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May 1, 2007 12:51 PM

best restaurant in Paris

I'm looking for the best restaurant in Paris - comparable to French Laundry. I've done some research and there are certainly lots of fabulous options. I'm looking for that one restaurant that is sublime. Recommendations are always better than reading reviews.

Any recommendations?

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  1. An impossible question to answer. That is the beauty of Paris. There are many sublime restaurants.

    I suspect the French Laundry stands out because there are few restaurants of a similar standard in the US. In Paris (and France) the top echelon has many more restaurants in both absolute terms and per head of poppulation.

    If you want to believe in lists the recent "Top 50 Restaurants in the World" list has the French Laundry at #4 and Pierre Gagnaire at #3. Personally I don't rate this list as the next Paris restaurant is "L'Atelier Joel Robuchon" at #13 - it is good but others are better. Paris alone has 9 out of the 50 , the US has 8 in total.

    1. I agree with the above poster. It really depends on one's taste and expectation. There is really no consensus on one "best" restaurant in Paris. I think in this case, a good detail review gives a better idea what a particular restaurant is like than a short recommendation.

      1. Just returned from 8 days in Paris. I'm still writing up the meals but Pierre Gagnaire was easily superior to TFL in every way and I was only at Gagnaire for the lunch service. The couple next to us also felt exactly the same way and we both mentioned it to the head waiter in our section of the room.

        As for sublime, every dish at Gagnaire was innovative, cerebral, and delicious. I was impressed with maybe a couple of the dishes at TFL and certainly not in the same way. Gagnaire completely re-defined my idea of fine dining. TFL, Jean Georges, Daniel, and my beloved Manresa all paled in comparison.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Porthos

          Thank you for the suggestion. Pierre Gagnaire is on my short list. What do you know about l'astrance?

          1. re: katsha

            Katsha... all the "Three-stars" are fabulous, each in its own way, or they wouldn't have three stars. Which is best is such a personal choice!

            If you want to have an outstanding dining experience -- 3 stars -- that will not cost your whole pocketbook, rent a car or take the train down to Joigny (about 90 minutes southeast of Paris) to La Côte St. Jacques! Jean-Michel Lorain and the whole Lorain family will show you the time of your life! Actually, you can sleep over.. they have an hostellerie there as well.

            It's very close to Paris, yet how many hounds have spoken about that one?

            1. re: ChefJune

              Wow, that's my kind of insider's tip. Do you remember what train to take to get to this place?

              1. re: frugalgourmet

                I've never gone there by train, but I believe the one you need leaves from the Gare de Lyon.

        2. Agree with above posters on this subject..
          Been to the French Laundry and Tetsuya's in Sydney that made the top ten of best restaurants in the world and I must say that some of my meals at small bistros in Paris were just as good!
          My favorite restaurant in the whole world has to be Le Florimond in the 7th..
          Probably the best meal I have ever had...starting with Mussels and then a lovely lobster in a cantalope buerre blanc that was to die husband had the Filet in a fig cab reduction sauce that was incredible too..Our meal with champagne and a bottle of bordeaux with espresso, port and creme brulee was around 140 great is that!
          Laurent is always charming..

          2 Replies
          1. re: Beach Chick

            That's tough to beat. Must hit the Florimond.

            This question is like asking who is the best band.

            1. re: Busk

              Fully agree with you, Busk.

              One could also ask about the best movie! ;o)

              While Le Florimond is a cozy, small bistrot with very good food, I wouldn't name it the best place. BTW, Le P'tit Troquet goes into the same group.

          2. I agree that it is a difficult question but there are some easy elements of response. Of course Gagnaire is one of the most innovative chefs today, and his restaurant is pleasant. Some people consider it the best experience of their life, others (including me) are more distantly and coldly admirative.

            If you stick to basics: best products in the World, perfect cooking and seasoning, then the two best restaurants in Paris are l'Ambroisie and l'Arpège. While l'Ambroisie has an 18th century setting on the Place des Vosges, l'Arpège has a more contemporary bias, including a website ( L'Ambroisie offers perfect classicism, but in a very intense and sensual way. This is the kind of place that makes you like what you don't like, and makes you feel like you never ate before: carrots, zucchini, seabass, puff pastry, chocolate tart, etc.

            Of course all three stars restaurants are exceptional experiences. L'Astrance has exceptional ratings, just like the Hotel Meurice, but I have not been there yet. They are newly three-starred restaurants.

            I should mention very attaching experiences in two two-stars resturants: the hotel Bristol, a true palace where everything is delicious and the summer dining room is in the garden. And Michel Rostang, for a combination of very fine dining and some sort of family meal.

            Those would be my favorites in Paris, anyway. All very expensive (count 200-300€/person). And requiring early reservations.