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10 Day Foodie Trip to Paris in April 2011

I'm finally back from my trip and I had a blast eating my way around France!
First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for their help and suggestions. They really helped. So here's the rundown of my few experiences and hope it'd be helpful for those who are about to head over for a trip.

Frenchie
This was a top favourite for my partner and I. Almost every dish hit the spot. The only one we didn't really enjoy as much (not that we didn't at all) was the dessert of strawberries, rhubard and shortbread cos the shortbread totally dissolved in the strawberry soup. Other than that, the dinner was excellent. Standouts for me were the smoked mackeral with the pickled cucumbers and the lamb which was so flavourful and tender. Very small outfit so book well in advance. Really good value for money and I highly recommend it to anyone who visits Paris. The lady waitress speaks excellent English by the way.

Chez L'Ami Jean
We went to this place twice on consecutive nights. Was lucky to get a table on the day itself although we had to dine a little later. The rice pudding dessert is the star and the must have at the end of the meal. On the first night, we ordered the 3 course dinner (EUR42) which was great value. On the second night, we had the wagyu cote de beouf and the oven roasted foie gras. They were all cooked to perfection. Their charcuterie is excellent too and a good start to the meal. Service is friendly and one of their waiters speaks fluent English so you'd have no problems even though the whole menu is in french.

Saturne
Excellent. The service was very friendly and I loved the dining space. The food felt very organic as there was a common use of herbs throughout the meal up to dessert. Another place I'd recommend because it serves good food at affordable prices. You can choose between a 4 or 6 course (there is no ala carte) and we went for the 6 course meal. Also threw in the wonderful 31 month comte which was generously shaven for us to enjoy.

Le Chateaubriand
I have to be honest and say that I wasn't blown away so much. The experience and service was excellent but there were one or two dishes which I wasn't very used too and there weren't many standout dishes whilst they were all tasty. Having said that, it still is worth the visit as the marrying of flavours are really special at this place.

Les Comptoir du Relais
The food was simply delicious. We ordered mostly off the specials menu although the regular menu is extensive. I can still remember the lobster ravioli, the risotto with St Jacques and the Braised Beef Cheeks (from regular menu). The food is flavourful and hearty. Definitely worth the visit but getting a dinner reservation is near impossible since they leave the tables for the hotel guests so get there early to stand in line for lunch which starts at 12.

Les Cocottes
Another worthy visit. The langoustine ravioli is tasty and the chocolate tart is divine. We had a beef burgignon from the specials menu and it was probably the best I've ever tasted. I love the concept of having the food served in staub pots.

Chez Dumonet
Honestly, the only dish I enjoyed here was the duck confit which everyone raves about. The experience was marred by the service. The food took quite some time to arrive and it took us 3 tries to get some water at the table. I realised that no one pointed it out but their portions are HUGE! Unless you have a big appetite, share! I honestly don't remember American sized portions to be THAT big. Not a restaurant that I would revisit but if I have to, I'd only order the duck confit which thankfully comes in a normal size.

Le Cinq
The experience was worth the visit. Probably one of the prettiest if not the prettiest dining room I've ever been in. The service was excellent and really friendly. I don't think its the best food I've ever had but for the experience, I'd revisit in a heartbeat. We had the EUR85 lunch and there were a couple of standouts. The foie gras with pig's ears was to die for and I had a really good salted caramel dessert. Portions are rather generous by the way. A 2 star resto but yet makes you feel like you're in a 3 star resto.

Bras
The drive out to Laguiole was one of the most scenic drives I've ever been on in my life. It took a 3 hour train ride from Paris to Clermont Ferrand and another close to 2 hour drive to get us to Bras. The whole experience started the moment we got on our way. We stayed a night at their hotel and the room was beautiful; looking out to a great view. Not to mention that the minibar provides free drinks (the limonade specially made for Bras is excellent). Dinner was really good although there was probably one or two dishes that I didn't fancy much. His food uses quite a bit of raw vegetables. The cheese trolley is to die for and we had so much to eat by the end of the night. The next morning, we woke up to a delicious French breakfast with fresh bread, Bras's milk jam (which I brought home), saucisson, yoghurt etc. We even got a little tour of the kitchen at the end of breakfast and saw Sebastian Bras in his office working at the computer. The experience was so great that my partner and I were reluctant to leave.

Pierre Gagnaire
Gagnaire's food is known to be a bit more whimsical but I thought it was an interesting experience. There were so many items to one course and there were so many small intricate items at the table. The food was solid although there were one or two dishes which were a bit bland for me. Service was professional although it isn't as personal and friendly as Le Cinq and Bras. Lunch is a good deal at EUR105 if you just want the experience of a 3 star restaurant in Paris.

