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Le Cirque or L'atelier de Joel Robuchon

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I have family arriving in town next week and am trying to decide between the two. I know they're both well-regarded in town and I have been wanting to eat at both for many years now. In my mind, Le Cirque is the better restaurant, but L'atelier has been getting a lot of press lately. Is there any truth to the rumor that Le Cirque may be changing/closing as the involvement of the Maccioni family changes?

We would either order the DĂ©gustation Menu at Le Cirque or the Seasonal menu at L'atelier.

The cuisine at both places intrigue me equally. The only requirement is that the dinner be memorable, the dishes exciting, and the meal being decently filling. Assuming I can get a reservation at both places, which should I choose?

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  1. The Maccioni family involvement with Le Cirque is not scheduled to end until the spring.

    My vote is for Le Cirque--have dined at Le Cirque 5 times in the past 10 years, and all the dinners have been excellent.

    1. No comparison between the two. Both have excellent food, but Le Cirque is a quiet and formal fine dining venue, and L'Atelier is a much more informal restaurant with counter seating. If you are with more than a few people, conversation while sitting at a counter is very difficult. For me, Le Cirque is hands down the better restaurant experience…mainly because of the ambiance, comfort and service.

      I don't think anyone has any idea how or if Le Cirque will change following the departure of the Maccioni family next spring.

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      1. re: josephnl

        I completely agree with this, though I'd give the edge to L'Atelier in creativity. For me, I'd do Joel Robuchon over either as I feel it warrants the price, but if restricted to ONLY L'Atelier or Le Cirque I'd go to Le Cirque repeatedly as Kamel has now left JR/L'Atelier

        http://endoedibles.com