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The best dishes at L'Ambroisie, Arpège ect.?

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Dear France-board!

I am traveling to Paris with a fellow food-lover to explore some of the best restaurants in May. The list of restaurants is a result of a thorough investigation (partly based on this forum) and discussion, and is not up for discussion. And yes, I agree that it is too many top restaurants on a row, but I have done it before.
I was really hoping to get advice on which courses/menus to order in each restaurant.

1. Who have excellent degustation menus or lunch menus, and where is it best to order ALC?

2. Are there any dishes at the different restaurants that are absolute must haves?

3. I am also wondering whether there are important differences in seating in the different restaurants in order to get the best possible experience (for instance not to get seated in the basement of Arpège)?

The list is:
• Pierre Gagnaire (lunch)
• Lasserre
• Arpège (lunch)
• Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée
• Le Pré Catelan (Saturday lunch)
• L'Ambroisie
• Épicure (Le Bristol)

(we have a slight preference for classic cuisine, but are biased only towards top quality produce prepared with skill and respect for mother nature)

I would be very grateful for any help from the board! Thank you!

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  1. I would consider doing dinner or a la carte at Pierre Gagnaire instead of its lunch menu. While it was excellent on all counts, I think many people people expect something more from Gagnaire (surprising combinations, a little "shock value", etc.) and our lunch menu in late December 2011 was a little short on those.