DILEMMA - How to get the best of Paris in 2 nights - Michellin Meal vs. Multiple Meals
My trip to France/Italy is coming up in less than 2 weeks (September 10-26, 2010) and I am having some changes of heart regarding my wife and I's restaurant choices. This is what we have so far:
Arrive Monday late afternoon-
Monday Dinner: Le Regalade SH
Tues lunch (this is where it gets tricky): Guy Savoy (100E unadvertised lunch special) OR Cuisine De Bar for a light lunch.
Tuesday dinner will depend on whether we go to G Savoy or not. I am sure it is a brilliant experience but for the price we could have a light lunch, hit different patisseries, sip tea in the afternoon with macarons, then grab dinner at either a trendy spot (KGB?) or more simple satisfying fare at La Rotisserie du Beaujolais (I feel like we must try roast chicken in Paris).
We are staying in the 6th, just up the street from Brasserie Lipp. While I have read the food is not notable at Brasserie Lipp, the experience intrigues me (our first time in Paris) and seems like it could be a possible substitution for La Rotisserie du Beaujolais (how is the roast chicken at Lipp?).
We plan to go out on the town Tuesday night and will likely look for a late night meal. Am thinking Chez Denise for that or potentially Brasserie Lipp (again, not sure about Lipp).
The Tues plans all depend on whether or not we go to Guy Savoy for lunch. If we do go to GS then I imagine we will only be open to a late night meal and not a dinner (whether KGB, La Rotisserie, or Brasserie Lipp).
So, I believe my true question is: Which lends itself to a more satisfying experience of Paris with only 2 nights to explore-- a Michelin starred Meal like G Savoy, where lots of money and time is spent in a fine dining restaurant OR an excursion of some cheaper eats around more or less the same neighborhood where one can sample things like roast chicken, baguettes, pastries, etc., while hitting multiple locations and getting more "street" time?
I appreciate any input and realize my post is layered with several sub-questions. Thank you in advance!
Since your trip will apparently encompass other places in France in addition to Paris, I think you would do well to concentrate on bistros that give you a special Parisian feel (in addition to taking less time). Starred fine dining is just as good in the provinces, and usually cheaper than in Paris. (By the way, Guy Savoy is certainly not the best restaurant in Paris!)
We had the Guy Savoy lunch special reserved, but declined confirmation after much discussion and back and forth over philosophical issues related to eating, charity, value, appearances, etc., etc., etc. Also, several on this thread reported that the $100E thing gets into several hundred quickly with wines, which threw fuel on our lively discussions about these reservations.
Instead, we went to Giverny by train, picnicking on the train for breakfast and again overlooking the river on a chicken from the market, some veggies, apples and Stohrer's almond croissants. Susan made dinner with soup from the accumulated chicken bones and some potatoes and veggies from the market and some excellent wine I found.
I still have mixed thoughts about our decision. Nonetheless, let me assure you that you can have a tremendous time in Paris without spending the plane fare on one meal. Enjoying food in Paris isn't all about 3 star meals.
I would do the Guy Savoy 100E lunch. Just go easy on the champagne and wine (25E for a glass) or skip it altogether, also skip the coffee. You will still get a wonderful experience. The food may not be the best but it is very good. Much of that debate is really for high-end fine dining experts. You will be treated well. It is a great feeling after a leisurely lunch, strolling out of Savoy and turning the corner to see the Arc de Triomphe. That is Paris. From my traveling experiences, I always wind up regretting NOT doing something because I decided it stretched my budget. When I look back, those euro savings doesn't seem to mean much. By going to La Rotisseries du Beaujolais or similar, one will probably spend 100E for two; I would trade one meal at Savoy or similar for two meals there.
I totally agree with this last assessment: in the bistro vs fine dining debate, the value is not on the side of the bistrots. But that was not the OP's dilemma: his was about fine dining vs lots of good foods from different places. Honestly, those are two great ways to enjoy Paris: seating down at Guy Savoy or le Cinq vs going to many wonderful little shops and places. Again, I don't think fine dining is necessarly the less expensive option. It's definitely the lazier one. I would really do both, and skip Régalade.
Awesome replies on both sides - now I am more confused!
I should note that we plan to dine at Le Louis XV in Monaco (***) and Mosconi in Luxembourg (**) so there will be some fine dining going on. I know G Savoy is not the best restaurant foodwise but we chose it based on the value (lunch special - and we will be taking it easy on wine) and the perception that it is a fun restaurant with great service and still very good to great food. Le Cinque was in our thoughts but I have heard about limitations with their lunch menu.
Ultimately, we want to get the most out of Paris and may consider shifting the Rotiss/multi-venue excursion to Monday and doing G Savoy on Tuesday for lunch. I just need to decide on whether I can live without going to a "bistronomique" spot while in Paris.
At the risk of being banned from this board; it's not just about the food. We seem to get along very well without frequenting bistronomique spots or the "latest and greatest" new bistro. When you walk out of Guy Savoy I suspect you will be smiling, and won't even think of debating whether he deserves all his stars.