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My first 3 Michelin star restaurant...

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I've been trying to find the most recent posts on opinions about the various 3 star restaurants in Paris but mostly come across reports and opinions from over a year ago. So if there is a recent thread already existing, feel free to point me there instead.

I've never been to a 3 Michelin star restaurant in Paris, and this is one of my goals this year before my birthday in a month. If you were to choose one, which would you choose?

I enjoyed the way that Souphie summed up some places in a thread from 2010:

"Gagnaire is a very crazy, exciting experience, sometimes delicious, always memorable. Le Cinq is hyper-welcoming and luxurious, with food that can be dazzling. L'Arpège is a one-man show centered on vegetables in which the main character (Passard) is not always present or inspired. All are truly exceptional restaurants, but in differerent ways."

I guess that's what I'm looking for...a sum-up of your favorites so I can best figure out what to choose. Or just your opinion on why you'd choose some over others. I've always enjoyed the food reports and photos from L'Arpege so the food itself draws me there, Ledoyen seems to get consistent rave reviews for excellence of technique, and Gagnaire is appealing because "crazy, exciting & memorable" sounds like fun. Just looking for any updates within the past year of why I may want to consider one place over another.

I live in Paris, so yes, I could try more than one, and hopefully I will, but budget is a factor that prevents me from going to as many places as I would like.

Appreciate any thoughts or opinions you may have!

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  1. More specifically, do you have any recommendations like subs or additions for a tasting menu - For example, Uhockey recommended getting the macaroni castle as an extra at Ledoyen - Do most people agree that even though it's 98€, it's that good that it's worth it? And someone on the recent Le Cinq thread talked about subbing the slow cooked lamb shoulder at Le Cinq - I didn't even know it was an option to ask for a substitute. That's the kind of info I'd love to know! Or perhaps specific a la carte items are preferable to a lunch menu. Otherwise, I will just get whatever lunch menu is available.

    4 Replies
    1. re: juliemarie8

      May I ask why you would want a sub?
      In my limited experience in those stratospheric places, it is usually ok to get a sub, esp when one asks ahead of time.

      But one may not be doing oneself a favor. The succession of dishes has a sense. One dish balances the last one, in terms of texture, taste and sometimes even color. Subbing, while often allowed, is selling oneself short.

      If you have an insurmountable allergy, by all means ask for a sub. But remember, The meal will not be as good as the chef had designed it originally.

      1. re: Parigi

        I've just been reading several posts & reviews lately where people have mentioned plats not being that great, or where they know of something exceptional on the menu and have asked for it in place of their main course options, so it made me curious if this was the case anywhere else, as I didn't even know that was possible.

        For example, I went to Le Cinq last year and was not at all impressed with my fish, which was under-seasoned and tepid. I'm not the kind of girl to leave anything behind, but I left most of it just having no desire to finish it. DLCM recently mentioned subbing a 17-hour lamb shoulder at Le Cinq, and had I known that was an option when I went there, I would have done that, as it sounds incredible! I know Le Cinq is not a 3-star, I'm just using this as an example of the sort of thing I'm talking about. I'm just trying to learn from the experience and knowledge of others, having none in this category myself.

        The macaroni castle for example - just curious if there's anything special like that to look out for. And another thread talked about a restaurant where certain ALC items were better than the lunch menu, so you were better off paying a little more and getting those instead.

        Perhaps there's nothing else specific to look out for or to be aware of, but I thought it was worth asking just in case.

      2. re: juliemarie8

        Honestly, I think if you just read what is posted, that is most of what there is. Overall feelings on the 3 stars has not changed so much in a year(unlike the more casual scene) and particular dishes, requests, etc. would be in posts. I'd assume if someone has much to say in reply, they would have already posted it but maybe you get a bit of cutting edge info. And just to clarify, Le Cinq is not a 3 so perhaps you should make it clear if you are asking about the actual *** or fine dining in grand spaces(Le Cinq, Les Ambassadeurs, etc.).
        Macaroni castle is 98 now? Crikey! It was 90 when I was there last, well, more like would have been.It was not even on the menu that day.

        1. re: dietndesire

          Okay, good to know. If these places do not change in a year or so, then I have plenty of info and will just go off of that. I've been reading so many different threads and blogs and differing opinions spread over a 3 year period that it's all jumbled together, so I thought I'd just ask for any quick recent opinions if anyone had been in the past year. I actually tried to delete this post about an hour afterwards, realizing that most people would probably be annoyed by this request because there's so much info out there, but it wouldn't let me.

          And I'm not considering Le Cinq as an option since I do want to try a 3-star; I was only mentioning it in the sense that people had mentioned subbing a lamb shoulder for the plat option on Le Cinq's menu, and I wondered if that was something people recommended anywhere else. I went there for my birthday last year and my plat was mediocre, but the rest of it was a wonderful experience.