A very short synopsis of five three stars and one that should be.
Just returned from a nine day honeymoon and a vacation with friends to London and Paris. The two highlights of the trip other than eating were center court seats at Wimbledon and a visit to Omaha Beach in Normandy.
The Fat Duck - A truly incredible experience. Very unique food that was very tasty. The ambience is virtually non existent with very low ceilings. A tall person is in danger of hitting his head on the ceiling. Service was great. The feeling I had was okay I've done it. Very little reason to return and eat the same food presented the same way.
Gordon Ramsay Royal Hospital road - Everything we had was delicious, but nothing truly unique. A very nice room. If you were sitting at the wrong table you lacked space. We were five and quite comfortable. The best dish was a desert - tarte tatin for two absolutely luscious.
l'Ambroisie - Probably the best of the three stars. Everything we had was absolutely delicious, although nothing truly innovative. We were seated in the front room which was quite nice. I had the distinctive feeling that this was the non French room in the restaurant with lots of English being spoken. Unlike others, I don't have an issue with this. Prior to coming to this restaurant, I had the impression that the staff could be quite cold to non regulars or Americans. This was decidedly not the case. I would definitely return.
le Cinq - We had Sunday lunch here. The experience was everything one would expect a three star restaurant to be, even though it only has two. Everything was exceptional - the room, the service, the food(every dish was a winner), the graciousness of the staff and the value. I'm very certain that even though we didn't know anybody I had the feeling that there were several VIPs in attendence. Despite this we were treated with great hospitality. This was perhaps the most beautiful room in which I've ever dined. This place ranked as number one.
Pierre Gagnaire - A very nice room with excellent service. Perhaps by this point we were getting jaded. We just had far too much food. Virtually everything was good, but nothing memorable. I had trouble keeping up with what we were eating. Perhaps it was just my lack of sophistication.
le Meurice - A wonderful palatial restaurant second in ambience only to le Cinq. Everything was excellent - the food, the service, three seperate visits by the gracious chef. Nothing was awe inspiring.
If I were rating the six not as a critic but only by my level of enjoyment, this is how I would do it:
3-The Fat Duck
The only two that I would want to return to before experiencing other three star type restaurants would be le Cinq and l'Ambroisie.
Good report. I wonder if your diminished enjoyment of some of the restaurants was down to eating at 6 top restaurants in 9 days. Others on the board often advise ambitious diners to be more modest in order to get the best out of each experience. Sounds like your experience reinforces that advice. That said it sounds lie you agreat fun.