After reading the mixed TA reviews, with some trepidation I emailed La Colombe six weeks in advance for a lunch reservation on the outdoor terrace at noon. A bit of confusion ensued: the confirmation arrived, followed by a change--the reservation would be for 1 pm, and my terrace request was not addressed. I therefore was expecting trouble when my friend and I showed up for lunch.
To my shock and delight, however, our lunch was absolutely perfect. We were greeted cordially, seated in a beautiful corner of the terrace, and served by a very helpful, attentive, English-speaking young waiter named Dominique. As we were on a budget, we ordered only two soups, a half carafe of house wine, and the house appetizer specialty--a "starter" of 15 small, beautifully prepared vegetable and seafood dishes accompanied by a large basket of fresh veggies and bread. Very, very tasty, but no way could we finish it all! Dominique regularly checked on us to explain what was in the appetizer dishes, pour wine, ask if we needed anything, etc.--always with utmost courtesy and no effort to persuade us to order anything more. We lingered over our meal for a couple of hours, then wandered around the dining rooms to look at all the art on the walls. All the staff treated us with great courtesy, but Dominique was truly exceptional.
Including our tip, our lunch for two cost less than 100 EUR. Having visited France numerous times over several decades, I believe this was my most enjoyable meal ever, in that country. The food, service, art, and ambiance of this restaurant, on a sunny day in early October, coalesced into a memory I treasure. My advice--just go. You only live once.
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