Price Differences - 3 Micheline Stars in France, New York and Bruges
I wanted to know if the price differences between French 3 Michelin Star restaurants are warrented because they are better or, is it about the same and more expensive. A little background...
I am going to be going to France for 2 weeks in November on my honeymoon and my future wife and I were planning one grand meal at 3 star Micheline Restaurant. However, as I explored the prices on websites, and on here, I was a little taken back by the costs compared with other 3 star Micheline restaurants I have been to.
For my previous meals excluding wine:
Per Se in NYC, cost $275 per person service included (Jan 2008)
(we spent about $960 on the two of us when we were done)
De Karmeliet cost me 135 Euro per person (2005 - its now about $170 according to their website)
(I was there alone and spent about 250 Euro)
In both the above cases, they were 7 and 9 course tasting menues (along with a series of amuse bouches and other mini-courses that don't count)
When I look at the French restaurant websites, and what others have said, it looks like I will be having to spend $200-$300 more. Are the restaurants that much better or is just a higher price for some reason?
I do want to do a big meal, but on the other hand, I still have some concern over the budget.
The 3 star restaurants outside of Paris are much more reasonable and just as good. In fact we enjoyed a lovely lunch at the Auberge De L'ill which is in a quaint quiet village near Colmar. Our bill came to 435 Euros for the 4 of us. We had ordered from their set menu which was 96 euros each.
Mind you that converted into over $700 CAD.
I find that any restaurant in Paris is generally more expensive than an equivalent elsewhere France. Maybe it the rents, maybe it is the staff costs, or it may simply be because they can. However, it is worth having a top of the range meal in Paris at least once, it will be wonderful and will give you a benchmark.
French three stars are far more expensive. Alain Ducasse and Pierre Gagnaire in Paris are around E 300 + wine while Marc Veyrat is E 359 + wine. Schwarzwaldstube (Germany), Le Calandre and Dal Pescatore (Italy), El Raco de Can Fabes and El Bulli (Spain) are all under E 200. Also, note that when you get your AMEX bill you will be paying $1.61 or 1.62 for each Euro spent so your E 300 is really going to be close to US $500 + wine per person. Personally, I believe that the three stars noted above are, in their own way, as good as anything I have had in Paris.
I think that in part it is simply an exchange rate thing. I can't comment on the restaurants themselves, but let me show you....ok, I'm British (are you? You did say 'cheers' at the end of your post, which made me think!) and for most of my formative years, $275, the US menu price, was about £190.
Now, you say that the Bruges menu is currently about €170. For most of my formative years, this would have been about £110.
So until recently, this restaurant would have been considerably cheaper.
The dollar has fallen so hugely in value as the Euro has got extremely strong.
So using pounds sterling as a comparison, the US menu now costs only £140 or so while the Bruges menu would now cost me £134.
If you are starting out with US dollars, this kind of thing is going to hit you even more (at least while I get far fewer euros for my pound, I get a lot more dollars... People from the US just get less of everything).
As for the comparison between Paris and Bruges: things are going to cost a lot more in Paris, rents are so much higher here, demand is higher, but as for how much you pay simply to have the 'Paris fine dining experience' it's hard to tell.
I am actually from the colonies - Canada. And I guess, I do understand the price differential between Paris and Bruge but, I get the impression its higher in France period. For me the real question is, will a French 3 star be better than Per Se or De Karmeliet, or am I going to get roughly the equivilent and just pay 20-30% more?
And as always.... cheers! ;-)