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Feb 27, 2010 07:23 AM

Le Cinq or Guy Savoy for lunch?

In Paris this March. Trying to decide between these two restaurants for lunch. We are thirtysomething Americans with some experience in fine dining (French Laundry, Inn At Little Washington, etc.) Help us choose, please!

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  1. Hi John: Don't know Le Cinq and declined a chance to eat at Guy Savoy because I didn't feel like spending $300+ pp for lunch. Guy Savoy does have a wonderful reputation though, if you don't mind an atmosphere that is funereal. It is one of those gastronomic temples where nobody speaks above a whisper.
    I highly recommend Market, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Paris restaurant at 15 Avenue Matignon in the 8th Arrondissement. 01.5643 4090 Fabulous eclectic food, marvelous setting and people watching, and while not cheap by any means, an excellent value for your money.
    FYI, my Dad has an apartment in Paris, so I visit the city fairy regularly.
    I know this wasn't exactly the answer you were looking for, but i hope it will help you decide anyway.

    1. The food at Guy Savoy is superior.. The wine list at Le Cinq is superior. Between these two I would choose Guy Savoy. I regard the restaurant at Le Bristol as superior to Le Cinq; both have comparable wine lists.

      7 Replies
      1. re: amrx

        I would rank Le Cinq first, Le Bristol second, and Savoy third, based on my own limited experience (twice at Savoy, once each at the other two). Savoy served up some amazingly good peas, chicken, and dessert, but let me down with starchy artichoke soup, overspiced sauce with asparagus, tasteless fish, melting ice cream... Le Bristol committed no such missteps, but nothing was really distinguished apart from the riz de veau. Le Cinq was tastier than Le Bristol, while at the same time more precise and balanced than Savoy. Both Savoy and Le Cinq have excellent, jovial service. (The host at Savoy, M. Hubert from Germany, is a lovable character.) I certainly didn't find Savoy to be a funereal, whispering temple; if anything, it seemed less formal and more festive than Le Cinq, while preserving a certain intimacy. Savoy used to have a 100-euro lunch menu for internet reservations, but I can't find it on their recently redone website. Since Kloeppere and Amrx have taken the liberty to plug their favorites outside of Johnpressman's question, I'll do the same and recommend mine, which is L'Ambroisie; I dare say it would be a pity to miss out on it.

        1. re: fanoffrance

          L'Ambroisie does not have a prix-fixe lunch. The food is excellent; wines have been disappointing. To get the best out of L'Ambrosie one needs to be a regular..

        2. re: amrx

          The food at Savoy is only superior if it's an exceptionally good day at Savoy and a bad one at Le Cinq. Food at Savoy has not been top class since the mid 1990s. It is nevertheless a wonderful restaurant. But not one where you go for exceptional food.

          Not only does Savoy still has the 100€ lunch deal -- one teen per couple eats for free. Le Cinq can't match that, even with the wonderful 78€ menu.

          1. re: souphie

            Someone recently reported that the 100E lunch is no longer available. It is NOT on the Guy Savoy webpage. However, I did e-mail in requesting it for two and will report the results.

            Several other special luch places you have suggested have no web pages or spots on the hotel webpage in which to request lunch/dinner reservations. Should I just call the phone #s during service hours? My next trip will be in 75 days. Is it too son to call?

            1. re: hychka

              If it's too soon to call, they'll tell you when a good time is. So it's never too soon. It's not for le Cinq for sure. In France, calling is always the safest way to reserve.

              1. re: souphie

                Reservations at Guy Savoy confirmed via e-mail in the night ,"We have booked the “Special Lunch Menu” for 2 people table on Tuesday...." So, thanks for the advice. And, yes, I'll call some of the others, too.

                1. re: hychka

                  Having lunched at both, I'd return to Le Cinq in a heartbeat, but not Savoy (unless I was invited and someone else was picking up the tab!) I much prefer the atmosphere (light through grogeous windows and supremely elegant at Le Cinq vs dark, windowless, and clubby at Savoy) and the food at Le Cinq is more refined, although at Savoy you get a choice of the whole menu for the "special" and at Le Cinq the lunch special menu has limited choices. Service at both is excellent and niether is one of those "gastronomic temples where nobody speaks above a whisper."

        3. Add my two cents here. The two restaurants are similar but very different. Le Cinq is far more 'glorious' and the flowers alone are worth the trip, Savoy is more theater and fun. Food for me is more varied and enticing at Cinq. Cost is similar but if you cannot avoid odd wonderful wines, Savoy took the two of us to over 600 euros quickly even with the internet special. If l had another meal would do the special at Rostang for the quenelles, oh my. And if only could eat at one in Paris it would be L'Ami Louis, not fussy but IMHO my favorite.