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Which Michelin 3 in Paris is worth being poor for?

Does anyone have a vote for favorite fabulous meal in Paris? Something I can tell my grandchildren about that I can shamelessly go in debt for?

Thank you in advance~

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    1. Highly subjective but L'Ambroisie could be included.

        1. re: purpleceline

          I agree that Taillevent is a wounderful experience, but unless there's a new Guid Mich, Taillevent is currently a 2 star. I would include it in my top rec's along with L'Ambroisie,Gagnaire and Le Meurice.Just behind would be L'Arpege and Savoy

          1. re: purpleceline

            I agree that Taillevent is a wounderful experience, but unless there's a new Guid Mich, Taillevent is currently a 2 star. I would include it in my top rec's along with L'Ambroisie,Gagnaire and Le Meurice.Just behind would be L'Arpege and Savoy

            1. It's an easy question. The response is l'Ambroisie, l'Arpège and Pierre Gagnaire for the food; Guy Savoy for the show and the Human experience. And maybe, soon, le Cinq, when Chef Briffard is well installed. And you can throw in le Meurice for the Palace/Versailles-like experience. The first three, in any case, are definitely head and shoulder above the others, kind of an unofficial four stars category.

              3 Replies
              1. re: souphie

                About two weeks ago, we did dinner at Pierre Gagnaire and the three-course prix fixe lunch at Guy Savoy. We enjoyed Guy Savoy much more. PG seemed to me to be over the top in his experimentation with mixing food flavors and textures, and every course came with a very healthy serving of condescending attitude. We are not unsophisticated diners, but could not recognize, by sight, smell, or taste, many of the items served to us (two different tasting menus, and we are French speakers, so no language problems). The best course was dessert, and the sommelier guided us to a wonderful wine. It was an interesting experience, but not one I'd care to repeat. I got the feeling that "the emperor has no clothes on" there; its all about PG's reputation, and how far he can go in shocking diners. Perhaps he's the Salvador Dali of haute cuisine? Guy Savoy, on the other hand, was perhaps not quite as inventive, but the flavors, presentation, and service were excellent, and not as much of a "show" as PG. We were treated well, and enjoyed each course. Again, the sommelier helped us select a wine that complemented our meal. In short, I'd recommend Guy Savoy over Pierre Gagnaire if I had to choose one.

                1. re: CynD

                  I listed these three because they just are the best, but they have significant style differences. I personally wouldn't go back to Gagnaire, ever. But people with different sensitivities enjoy it much more than I ever did, and he remains one of a kind. You can see that, for those who enjoy it, it is insurpassable. As far as I am concerned, the best PG experience is watching the movie on DVD: I get the excitement, the inventivity, the project, and I don't have to eat the food and pay the price. But see tupac's recent review (and a couple of others) to demonstrate that Gagnaire is one of the handful of chefs worldwide who can offer a life transforming experience.

                  1. re: souphie

                    I want to thank you, Souphie, for your recommendation of each of them before my trip. Notwithstanding my opinion of PG, or the cost, it was a good experience to have, and one my daughter and I will long remember. I'll have to check out the PG DVD, and maybe I'll understand his method better. The vanilla souffle I had for dessert there was divine, but on the whole, the GS meal was more to our liking. Thanks again, Souphie - you're a good resource.

              2. L'Arpege, L'ambroisie, and Guy Savoy

                1. I am curious about which 3 Michelin Star place to select as well. We are going to Paris, as well as Lyon and probably Alsace in mid November for our honeymoon. We have previously dined at Per Se and enjoyed immensly and I dined at De Karmeliet in Bruge a few years back and loved it.

                  A couple of concerns have arisen for me. It seems to me the pre fix or tasting menu is the way to go in terms of price. However, I am concerned about the ability to have some choice. My fiancee is a little more picky (no foie gras, mushrooms, sweetbreads (sp?) or olives for her). At Per Se this was no problem as they were happy to accomodate and change things up. I get the impression this might not be so easy in France at a 3 star.

                  As well, in doing my reading I have heard how service can be an issue until you become something of a regular and especially if you are an anglophone (my french is ok but not perfect and my fiancee's barely existant.) Its my understanding that service is more reserved (or less overtly friendly than in North America). I don't have a problem with that but I would be very disappointed if the service was lacking (i.e. not attentive, helpful etc.)

                  So I am curious to know what places people might recommend given these concerns. As well, is there any particular night people would recommend to go and if you are recommending a specific place, what dish to try and get if its available?


                  10 Replies
                  1. re: medicinejar

                    Our prix fixe lunch at Guy Savoy included choices for each of the three courses, so there is some flexibility. If there are specific allergies or dislikes, I suspect they will accomodate you. Language should not be a problem, nor should service. I heard French, English, and Spanish being spoken between diners and staff. Dinner at Pierre Gagnaire offered a choice of tasting menus, but no flexibility within that choice (although no one says you have to eat, or finish, everything).

                    1. re: medicinejar

                      Your concerns are essentially excessive. Tasting menus can always be customized to meet preferences. Now as far as Gagnaire is concerned (and a couple of others), tasting menu are not necessarily the best way to go financially, and few chefs actually have something to say in their tasting menu that they don't say in their regular ALC. On the contrary, ALC items usually are not only sample but real courses. The only restaurants I know where tasting menus are the way to go would be Roellinger (and l'Astrance where you hace no choice).

                      1. re: souphie

                        We loved loved loved Pierre Gagnaire. When I spend that kind of money I want to be surprised and inspired. Gagnaire delivered. They asked us about any aversions or allergies we might have and would have swapped out any of the items on the tasting menu had we been so inclined. I did have them change an item in the cheese course and they were very accommodating. The service was absolutely perfect.

