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Oct 24, 2012 03:07 PM

Pierre Gagnaire - tasting menu or not?


we'll be visiting Pierre Gagnaire's restaurant in Paris in November for lunch and after all I have read and seen, Iam still unsure: is this a restaurant where the tasting menu is the best option, or should one go for some à-la-carte dishes?

To give an impression about our preferences: we love innovative/modern cuisine (like The Fat Duck or Alinea or L'Arnsbourg) but are kind of afraid of the big portions that french 3*-restaurants often serve – at Alain Ducasse in Paris I could not finish one single dish from the (wonderful) tasting menu, so insanely huge and heavy were the portions.

Our most beloved restaurant in Paris is Agapé Substance.

So, what do you think is the best way to experience Gagnaires cuisine and his "genius"?

Thanks alot!

regards from europe

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  1. from my limited experience at Pierre Gagnaire, ordering from the regular menu or from the hunting menu (if it is still there when you go), will give you a lot of food.

    Most dishes are in fact a collection of small dishes.

    When I went, I ordered from the Hunting menu and ordered dessert (soufflé) and could barely finish everything.

    Gagnaire is very generous.

    I think that most people feel that the lunch menu is a bit underwhelming.


    1. Done both, tough call. With ALC you can get large portions of what you really think you want, but with Tasting menu, the surprises are very often worthwhile. On one occasion liked a tasting course so much, they gave me a second one when l asked.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        I had originally planned to go to Ledoyen for lunch, but alas, it won't be opened that day (Don't know why, it's a regular weekday in early July).

        So, now I think I am set for PG. Can someone tell me if for a party of 5, people can participate in different menus - a la carte and lunch menu? I don't think any of us will take the tasting menu.

        1. re: theskyflyer

          Everyone in your table does not need to take the lunch menu; some can order a la carte.

          1. re: PBSF

            Usually, only the tasting is suggested for the whole table.

        2. re: Delucacheesemonger

          What he said. Tasting probably actually has fewer tastes than ordering 3-4 courses ALC, as ALC dishes are often composed of six, seven "satellite" plates around the main one. As DCM says, you're not going to get what you think anyway.

          Also, ALC is essentially more expensive.

        3. Sorry to revive this thread, but what is the approximate price of each a la carte dish?

          9 Replies
          1. re: lhenry

            Recall 80-100 euro entree and 100-140 plats. Thus one of each comes out about the same in quantity of food and l rarely eat dessert so to miss the Grande Dessert is no big deal to me.

            1. re: lhenry

              It's expensive, about 100e per dish (both for the appetizers and the main course). but it comes with all the trimmings, you will not leave hungry.

              My experience at Gagnaire (2 years ago) cost me 335e , including 1 bottle wine and dessert.

              1. re: Maximilien

                Exactly the same for the Prix fixe and one bottle of wine. Water and coffee were included, rare.

                1. re: Maximilien

                  Would one main course be enough for lunch? Also, what are the recommended a la carte items?

                  1. re: lhenry

                    The menu is quite descriptive


                    What do you like (or dislike), are you more into fish/shellfish or meat (red or white) ?

                    At lunch, if you are short on money, you could order the lunch menu, which does contain the "Grand Dessert".

                    1. re: Maximilien

                      Just a comment on the above post regarding to the Lunch Menu; the last two times that I had the Lunch Menu, the dessert course is not the full "Grand Dessert" (if ordered a la carte or part of the Tasting Menu) but a shortened version consisting of 5 small tastings. Still plenty of food.

                      1. re: Maximilien

                        I generally like red meat better, but am open to white meat and fish/shelfish. One of the reasons I didn't want to do the lunch menu was because it got bad reviews by other chowhounders, is this true?

                        1. re: lhenry

                          From my experience, I wouldn't say that the Lunch Menu is bad but it cannot be compared to ordering a la carte or his regular tasting menu. For Lunch Menu, his first course and dessert both consisting of 5 small tastings are mostly delicious and creative. The two main plates are more pedestrian and the ingredients are less luxurious (example: cod instead of turbot). Still, I think it presents good value and a chance to experience his cooking without blowing a large budget.
                          As another posted stated, the 3 star restaurants of Paris are all different and unique in what they have to offer in terms of cooking style, ambience and service. It comes down to what one is looking for and expectation. What you are looking for as"Superlative" is very subjective.

                2. Also, would you recommend PG over the other 3* in Paris. This will be my first trip to Paris (December), and I want to visit superlative restaurants.

                  P.S. I will also be going to Le Cinq in this trip

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: lhenry

                    They all are different in some ways.

                    What kind of 3* cuisine are you looking for ? classical ? more modern ? "grand" setting ? intimate ? tasting menu vs. "à la carte" ?

                    I've done Gagnaire and L'Ambroisie and, I think they are quite at the opposite of the spectrum in terms of cuisine and ambiance.

                    I've had a lot more fun at Gagnaire, but l'Ambroisie was quite a fabulous experience (and much much more expensive).

                    1. re: Maximilien

                      I want an opposite experience to Le Cinq, but I do tend to like more traditional food and setting. I don't really care whether it's a tasting vs. à la carte either. What do you think would be a good fit for me.