[Paris] Thoughts on restaurant list?

Hi all,

Sorry to make another one of these list questions, but would love to hear some feedback or thoughts on my early restaurant list:

Ciel Bleu (Amsterdam) for dinner.

Restaurant du Palais Royal / David Toutain / La Scene / ? for lunch, Pierre Sang for dinner.

I’m still thinking about lunch here. We’re interested in trying the cheaper menu of a 2/3 star, and our hotel recommended Palais Royal, but I am open to recommendations.

I was also thinking of moving Pierre Sang to Sunday dinner and adding something else here, but I didn’t want to have 3 heavy tasting menu back to back to back. Happy to take recommendations for a lighter/shorter dinner?

Mokonuts for lunch, Septime for dinner.

I know Septime is pretty disliked around here, but we managed to snag a reservation and we thought we might as well try. As long as it’s on the level of a regular 1-star, I don’t think I would be too disappointed.


I would love for some recommendations for lunch in the Versailles area, and we’re thinking of something simple (Kodowari Yokocho?) for dinner.

Sushi B for lunch, and we’re still thinking about dinner (Pavyllon? Automne? not many are open)

I’ll also be spending a week in the La Rochelle / Cognac / St. Emilion / Bordeaux area for work, and would love for any recommendations in that vicinity if you have any.

Would love any general thoughts or feedback you have as well. Thanks so much!

I’ll let the locals give you most of the feedback. We always save Pierre Sang Oberkampf for Sundays. Though I did like Automne too when we went for the first time in the fall; definitely a somewhat heavier meal.

Thanks! Do you have a preference for Pierre Sang Oberkampf vs Gambey by any chance?

I prefer Oberkampf. I liked Gambey too, but we keep gravitating back to Oberkampf. Don’t go to Signature, though; the food was a little better, but the experience overall doesn’t come remotely close.

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I am very seasonal in my restaurant preferences. The restaurants I like in the winter are not the same I like in the summer or spring. So, when is your visit to Paris ? And where are you staying ? Although non-French foodie sources make it seem like there is just a handful of recommendable restaurants, there is such an abundance of great restos in Paris that the place just around the corner could be just as good or better than the one touted in some English-language list of “best” restaurants on the other side of the city.

For many of us Parisians, Septime is indeed a has-been but it is, I imagine, a fine American-in-Paris touristic experience and far better known to folks back in the USA than dozens and dozens (and dozens) of excellent alternatives that we locals prefer. And a great place for making new friends with other American tourists. I should add that my dislike of Septime is almost entirely based on the vibe rather than the starworthy but hardly life-changing cuisine.

I wouldn’t describe many tasting menus as “heavy”. But they are very long. Visitors on short stays in Paris could find that the 2 or 3 hours spent consuming 5- or 6 (or more)-course meals a wee bit fatiguing if too often. I for one can only really enjoy a “menu dégustation” once a week at most.

For Sunday, have a look at ChoCho in the 10th, Flocon in the 5th, Le Goncourt in the 11th, Le Grand Bain in Belleville/ 20th, Pétrelle in the 9th, Les Enfants Rouge (not to be confused with the covered market of the same name) on rue Beauce/ 3rd, Le Chardenoux in the 11th, Amarante in the 12th, Jones in the 11th, Dilia (modern Italian with French twists) in Ménilmontant/ 20th, Café Campagnon in the 2nd, Café du Coin in the 11th, Le Mary Celeste in the trendy upper 3rd, Racines (updated/ creative Sardinian/ Italian) in the Passage des Panoramas in the 2nd, La Halle aux Grains in the 1st. I can guess at your style but not sure and so I have included suggestions ranging from hip to trendy to plutocratic but all with excellent cuisine.

In Cognac, I really like Poulpette and, judging from the reviews (in French), it’s an opinion widely shared by locals and visitors. The only minus for foreign tourists is that it is located in a quietly provincial, ordinary neighbourhood rather than the cutesy Vieux Cognac.

Bordeaux, I visit 6 or 7 times a year and know it well. The food scene is extraordinary, the city is vibrant, and its residents really know how to practice l’art de vivre. For an expense-account or special occasional, I recommend (fulsomely) Le Saint James in Bouliac just on the other side of the river. The setting, in a Jean Nouvel designed hotel and conference complex, is extraordinary and, unlike most Michelin-starred places, no old-farty plutocratic vibe but rather a sense that life is good. I should add that I only go in good weather to take advantage of the terrace and views over Bordeaux.

