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Best of Best restaurants in Paris

I am planning a a 7-8 day stay next Spring, divided between Paris and Reims/Burgundy. The Michelin guide has been reliable in Paris. As I have fewer nights in Paris (5) than 3 star restaurants, how would the chowhounders compare 3 star restaurants in Paris? Which Michelin starred restaurants are considered "can't miss", "all time favorite," "special occasion" restaurants? While I never like to waste money, I anticipate paying a small fortune for each dinner in Paris, so cost is no object. As a secondary enquiry, which are the current great restaurants in Reims and the Burgudy region?

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  1. Unless you vomit after every meal, you might consider tuning your plans back a bit. Fine food is for enjoyment, not stuffing. Mix experiences up a bit.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hychka

      We dont know if the OP plans on have baguette lunches on a park bench....
      I agree its pretty intense but surely you can go the worlds' best and not stuff yourself.

      Tour d'argent perhaps...

    2. Hychka is right. l used to be able to eat a big one daily, now down to 2 a week. l know there are a zillion meals to be had in Paris and many are wonderful. But for me, as the people on this board know, my go to is L'Ami Louis. No it is not starred, yes it is frightfully expensive, and no they are not easy, especially for reservations for Americans, but the meal is PERFECT in every regard. The meal is certainly not molecular in any regard, nor frufru, just superb ingredients, the best they can find, cooked simply. l will be there in September and am looking forward to it on a daily basis.

      1. <As a secondary enquiry, which are the current great restaurants in Reims and the Burgudy region?>

        Reims: Assiette Champenoise; Les Crayeres
        Burgundy: Relais Bernard Loiseau, Saulieu; Georges Blanc, Vonnas; more later.... Souphie?

        8 Replies
        1. re: ChefJune

          l do beg to disagree. Have been to too many ** and *** that did not deliver. Georges Blanc had a lovely room, a great hotel and a very memorable wine list , but the meal was IMHO dreadful. Ate his grandmere's chicken as well as other stuff and both my guest and l left most of the food. The confitures at breakfast the next morning were as good as ever had. Went to Loiseau with Souphie and a Manhattan chef last year, which l posted on and found the food OK, the service tediously proper with no fun. The best things of the trip was a wonderful cheese shop in Saulieu and the cigar room at Loiseau that made the day. Had a great meal at Crayeres many years back, and have heard it is still great

          1. re: ChefJune

            I second Les Crayers in Reims. Will be visiting again in September so hope to post an update then!

            1. re: ChefJune

              How are Lameloise in Chagny and Caveau des Arches in Beaune for dinner?

              1. re: gjrubino

                I like Lameloise a lot, it is a very welcoming restaurant, with very able and delicious cooking, wonderful service and fair prices. See pics: https://picasaweb.google.com/ZeJulot/...

                1. re: souphie

                  Soup: do you like Lameloise better than Assiette Champenoise, or not as much?

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Haven't been to Assiette Champenoise yet. Looking forward to, though.

                  2. re: souphie

                    I'll second Lameloise. Excellent food and so true about the welcome! Nice from beginning to end - service is correct without being overly stuffy. I was stunned at the wine prices, really reasonable when I would have expected a large markup.

                    The lobster with cardinal saybon (sp?) sauce was to die for! (see pic attached). Haven't done Assiette Champenoise either.

                     
                  3. re: gjrubino

                    Caveau des Arches is good, not great. What about Ma Cuisine?

                2. Thanks for these early replies. I do not plan any inter-meal trips to the vomitorium, but neither do I plan to binge eat. I don't think that one great meal/day is binge eating. I will admit that fitting in a good lunch and great dinner makes enjoying the dinner difficult, so I will not be planning any "double meal" days.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: gjrubino

                    The line between enjoying fine food and gluttony may be a fine one, but you don't need a photo finish picture to call which side of the line 8 three star dinners in a row falls on.

                    1. re: hychka

                      Not everyone has the same metabolism you know. It is possible to have a nice meal and to do a bit of walking/biking around during the day without it falling under the term Gluttony. Also, just because someone doesn't see things exactly as you do does not make you correct and them wrong...just different.

                  2. I second the recommendations for Loiseau and Blanc. I've been to Blanc's 4-5 times; the first two times, many years ago, I found the sauces (G7 chicken and chicken oysters) a bit salty and overpowering (while still very good and full of character), but more recently the recipes seem to have lightened up. I especially enjoyed a Turbot dish, the best I've ever had of that fish. I would add Lameloise in Chagny to your Burgundy list. (Am not very familiar with Reims.)

