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Apr 6, 2009 08:54 AM

Need advice: 5 decadent days in Paris

I will have 5 days in Paris later this year and want to really go over-the-top with the best of Paris -- We enjoy everything including contemporary, classic and well-done bistro fare.

Here's what I'm planning so far (and I have reservations at most of these already).

Any thoughts, comments or suggestions are more than welcome!

I'd be especially interested in hearing opinions about my celebratory dinner on Day 5 -- Is La Table du Lancaster a good choice? For that final dinner, I'd like someplace with amazing food and a lively (but not deafening) atmosphere.

Thanks in advance,

Day 1: Dinner at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Day 2: Lunch: Tour d'Argent; Dinner: Le Comptoir du Relais

Day 3: Lunch: Pierre Gagnaire; Dinner: Les Saveurs de Flora

Day 4: Lunch: Le Ziryab (on the terrace of the Institut du Monde Arabe); Dinner: L'AOC

Day 5: Lunch: Senderens; Dinner (a special celebration with some friends who will come from out-of-town) - La Table du Lancaster.

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  1. I think Senderens is a more lively atmosphere than Lancaster which I found to be very good but quite elegant and rather staid...maybe Table Robuchon ( not L'Atelier) is more to your liking in terms of atmosphere again with very good food...seemed a bit more alive to me .

    2 Replies
    1. re: capeanne

      Thanks so much Capeanne. I think I may change my plans based on your suggestions. Would love to hear from others about my other choices. Is this a good sampling of some of the best Paris has to offer?


      1. re: hungrynewyorker

        Your experience at Pierre Gagnaire is something you will remember for a long time. Exquisite food, service and ambience. The presentation of the food is unique. You might reconsider going to dinner afterwards.

    2. sounds like you have an enormous capacity! We are never able to eat much in the way of dinner after enjoying a 3-star, 3-hour lunch.

      1. Hopefully you will report back. I am going to be very interesrted to hear your thoughts on Day 2. Tour d"Argent gets very few mentions these days, I last went there about 6 years ago so it will be interesting to see how it stacks up in such illustrious company. I hear it is back on the up.

        I love Le Comptoir du Relais especially for dinner. Very few people make it for dinner (I assume this is pre-booked week night reservation) and usually only comment on lunch which is a totally different so it will again be interesting to see what you think.

        1 Reply
        1. re: PhilD

          Thanks, Phil. I do have reservations for Comptoir du Relais (weekday night). I was there several months ago for lunch and it was amazing. I recall having a chilled watermelon soup with olive oil and mint. The only reason I chose Tour d'Argent was for the views (though I did hear good things about the food, too.) I wanted to stay away from the Jules Verne since I'd heard that was far too touristy.

          Would love to hear from others about my mix of places. Is this truly some of Paris' best??


        2. Three different opinions: One friend said Senderens is super, other said trhey were mistreated as Americans, and other said it is too expensive.

          6 Replies
          1. re: kel

            Thanks, Kel.

            Anyone else have opinions about the places on my list? Is this a good mix?

            1. re: hungrynewyorker


              My wife and I are on the fifth of 6 days in Paris:

              Had lunch at Pierre Gagnaire and it was marvellous.

              We have eaten at L'Ami Jean (brilliant), Le Cinq (wonderful), Benoit (OK), Pierre Gagnaire (excellent), Chateaubriand (pretty good), La Verande (Versailles) (lovely but poor service and a bit corporate), Paul Bert (chain like), Thion (terrible), Le Timbre (tiny and food maybe a bit underseasoned)

              You really must try L'Ami Jean. It was lively and the food was tasty and very accomplished. The best meal we have had even among such great restaurants.

              Le Cinq was great too. Less self absorbed and obsessed with a symphony of taste than Gagnaire in my opinion. I can remember what I ate whereas at Pierre Gagnaire it's like a kaleidoscope of colours and tastes and at the end it's hard to remember what you ate and in which order.

              We have just cancelled dinner in our own hotel , Les Ambassadeurs, as it looks too much like dinner in the Hall of Mirrors. Too vain I suspect.

              Do try L'Ami Jean .......unless you want to get dressed up.

              Have a great trip


              1. re: kphilbin

                Paul Bert might be lots of things, but chain like? It's just the opposite.

