First post. I utilized this board extensively while planning a short trip to Paris before heading to Amsterdam and Vienna. Happy to report back.
We reserved dinner at La Regalade St. Honore, Le Gaigne and Fish. Most of these were during August vacations, so getting a response was somewhat delayed, but we got in where & when we needed. I think La Regalade and definitely Le Gaigne may only be able to get one round of diners in on most nights.
Friday dinner: La Regalade St Honore
I love the ambience - well lit bistro, more casual than formal, moderate to quiet sound level by American standards. Half french-speaking, half not.
We had our best bottle of restaurant wine here, a Borie La Vitarele Saint-Chinian for 35 euro. The meal itself was only 35 Euro for 3 courses and so it was the best value of the three as well.
The standouts were a squid-ink risotto with octopus, pork belly on beans, and my wife's very good cold soup. That's the problem writing a review a month later; it sounds much better on the menu than me trying to figure it out looking at the photos.
8.5 / 10 (because everything needs to come down to a number)
Saturday dinner: Le Gaigne
A very quiet, more formal restaurant in the cool Marais district. A good spot for Saturday night as you can hit the nightlife near Bastille afterwards. We were too darn full to do so, however.
Probably the best food of the three, but the wine pairing was not satisfying. We did the 4 course taste, and really liked it. Just a great cream soup with mackerel, and a number of other dishes we liked so much I forgot to take pictures apparently.
9 / 10
Sunday picnic and bike trip at Giverny Monet Gardens
So there's very little on the internet on how to pull this off best, so here it goes. The train is from St. Lazare to some nearby town that starts with a V (check the garden's website). Right across the station you can rent bicycles at the cafe, and it's a flat, mostly off street 3 mile bike to the gardens. A couple blocks from the station there is a bakery to pick up fresh bread & pastries which is open Sundays (and I would guess every other day as well).
Once you enter Giverney and start seeing the first cafes, on the right you'll see a public area of grass that was donated to the town. Great place for a picnic. It's about 500 yards before the garden entrance.
It was our favorite experience on this trip. Had a wonderful bottle of 20 Euro wine (2005 No. 2 du Maucaillou), bought on Rue de Rivoli right next to the Fois Gras and terrine from Comtesse Du Barry - what an awesome little shop.
Buy your tickets online and you can go through the side entrance to the gardens, bypassing the main line.
Sunday Dinner: Fish
A fun, loud english-speaker-filled restaurant in an area of town my american tourist heart has always enjoyed. We had a nice meal and loved the ambiance. They have some new restaurant across the street that's probably worth checking out.
8 / 10
Overall, a great eating trip to Paris. I haven't had a meal in the last year in the US that I'd rate higher than an 8 / 10, and not for the lack of trying. Food just tastes better in Paris probably because you expect it to.