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Fine dining dinner for two in Paris

I am traveling through Europe next month and am ending my trip in Paris where a very good friend of mine lives. He is letting me stay at his place, so as a thank you I would like to take him out for a nice dinner. I am looking to spend 70-100€ per person, wine not included.
I've done some research and have come up with a few places:
L'Atelier de Robuchon
Pierre Gagnaire
Le 39V
Of these, which one is worth the money most? Also, if you have any better suggestions please let me know. Thanks!

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  1. Your first three come in way over your budget, the latter three l am unfamiliar with. Ones you might consider.
    L'Auberge du 15
    Casa Olympe
    Chez L'Ami Jean.
    l think L'Atelier is your best choice and if you order carefully, you can keep your total down easily, but it will still be over your listed limit.

    1. Sola -- 88 euros, excellent, modern cooking.

      1. Kei is beautiful-very refined atmosphere with service and food to match. I agree with Sola, but with a much more casual atmosphere than Kei..

        1. Since no one has picked up on 39V, my summary was "very nice, refined and pricy." That is, 118.50 E a couple for lunch, I'd guess 50-60% more for a la carte dinner.
          As for the others; at l'Atelier, stools at the counter seems counter to a fine dining setting; my meal at Cobea was very disappointing, I've long given up on Gagnaire & L'Astrance so I guess that leaves Kei which is terrific and fine dining and I rated a 7.9/10 making it #5 in 2011. (Sola was an 8 and #2).

          1. I agree with both Kei and Sola with Kei being more formal.

            1. I absolutely loved Kei, as did my dining companions. I think it is the best value for fine dining in Paris.

              1. So, from the sounds of it I should dine at Kei. I'm willing to go a little over budget if need be. Is it worth it to go to Robuchon, Gagnaire, L'Astrance, or even Guy Savoy?
                I'm a chef in a restaurant in the states and enjoy good food and wine and appreciate what these master chefs have brought to the table for as long as I can remember. Should I skip these places and go to Kei? Or is it worth my time and money to dine at one of these other establishments?

                10 Replies
                1. re: SpencerC

                  Wow, a chef, choosing between Kei, Robuchon, Gagnaire, L'Astrance, or Guy Savoy. Man you are giving us a tough ball to hit. My advice is to buy or steal a dart board and throw one or 2 out of 3 or 4 out of 5 or.... oh you get the point. You cannot go wrong; come for a week; kick back, relax, enjoy.

                  1. re: SpencerC

                    Spend to money and try one of the greats. If you think of the marginal cost on top of the whole cost of your trip then the difference between a good meal and a meal at one of the greats will soon fade into distant memory.

                    Which to choose? I think Robuchon Atelier whilst good is more of a production line compared to the few top Robuchon restaurants - unfortunately I don't think Paris has one!

                    So of the remaining greats I suggest they are all really as good as each other and it is simply about finding one that matches the style of meal you want for your guest and which chef is most interesting to you professionally. By limiting the budget no one had really commented on them, however they are all reviewed in detail in other threads.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      Going to dinner at the places you mention is not a "stretch" of your stated budget, it is a doubling or tripling; just know this going in. You can go to some of those places mentioned for their lunch menus, which would be at the high end of your budget, or a little "stretch". But of course, lunch, for most people, is not as celebratory as dinner. As a chef, you might be interested in Gagnaire if you are seeking originality and interesting combinations (which sometimes don't work), or L'Astrance, which offers lighter, creative (but not molecular or flashy) understated food with an asian influence in a somewhat more relaxed atmosphere than the others. If food is not the primary focus, and you want something with very good food but is also more celebratory and festive with great service, Guy Savoy or Le Cinq would be good choices.

                      Regarding Kei and Sola, glad people are saying such great things, as I am going to each of them for dinner in a couple of weeks;).

                      PhilD: I live by your "marginal cost" comment (or "incremental cost"); so much so that when I persuade friends to stretch for a certain hotel or a certain restaurant, they now refer to these additional costs as "Fishcrementals" (my nickname, plus incrementals). It has never been a difficult decision for me when choosing between spending x for a good hotel or good restaurant, or spending x plus 20 % or 30% for a (hopefully) great one.

                      1. re: fishskis

                        Fishskis, I think you've spelled it out beautifully.

                        1. re: fishskis

                          I also think its wise to think in total terms of the holiday, the OP is travelling Europe so with that and flights etc etc the incremental/marginal cost is going to be very small indeed and can really add significantly to a holiday memory. I always like to add at least one blow out at least to a trip and "balance the books" elsewhere.

                          1. re: PhilD

                            Not totally disagreeing from a financial standpoint, but I don't see how a dinner at Kei would be a sacrifice just because it's less expensive. IMO it's pretty extraordinary, and when it's earned its star(s) which I imagine it eventually will, it may no longer be such a bargain.

                              1. re: PattyC

                                Thanks for pointing that out. I think I did notice that but had forgotten. It is certainly well-deserved.

                              2. re: rrems

                                I don't think anyone is equating the cost with quality, instead it is about the opportunity to try the food of well established top chefs at their "home" restaurant in order to experience the food that made their reputation.

                      2. Wow, so many comments regarding the pricepoint.

                        Anyways, I think I've decided on Kei or dinner. Cobea will be my backup plan.

                        I may try L'Atelier and/or L'Astrance for lunch while I'm there.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: SpencerC

                          For what it's worth I thought Kei was a 7.1/10 and Cobea a 3.5.