Top Paris Restaurants
- Vivin Aug 30, 2001 02:57 PM
Time to bring out the heavy artillery. My wife, I and a good friend are planning a culinary trip to Paris early in the new year (we would definitely consider side trips to exceptional places in nearby towns). On the agenda is to sample some of the finest cuisine that Paris has to offer. We are thinking of hitting at least four top restaurants for dinner (and maybe a couple of lunches). Guy Savoy is already on the list owing to our flirtation with nirvana there in the spring of 2000.
If price were no object, which five restaurants would you absolutely go to and why.
Any suggestions about reservations (is four months enough time?) or anything else?
Thanks in advance..
There is a big discussion on this not to far down on this board (url below). I am going back to Lucas Carton, Guy Savoy and giving Gagnaire another try at the end of Sept and will file a report. Today I would say Guy Savoy (based on recent review), Taillevent (Everyone loves it), Lucas Carton (my favorite), and Boyer just 90 minutes from Paris in Reims. Reservations are different for everyone. Some only take 30 days in advance. I would suggest that where you can use their email address for reservations (many have websites) and in the email tell them it is special trip and include your hotel information and a credit card number to reserve the table. Many are very careful about no shows.
Boyer at Rheims is magnificient, especially the Truffe en croute (a whole black truffle in a pastry). The effect of this is somewhat like Bocuse's Truffle Soup V.G.E. -- when the pastry is pried into, the distinctive truffle aromas are released. (If you go to Boyer, be sure to lower your nose close to the pastry when opening it!) PS: This dish is quite expensive, but can be ordered as a 1/2 portion (with a smaller truffle).
Speaking of Rheims, other reasons to visit are (1) the Marc Chagall stain glass murals in the cathedral, and (2) proximity to champagne houses (Veuve, Tattinger and Pommery are in Rheims itself; Moet and P.J. are close by). Rheims is within 1 1/2 hrs by (direct) train from Paris.
But there is NO question my favorite restaurant (not just in Paris, but anywhere) is L'ARPEGE. :) Passard has said (approx): "il y a des saveurs qui sont commes des mots" (there are some flavors that speak like words). Aiguillette de homard au vin jaune (lobster with yellow wine) is a sublimely poetic dish! On his website, Passard describes this as one of his "fetish" dishes.
FYI - back from my PAris trip and finally in the mood to write. Thanks for all the great sugestions. We ended up eating at the following:
Guy Savoy (UNBELIEVABLE!!! - had to walk from the restaurant back to Bastille we were so full....!!)
L'Angle du Faubourg (very good - very modernish/chic type bistro)
L'Epi du Pin (very good in spite of being overrun with loud Americans spewing their usual drivel about how fabulous everything is and where their next vacation will be...."maybe Brazil - it seems so....exotic")
L'Avant Gout (with the exception of the Air France meal, the worst food of the trip)
L'Ecluse (Tagliatelle w/ Foie Gras and Spanish ham - strong!)
Cafe de Paris Bistro (Biarritz - OK)
St. James Hotel (both the bistro and the 1 Star of Mssr. Amat - we liked the bistro better....ouch!)
Sorry I'm not being more descriptive - let me know if you ate at Guy Savoy and we can compare notes....)
astrance at 4 rue beethoven in the 16th. the monthly menu is fantastic. runs about 900 francs for two with 4 glasses of good wine. not too full and not too drunk but thoroughly satisfied.
the baby bistros of michel rostang are very very good. the bistro d'cote - there are i think two in the 17th. the fish restaurant dessirier in the 17th also is very good. excellent food nice atmosphere.
for a side trip but a bit far is la basitde de moustiers in province. it is ownded by alain ducasse and is simply fantastic.
Paris does have the most wonderful restaurants in the world. Still, one can take only so much butter, cream, fois gras, etc. I think you appreciate the meals more if you pace yourself and alternate between palaces of cuisine and (merely) good food. On the palace side of the equation, Le Grand Vefour in the 1st is excellent. As is Guy Savoy (once I ate there and at the end of the meal, a taxi strike had begun. No problem, Guy Savoy had its own fleet of cars to take all the tourists back to our hotels!). On the delicious but not so rich and less expensive side, I'd strongly recommend the seafood at Taira in the 17th and anything at L'Os a Moelle in the 15th. Am I envious, yes!
If you are really serious about eating at only the best restaurants of the moment, I would suggest that you ignore my other posting and consult the latest writings of Patricia Wells. She writes frequently about cuisine in France and Paris in various magazines, the International Herald Tribune, etc. She has unfailingly good taste. There is a tendency for places she picks to get inundated after her pieces appear but the really best ones do not overbook and maintain the quality. Her wine tips are also worth following.
PS Outside Paris, in Champagne country, you cannot find a more romantic meal than one at Le Boyer. Excellent Relais & Chateau property.