Once Special Meal - Pierre Gagnaire or L'Ambroise
So I will be in Paris on a saturday and sunday night, which has limited some of the restaurants i wanted to try. I am trying to decide on L'Ambroise on a Saturday night or Pierre Gagnaire on Sunday night. I have read that the ambiance is a little more romantic and intimate at L'Ambroise, but I have had trouble finding discussions on the food. I have also heard that Pierre Gagnaire can be hit or miss. In terms of ambiance and food quality, can anyone point me in the right direction?
You had trouble finding discussion on the food at l'Ambroisie? On this planet? Why not read Refined palate, Ulterior Epicure, ChuckEats, Julot:ZeBlog, Wandering Epicures, LifeWorthEating, to name but a few?
They're both hit and miss. They're both stellar when they hit, life-changing. Both are the kind of restaurants where you can have the best meal of your life, ever. Both are the kind of restaurants where it will easily cost you 500€pp.
Pierre Gagnaire is wild and suprising, with many many little plates and bites. The setting is contemporary and pleasant. L'Ambroisie serves just as many plates as you order, plus an amuse and a few mignardises. They usually consist of one protein, one vegetable, one sauce, in the purest "nouvelle cuisine" tradition. On good days, they have the best ingredients on the planet and make them shine like you have no idea.
Provided you don't have a strong preference, for a one time visit, Gagnaire is a slightly safer bet. L'Ambroisie often requires a few visits to get accustomed to (and them to you).
My wife and I returned yesterday from a long weekend in Paris and Sunday night at Pierre Gagnaire was the best meal of our trip. Gagnaire was present and friendly, the staff were all amazingly nice, the room cozy and modern (neat floor lamps for most tables), the food incredible (not too much to eat, despite the many plates), and the overall experience well worth 900 euro. Our other meals from best to worst: Spring (cool atmosphere, food almost as good as PG, kind of place I would dine at often), Le Cinq (great service, good value lunch deal), Jules Verne (decent traditional food, not too filling, the view, surprisingly few English speakers, expensive Sunday lunch), L'Ami Jean (too full from lunch at LC, hot and crowded, service not rude as feared), and Guy Savoy (jet lagged lunch after arrival Friday, chef in house, underwhelming food, too many other Americans in our small room). Good luck with your Sunday dinner!
re: Charles Nixon
Thanks for the good report.
Will be in Paris soon (in 10 days YAY!) and have booked Spring and Pierre Gagnaire (for lunch - just don't have the cash for dinner and I'd like good wines). I chose PG in part because although sometimes I've read reviews where people are not that enthusiastic about PG, they always seem to say that the experience was very "interesting" which appeals to me. Expensive and weird I can handle better than expensive and pedestrian. JMHO.
I will report back when we get home!
Sorry to be slightly off topic but is Pierre Gagnaire even open on Sundays? I'm planning a trip to Paris as well and I noticed on their website that it says: "Fermeture samedi et dimanche tout la journée."
Perhaps I'm reading it wrong?
I just do not understand this self hate by Americans. Why is the phrase "too manty Americans" so often used as a negative when describing a Parisian restaurant? Do you go to a place to enjoy the food, service, general ambience or who else happens to be occupying the dining room in which you are sitting. I could understand if you were saying "too many ill mannered or raucus people". Certainly there are some(albeit few) Americans who exhibit these mannerisms, but so are there other people from all over the globe. When I go to a quality restaurant I focus on the food, service and general atmosphere, rather than the people who may be sitting at a neigboring table.
The ambiance and service at Pierre Gagnaire was excellent when I ate there. While I enjoyed the meal and the food was excellent with the appetizer tasting menu and the entree menu it was just too much. I'd much rather eat high end bistro. Also, the wine list is amazing there.