                1. re: allende

                  I wonder if maybe there are several Paul Berts since I can honestly say that the meal I ate there today could have been served up in the French section of Epcot at Disneyworld in Florida............sorry Mickey!

                  Printed paper tablecloths; plasticised menus; staff with the restaurant name embroidered on their shirts; being told to move after we had been seated so that they could squeeze another couple onto our table; tasteless snails which is hard to achieve; vinegary wine; hopeless wine list; greasy potatoes and chips and a very average steak. Onion soup was pretty good.

                  Very pleasant tawny port which was a welcome surprise though.

                  I guess Allende is right since a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and this is so weak that it would be a very short chain. Don't go. Take a baguette and some ham and eat on the street like most of the antique dealers in the neighbourhood do rather than eat there.

                2. re: kphilbin

                  Paul Bert chain like??????

                  Oops I see your response below. That is not the one we are talking about.

                3. re: hungrynewyorker

                  Just back from Guy Savoy

                  Fabulous food and great staff

                  Just wonderful.

                  Beats Pierre Gagnaire and Le Cinq and Blumenthal and Per Se and Citronelle and Le Manoir and La Bouitte and and and based on tonight's performance !!!!

                  Staff were professional but smart and friendly and comical. Great variety and a real desire to make dinner an all round relaxed gourmet experience. The best Maitre D' and staff I have ever encountered.


              2. Thanks Kevin and everyone else for your advice. I will definitely consider L'Ami Jean, Le Cinq and Guy Savoy. Would love to hear more about Senderens too. Sounds like there are lots of conflicting opinions about that one!

                6 Replies
                1. re: hungrynewyorker

                  Well, here's my take: Senderens is one of the greatest geniuses of cooking of the last century. Unfortunately his cooking requires flawless execution which the restaurant has been less and less able to provide since Frédéric Robert (who is now chef at La Grande Cascase, a wonderful restaurant inside the Bois de Boulogne) left. The one exception remains the desserts, that are out of this world good. Also, because Senderens is such a genius, every now and then a course is well made and it is wonderful. And wine pairings remain among the best anywhere -- there again, especially with desserts.

                  What I do and recommend doing is that I have dinner at nearby Tante Louise and then head to Senderens for dessert (or two).

                  1. re: souphie

                    There is no doubt that Guy Savoy gives a wonderful overall dining experience. The food is excellent and the service is the most "americanized" of the great restaurants in Paris. However, Le Cinq, also gives a superlative dining experience, albeit with different atmosphere, service, and approach. Secondly, it is impossible to compare restaurants in Europe to restaurants in New York such as Per Se. As good as Per Se, in my opinion, the best restaurant I have eaten at in the United States (approximately 15 meals), it can't compare to the best in Paris. THe restaurant manager at Per Se would agree with me, as well.

                    1. re: sethd

                      I agree. The way I would put it is that le Cinq is more polyvalent and has better food, but Savoy has a better show running.

                      By the way, just back from a great lunch at le Cinq, and Briffard was NOT in the house. Things are only getting better over there. Will report more soon.

                      1. re: souphie

                        Souphie, thanks. Based on your comments, and those I've read elsewhere on the board, I've made reservations at Guy Savoy. I think the modern decor is more suited to our tastes, rather than the more formal atmosphere of places like Le Cinq.

                        I'm still in the market for a great place for a very special Sunday dinner with friends who will be travelling to Paris just for the occasion. I oringally picked La Table du Lancaster, but was afraid it might be too quiet (We want a place that's lively, but not deafening.) Then thought about Senderens, but there are so many mixed opinions about that. So would love any ideas about a place that's open for Sunday dinner, has spectacular food, and a lively, welcoming and modern feel.

                        Thanks all!

                        1. re: hungrynewyorker

                          I wouldn't describe any of the two or three star restaurants in Paris as lively. Although you are eating at L'atelier, his more formal restaruant Le Table is open on Sunday and might be good for you. One other multiple starred restaurant open on Sunday is Le Bristol.. Ami Jean, if open, might meet your criteria though.

                          1. re: hungrynewyorker

                            La Grande Cascade is open every day and has spectacular food. It is neither loverly nor has a modern feel (except in food that is). For lively you should head to a brasserie downtown -- La Rotonde is the best if not the most spectacular. L'Auberge Bressane is lively but nowhere near modern.