Dersou (In order to reserve, you have to book their 85 euro tasting menu with cocktail pairings but if you show up early the same day and can snag a table, you can order very reasonably a la carte. I've done this a couple times. Love their food.)
Martin Boire et Manger - Great to go on a nice evening. Here's pictures of a bunch of their small plates from a recent visit: http://www.parisfoodaffair.com/martin...
Verjus - Not new, but I've always been happy with what they put out
Septime - Usually need to reserve 3 weeks in advance but you can try to book a table for lunch which is easier.
I've heard great things about Gare au Gorille - going this week, so we'll see.
I second Le Baratin. There is also Le Galopin and the small annex next door, La Cave à Michel which is a lot of fun. La Cave à Michel is standing room only and usually gets packed at night (closed Mon/Tue) but they have small plates that can become a meal if you order everything. Very reasonable and a focus on natural wines. Not sure about whether any of those are open for lunch, to be honest. I've only been at night.
I had wondered about La Cave de Belleville - I stumbled upon it the first week they opened and popped inside during the day. Pretty space, was curious how the food would turn out but haven't heard much.
There's Cream if you're looking for coffee but sounds like you want afternoon or early evening wanderings. Le Perchoir isn't too far from Belleville for rooftop drinks and snacks, or for dinner.
Thanks for your report. I've gone back and forth about the tasting menu at AT but this makes me want to go ahead and take the leap.
Wow, such a shame you had such a poor experience. I can't figure out if the conflicting opinions are due to being an on night/off night issue, or growing pains, or just inconsistency in the cooking (not to mention loud clientele that would make it loud, which I didn't have issues with on either of my two visits). I certainly trust your opinion, John, and this would turn me off from going after reading your review had I not already been.
I went on their opening night mid-March because my boss was in town that night and wanted to go. You kind of expect there to be kinks on a first night, but all the dishes I had that night were great. My eyes didn't roll back in my head or anything, but they were all interesting, flavorful and well executed. The ceviche, buttermilk chicken, and rabbit corn dogs are the only menu items that were the same on your visit as the night I went.
I don't think I give any kind of special treatment in my opinion about the quality of a place to an expat-owned place over French-owned. Either it's good and I want to return, or it's okay, and I move on. In this case, my interest was definitely peaked by the excellent food at Verjus and Verjus wine bar which I have always enjoyed. Any time a trusted establishment opens something new, it makes sense that there would be hype or excitement about it, you just hope it lives up to it.
The dishes were not at the level of Verjus, but still really nice, and it's clearly not the same atmosphere or refinement of Verjus - more casual both in atmosphere and cooking, yet I was very happy with my experience and looked forward to going back. I found it worth the visit.
I went back for brunch a week or two later, and got nearly every item on the brunch menu with my two friends, which was a bit excessive, but I do love getting to try so many different things. I'm a glutton at heart. It has to be one of the best brunches I've had in Paris (which to be fair, is not a difficult accolade to achieve here). Dutch pancake with bacon jam, omelette with pesto, oyster mushroom & ricotta, fried potatoes with cheddar, corned beef hash with gnocchi, eggs benedict, chicken chilaquiles.
The day after you posted this, Alec Lobrano called it the best new restaurant in Paris this spring, eating the entire menu and calling it superb. You had what sounds like an incredibly mediocre, off-putting experience that wouldn't make it worth pursuing.
The call for more negative reviews I find interesting. To each his own, and we are all here to be honest about our experiences. I tend to talk about the places I enjoy and not focus on the places I found lackluster unless I have gone several times and had that repeated experience or if it was just horrible food or service. Negative reviews are so damaging to places that work hard to get where they are, and I find it harsh to declare that a place is not worth going to based on a single experience (I typically won't return for a second round if I don't like a place). It's true that this makes it look like I only have a positive opinion no matter where I go, which is not the case at all. That's a hit I take to my credibility, I suppose, if it looks like I have nothing but nice things to say.
