Just got back from Paris and wanted to post reviews. Thank you for your comments and advice, they were very helpful. I hope my own comments help any future Paris visitors!
Just a little background (I felt that it always helped me to understand/appreciate certain reviews when knowing a little about the poster): My husband and I are in our mid-20's, live in Manhattan and go out to eat (excluding take-out) at least once a week. We've been to some of the best restaurants in the US and current favorites include Cafe Boulud (Manhattan), Gary Danko (San Francisco) and Lumiere (Vancouver).
This being said, we obviously love food and were excited to visit Paris. However, we wanted to have good food but not spend too much money. Spending upwards of $1,000 for a meal was out of the question, so all the truly haute cuisine spots were eliminated for this trip. We did have reservations at Le Meurice for lunch, but had to cancel because it did not fit into our schedule that day.
Reviews are as follows:
- Allard: Very good bistro with a casual atmosphere and really friendly service. Everyone around us was either American or British, we didn't really care about that but some people do. We got the lamb shoulder for two, which was MASSIVE. They bring it out after it has been cooked to present to you before they cut it up. It was really beautifully done, and a huge piece of meat. It was very good and the sides of potatoes and green beans were excellent. We got the cucumber salad as an appetizer, which I wasn't too fond of (it was way too mayonaisey for me) but my husband liked (and he generally does not like cucumber salads). For dessert, you must get the chocolate cake (the name isn't exactly chocolate cake but the word "chocolate" is in there), it is out of this world.
- La Fontaine de Mars: Really cute place with red checkered tablecloths, very friendly service and a lot of American patrons. The food was great, apps were an eggplant dish and the grilled goat cheese dish (which was awesome), my husband got the steak and potatoes and I got the scallops and mashed potatoes (recommend both). We got the cheese plate for dessert which was tasty.
- Au Bon Accueil: A true disappointment for us. The service was rude and it was the only restaurant we visited that we felt they were looking down at us because we were American. The food was good (not great), the place more upscale, and they did have great wine. I don't recommend this restaurant, as I think there are plenty of others to go to with better food and service. They had a very interesting sea urchin appetizer, which my husband hated but the presentation definitely left a good impression on me. The monk fish was just OK and the only highlight of the meal was the chocolate cake and crème brulee, both excellent. The cheese plate looked really good though, I wish I had been able to try it.
- L'Ami Louis: I really wanted to try this place because I love roast chicken and feel that I make a pretty good roast chicken myself, so was looking forward to the famed chicken dish. Apparently Chirac took Clinton here so we figured, if it's good enough for Bill, it's good enough for us! My husband absolutely loved the roast chicken and kept raving on about it, but I wasn't as excited as I thought I'd be. Ultimately, I think roast chicken is roast chicken (albeit, theirs IS good) and I would recommend that you don't go out of your way to find L'Ami Louis. Plus, its ridiculously overpriced which I think they can get away with because so many tourists go there. Again, I think there are better places and I wish we had gone to Le Meurice for lunch over L'Ami Louis, as the price would definitely have come out to be about the same.
- Cafe at Musee Jacquemart-Andre: We had Sunday Brunch at the cafe/tea room inside the Museum. The room is bright with a beautifully painted ceiling and artwork on the walls. The food was good but a little pricey, but great desserts. It was a fun experience and I would recommend it to anyone who might be in the area.
- Le Relais Entrecôte: We went to the location off Champs Elysees, which was extremely crowded around 9:30pm, we waited about 20 minutes to be seated. The room is large, loud and festive - I loved it. The steak frites were good, the sauce they put over the steak was something different, I didnt particularly care for it but ate up both portions anyway. We enjoyed the atmosphere and the food was great for the price (20.8 Euro per person). We enjoyed both our desserts: profiteroles and madelaines and ice cream all smothered in chocolate yum!
- L'Avant Gout: our ABSOLUTE FAVORITE!! I cant say enough about this restaurant, we both loved it and had the best meal of the trip here. First, the wine selection is great and the waiter helped us choose wines throughout the meal. Everything he recommended was amazing and the price was always great too. We ended up having 3 bottles of wine throughout our 3 hour dinner, and it was a lot of fun! The room is small and cozy, with mostly locals. There were several birthday parties going on, for which theyd shut off the lights and bring out a cake with sparkling candles and everyone in the restaurant would clap and sing. It was too cute and everyone was having a great time. We loved everything we ate and our waiter was really kind, at one point trying to draw figures on his notepad to explain dishes to us! The foie gras was great, as was the duck and pork dish and the melting chocolate cake was divine.
Hope this was fun to read and please feel free to post any questions!