These reviews first appeared in TripAdvisor.Thanks to Manny Gonzalez for sharing these reviews in my blog.
Le Cafe du Musee, 17 Boulevard Invalides - 5 Stars
Fine for What It Is
This is an unpretentious neighbourhood cafe serving the usual staples, including Croque Monsieur. It's about 15 yards from the Rodin Museum, and a good choice for lunch. Other reviewers in my view are being unnecessarily strict, and seem to have expected a gastronomic experience. It's just a quick meal.
La Coupole, 102, Boulevard du Montparnasse - 3 Stars
Do It Once
The food is really not that good, but people keep coming to this place, making for an energizing ambience. We were a rather large group, and the quality of our food varied considerably, from Disappointing to Good. However, the service was courteous and friendly, better than Coupole is reputed for. Try it out because it's a Paris institution, order simple stuff, and don't get all worked up over the deficiencies.
Le Relais de L'Entrecote, 20 rue Saint Benoit - 4 Stars
Good Beef, Warm Atmosphere
A good steak-frites experience. It is increasingly hard to find correct entrecote around Paris; every eatery seems to offer it, whether they know how to do it or not. The Relais has found a reliable formula, offering only entrecote, along with quite tasty fries (again, increasingly hard to find done right). Beef fans should note that French entrecote does not much resemble (in taste) a corn-fattened steak from Omaha, or a grass-fed steak from Australia. It is, frankly, not as good, which is why it has to be smothered in a heavy sauce. Nor is it anything like US ribeye, though many restaurants translate "entrecote" as that. But, as French entrecote goes, this is pretty good, and the dining experience at Relais can be quite enjoyable - always full with long queues to get in, elbow-to-elbow with fellow patrons, bright lights. There are many restaurants with better decor, but few that work as well.
The quality was all over the place. Boeuf bourgignon was very good, but the portion slightly small. The confit de canard was about right, and fairly good but slightly soggy. Our poorest dish was a gambas on noodles which had a weird flavor. The management would do well to review their lineup (not very extensive anyway), and eliminate the dogs while improving the rest.
Amateurish Cooking, Prices Steep for What You Get
This is tucked away in a corner of the Marais, and pretty much the only reason a tourist would wind up here is walking between museums. The street is very narrow but rather busy, and though there is outdoor seating you're not really looking at anything. From the street La Petite Place looks appealing, with more upscale decor than most other bars in the immediate area. However, the daily special, which the waiter pushed hard for us to order, was poorly made, a boeuf bourgignon (beef stew) made with very marginal meat and which had no flavor at all, and took 25 minutes to arrive. Our bill came to an average 25 euro per person without dessert or coffee, the same as what we paid at much nicer, higher-rent places, with better food. Many of the previous comments about this place on Tripadvisor are supposedly by French locals, but interestingly most of these rapturous reviewers seem to have very few reviews under their belt, and you have to wonder what would possess them to single out this restaurant for praise, among all the restaurants in Paris. If you are in this area, hold out for one of the restaurants that actually face the Place des Vosges. At least you'll have a view of a well-manicured square with lots of trees.
Le Petite Chaise, 35 rue de Grenelle - 4 Stars
This place was occupied half by regular locals and half by tourists. The food was good but what really stood out was the joviality of the waiters and patrons. It's a small space and people are really cramped together. This seems to have fostered a friendly mood which proved to be catching. Even the French, who will rarely talk to foreigners, seemed disposed to talk between tables. If you are staying in the sixth or eastern seventh arrondissement, I would recommend you consider La Petite Chaise.
Cafe Les Deux Magots, 6 pl. St.-Germain-des-Pres - 3 Stars
Worthwhile as an Experience
The food is not bad (large, juicy escargots!) but rather high-priced for what it is. The wine is priced at about twice retail, which is a bit more of a break. And, once you've been seated, you can pretty much stay as long as you like, on one cocktail or cup of coffee (as many patrons seemed to be doing) Still, this is a lively, fun place for either a drink or a meal, and worthwhile at least once, just so you can say you've been here.
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