52 Faubourg is a great example. I'd heard so many people mention loving it, but I was really disappointed. The starter was really nice but the main dish was overcooked and boring. I felt like I had wasted my money. That being said, plenty of others have obviously had positive experiences, so maybe it was an off night, but I have no desire to return and spend my time and money there when there are so many other wonderful places. I don't think that means I need to warn people away from it, I'm just not going to recommend it.
Geez I'm long winded. Someone give me a word limit.
All that to say, I don't think it's worth writing off Ellsworth just yet, especially if you live here. Your experience definitely tempers my expectations and doesn't make me want to rush back like before. Consistency is important.
Ah looks great! Must go for lunch. Thanks for the photo.
Came across this post on a search for good roast chicken. Do you have any more info on this place in the 15th? Would love to try it if it's still around.
Just the part about fun & lively and walking around after to pop into bars.
Haha! Fair enough. But don't judge the chopstick form of my friend in the photo. I'm the one who did all the research, and she was just along for the ride. (And I know how to use them! :) My grandpa worked in Japan and started taking us to sushi restaurants at a young age).
Though it's true that I may not be qualified to judge because I don't live in Thailand, I have been to plenty of authentic Thai places both in U.S. cities & in Thailand, and I'm familiar with the various regional specialties. While I have not tried hundreds of versions of pad kee mao, what I know is that my two favorite Thai places from my hometown in Dallas (I'm now in Paris) are run by Thai families, one which I got to know quite well. While I recognize that Dallas is not Bangkok, I do trust my palate enough to know a standout dish from a so-so dish. All I'm saying is that I have had versions of pad kee mao that are far superior to this one, and it was a huge surprise and disappointment considering that, as klyeoh stated, this woman is known for it, and she has been there doing her thing for so long. If you can't trust a 70 year old woman cooking over tar buckets, what can you trust?
I was not expecting the ultimate "best" as this is obviously subjective and not possible to judge, but I was expecting to find a killer version. Like I said, maybe an off day. But the fact that her prices are so high also led me to believe that she obviously must be able to sustain a consistent client base even at the comparatively outrageous prices. So it further led to a higher expectation, but it could just be that this place has been written about enough that it will get traffic no matter what the price? It was fresh seafood and ingredients; just lacked the intensity and depth of flavor that I've come to expect from that particular dish.
El Jefe - curious to know what you consider to be the best khao soi places in Chiang Mai and whether I found any of them or if I fell into the trap! I got a recommendation from a food lover in Bangkok, and it seemed very off the beaten path. Curious now. (and for next time of course)
Wow I'll have to try Bistro Belhara. I'm of course a part of the CLAJ cult and could never be swayed from my undying devotion to Jego, but if Belhara is good enough to even make that statement, then I'd love to try it. It's just around the corner from my work, so I could make a lunch trip. Glad to hear about it.
Agreed on Goust as well. It's good, particularly the wine pairings, but not what you describe you are looking for.
Vivant Table does very interesting natural wine pairings, and the food is great. Heimat could be a good choice as well; that's where Pierre Jancou, who used to run Vivant Table, now resides, along with his former manager & sommelier from Vivant Table & Cave. I have not tried Heimat yet but have heard good things. If you like natural wines, that is.
La Cave à Michel is right next to Le Galopin by metro Belleville. They have great wines and small plates, and Le Galopin is a solid choice as well.
If O Chateau is not up your alley for a wine tasting, look into La Compagnie des Vin Surnaturel. Its owned by the Experimental Group, and my friend had a private wine tasting there that she enjoyed very much. That being said, the guy she did the wine tasting with there (who used to be a sommelier at Spring) now works at Wine & Dine at the new Grand Pigalle Hotel (which has a great wine list). Even if you don't do a tasting there, great spot to get a bottle and small plates.
When it comes to a fun and lively area, Pigalle is a great area to wander. You have Wine & Dine which I mentioned, Buvette, L'Artisan, Le Pantruche, all fun spots with good food and drinks. And many bar options. It can be hipper-than-thou, though, so depends on what level of lively you're seeking.
Just wanted to share photos and thoughts on a place that everyone seemed to rave about. I was looking for the best pad kee mao in Bangkok, and all signs seemed to point to Raan Jay Fai. Don't get me wrong; it was good. But it's definitely not the best I've ever had.