                        1. re: souphie

                          Its good to hear the concerns are excessive... some of the things I have read at other sites got me a little worried.... With tasting vs. ALC I used to agree with you. However, starting with a meal at De Karmeliet (sp?) in 2005 I changed my mind. I found tasting menus gave you a variety of what a kitchen could do. In NYC, I found the 9 course meal at Per Se to be just incredible. What I like about a good tasting menu is that you get so many different experiences and I think that there is something to be said for Thomas Keller's take of wanting you to always want more of each dish and not become bored with it. I am not saying I don't like ALC, most of the time that is what I get but those 2 meals I mentioned as well as one at Lumiere in Vancouver were tours de force.

                          BTW, Souphie which 3 star would you recommend for dinner?


                          1. re: medicinejar

                            Good tasting menus are good indeed, but few chefs do them well. Some chefs have a sense for it, some don't.

                            I responded your question upthread: l'Ambroisie and l'Arpège, Pierre Gagnaire if you're not risk averse and if surprise and innovation matter to you, Guy Savoy for the warm and human experience, Le Meurice or Le Bristol for a palace-y experience, with a question mark on Le Cinq, where great chef Briffard is just starting (he actually launched his first menu yesterday -- haven't tasted it yet).

                            1. re: souphie

                              We were planning to do three stars lunch only this trip, and L"Ambroisie is for certain.
                              Our second choice for another day was L'Arpege.
                              Souphie, do you think that we should go to Le Cinq instead (Sept).
                              We have eaten a L'Arpege, and loved it, but have not been to Le Cinq.

                              1. re: erly

                                No one can tell you with certainty was le Cinq will be exactly in a couple of months. But Chef Briffard is working hard on his fall menu and selecting vendors and managing his new teams. I would have him on the list, sounds like a safe bet, though a bet nevertheless. He's one of the four or five best chefs in France right now.

                                1. re: souphie

                                  Just curious as to who the others were, Souphie?

                                  1. re: food.snob

                                    Pacaud (in transition to his son), Passard, Guérard (hurry!), arguably Veyrat. That's about it, as far as I know (obviously I haven't tried them all). I would add Rabaey in Switzerland (he's a breton after all), Winkler in Germany, but obviously they're not chefs in France.

                        2. re: medicinejar

                          From Lyon, it is a pleasant drive up tp Vonnas to Georges Blanc, one of our favorites. Stay at their hotel which is across the street. Traditional fare with great, attentive service. Check out the set menus on the web site. FYI, I am with Souphie re PG.

                        3. I have been following this with great interest and have a question regarding price. Neither L'Aperge or L'Amroisie appear to have menus with prices at their website.

                          For a dinner for two what would costs be with the tip?
                          What range would wine be for the meal and about how much should would 2 cocktails cost?


                          3 Replies
                          1. re: medicinejar

                            L'Arpege dinner is 360€/person. And their wine prices are crazy. (In March we had 40€ glasses of champagne, and a 135€ Chablis).
                            L'Ambroisie I'm not entirely sure, but I seem to remember entrees ~85€, mains ~100€. Not sure of their wines prices.

                            1. re: medicinejar

                              Bottom line is, expect 400eur per person for dinner, more if there's anything more luxurious. L'Arpège has a 135 set price lunch menu, whereas l'Ambroisie has no fixed price menu at all.

                            2. I'm partial to Taillevent & Guy Savoy.
                              L'Arpege is a great deal for lunch without breaking the bank.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: PrestonRSF

                                Among nine 3-stars in Paris, I recommend three. L'Arpage if you like extremely creative vegetable dishes but the cheeses and desserts are very limited - Full tasting menu for 450 euro (April 2007). Pre Catelan was very outstanding (i.e. sea urchin dish and veal) and I love the beautiful interior too (November 2007). Guy Savoy still does a very excellent job although the menu does not seem to change that much. I had not been Alain Ducasse recently since 2002.

                              2. i just had lunch at l'ambroisie and i found the cuisine both refined and restrained. As in, there were no elaborate presentations or exotic flavors, but the emphasis seemed on concentrating the essence of each ingredient. There is no tasting menu, but after canape, amuse bouches, 2 courses, predessert and a dessert, mignardises, we were both stuffed.

                                1. You'll all call me nuts, and this is certainly not a three star. I've had the fortunate opportunity to eat at most of the suggested restaurants above, and have enjoyed them all (more or less). But for me, the one (ridiculously expensive, admittedly) fabulous meal in Paris that I'd tell the grandkids about is at Chez l'Ami Louis. And, in order of appearance:

                                  Foie Gras
                                  Poulet Roti
                                  Potato cake with garlic
                                  Chocolate cake

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: matsonjones

                                    I don't think you're nuts. Great food is great food and l'Ami Louis does the job rather more consistently than most top restaurants.

                                  2. Arpege is ferociously expensive but for me its a cut above the rest of them. Firstly, it is far more relaxed. Secondly, the cuisine is original without being showey or weird.Thirdly, you dont leave feeling like a hospital visit is imminent.True the chesse selection is sparse, but the quality is beyond anything you can find anywhere else. Finally, although the wine list is generally obscenely priced, there are some great low priced wines that are compatible with the vegetable dominant cuisine and the sommeliers are more keen to push these than the cliched trophy bottles. If you want to enjoy a 1990 La Mouline, I would suggest that you get one at auction at half the 1200 euros charged here and have it at home with a plain roast lamb. The complicated and subtle dishes of Arpege require an expert sommelier guidance and this is what you get. Is any meal worth 360 Euros ? If the answer is yes, then Arpege is the place.

                                    1 Reply