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Special dinner in Paris

Hi, My boyfriend and I will be in Paris next week and would like to splurge on one dinner while there. My top 2 picks at the moment are Laperouse and Taillevent. Is one better than the other? Is there another restaurant I should be considering? We are HUGE foodies and are looking for a great experience and an incredible meal. Thank you so much.

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  1. Taillevent has 2 star Michelin stars, and Laperouse doesn't have any Michelin rating (not even a bib) in the 2008 guide. Michelin is pretty reliable especially for France.

    Best advice for for the best food Paris has to offer are the posts by "Souphie", look through them and it will give you a very good idea of the top picks in Paris, he kniows them well so comments on the style of food, as well as the quality.

    His current favourite pick seems to be "Les Elysees" in the Hotel Vernet - great food and good value especially at lunch.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PhilD

      at least until eric briffard moves to le cinq...

      i have to say that, having just come back from paris, i was at least mildly disappointed by the post-jean claude vrinat taillevent. far more memorable for me--foodwise, in particular, but also in terms of service (!) and ambience--was dinner in the Winter Garden room at Le Bristol. Indeed, I would suggest that you not count out some of the "palace" hotels (including Hotel Vernet, of course--as well as Le Meurice; Les Ambassadeurs; etc.) for a great overall experience. there are, as subsequent responses will likely show, MANY other restaurants you should/could be considering. good luck, and enjoy: we didn't have a single bad meal in Paris!

      1. re: brian d

        Oh, and do ask Souphie and others about Senderens. After my Taillevent experience, that was one of the places that I found myself wishing I had given a shot: price; atmosphere; and some fine food in the bargain...

    2. Laperouse looks far better than it tastes; neither spot would be my choice. Now if you had said Lasserre, that I could understand.

      1. Thanks for the recs everyone. Briffard is still at les Elysées, and there is a good chance that he will still be there next week. He is every bit as involved as ever, and I made yet another extraordinary meal yesterday. To be faire, there was one miss but it was on the house, they offered another course, and the chef came to me in the end to apologize and was very upset.

        AFoodie, the useful thing would be to tell us what you like -- Paris has nine three star and 15 2 star restaurants that are ALL incredible (OK, maybe not few ones) but in very different manners. Your focus on food narrows the scope and actually rules out the two restaurants you selected, but it still leaves a lot of choice -- how important are the setting and the human experience? do you care about innovation? What is your budget? What kind of food do you like best? Do you care more about ingredients or about cuisine (both need to be good but most of the times only one of the two at best is extraordinary)? Another question, on top of what you like, is what you expect. Where do you live and what is your experience with exceptional ingredients?

        Anyway: tell us more. And visit my blog at www.julotlespinceaux.com .

        1. I would avoid both of your suggestions and consider Les Elysees of course, but also Le Meurice and Lasserre i have tried very recently. Le Meurice has reached to me the perfection in terms of 3* criterias : food, place, service, atmosphere... while Lasserre is probably closer to Taillevent or Laperouse in term of spirit and food (quite classic dishes but with top products and perfect cookings) but at a better overall level.

          I would recommend you L'Astrance as well but you can forget it as you need 2 or 3 months delay for booking a table - you can still try and hope for cancellations :o)

          You can also try Le Cinq as the food and their 120€ - 5 courses menu is of a very good value, you'll eat in one of the most beautiful dining room in Paris. See pictures and review of the food here : http://gastrosontour.wordpress.com/20...

          Les Ambassadeurs is great too (food is really good there) but slightly too expensive and providing less pleasure (to me) than the others i mentioned.

          1. Despite the recent wave of criticism, I would still recommend Taillevent.
            The overall experience just makes one feel special.
            I feel that the experience of eating in a five-star hotel is simply not the same as when you dine in a "proper" restaurant.
            A five-star hotel just feels too "clinical".
            In places like Taillevent one feels like having dined in a private home.
            The setting is sumptuous, the service extremely attentive, the food and wine are excellent.
            They have never let me down.

            5 Replies
            1. re: papillon0970

              Thank you all for your great comments. Souphie, you ask excellent questions. Here are my answers - We are not picky eaters. It can be classic French or new world French, etc. as long it's French. We love to eat everything. Fish pork duck chicken. I'm not looking for the most exp meal in Paris or the newest or most talked about or a 3 star. The human experience is definitely important and a great setting would be an added bonus. I do prefer a place that is not too stuffy but where the staff makes you feel at home or well taken care of even if done in a formal manner. Quite honestly, I don't know enough about current innovations so I'm not sure it is a must. We live in New York and this will be my first visit to Paris. As someone who obsesses about food (via eating, cooking, reading, experiences, etc) I'm surprised that it is only now (in my early 30s) that I am going to experience all that Paris has to offer. As for budget, I'm looking for a meal that we will dream of and talk about many years later but isn't extremely expensive either. I think our max might be around $300. If it's less even better. We live in new York. I hope this gives you a better idea of what I am looking for. Thank you so much for helping me out.

              1. re: AFoodie

                AFoodie: out of curiosity, what would be your choice for a New York equivalent for such an occasion? This might help folks make a recommendation as much in line with your expectations as possible.

                1. re: AFoodie

                  When in NYC we try to have a meal at Balthazar; it's such an upbeat place with great people watching. The Paris brasseries Balzar and Bofinger will show you the real thing; food is not memorable but the total experience may be.
                  There is nothing like Lasserre in NYC, or anywhere else. The prix-fixe lunch, with a decent wine, will meet your budget. Right Souphie?

                  1. re: Oakglen

                    It absolutely will, Oakglen -- they have a very informative and interactive website that gives you a great idea of what the place is like.

                  2. re: AFoodie

                    AFooodie, it sounds to me like what you want is Guy Savoy's internet lunch menu.

                2. Does it have to be a dinner? $300 will not get you very far in Paris unless you go for a prix-fixe lunch. Unfortunately it is probably too late to reserve at L'Astrance, which would be my choice. You might still be able to get in at Carre des Feuillants, another of my favorite prix-fixe lunches. One place where we had dinner for just about $300 for 2 was Le W in the Warwick Hotel. It has one Michelin star and was very enjoyable, with modern, creative takes on classic dishes.

                  1. We have been to Paris but five times in the past 5 years and pretend no real knowledge except for what we experienced. We have been to about 25 restaurants and several non restaurants for food, and never a bad experience, My suggestion is that you listen to all the ideas presented here, but that you think about Hidden Kitchen, a place two Americans operate that affords a ten course meal, with wine, for 70 EUR each. We went to eight different rerstaurants on our latest (April '08) Paris trip and speak mostly about being at Hidden Kitchen. If you search on it at Chowhound, you will find that I love the place, the idea, and the people. We have done the 500 EUR meal thing and are ashamed of ourselves...if it's ok for you, we do don't have grief with you, only ourselves.

                    If you read these pages, you really can't go wrong. Time and again we have thanked Chowhound and recommended its recommendations to others.