Curious for next time if anyone has a place where they've had great pad kee mao in Thailand.
Funny of all places you should ask. I think I've maybe been to Au Passage more than any other restaurant in Paris. The great thing there is that it's quite bustling and laid back, so you're covered noise-wise, and it's not a fancy or stuck up place, but it is still very popular, and I don't know that I've ever seen children there. Lunch, no problem at all. The other thing you haven't mentioned is whether you're looking for kid-friendly food. A lot of these places do not have food that I think would be interesting to a child.
Paris restaurants in general I think are just tough to try to eat out with kids, particularly at dinner. Volume, ambiance, small crowded seating, kids menus for the most part do not exist, especially at the places you're mentioning. I'm not trying to be Debbie Downer, I'm just having a hard time imagining how it would go or whether I can say I think it's a good idea at certain places.
I haven't been to Claus yet but have several friends who love it.
Sunken Chip and Big Fernand should be easy for kids if you go early. BF does usually have a line but it doesn't take too long. Finding seating is the difficult thing there.
Gerard Mulot and Kayser, meh. I would choose others personally. I would also choose a chausson aux pommes from Patisserie des Reves over something for breakfast from Des Gateaux Et Du Pain since they are next door, though to be honest, I've only had dessert pastries and sables from Des G & du P, so what do I know.
I know that the chausson aux pommes is worth getting, that is what I know.
I think that the ispahan croissant from Pierre Herme is worth trying, though it's very sweet, so it all depends on how much you like sweet things in the morning.
Great list, well done.
Holy Belly has long waits on the weekend, so a weekday would be better, and try to go early. On a Sunday, I have gone by myself at 4pm and still had to wait. Sunday at 12pm, the wait was at least an hour.
Le Perchoir and Servan are more hip than fancy. It really depends on your child, and how long they can put up with a long dinner. Lunch at Le Servan would be fine. Dinner maybe at Perchoir would maybe feel better if you try the earliest service they have. Le Perchoir has a set menu, and the few times I have gone for dinner, it has been a good 3-4 hour affair, but of course I've gone with girlfriends who are looking for a leisurely experience. That one's a question mark. I've never seen a child in there, hard to say.
I don't think Clamato would be enjoyable with a little one. I have never been early, though, so if you go at a time that is less busy, maybe it's fine. At night it's packed.
Vivant Table, though small, could be an okay option if you go early, but Vivant Cave next door is mostly bar and high tables, not really comfortable for a kid.
I'm not sure that I would feel comfortable at Chateaubrand with a 4 y o. Again, you're in for the long hall with a set tasting menu and the cool crowd all around. Then people start lining up waiting for your table if you are there reserved.
This is tough. Obviously you want to eat well, and you certainly have some great choices there. I just have never tried with a child, so I'm not one to speak with authority about it really, and it of course depends on what kind of temperament your child has, but I would imagine most kids would get bored waiting on a long meal. Lunch in general is more laid back and calm, so I would recommend trying to get most of your restaurant visits in at lunch where you feel less pressure from the night dining crowd who are seeking & setting a particular ambiance.
You shouldn't have a problem getting a reservation at Bistro Paul Bert. I called a few days in advance just last week and was able to get a table for 5. I do think it's a solid choice, and their classic desserts are quite nice. I really love the steak with pepper sauce and fries and will probably get that now moving forward. I had a a sole meuniere last week, and it was great. They also had beef cheek parmentier on the menu which was delicious. My friends and I all traded bites of each entree, plat, and dessert, so got to try quite a few things.
On a normal basis, though, I would choose Le 6 Paul Bert. More contemporary, lighter, great atmosphere. I wouldn't hesitate to choose either of those two.
Thanks to all for the feedback. Good to know I am not committing an unknown faux pas. I just didn't understand where the promo accusation came from, as I guess I am not on the up-and-up about that kind of thing.
