30th bday dinner in paris (2 or 3 star meal)
Will be spending my 30th birthday in Paris with my parents. Would like to know people's thoughts on the best restaurant for a celebratory birthday dinner. We have eaten at Robuchon multiple times and love it, but I do not think we will want the counter atmosphere for a birthday dinner. We have also eaten at Taillevent and Guy Savoy in the past . We liked Guy Savoy better as the food was better and it was less stuffy. I am thinking either L'arpege, L'astrance, Gagnaire, Le Cinq, Le Bristol or L'ambroisie but am totally open to others as well. Absolutely phenomenal food is the most paramount consideration, but the dining experience important as well. We wil lfill in our other days in paris with good bistros liek chateaubriand, Frenchie, L'ami jean etc. but want a special spot for the 30th bday night. All thoughts are welcome and appreciated.
If you like "less stuffy' (I assume, the ambiance), skip the Hotel restaurants ( Le Cinq, Bristol) and l'Ambroisie.
But I could suggest Le Cinq if you go at lunch time, I feel the room is quite spectacular in the daylight.
If you want less "classical" French Cuisine, Gagnaire might be more interesting than others.
(my 2 cents).
I would recommend one of these three:
L'Ambroisie is excellent but more "safe" cuisine. I had an outstanding meal there.
Le Meurice has much more innovative cuisine, the best service, and the most beautiful room ever.
Gagnaire pushes the envelope with cutting edge cuisine, but it is also familiar and comforting, resulting in a perfect balance. Just great food. The more modern room isn't for everyone, and my service there was less than I expect from 3 stars.
If food is the paramount consideration, then think about Ledoyen. It is hushed and formal however. I think the service at Le Cinq is very well judged, with the servers capable of adapting to your mood. While everything is very correct, they can be warm and welcoming. They really do try to make sure you enjoy yourself. The food is not as good as at Ledoyen in my limited experience.
I find special occasion meals more enjoyable at lunchtime (it just feels more indulgent to me), and both of these places offer good value set lunches.
Of your choices l would pick Le Cinq or Gagnaire or for great food Ledoyen. Found service at Ledoyen quite 'stuffy'.
Unfortunately had bad experiences at L'Arpege and L'Astrance
Have not been to L'Ambroisie or Le Bristol.
Read this discussion pro and con of Le Cinq: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/850708
Some great feedbaci from Delucacheesemonger and Brian Gilligan. I have only been to3 of the 3* - Guy Savoy, L'Ambroisie and Ledoyen. L'Arpege is scheduled later in December.
In terms of stuffiness of service it is L'Ambroisie without a doubt. The last time I was there several months ago, I remembered an unfortunate patron who was clearly uncomfortable. He sat as our American friends would describe " with a poker up his ass" and had forgotten to unbutton his suit. The room was deathly silent despite it being almost full; service was competent and the only real engagement with the waiter came at the conclusion when when I took the mickey out of the waiter after he passed me the check and said "Sil vous plait" and did the same to my wife. At least he appreciated the humour behind the joke.
When it comes to food, I think its a toss up between Ledoyen and Guy Savoy. Perhaps we were fortunate, but we had a flawless meal at both the restaurants. I would give the edge to Ledoyen because of the perfection achieved over a larger number of courses in the Degustation Menu over the Internet Special.