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What is the best 2 star restaurant in Paris?

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Which one do you think is the best 2 star restaurant in Paris? Please exclude Le Cinq as it is considered by many and also priced as a 3 star place.

To name a few. Lasserre, Le relais louis xiii, Senderens, Carre de Feuillants, Thierry Marx, L abeille, L'atelier de JR, Rostang, Grand Vefour etc.

As for cooking, service and value for money.

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  1. Senderens is very iffy, having just been bought by Potel et Chabot. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it's in wait-and-see mode.

    I haven't got a lot of info about most of the others — some institutions, some reliable (Lasserre, Grand Véfour), some no longer in their prime (Rostang), some getting their two stars a bit too early to be honest (L'Abeille and Thierry Marx, the latter serving stuff that cannot exactly be called food, the former serving some of the most amazing desserts in Paris, if you like that).

    Le Relais Louis XIII might well be one of the most interesting, as carefully executed classic haute cuisine goes.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Ptipois

      What do you mean about Thierry Marx? I was about to make a reservation for his restaurant but then I saw that it is closed on Mondays.

      Judging from what I have seen on the web about the pastries on Shanghri-la and L abeille(same pastry chef I think) they look great.

      About Le relais I like the fact that you can have a 3 course menu for 50 euros, and the dishes are the ones found on the regular menu.

      1. re: Ptipois

        I remember reading a Gastroville review of Le Relais Louis XIII a few years back, which trashed it in the most embarrassing manner possible.

        I have been intrigued by it ever since (and will probably visit the next time I'm in Paris)!!!

        1. re: Julian Teoh

          There's a different chef now.

          1. re: Ptipois

            It is still Manuel Martinez cooking there, no?

            1. re: Julian Teoh

              Indeed, my mistake, I thought Manuel Martinez had come in more recently. He has been at Le Relais since 1996.

              But if your only criteria is a Gastroville review from years ago, I think an update is in order.

              1. re: Ptipois

                Oh no, not at all, to the contrary, I was very surprised that out of the not many reviews available on Louis XIII, one was so virulently and atypically negative. The menu certainly reads very well and like I said, it is definitely on my list for next time.

                1. re: Julian Teoh

                  Well, that was a few years ago indeed...
                  I must confess I have been wanting to try Le Relais Louis XIII for quite some time and haven't yet. So it is definitely on my list as well.
                  I keep hearing very good stuff about it, really.

                  1. re: Ptipois

                    It's very good indeed, but not Gastroville compatible. Gastroville (in its food review form) was all about exceptional ingredients, well (or very well) prepared Le Relais Louis XIII is all about having a MOF's cooking, plus the awesome setting. Tose are very different perspectives, and you don't go to Louis XIII for a life altering experience, like you may at l'Arpège, Ledoyen, Senderens back then, l'Ambroisie back then, etc. But it's solid.

      2. The word "best" has no meaning.
        For a convergence of the factors you cited, the Grand Véfour is my fave. Le Cinq is the safest pick for a convergence of experience, with the food taking nearly 2nd place.

        1. Your assumption that there is a price range for ** and another one for ***, higher, is faulty. In your list, Rostang is clearly as expensive as any ***. Vefour used to be one and is priced accordingly. You can grab a bite at JR's for 60-70€ (small bite, admittedly). Le Carré des Feuillants is no less expensive than Le Cinq, which is about the price of Ledoyen as well.

          If your question is value fine dining, the answer is as usual lunch at Savoy, Gagnaire, Le Cinq or Ledoyen. Much less expensive than dinner at Senderens if you're reasonable (haven't been to Senderens in a while because it got so bad after Robert left, except for desserts).

          Still, if your questions is among the ** (but why?), you have very different experiences from one to the other. The most spectacular for decent value (and excluding Le Cinq) is probably Lasserre, followed by Grand Vefour and Taillevent. They're the most Gusteau's (the fancy restaurant in Ratatouille) like.

          The others (Senderens, Piège, Passages 53, JR etc.) are more specific, concept experiences :
          - wine pairing and desserts at Senderens,
          - pretentious über-technical chef in the wild at Piège,
          - young talents in a discreet settings and vert subtle cooking at Passages 53,
          - high end snack at Robuchon (come to think of it, it's almost room service without a room),
          - ancient cooking at Rostang (le gratin dauphinois, les quenelles!),
          - ancient house and super classicism at Relais Louis XIII
          - mansion and brasserie food at Apicius
          - bold chef at Thierry Marx. I'm talking about the hair, really.
          - I don't know l'Abeille. This apparently needs fixing.