Parnassien - You don't have to do the 90 euro tasting. If you call the night of, they will accept last minute reservations for a la carte if they have seats available. I agree it's a bit steep for a standard night out, but I will definitely go back for lunch and a la carte. Of course, if you can manage to fit it into an expense account outing, then by all means! :)
Phil - Will take your thoughts into consideration and try to give more info here next time. All that info was in the actual post which was why I didn't give more here, but I understand that not everyone may want to click a link and may just want to read directly here. I'm not aware of the link post option and will check that out next time, too.
Also, no creamy fruity drinks, promise. That would be gross. The dessert cocktail was juice-based, so it was sweet, but it was dessert, so fair enough.
Macdog - Artisanal cocktails, in my opinion, are a welcome change to Paris since a mojito seems to be the standard cocktail of choice in 95% of places here. There's been a decent development over the past few years that make craft cocktails relatively new to the Paris scene with Experimental Cocktail Club, Prescription, the Ballroom, Mary Celeste, etc. Someone once told me that something trendy hits NYC and then Paris gets it 2 years later. I have not yet created a timeline graph to verify this statement but it sounds about right (like The Beast and Flesh with Texas BBQ, and tacos and food trucks before that). Anyway, I don't mind unique well-made cocktails coming around to replace the mojito. (Which for some reason French people pronounce "Morito"). But can understand why you may be tired of it if you are surrounded.
Not sure why this is perceived as a promo, and I'm genuinely interested in why it came across that way. This is a forum for sharing food experiences and recommendations, and I thought people here would be interested in Dersou.
If the question is whether I work for them or if they are somehow paying me to talk about them, the answer is definitely no - First of all, if you are compensated or given a comp'd meal (has never happened to me), I'm aware that ethically you need to give that disclaimer. Secondly, my small personal blog is not something that would attract the attention of a restaurant to even offer something like that. And third, I don't even think that's a very common practice in Paris to offer meals for writing in return. In any case, I care about sharing good places, and I wouldn't write about something or share about a place unless I enjoyed it. I have no affiliation with them whatsoever.
I apologize if my writing is so bad that I sound like a promoter; that's clearly something I need to work on if that's the case. This is genuinely a place I enjoyed and am excited about returning to that I thought others might want to hear about.
I started my blog for fun because I'm passionate about food, and it's a huge part of my life and something I love. I go to different restaurants 3-4 times per week, so after 4 years of doing that here in Paris and taking pictures and keeping them all for myself, I figured I could share that information somewhere, in the same way that I benefit from others who do the same.
Many people on here have expressed that they wish people would report back more about places they visit, so in an effort to share more, I thought it was a restaurant worth talking about.
If it's poor form to link to my blog where the info and photos already exist, then someone please do let me know, and I will just copy and paste in the future. I like when other people link to another site with photos, and so I thought this was normal and not necessarily frowned upon.
To address Rio, the food is standout enough that it certainly does not need a cocktail pairing. I can understand that this might come across as gimicky if it's not done well. The cocktails were made with care, though, as they dedicate two barmen just to that alone, and they used unique and quality ingredients.
You did not walk away feeling like you had too much to drink because they don't give you 5 full strength drinks, knowing you will be having five. Of course wine will always be my choice to go with a meal, and this is not how you always want to eat, but it was something fun and different for one time.
Anyway, someone let me know about the etiquette of linking to something that I've already written about or if the idea is that I'm supposed do a recap and not include a link. I'm not just trying to whore my blog; there's no real benefit in that for me because I don't get anything from it. It just seems silly to me to spend extra time re-writing something I've already spent a lot of time on when all I want to do is say "This place is great, check it out."
Went to Dersou last week, which was awarded "Best new opening" at the recent Omnivore Food Festival. I got their 90 euro no-choice tasting menu, which included 5 courses paired with 5 different cocktails, and an amuse-bouche that was more like a course in itself. I really loved it and am excited to go back again soon. 90 euros is of course pretty pricey but when it includes that many cocktails, it kind of makes sense. I want to go back and just order a la carte, or go for lunch. Overall, I was really impressed.
More details on the dishes and photos if you're interested: http://www.parisfoodaffair.com/dersou/
Du Pain et des Idées is very close to the canal, and their pain des amis is one of my favorite breads in the city.
