun. Sat outside. Very friendly and great service. Had a fois gras starter and then split the farm chicken. Huge plates very good. Had a few glasses of Cahors
Les Rubis: A 5 minute walk from the hotel, went here several times for a small glass of wine and to meet family. Great atmosphere, wine bar, very local.
Somehow found my way to Genein, Lauderee, Pierre Herme and Hugo & Victor. Liked the slated caramels at Genin. Like the crunchiness of Hugo's Macaroons, also the softness of Hermes.
Loaded up on some fresh moutarde from Maille.
Now I'm hungry!