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon Etoile
I've tried L'Atelier in Hong Kong and had good memories of the food there. L'Atelier in Paris definitely did not disappoint. The flavours were bold and the food was really rich and tasty. I was blown away by a couple of dishes from the degustation menu such as a deep fried egg which was served with cream, smoked salmon and topped with a generous amount of caviar. The creamy and rich egg yolk added so much richness to the dish. Another one that I remember clearly was the langoustine with morrelles. We celebrated a birthday for one of our friends that night and the excellent food and friendly service made our last night in Paris extra special. I have to say though that the bread basket is much more exciting with its variety in the Hong Kong branch.

So these are the note worthy places I visited. There were a couple of touristy joints which no one should visit (imagine being ripped off by paying EUR11 for a glass of lemonade). For sweets, check out the usual Pierre Herme and Laduree. I love Sadaharu Aoki for his tea flavoured macarons and La Patisserie des Reves does delicious and pretty cakes too.

Another thing I've discovered is Bordier's butter. His butter is served in many fine dining restaurants and comes in different flavours. I visited the store when I was in Saint Malo, Brittany and you could never imagine how a small nondescript store could produce such amazing butter. My favourites are the demi sel and seaweed. If you don't get to try it at restaurants, just drop by the gourmet section at Galeries Lafayette, buy a block, some baguette and saucisson and breakfast is settled!

So that's it from me. Thanks for reading if you're still here. :)

May 03, 2011
syzal in France

10 Day Foodie Trip to Paris in April 2011

That's exactly what I'm worrying about; doing too much! I def want the great restaurants meals but I don't want to forget about the little patisseries and boulangeries. Let's hope everything goes according to plan! I can't wait for April to come!

Feb 25, 2011
syzal in France

10 Day Foodie Trip to Paris in April 2011

I am facing problems with making reservations over the phone at some of these restaurants. They never seem to pick up! Can somebody advise if there is a "good" time to call these restaurants up?

Feb 20, 2011
syzal in France

10 Day Foodie Trip to Paris in April 2011

thanks very much! I'll prob contact someone from Bras cos I'm most concerned about the transport.

Feb 06, 2011
syzal in France

10 Day Foodie Trip to Paris in April 2011

thanks very much for your suggestions! The thought of having seafood didn't really cross my mind but I will definitely look into it!

Feb 06, 2011
syzal in France

10 Day Foodie Trip to Paris in April 2011

If you don't mind me asking, how expensive are we talking about here?

Feb 02, 2011
syzal in France

10 Day Foodie Trip to Paris in April 2011

Thanks for the suggestions and the links. I guess the sad part is that I'll be looking at all the beautiful produce but yet can't buy any of them since I prob won't get a chance to cook. Still, I reckon it would definitely be a nice thing to put the markets into the itinerary just to see the side of living in Paris.

Jan 31, 2011
syzal in France

10 Day Foodie Trip to Paris in April 2011

Thanks! Good to know that we've made a good choice then. Now.. if only I can find the best way to get there cos I've heard that that part of France is not totally developed in terms of transport so getting there might be a bit of a hassle.

Jan 31, 2011
syzal in France

10 Day Foodie Trip to Paris in April 2011

Thanks for all your suggestions so far. Really comes in useful. Yes, definitely have to do tons of walking and stick to a salad and soup diet after I return from my trip.

Forgot to ask another question. If i'd like to visit some food markets where I can see produce and enjoy some street food at the same time. Which ones would you recommend?

Jan 31, 2011
syzal in France

10 Day Foodie Trip to Paris in April 2011

My partner and I will be making a trip to Paris in April and need some help with our food itinerary. At the moment, we're planning to visit some of the fine dining establishments, casual cafes and bistros and eat lots of pastries and desserts (because my partner has a really sweet tooth). These are the places that we've shortlisted so far. Would appreciate if you could give your opinion on whether these places are complementary cos we want to make sure that we don't end up eating too much of the same thing. One thing is we're planning to visit Bras at Lagouile and we're concerned that the food might be similar to the other fine dining places that we've shortlisted.

The restaurants we've shortlisted are as follows:

LUNCH
Le Cinq
LeDoyen
L'Arpege

DINNER
Le Meurice

OTHERS
Le Chateaubriand
Saturne
Frenchie
Chez Dumonet
Restaurant Allard
Les Comptoire du Relais
Cocottes des Christian Constant
Chez Flottes
Bistro Les Papilles

I have some other questions which might sound stupid but here goes...

1) Do restaurants in France/Paris serve tap water or do we always have to order bottled water?

2) Would it be too ambitious to have a 3 course dinner meal at say, a place like Frenchie after having a 3 course lunch at LeDoyen?

Please do let me know if there's any place which is worth trying.
Thanks in advance for your help!

Jan 31, 2011
syzal in France