Holy Belly for brunch - pancakes & fried eggs alternating with bacon & bourbon butter. Lunch is great, too, or just for a good coffee. Also Bob's Juice Bar on the same street.
Verre Volé is a nice wine bar/restaurant.
Ten Belles for coffee (or Fondation Cafe closer to Republique)
Le Comptoir Generale is a great apero spot. Go through big green unmarked door and keep walking back. You sometimes have to pay a donation to get in, but nothing crazy, and it's a fun atmosphere.
Hotel du Nord is a nice spot for a drink.
Mary Celeste isn't too far of a walk, and is a fun spot for cocktails and small bites.
If you just go a little further into the Marais, there's Popelini for colorful little cream-filled choux, and Cafe Pinson is a nice indoor cafe. Jacques Genin is not too far, either, and his caramels are worth crossing town for!
I haven't been for dinner, so I can't speak to what I'm sure was a giant bill. But I've been to Epicure for lunch, and that is much less expensive, and I really enjoyed it. It was in July, and we sat outside on the terrace, which was beautiful. The dishes were all beautifully presented, service was great, everything felt special, and the cheese cart had a wonderful selection. The dishes were light and very well done, more on the contemporary side, but I didn't roll my eyes into the back of my head or anything.
To be honest, of the 3-star restaurants I've been to in Paris (Epicure, Pierre G, Arpege), I would choose Arpege first (I've been back several times even with the high price tag), Pierre G, then Epicure. I've heard that Ledoyen is not worth the price from friends who went recently.
For the special experience, though not 3 starred, I think Le Cinq and La Grand Cascade are great choices in terms of getting that special experience. LGC has a great deal at lunch, but it's definitely a special atmosphere that seems to take you back in time a little. I saw a painting on exhibit at Musee du Carnavalet of a horse-drawn carriage in front of La Grande Cascade, with everyone dressed to the nines within in top hats and gowns. I have no doubt it was just that way, and it's fun to think about when you're there.
Le Cinq I have not been to in over two years, and the chef has since changed, but the dining room remains the same, beautiful as ever. It depends on whether you seek specifically the food or that overall experience.
I thought PG service was the best, Arpege food was the best, and Epicure surroundings were the best. (But would choose Le Cinq & LGC for surroundings over Epicure in the end). I want to go back to Le Cinq, and am fine not returning to Epicure.
Some people find Arpege a disappointment because of being primarily vegetable driven, and are also put off by the fact that Passard does not experiment or change much, thinking he rests on his laurels. After having been many times now, I agree that it's disappointing to return a full season or two later, thinking the menu will be mostly new, to get so many repeat dishes. I get that you should keep your signatures - Arpege egg, beet sushi, etc, but I would just love to see more of what he can do. Maybe I need to go a la carte instead of the tasting menu. The fish and/or meat course has always changed, though, and is always terrific. Plus his staff brings vegetables from his organic garden in Normandy, and they often say that whatever we happen to be eating was on the vine that morning. There is something to be said about that kind of quality.
Also, I just freakin' love Alain Passard. He has such a fun loving personality and is really generous. He is the primary reason I return, alongside the meal itself. He'll come out into the room during every service, with some crazy striped pants on under his chef smock, and maybe sandals, and sit down and have a chat. I just love it.
Once again, planned to respond with one paragraph and wrote a novel. Whoops.
For decorative purposes. Same with that little dessert menu at the end. As if I would feign to peruse it. As if there was a choice. As if I would not have a panic attack if anything other than a giant bowl and spoon showed up.
I've only gotten bitten once. Look, I agree, and for me, it's a favorite. Jego is always incredibly generous, and the yelling and clapping is such a great part of it all. I've just read plenty of other people who seem to have a different experience so I'm acknowledging that maybe for some people, the hussle and bustle at night could be intimidating. Or maybe that was back when the menu was a little more confusing, all in French, and with the huge menu plus the chalkboard.
Mikey you should plan to go whether the chow thing happens or not.