I’m not an earnest foodie and would probably choose a vibe that reflects time and place more than exquisite food on the plate in dull lifeless surroundings. In Bordeaux, Brasserie Bordeaux gives me what I am looking for even though I don’t have a huge enthusiasm for trad cuisine. For more modern cuisine, Ressources… but oops, just awarded a Michelin star which will certainly raise prices and perhaps change the clientele which, pre-star, was usually very and enjoyably Bordelais.

And if you somehow find yourself in Médoc wine-country, Le Lion d’Or in Arcins represents the spirits of time and place like few other restos do. Very trad cuisine, a cast of regulars of owners and workers from nearby wineries, no pretensions to be anything other than what it is, a near perfect representation of “terroir”.

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Parn, thanks very much for your very appreciated input. We’ll be visiting Paris in late March and staying in Bordeaux through to early April. In Paris, we’re planning to stay around the Grand Boulevard, but certainly let us know if you think we should pick another part of town.

I appreciate your comment about tasting menu fatigue, and that’s definitely something I’m a little worried about. I think we can manage one a day – we’ve done similar before – but maybe two a day was a bit overeager.

Incorporating your input here and from elsewhere on this board, we’re currently considering:
Thursday: Lunch at Palais Royal or David Toutain, Alea or Perception for dinner
Friday: Mokonuts for lunch, Septime for dinner
Saturday: La Bistrot du 11 in Versailles for lunch, something simple for dinner
Sunday: Sushi B for lunch, Pierre Sang (Oberkampf) or ChoCho for dinner

Le Saint James looks absolutely lovely as well, so thank you for your input there. I think we will give it a visit. Unfortunately, the three days we are in Cognac also happens to be the three days Poulpette would be closed, haha.

Unfortunately, Septime is probably something I (perhaps a bit obnoxiously) want to experience myself. I’ve had generally good experiences with the W50Best (across perhaps ~20 restaurants on their list), and I’m really curious to see why it is so panned here and elsewhere on the internet.

Other than that, would definitely love your (or anyone else’s) input on the new list, particularly with regards to Versailles (for which I can’t find too much about online), or the nights where I’m still picking between two options. Thanks a bunch again.

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Sorry to double post. For Saturday night, we’re at the opera from 7 to 10, so we were originally thinking of just getting something light beforehand. On second look, though, it seems like a bunch of places are open and receive new customers quite late into the night, so if you have any recommendations for late eats (seating at 10:30 or so) I’d love to take them as well. Probably would prefer something on the lighter and shorter end of things, though, given the time. Thanks!

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Nearish (15-min walk?) the Garnier opera house and the theatre district, Lolo wine-bar on rue Chateaudun near Notre-Dame-de-Lorette/ 9th is one of my go-to’s for after-theatre noshing. Surprisingly good and very shareable wine-bar fare, trendy clientele, good people-watching, charming service (at least in French), and a bit of a sparkle.

Depending on whom I’m with, I can also be persuaded to have a light after-theatre meal at Coco in the Palais Garnier itself. It’s a triumph of style over substance and, if I’m in the right mood, appeals to my shallow and superficial side. Food is more international than French and very hit and miss but, for a late night meal in impressive surroundings, good enough.

Other late-night eating options are overwhelmingly trad and mostly brasseries (a good thing because their menus are so flexible). Just a short walk from the Garnier, Grand Café des Capucines on boulevard Capucines is quite a popular spot after the opera. Food is overpriced and the quality of the cuisine seems unremarkable according to the local tom-toms but I never order anything other than oysters and fruits de mer. (We Parisians love our oysters and even not so good restos serve impeccable ones.) A few (inter alia) other late-night brasseries, Au Pied de Cochon on the less trashy western edge of Les Halles (again, I’d stick to shellfish here rather than the for-the-tourists items on the menu), Le Grand Colbert near Palais Royal, La Rotonde Montparnasse (probably best brasserie food in Paris), Bofinger in the the 4th near place Bastille, Bouillon République (excellent value for the quality) just off place République in the upper 3rd.

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I just read that Le Saint James is closed for renovations.
ParnParis, do you have other recommendations for Bordeaux area? We have a rental car and will be staying 5 nights before traveling to San Sebastian. It will be easy to visit surrounding areas for good restaurants. Thank you for your time!