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Nov 16, 2008 02:08 PM

La Cote Saint-Jacques in Joigny & L'Arnsbourg in Untermuhltahl?

Does anyone have any recent dining experience in these 3-star restaurants? I am going there during the last week of November. Thanks!

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  1. Raves keep going in regularly about l'Arnsbourg, which might well be the best place in France right now. Reports about La Cote Saint Jacques are more mixed.

    2 Replies
    1. Friends who dined at Cote St. Jacques recently returned raving.

      Be sure to let us know your impressions of both places, and Bon Appetit!

      1. We were at both La Cote Saint Jacques and L'Arnsbourg in March of this year. I was very, very disappointed by La Cote Saint Jacques and absolutely in love with L'Arnsbourg. The difference was night and day as to service, innovation and food quality. We stayed at both and again there was a huge difference between both places.

        See here:

        1 Reply
        1. re: lizziee

          Hi Liziee,

          I saw your links on your blog, and was very happy to see a photo of Claire. She was the subject of one of our discussions:

          I was very impressed that such a young sommelier could have that much talent in pairing wines and have made a note to keep track of where she goes in the future.

          I can't wait to go back there.

        2. Was at Cote Saint-Jacques last November and was greatly unimpressed. Food was unimaginative and the entire experience was boring, most unusual for a multi-starred restaurant. Wine list was grea.t and fairly priced. Left a long review last year on this site, check by my name

          8 Replies
          1. re: Delucacheesemonger


            I greatly appreciate your inputs. I will let you know after I dine these places next week.

            1. re: makotot

              For the most part i think the food at La Cote is a bit uninspired, however that being said some of the classics are still divine and the level of skill is representative of 3-stars.
              The truffle in cabbage and the poulet de bresse in 2 services are both very very well done.
              And if i am not mistaken the renovations should finished and the new spa complete.... now they just need to renovate those horrible rooms.

              Hope you enjoy the trip and please let us know about Larnsbourg, it has been on my list for a while now and i havent had the chance.

              1. re: feedmegood

                Funny, when there had the truffle in cabbage. For the amount of truffle flavor it could have been a black painted tofu ball. Totally pretty and totally tasteless and barely warm

                  1. re: souphie

                    Have stopped going, period. l know too early for winter truffles, but person l was with wanted to try it. If they were flavorless( and a hell of a lot less expensive) they either should have taken them off menu or at least charged a lot less.

                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      A very valid point. I was just teasing you.

          2. My only visit to La Cote Saint Jacques was my last... as it was mediocre... haven't heard anything positive.

            4 Replies
            1. re: WineAG

              My Report: The cooking style of La Cote Saint-Jacques is more old fashioned Burgundy food which reminds me Lamelois in Chagny. I was happy with the food after dining some 2-star restaurants in the Bordeaux area which became too experimental, but I must say that it's not the same caliber or sophistication as some of top 3-stars in Paris (i.e. Arpage, Guy Savoy, etc.). On the other hand, L'Arnsbourg in Untermuhltahl was exceptionally good. It's light, creative yet using some traditional Alsatian ingredients but the quality and sophistication of the food is truly remarkable and close to perfection. I have been over twenty 3-star restaurants in France and Germany, but I would easily count this as one of the top experiences. L'Arnsbourg can easily complete or beat some top 3-stars in Paris. I will say that it’s totally worth a travel to this place even though you have to go through long windy country roads in Alsace.

              1. re: makotot

                Just curious Makotot: Would you be willing to share a couple of your top experiences in France and Germany? Would love to hear your opinion.

                1. re: girobike

                  Sure. In Paris, I have been all 3-stars, but my favorites are Pre Catalan, Guy Savoy, Arpage. I diend at Pre Catalan in November 2007 and had really good sea urchin dishes and a veal dish. I usually prefer red meats and don’t care about vegitables but was really impressed with the creativity and high quality preparation at Arpage (except for you don’t have choices of cheeses and desserts). When I dined at Guy Savoy in spring of 2003 or 2004, they had a spring inspired menu. The menu included something simple dishes like poached egg with green garnishment or lightly butter sautéed chicken and very slightly sautéed spinach, etc. These were simple but extremely fresh and delicately done. I went back to Guy Savoy in 2007. Although the chef was there, it seems the quality slightly slipped (something like from 98 points to 97 points), but the restaurant was tightly packed (which may cause the quality to slip when the kitchen is too busy). My Alain Ducasse experience was back in 2002. They had amazing appetizers, but I had not been there recently (His New York restaurant was expensive like in Paris but not worth it). Outside Paris, I had been only 8 of 3-stars (Maisons de Bricourt, Lameloise, Auberge de I’ll, Troisgros, Beranrd Loiseau, Goerge Blanc), but the memorable ones are Troigros, Auberge de I’ll, and L’Arnsbourg. Troigros has been 3-stars for over 20 years but their food was a good combination of modern and traditional and not outdated. I don’t remember any particular dish but the experience was surprisingly pleasant. The same for Auberge de I’ll in Illhaeusern. I am happy to stop by and revisit some of traditional places like Lameloise, Beranrd Loiseau, or Goerge Blanc if I am driving on that way. In Germany, I had been all 3-stars (Winkler, Schwarzwaldstube, Dieter Mueller, Vendome, Schloss Berg, Sonnora) except 3 newly promoted ones in 2008 (Bareiss, Amador, GaesteHaus – my to-do for this year). Although many younger German chefs are doing a great job, it’s a bit hard to compare to really top 3-stars in France. Interestingly, Vendome in Bergische Gladbach surprisingly had really good fish dishes. They have only 1-star but I really enjoy Margaux in Berlin and Romantic Hotel Fuestenhof in Landshut, Bayern. If you like duck, you should go Hotel Adlon in Berlin. I try to complete all 3-stars in France and Germany within next 2 - 3 year but am still enjoy going to smaller places in the countryside of France to be surprised with some local dishes and wine.

                  1. re: makotot

                    Hi Makotot, I see you've been keeping track of IFS2008! He really knows his stuff and we are planning to meet up in the near future at a place we both know in the middle of nowhere in Germany.

                    Thanks for your quick reply. I share the same point of view also and enjoy the smaller places much, much more than going to a city. Had our disappointments before.