Holy belly is probably my favorite brunch spot at the moment, quite possibly for one dish alone. Pancake/fried egg/pancake/fried egg, topped with crumbled bacon & bourbon butter.
Moment of silence. Bourbon. butter.
And good coffee. Yes it's an Australian spot, and brunch has definitely gained traction, though I would argue that many places still do not properly grasp the brunch concept. For example, calling it brunch but not including anything breakfast-related, which is the defining difference between brunch and lunch. Otherwise it's just lunch with coffee. Classic French breakfast is croissant, pain au choc, or a strip of baguette with butter & jam, though, so maybe with time.
Chez Casimir has a pretty great brunch, though, again, it's really basically just lunch with some buffet options.
If I had to narrow it to 4, I would pick:
Acknowledging fully that some people don't like l'Ami Jean and don't necessarily get the grand experience that the l'Ami Jean-obsessed get, and that it can be an intimidating place.
I haven't been to AT yet, and it's high on my list. So many places, so little time!
I think Les Papilles is still a solid bistro/wine bar option that won't leave you disappointed. While it may not be a must-visit place that stands out above the rest, I think it's a solid choice. They consistently put out good market-driven menus usually centered around a roasted meat with vegetables.
Le Bat - I went here last Thursday and posted pictures if you want to get an idea: http://www.parisfoodaffair.com/le-bat...
Oysters...Clamato, Mary Celeste, and Huiterie de Regis are all pretty great. Clamato has house-made Tabasco sauce along with the mignonette. If you go to Mary Celeste, you can get some other great small plates along with the oysters. Huiterie de Regis is obviously focused 100% on oysters. Or just get a couple dozen at a market, have them shuck them for you, and take them back to your apt for a fraction of the price. I can't believe I went so long hating oysters. I just love them now.
The choices are always overwhelming. The only solution is to move here. :) If that's not on the docket, then pick something from each category (classic, creative, market-driven, Michelin-starred, hot spot), and tell yourself you'll be back! As long as you eat well, wherever you go, that's the most important, and you have a solid list.
Wow that got real long real fast.
I'M IN!! The spaghetti castle shall finally be consumed!! It's definitely a wish list item. Great question about how to arrange it - posting an email address in a public forum doesn't seem like the best idea. Oh I know - I created a separate email address for my blog, and who cares if that's out there. It's parisfoodaffair at gmail. Email me there, and let me know when you are thinking of going. I'm happy to call to make the reservation since I'm here. Spaghetti dreams comin' true!
Whoops sorry for the accidental demotion. Great for lunch - I'm sure I have your email somewhere from the days of yore. Or just reply here and let me know what you guys decide.
By all means, speak up if you disagree - I don't at all mean to say that people should not voice differing opinions or express if they think a place is or isn't good. I was only saying that the manner of response makes a big difference, and they vary from enthusiastic&kind to joking/sarcastic to rude and overly negative, and I think it's better on the former and middle rather than latter side.
I don't think it's offensive or negative to express a differing opinion, and I in no way am trying to swoop in and be the nice non-snark who is holier than thou. You, John, along with the other most frequent posters have obviously put in years of time and effort and thoughtful responses, and have earned respect and authority as trusted voices. I do understand why regulars get annoyed by the lack of prior research or generic "where should I go" questions without doing some research first. I get that and even understood that necessity back in 2010 when I made my first post, because I had read a lot of posts and gathered that lack of prior research was inconsiderate. (I did, for the record, report back!)
I guess these thoughts belong in the other thread though.
Re: Escoffier. To be fair, I'm talking about eating well while visiting Versailles (the palace itself), and with Paris so close, I can't think of any stand-outs to suggest. But I really have only eaten at 8 or 9 places in Versailles, so I obviously can't no-go zone the city with any authority but I have eaten every option within the chateau grounds and this I feel comfortable proclaiming as a place you should not have high culinary expectations for, unless you are just getting pastries.
I agree w PhilD that you are always better off reserving - even if it's not necessary, you have your table. Why risk wasted time walking around hungry and getting rejected? Just to approach the end of lunch service and end up out of luck. I've done it, and it's not fun.
