Presented with a whole month in Paris, it still takes time to think it all through, but I guess that’s part of the fun. This Board has been a huge help in putting together our restaurant and shopping list, so I thought I would share it with you and see if we can make it even better. We’re not newcomers to Paris. We come almost every year, but usually for only a week or ten days. We love modern French restaurants because it’s amazing to see what the chefs can do with all the great produce, seafood and meats available in France. But we also like to add some traditional meals to the mix. If anyone is interested I will list below the places we visited in 2009-2013, with a few opinions, but read it only if it would be helpful to know where we’ve been and what we’ve liked.
So here we are, taking off next Tuesday for a whole month. New restaurants to try, old favorites to revisit and a kitchen larder in San Francisco that needs restocking. This Board’s discussion last week when Tastebudseattle presented her extensive and delicious list was incredibly helpful. We also plan to enjoy the opportunity of buying cheese, breads, cured meats, fish, fresh produce and bakery treats to consume in the apartment. We like to check out jazz clubs at night so our main meal will frequently be lunch. But museums, strolling and bike rides beckon during the day, so a fair number of dinners, too.
So here goes…for 2014 we have made a few reservations, but nothing is cast in stone. I've juggled times and restaurant styles (there should be an app to do this) and come up with probably far too much, but we can always cut back. I couldn’t agree more with your caveats about not overdoing it. When I lose my appetite it can really take days to come back. But I don't feel bad about leaving some food on my plate, although that’s not usually a problem with my husband sitting next to me. This is what we have so far:
Week One (Wed-Sun): after spending the afternoon shopping to stock the apartment with a few basics, like water, wine, cheese, bread and jam - Huîtrerie Régis (evening of arrival), ZKG (lunch), Chameleon (dinner), Pierre Sang (L) and Tablettes (D). One each day.
Week Two: David Toutain (L), Bistro Volnay (D), Restaurant Will (L), Restaurant AT (D), BAT (L), Clamato (D)
Week Three: Pirouette (D), Septime (L), Chez Denise (D), Abri (L), Le Servan (D), La Cantine de la Cigale (L), Chez les Anges (D)
Week Four: A Noste (L), Hugo Desnoyer (2pm L), Enfants Rouges (D), Vivant Table (L), 6 Paul Bert (D), L’Assiette (D), Au Bon Coin (D)
Week Five (Mon-Wed): Still open
I'm hoping this schedule, while ambitious, will still allow time for soufflés at La Cigale Récamier, ice cream from Grom and Amorino, jazz clubs, wine bars, etc. What would be helpful to know are any suggestions to add (Kigawa?), places to cut (is Vivant Table still great with it’s new chef?) and whether at some restaurants a dinner would be better than a lunch and vice versa. Btw, our apartment rental is across from the Place de L’Hôtel de Ville. We use the metro a lot and in the past few years have been learning some of the bus routes. It would also be great to hear any suggestions for finding a decent croissant and pain au chocolate (H’s addiction) in the morning. And a good source for lavender honey. My jar from La Maison du Miel on rue Vignon is running on empty. Merci d’avance!
In 2009 we went to Le Comptoir du Relais twice, Bistro Paul Bert and Brasserie Balzar. (Up until this year we have stayed at the Relais St. Germain just to be able to get into Le Comptoir). We loved everything except Balzar, which was ordinary.
In 2010, we went to Les Papilles, Mon Vieil Ami, Le Comptoir, Chez L’ami Jean, Spring, Le Cinq Mars, Brasserie Thoumieux (good, but a little sterile) and Cafe Constant. Everything was good if not great, with the exception of Mon Vieil Ami. And Le Cinq Mars was not really memorable but maybe we didn’t order well.
In 2011, we enjoyed Les Papilles (but not as much as the year before), Le Comptoir, Chez Michel, Septime (dinner), Josephine Chez Dumont, Cafe Constant (lunch) and Yam T’Cha (lunch). FWIW, we were also initially seated at that back table at JCD, were reseated up front, and once they realized we could manage fine in French they warmed up considerably and we had a great meal. As I recall, that was the year San Francisco banned foie gras, so we had it at every meal. JCD was just the right place to be!
In 2012, we had dinner at Catherine Reed (great comfort food), Alain Milliat (wonderful surprise), Frenchie’s, Saturne, Sola (memorable), Ze Kitchen Galerie (so-so the night we were there) and Le Comptoir. We had lunch at Passage 53, Agape Substance (fabulous), Spring (delightful), Le 122 and Kei (great food, a little too formal a setting for me).
Finally, in 2013, the dinner list included Lazare (first night, very good, not great though), Frenchies again, Yam T’Cha, 110 Taillevent, Semilla, Allain Milliat, Cafe Trama, Chez les Anges, Au Bon Coin. We loved them all for different reasons. Au Bon Coin was the most enjoyable evening. Chez les Anges on a rainy evening had a “romantic dinner” aura to it. And dinner of course at Yam T’Cha was phenomenal. The lunch list: Bistro Volnay, Septime (loved lunch better than dinner last year), Spring, Breizh Cafe, Pirouette and La Cigale Récamier. We had two weeks, and didn’t go to Le Comptoir because during the school break in late October Yves Camdeborde doesn’t serve “le menu gastronomique”, as he calls it.
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