Plenty of restaurants in Paris advertise themselves as "romantic" and use up their available budget on spotted antique mirrors, zinc-plated bars and velour-cushioned chairs, hoping to draw tourists with ambiance where the quality of the food and/or service is lacking. Sometimes, a "great view" of the city is supposed to somehow make up for a bland and overpriced menu. At other places, like Dans le Noir, a clever gimmick (in this case, dining in complete darkness) defines the experience: it can indeed be romantic and amusing, but don't hold your breath if you're expecting an amazing gastronomic experience. I certainly wasn't very impressed by the fare there.
So if you're looking for a date-worthy restaurant in Paris, ambiance and all, but also expect the food to be decent, you shouldn't just duck into any restaurant that seems to promise a "classic French" setting or a fantastic view. Some of the more genuinely romantic restaurants, like Lapérouse (pictured), set in a 17th century mansion with boudoir-style nooks for têtes-à-têtes, and once the haunt of George Sand or Emile Zola, don't particularly go out of their way to lure you in, at least not street-side.
- Paris for Couples: Romantic Things to Do
- How to Plan Your Paris Honeymoon (from About.com Honeymoons/Romantic Travel)
- Panoramic Views of Paris
- Boat Tours of Paris
Image: Lapérouse is a restaurant housed in a 17th century mansion. Courtesy of the restaurant