My wife and I visited Paris for 10 days in September after a 15+ year absence. I bought the plane tickets and reserved the hotel 8 months earlier, so had plenty of time to research restaurants. I looked for places that would suit restrictions of allergies and strong food preferences (OK, aversions) and that were highly rated but not extravagantly expensive, investigating places mentioned here, on John Talbott's blog, on the Fork, and in Michelin and other guidebooks, avoided Yelp except for pictures, and completely avoided Tripadvisor reviews. Naturally I considered all areas of Paris, but we ended up eating near enough to our hotel. Emphasis was on traditional French which has disappeared at home, so this list is for the tourists rather than the Parisian cohort here. Please forgive my defective French orthography.
Le Buisson Ardent. We had eaten here twice before. This time we had a very nice meal of the gastronomic bistro type. The aps of a novel pissaladiere with crevettes and a rare cold quasi de veaux stood out.
Le Petit Prince de Paris. Our wedding anniversary, and a block from the hotel. The foie gras tapas appetizer and the made to order apple tart stood out. I had a whole fish, do-it-yourself deboning (I luckily have that skill as deboning service was not offered). Food was great and there was actually a Petit Chablis on the wine list that was a bargain, but the bill had to be returned for correction twice, and the waiter was not particularly nice about it, although I was pleasant.
Au Moulin a Vent. As trad as you can get. Loved the ap of warm gessiers over greens, the vegetarian terrine with crevettes, the main courses (veal normande and entrecote with green peppercorn sauce), the garlicky potatoes risolees, and the selection of Beaujolais wines (had Chiroubles 2015). Gratin of figs for dessert. Fine friendly service.
La Pie Noir. Bretonne. Tiny friendly place. Big stack of razor clams ap, cod main, HUGE profiterole and baba au rhum with unlimited pours of rum. Very happy.
La Bievre. Stuffed ourselves with couscous. Was a happy consequence of our first choice for North African dinner cancelling our Fork reservations just before we left for dinner.
Le Remenet. No quibbles on the food. The presse of foie gras was superb. But, and a big but: Consigned to the Foreigner Basement Siberia despite speaking French (passable but not native by any imagination), led downstairs to a long overheated cramped cellar with no decor and indifferent service. Without the 50% Fork discount, the prices would be out of bounds. Designed to extract too much from tourists probably due to the widespread reporting of a top rating. Leave this place to the obligate anglophones. Cannot criticize the food, all was excellent.
Le Cosi. Corsican. Between the copious and very good aps and huge hunks of delicious lamb shoulder and veal, no room for dessert. Seemed full of locals.
Les Trois Carafes. Small unassuming place next to the Jardin des Plantes. Modern food, inventive and well imagined and presented. Aps croustillante de crevettes, a rose of marinated salmon with added side flavor elements over a crispy potato cracker, mains of duck breast and cod, similarly encircled, two great desserts and a bottle of Tavel. Could not ask for more.
Found that the Fork worked very well for reservations whether or not there was a discount, except could not make a last minute resi after dinner service had already started. Occasionally had to remind the server to redo the bill with the discount. One place did so but then fiddles the second bill with the DCC pay in dollars scam, duly dinged above.
Prices, with a bottle of wine but no coffee, for two, ranged from 100 to 160 euros, mostly the former (and a tip of the hat to JT for this reporting format).
We also discovered that lunches could often be pre-made sandwiches that were as good as they looked. Especially liked Eric Kayser for sandwiches and breakfast pastries. Depended on street market for fruit for snacks, and a great cheese store at the Maubert Metro stop for picnics. My faith in real lait cru Camembert was re-established. Only waxy meh Camembert is found in the US.
Gained 6 pounds.