Versailles is a culinary no-go zone, according to Fox News. If you are there for the day, I'd recommend visiting the gardens, then walk 10 minutes from the palace to Monument Cafe for lunch, and then brave the interior of the chateau. Be sure to get a map of all the groves in the gardens, they really are the best part. Monument Cafe makes everything fresh in-house, using gardens from the "Potager du Rois" which was King Louis XIV's vegetable garden, still in use. They offer lots of tastes of different things by serving small portions in little glasses, and then individual dutch ovens. It's one of the best options aside from a big picnic lunch (but you can't eat in the gardens; only along the Grand Canal which is a good 30 minute walk).
I personally think it's difficult to find a light dinner in Paris just because dinner is usually THE affair, lasting at least 3 hours. Not that you have to gorge yourself like I do, so you can choose restaurants that have lighter fair, or a place with small plates so that you're not stuffed. But since it's expected that you'll get 3 courses, it's just hard to have what I would consider to be a light dinner.
But save the classic French for lunch time and go for contemporary market cooking at night. Or get picnic supplies and picnic if it's warm enough, or do an apartment picnic.
Bistro Paul Bert is great for classic French. Chez Dumonet is on the more expensive side, with a white table cloth type atmosphere, but has excellent beef bourgignon and duck confit.
Just down the street from Paul Bert is Le 6 Paul Bert which is more modern.
This may be a stupid question but I'm going to ask it anyway - Did the famous spaghetti castle travel to Le Cinq along with Lesquer, meaning I need to go to Le Cinq now if I want to try it? It was always the main reason I wanted to go to Ledoyen. If it is being served there, along with the sweetbreads, then Mikey I'm happy to come join you! It's not always easy to find a friend willing to get a 90 euro pasta dish, so this is one I have not gotten to experience yet, and I figured I'd eventually have to go solo to try that out.
And if a Chowmeet happens, I'd sign up for that, too! I met up with Dowager Parigi and DCM a couple years ago, but that's the only time I've crossed paths with any chowhounders.
In terms of Le Cinq vs. Ledoyen - Two of my friends, one who is a chef at Kei, went to Ledoyen a week or so ago, and they were disappointed and felt it was not worth it. I haven't been to Le Cinq in over 3 years, so I can't comment on the food now that the chef has changed, but the overall experience was wonderful, especially in such a beautiful room.
When it comes to the rest of your list, just a few thoughts on some of them:
Clamato - Great atmosphere, fresh products and oysters. I always really enjoy it but usually end up feeling like I paid for more than I received. So the food is great, but the portions are relatively small for the price.
6 Paul Bert - Big fan
Septime - One of my favorites. If you have trouble getting a dinner reservation, it's usually easier to come by at lunch. Try calling exactly 3 weeks out between 10am-12pm.
Chez L’ami Jean - If you're going solo, I would recommend lunch as it's so jovial and boisterous at dinner, that it may give that weird feeling you sometimes get when you dine solo (I've done this quite a bit) - where you feel like everyone's all having a great time and you're the loser in the corner without a friend. That being said, in a place like that, you are bound to make friends with your neighbors, so it could be just the opposite. I've actually made numerous friends from CLAJ neighbors, but I've only gone by myself at lunch.
Au Passage - Another favorite. The food is unpretentious, always changing, fresh, down to earth. Fun atmosphere and great prices.
You've got a great list, naming 3 of my top 4. My all time favorite restaurant is probably Chez l'Ami Jean, and then Au Passage, Septime, and Bones. You always get something different, and the atmosphere at all of them just make for a wonderful evening. Septime is more calm and intimate while the others are a little more boisterous.
For Breakfast Or Snacks:
Pierre Herme - The croissant isaphan is pretty standout since you don't see many variations on croissants, though more of a dessert than breakfast because it's glazed.
Jacques Genin - Caramels. I have yet to find a better caramel. The regular and mango passion fruit are my favorites. He also does a great millefeuille and lemon tart.
Boulangerie Julien - I always read about this place and made a trip to try it out, and didn't get what the fuss was all about.
Laduree - I prefer Laduree macs over PH, but to each their own. Vanilla, dark chocolate, rose, and salted caramel are my favorites.
