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Apr 18, 2008 02:33 PM

Triple booking in May. Need help!

I'll be in Paris after 12 loooong years for the May 1 long weekend. My husband and I will be leaving our kids behind to celebrate our 10 yr anniversary. We actually met in Paris so it's going to be a special holiday. To make things even more special, I want to force my husband to get dressed up and take me to a great restaurant with at least one Michelin star. And since my hubby's Italian, he's very proud of his national cuisine and is hard to impress. Plus there's that eternal French vs. Italian rivalry going on too.
I've been reading different forums and decided to book at a few places online since I thought it would be difficult to find room during the long weekend. I tried booking at the Elysée, Guy Savoy, Tour d'Argent and Ze Kitchen, all for lunch bien sur as ze budget is limited. I'd love to eat at l'Arpège and Astrance but a) it's probably too expensive and b) there's no way in hell I can book a table so late.
Well, I was lucky and got confirmed resos at Elysée, Tour d'Argent and Ze Kitchen, all for the same day! Which one should I choose? Is Briffard still at the Elysée? If so that would be my no.1.
Should I still try for Arpège and Astrance? Are any other great restaurants open on May 1?


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  1. You have a shot at l'Arpège, which often has free seats for lunch. Ask tupac if he was disappointed. For l'Astrance it will take a lot of luck. Briffard is still at les Elysées, no one knows for how long. My guess is that you will not be sure until the same day or the day before, so just keep a backup plan that you'll cancel the day before if they confirm that Briffard is still there. Did you not hear from Guy Savoy? If so, I would recommend that you call them, as they probably booked your table but did not confirm. The others are not in the same league foodwise. La Tour is expensive, Ze is more modest (less pricey) and has original food (probably better and more interesting than la Tour, but it is not a fancy place). La Tour has that amazing view and it was one of the first restaurants in the history of the world.

    4 Replies
    1. re: souphie

      Thanks for the tips! I really didn't think I'd have a chance at L'Arpège. I'll try and call asap. But for the ultimate dining experience (quality of food, service, atmosphere, price/quality ratio) which is better, Briffard's l'Elysée or l'Arpège?
      It's strange that I didn't get a confirmation from Guy Savoy.
      So from what you're saying, la Tour isn't worth the expense.

      1. re: onionpolenta

        Indeed la Tour isn't really worth the expense. The ultimate dining experience is probably more on the Savoy side, but l'Arpège has the ultimate food. Les Elysées are extraordinary too foodwise, maybe not quite on par with l'Arpège but also much cheaper. Visite l'Arpège website for an idea of the setting -- maybe people love it but I personally don't.

        Call Savoy -- they say their Internet menu is Internet only but they don't seem very apt with it.

        Thinking further about it, it really is a question of taste. Are you attracted or put off by the l'Arpège minimalistic concept? Savoy is much more decadent, les Elysées aussi. Savoy is all about you, les Elysées is all about the food (as is l'Arpège).

        I hate to refer to the blogs of others, especially when I don't know them personally, but Liz Haskell at Refined Palate has decent pictures of several of the suspects here: . You can also read my posts on les Elysées and Savoy (, and

      2. re: souphie

        As souphie alludes to, we tried our luck as walk-ins at l'Arpège a couple of weeks ago and it could not have been easier. It was on a Tuesday, so I don't know what other days might be like. But our party of four could've chosen among probably 4 or 5 different tables.
        Budget-wise, the minimum lunchtime tariff these days is 135E for the 8-course degustation. It's hard to call a $200+ (at minimum) meal a bargain, but even harder to say that the food at l'Arpège is not in a class of its own. Great ingredients and great technique. Souphie's question above says a lot: is minimalism your thing? One perfectly grilled abalone. A gratin of onions, butter and parmesan. These are the kinds of simple things that remain in your thoughts long after eating at l'Arpège.

        1. re: tupac17616

          Arrrgh! Decisions, decisions... Not only do I have to choose well for myself but also for my husband. As I mentioned, he's Italian and while he appreciates simple ingredients used well, Italian cuisine's forte is not minimalism. I think that leaves Arpège out.
          So I'll have to choose between les Elysées and Savoy for our wedding anniversary lunch.

          At least one thing I'm sure of, we're going to Chez Michel one evening. I definitely think the hubby will approve!