Yes, Pavyllon Aleno. Sorry I was unclear.
Given your location, you may consider Sebillon as a Sunday evening option. Not exactly in the same neighborhood but closer than some other suggestions. I’d say about 20mn max by subway (metro station Porte Maillot) or bike, a little bit less by cab. Outstanding roast leg of lamb (gigot d’agneau) carved in front of you from a trolley and served on an all you can eat basis. Old fashioned brasserie, mostly well heeled locals, not particularly young or hype. Nice seafood and fish as well.
20 avenue Charles de Gaulle, Neuilly
For future reference: Last Sunday, in the growing heat, we had an excellent (and air conditioned) dinner – fabulous plump oysters; cool and refreshing gazpacho; and then fresh fish (bar in a citrone sauce, and grilled turbot with bearnaise) in a lovely red velvet brass & mahogany booth for two, at La Rotonde. We were happily surrounded not by fellow tourists, but by French speakers of all ages, many apparently local. The very professional and efficient waiters were a joy to interact with and watch, and added to the “restaurant theater.” For some reason, we’d avoided dining here (other than drinks on the terrace) in favor of more hip places for the last 20 years – and now we will happily return, especially on a Sunday night.
So interesting, because we have walked by La Rotonde many times, and I often wondered what its like to have dinner there!
Re: “what its like to have dinner there” – I’ll elaborate a bit:
In part, it’s like having dinner in a fine bordello. Two of the prominent paintings behind one of us in our “booth for two” (there are two such booths on the ground floor, toward the back, adjacent to the stairs; and there are a few nice booths for four, and a couple curved corner booths) evoked a more bawdy version of Édouard Manet’s Olympia – one reclined and ready, the other reclined and apparently sated. And deep red certainly is the theme of the rooms.
Another main impression (aside from the high quality seafood) was, as alluded to above, the aplomb and efficient professionalism of our waiter, and the rest of the floor team. In my mind’s eye I can till see and hear him, after pouring just the right amount (not too much!) of wine in our glasses, backhandedly returning (slosh!) the bottle into the floor-standing ice bucket – all while keeping his eyes alert to scan the room for rest of his tables and fellow waiters, and exchanging appropriate quick comments with us. Impressive multi-tasking.
I’ll also add: I somewhat question whether we’d have had quite the same lovely experience if we’d ordered more cheaply (as perhaps many who who show up without reservations and dine on the rather hot & cramped and smoky terrace might)? We made it clear from the start that “pour commencer” we’d have a plateau of oysters and Champagne (served out of a magnum – as the waiter said, and we agree – “it’s better this way”). From that point on, the waiter was on board with us, and we coasted contentedly for the next 2.5+ hours. YMMV.
Glad to hear you loved La Rotonde!
I’ve been 4-5 times over the past few years, with the most recent visit in April. Only 1 visit was more miss than hit - not because of the food which was excellent but we were indeed seated on the terrace, at a table right next to the oyster cleaning station. Not the best table imho.
But I’d still return in a heartbeat because of the great food and buzzy vibe.
A group of four of us had a late Sunday afternoon apéro of oysters and Sancerre on the terrace this past June and the service was every bit as professional as Deuxchaux describes (and both the oysters and the wine were of very high quality).
That sounds perfect. I’m hoping that the late Sept/early Oct. weather is conducive to us repeating your experience.
I’m jealous. I had been touting La Rotonde for years on Chowhound and now suddenly just one great review from Jake has everyone lining up for a meal there. Hrumpf. (j/k)
La Rotonde is indeed special. It’s the only landmark brasserie that hasn’t been snapped up by some huge restaurant conglomerate and then dumbed down by a paint-by-numbers equivalent of cooking. The pride of family ownership is reflected in the cuisine and service.
Hey, you’ve given me Huguette to look forward to. And, what is this “Chowhound” that you speak of?
What happened to le Dôme ? This other family owned Montparnasse landmark brasserie, just on the other side of the street, used to be way better than la Rotonde, if somewhat more expensive.
When was this ? I find Le Dôme overpriced and joyless. Even my rather grande-dame-ish grandmother (who tends to like old-school much more than I do) stopped going decades ago. But she still goes regularly to La Rotonde.
But yes, I forgot that it is also independently owned.
Hi Daniel/ Parn – and Onzieme: Daniel, it’s because of your touting on CH – and as Onzieme knows, it’s also from my hearing from him about his very recent good experience with apéros and oysters on the terrace – that we focused on La Rotonde last Sunday. So, thanks to you both.
More of the story: Because we knew it would be quite hot that evening, when we called the day before to reserve, we asked for the terrace. But we were told the terrace can’t be reserved – we’d be inside. (Hmmm – but, OK.) We arrived early for our res, checked in, and at that point asked for a terrace table in the shade. Pas de problem, they very nicely moved things around to accommodate us, set a good small table (away from the oyster stand), and brought the cartes.
We sat. It was very cramped, and quite hot. But the kicker was a couple seated next to us just a minute after we were in place. He, a loud boor, was berating his poor companion – in English. Hey, things happen, and there are all kinds of versions of restaurant theater, but this was not what we wanted on this evening. I got up, ambled back inside to manager, this time asking, sheepishly, désolé, can we now please have the inside table you originally planned for us? Pas de problem, he took me on a short tour of available tables, we selected the booth for two – and, “take two,” we were off.
We’ve learned through experience to quickly extricate from a bad table. Had we not, this evening would have been substantially different in many respects. And this reminds us that each visit to any restaurant is a dynamic and generally nonreplicable experience.
I thank you, belatedly, Parn. It’s because of you that I went to Rotonde and then passed on to Jake the suggestion that it might be what he was looking for during his one afternoon and evening in Paris between flights from Geneva and to SF.
My daughter and friends caught Covid during her vacation in Paris/Barcelona a month ago! Have to self isolate in hotel and forced to cancel a number of Michelin star meals!
My nephew and wife, following their footsteps also caught Covid in San Sebastian. Have to do self isolation as well!
My good friend, currently in Copenhagen told me, no one is wearing masks and daily rates are in the thousands!
As such, decided to postpone France trip for a few months…at least till Covid Omnicron specific vaccines are available! Besides travel insurance plus Covid insurance together costs more than my return airfare tickets!!
Sorry to hear - hopefully you make it up!
My friend had 12 days of outdoor meals in Marbella, no covid.
One flamenco dinner show indoors with air conditioning in Seville the day after they left Marbella, as it was 40 C in Seville. Tested negative, flew home the next day, and tested positive the following morning. She has several immune conditions, and is over 60.
I am surprised no one has started a dedicated Terrasses and Outdoor Dining in Paris thread.
I am glad you’re being cautious, Charles. Hope you can visit in the not so distant future.