Please Advise Between these Choices in Paris and Also, Need Help for Versailles
We will be in Paris for 2 nights of dinner and then, 2 nights at Versailles. With Paris, we have been to Jules Verne, L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon (sp?) and Market,. On this trip, we were thinking of going to some local bistros. Here are a couple of recommendations from friends - which would you choose since we only have 2 nights in Paris:
For the two nights at Versailles, we are going to La Veranda at Triannon Palace one night since we're staying there. Any recommendations for a restaurant in the town of Versailles?
Pikawicca - I can't report any because everyone is right - stay in Paris if you want a culinary experience. I especially had a horrid experience and meal at La Veranda - ate there twice with the second time culminating in this letter to Gordon Ramsay holdings:
Please forward this to your corporate headquarters.
I have always been a fan of Gordon Ramsay, especially after dining at Royal Hospital Road years ago when we first moved to London. We've been to Claridges, Maze, Petrus, Boxwood Cafe, Maze at The London in NYC. More recently when we travelled to Versailles where we stayed at the Trianon Palace, we ate at La Veranda twice.
Both experiences were quite dismal from a culinary perspective - we had lunch there on 29 May (Saturday) and then, dinner at 30 May (Sunday). Although the meal was not special at lunch, we had a very good server who was extremely pleasant (the one in the apron, not the suit who was not very client-focused). It was disappointing that the food was not up to our expectations of a typical GR restaurant, but the overall experience was still positive because the dining room was beautiful and the service was fine.
On our last night at the hotel, we opted to dine at the hotel rather than head into town since many restaurants were closed on Sunday. It was the worst meal experience we have ever had anywhere! Our waiter decided early on that we were not worth serving. Tables were filling around us, and it was disconcerting that every table started to get drinks served while we were simply ignored for 30 minutes. After my husband complained, we got our drink orders taken. To make up for it, the waiter did apologize and give us complimentary amuse bouche. At this point, we were hopeful that our meal would turn around for the better. But it declined if possible because while our appetizers arrived in a timely manner, it was over an hour before our entrees arrived AFTER we finished our starters. We saw a large table of 10+ people get their meals and the other tables around us finish their dinner before we even got our entrees. These tables all got to the restaurant after us.
To make things worse, the food was heavy and left you feeling "ugh." The only reasonable dish was the lobster risotto. Although this is supposed to be the more casual of the dining rooms, I really expect better quality food than we received. Everything was cooked very heavy-handed without any delicacy at all. The zander was the worst dish of all. This had to be one of the worst dining experiences of all time for us.
I'm writing you this feedback because I am surprised that Mr.Ramsay would put his name against a restaurant like this. Is there no quality control to ensure that his reputation is upheld in some of these restaurants? When we go to any of Nobu Masuhitsa's or Jean-Georges Vongerichten's restaurants (whether in London, NYC, Milan, Paris), we always get the same amazing food. I was disappointed to find that this was not the case for La Veranda. This restaurant really ought to end up in his Kitchen Nightmares show.
I hope that you will do independent audits for this restaurant.
Here is their response:
Thank you for taking the time to write us and please allow me the opportunity to apologize to you most sincerely for your disappointment on your recent visit to La Veranda at Trianon Palace.
Gordon Ramsay is a consultant to The Trianon Palace and does not in fact operate the restaurant himself. The restaurant is owned and operated by Hilton who Gordon of course works very closely with on the style of service and cuisine. We were surprised and sorry to learn of your comments and would like to assure you we take guest feedback extremely seriously. As Gordon’s name is associated with this restaurant you are right to expect the same high levels of cuisine and service that you have encountered at our other restaurants.
I am sure my colleague in Versailles will respond directly you and will be as concerned to learn of your feedback as I was. I would also like to assure you that your comments will be discussed in the strictest possible terms during our regular visits to ensure the quality and standards are as you would expect of a Gordon Ramsay restaurant.
Assuring you of our best attention at all times.
For Gordon Ramsay Holdings
His colleague from the Hilton Hotel also wrote back offering us a complimentary dinner, which was nice of them. But it is more important to me that they do something about the restaurant because it is unlikely that we will ever voluntarily return there so hopefully, we can influence its improvement somewhat.
I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who was royally disappointed by La Véranda! Unlike you, I didn't take the trouble to write a letter of complaint. Perhaps I should, although I wonder if the place is jinxed; I didn't like it much better under the previous chef, Gérard Vie.
Of he places you mention I am enthusiastic only about La Mediterranee (their giant artichoke is awesome - to overwork an overworked word) and La Veranda, I have tried every place in Versailles and come to the conclusion there's no there there except for Gordon. How about going to his #1 and just ordering one dish if budget is a concern, which it should be there? I also think there's a bar menu in the passageway to the East.