                    As for Paris, L'Ambroisie is my hands-down "all time favorite". I've probably been there a dozen times and never tire of it. I have lots of runners-up, but to narrow the list I'd give the nod to Le Cinq, Les Ambassadeurs and L'Astrance. For Sundays Le Cinq is an especially easy choice.

                    The issue of appetite crops up on this board occasionally but it seems to be a matter of personal preference. I, for one, am always hungry the next day as long as I don't upset my stomach by gorging myself. Two or three courses is plenty--I hate feeling like I've eaten to the bursting point. Even worse, too much wine can ruin your night's sleep as well as the next day's appetite (I try not to exceed half a bottle per meal). And one hot meal per day is enough. (If you decide to insert a lighter, non-starred meal into your schedule, my favorite is La Table d'Eugène--definitely worth the little ride on the metro.)

                    As you say you "never like to waste money", why not have lunch instead of dinner? Most restaurants (not L'Ambroisie) have special lunch menus that save you a lot of money without sacrificing on quality.

                    1. Thanks to all who have contributed useful tips.

                      I thought this board was meant for sharing information about great food and restaurants - I'm not sure why hychka has only criticized my request for recommendations of current great restaurants

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: gjrubino

                        I think the primary reason that you received so few recommendations for the "best of best" in Paris is that the topic has been discussed thoroughly on this board. The same restaurants are recommended by the basically the same posters: L'Ambroisie, L'Astrance, Le Cinq, Ledoyen, Rostang, L'Arpege, Guy Savoy are the current favorites for one reason or another; might throw in Pierre Gagnaire. Out of favors are Ducasse, Taillevent, Le Grand Vefour, Le Bristol. Maybes are Le Meurice, Le Pre Catelan, Lasserre.

                        1. re: gjrubino

                          PBSF is correct plus some of us no longer go to the Best of the Best, we're into price-quality at a different price point. Chacun........ and all that.

                          1. re: John Talbott

                            Thank you for this different perspective. When I live somewhwere, I too look for best-value meals that are often overlooked by professional reviewers. However, when I travel, with a limited number of days, I try to find what most people consider the best restaurants.

                            1. re: gjrubino

                              I have no problem with that and indeed 30 years ago "did" France that way.
                              It's just now we live/eat differently for many reasons.

                              1. re: gjrubino

                                Another perspective is that if one only hit the Michelin star restaurants, one is missing certain aspects of eating out in a great food city such as Paris. Paris has a great variety of excellent restaurants cooking different types of French food. Many are not necessarily Michelin stars. Most starred restaurants have certain common traits: expensive ingredients, complicated preparations and presentations, large well-dressed serving staff and a certain mode of service. In term of food, they don't serve the wide range of cooking that what makes French cooking so appealing to many of us. Seldom one can find a great roast chicken, a salade de lardon, a soupe de poisson, simple grilled sole on the bone swimming in brown butter, or what a great bistro chef can do with parts of a pig or some lesser fish. And in terms of mood and ambience, Michelin star places can be hush hush and at times, somewhat joyless. On the opposite end, a dinner at Spring can be personal as eating at a friend's house, the ingredients chosen with as much care and the cooking as exact as any 3 star place. A meal at L'Ami Jean or La Regalade can be a joy with their boisterous atmosphere and lustily prepared food. A good mix of restaurants can give better picture what Paris has to offer.

                                1. re: PBSF

                                  Well put. Of the many places l go to eat in Paris, only two are starred and are for not somber but 'special' occasions. Not necessarily for cost as many unstarred are more than starred, but as PBSF said lusty and boisterous make the meal in many situations.

                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    I have always argued for the kind of lusty boisterous eateries where DCM waved at me once in fact.
                                    Since le Divellec was mentioned recently, that reminds me of an odd experience of eating divinely there among fellow diners who all seemed to be working on the next Papal Bull.

                                    1. re: Parigi

                                      They probably were, or working on something equally power-related. Le Divellec is one of the top power restaurants in Paris, if not the top.

                                      1. re: Ptipois

                                        I always thought that was the Restaurant le Club Maison des Polytechniciens
                                        in the 7th.

                                        1. re: John Talbott

                                          Ah Ptipois knows here stuff. Wasn't Le Divellec Tonton's de facto caterer?
                                          If those late Sunday lobsters could talk…

                                          (Am about to commit fusion perversion: aiguillettes de canard sautéed in duck fat, with Chinese plum sauce.)

                                          1. re: Parigi

                                            Indeed. And not only Tonton.

                          2. In Paris: L'Arpege http://forktotheleft.com/2009/10/13/p...

                            Le Meurice: http://forktotheleft.com/2009/09/18/p...

                            L'Ardoise: http://forktotheleft.com/2009/09/16/p...