Angelina - A lot of people think Angelina is touristy (that part is true) and not worth a trip. I think it depends on the level of your love for chocolate. If the idea of drinking a delicious bar of melted chocolate sounds up your alley, then go. It absolutely is appealing to me, and I love their hot chocolate. It's incredibly thick and rich, and nothing like the hot chocolate I grew up on, if you could even call it that. But some people find it to be too rich, and I don't understand those people. I am willing to put up with tourists for a good pastry & hot chocolate. The Mont Blanc is a great choice. Jacques Genin has a good hot chocolate if you decide to skip Angelina.
I have to add Patisserie des Reves to your list. Their chausson aux pommes is one of my favorite pastries in the city. All their dessert pastries are pretty standout as well, particularly the Paris brest and grand cru chocolat.
Now I just want to eat my weight in pastries.
I manage a tour company that's been in Paris for 16 years, and I don't think the lack of posts has anything to do with fear of traveling to Paris based on recent attacks. Our sales for future months show that bookings are up each month in 2015 compared to last year for every month from now through August. Which means that just as many people are making plans to travel to Paris. So from the tourism standpoint, there does not appear to be a reduction in visitors.
This part is purely opinion, but I have also noticed a trend in negativity and a certain unwelcoming harshness towards people who ask for advice. The recent thread with the chef who asked about where to find oysters, charcuterie, french onion soup, etc. in Paris is a good example. He was torn apart for his personal wish list of things to eat in Paris. Great to tell someone "I don't recommend eating steak au poivre in Paris for xyz reasons" -You save them from wasting a meal if you truly think it's a poor choice - but the manner of delivery doesn't have to be "Why would you want to come all the way to Paris to eat that?" with the "you idiot" undertone. It's the old "It's not what you say but how you say it." I can't imagine that he has any desire to come back to Chowhound for advice after he was verbally attacked by so many people for his choices and had to defend himself as a credible eater because he's a chef.
5 or 6 years ago, I poured over these boards myself, reading so many posts and threads that I felt like I knew half of you who post on a regular basis just because I had read so much - Which means there are many regulars who are very invested and spend a lot of time giving advice out of a pure passion for and knowledge of the Paris food world - in order to help other people. It's a huge service, and I definitely acknowledge that. When I finally made my first post, I was really excited to receive responses. I remember souphie and John, and even OP PhilD, responding right away, very friendly and enthusiastic, along with several others, and I was very appreciative of the feedback and advice. It helped me to narrow down my choices, which were very important since I had such a limited time in Paris. I was able to knock off a loser from my list and switch things around to be more enjoyable (i.e. Not having CLAJ and Chez Dumonet same day). It's so helpful to get candid opinions from people who have had first hand experiences and whose authority you can generally trust if you are looking to eat well within your limited time.
I haven't been on Chowhound much in the past year, and as I started reading again recently, I have often found myself cringing at the responses which have carried a certain amount of negativity and rudeness - more than I had ever seen or noticed before. (Not at all saying the previous helpful people became rude - It's a mixed bag). I'm not against debate and honest opinions - I agree it makes for lively discussion. But there is a change, and if I were reading these posts back in the U.S. now, I'm not sure I would have asked a question either, because it sometimes seems like people are more annoyed with questions and ready to lash out rather than sympathetic to the newcomer who may not have noticed the first appropriate steps to take before asking a question.
I felt that my original questions were responded to kindly and welcomed, so I asked follow up questions, even though I wondered if it was annoying, and it made a difference for me and my experience. I mean I moved here, so...thanks for that.
Anyway, that's my long way of saying that it's possible that people have been reading other posts and would rather stay silent than get snapped at or made to feel that they've asked a stupid question. And I'm not saying it's all the time or that everyone does it. Not by any means. But I personally think it's a noticeable change in a place I hold dear to my heart. I trace back to the Chowhound France board as the source of igniting my interest in food into what it is today. Which is out of control.
I just think some replies could stand to have the edge taken off, and remember that people are just apprehensive and excited and looking for advice.