          18 Replies
          1. re: souphie

            Thank you very much for your answer.

            It might sound a bit weird but the reason I asked about some 2 star restaurants and not the 3 star ones is because I have searched so much about the 3 star that now the element of surprise is missing.

            In all cases I m talking about lunch.

            L'Abeille has the least amount of reviews in blogs etc. They say it has some of the best desserts in Paris(cant find any pics of them), but no lunch menu. It is 2 star but Gault Millau has given it 5 toques, one more than to many 3 star restaurants in Paris.

            1. re: Giannis

              Michelin is nototoriously slow to react. I haven't been to l'Abeille as I said, but it looks like the review patterns is a very good one and it is worth a try.

              Given your resarch, you should consider one star restaurants too.

              1. re: souphie

                Do you have any specific one star to propose?

                I would like a cheap lunch as possible, or better, lunch with good value for money.

                I know that Paris can get really expensive, and I have already booked for some starred restaurants. Le relais louis xiii for example is cheaper or about the same for lunch than many one star places.

                1. re: Giannis

                  Many are wonderful (and not necessarily better value), and I don't think anyone really knows them all. I like:
                  - La Grande Cascade, for Robert's extreme perfection, but the cheap menus are sometimes subpar
                  - Kei in memory of Gerard Besson, who is coming back for one week in ten days
                  - La Truffière for lovely food, spectacular wine list, and a different location (Panthéon)
                  - Hiramatsu for masterful cooking in a modern bourgeois environment (everything I ate there was truly superb ; but there wasn't much, and it didn't feel like a party)
                  - Le Divellec for top notch seafood while he's still here (those scallops with truffles bring tears to my eyes)
                  - Le Céladon for affordable-ish luxury and food that is still food and an affordable menu
                  - Haven't been to Il Vino, but everyone seems to love it
                  - Le Sergent Recruteur for an unexpected artsy experience in an irresistible location
                  - Les Tablettes de JLN for his mastering of classic chic ingredients, eg asparagus, truffle

                  1. re: souphie

                    Le Divellec is no more my dear Souphie... Old Jacques is still around but he sold his restaurant to Costes about a month ago. RIP.

                    Your list truly kicks ass. I wouldn't have proposed a better one.

                    1. re: Ptipois

                      O shit. If I had known I would have had one Ultima Cena there.

                      1. re: Ptipois

                        I knew he sold, but sometimes you stick around for a few months after that. Not in that case?

                        1. re: souphie

                          No, he officially handed the place over to Costes on October 31st. Last days were not the cheeriest the house has known.

                          1. re: Ptipois

                            All hail the Costes.

                            1. re: Ptipois

                              "Last days were not the cheeriest the house has known."
                              I loved loved loved the food there, but its atmosphere was never that cheery to begin with.
                              Not your thigh-slapping, whooping-it-up kind of place.

                              1. re: Parigi

                                Well, this departure leaves us with Le Duc, so, in comparison, yes, this was pretty high-slapping.

                                1. re: souphie

                                  There's still La Cagouille.

                                2. re: Parigi

                                  Well, then, imagine what it must have been like when I lunched there for the last time in October...

                          2. re: souphie

                            l do remember the wine pairings at La Truffiere were on my top ten Paris experiences ever, just amazing in scope,esotericism, and quality.

                            1. re: souphie

                              Thank you very much souphie!!

                        2. re: Giannis

                          I second L'Abeille for the desserts. I hadn't met with such balanced tastes and textures since Frédéric Robert left Alain Ducasse's service in the early 00s. The pastry chef is more than talented. He'll go far.

                          1. re: Ptipois

                            This is a bit offtopic, but the best desserts I have ever had were at Spondi in Athens, 2 michelin stars. The pastry chef is Giorgos Platinos. I cant recommend them enough if you ever be in Athens.

                            1. re: Giannis

                              Thanks. I have heard a lot of good about Spondi, but I did not know about the desserts.
                              In Athens and Piraeus I tend to seek good taverna food instead of haute cuisine which too often lacks the local touch, but I certainly would visit Spondi.

                      2. Your assumption that there is a price range for ** and another one for ***, higher, is faulty. In your list, Rostand is clearly as expensive as any ***. Vefour used to be one and is priced accordingly. You can grab a bite at JR's for 60-70€ (small bite, admittedly). Le Carré des Feuillants is no less expensive than Le Cinq, which is about the price of Ledoyen as well.

                        If your question is value fine dining, the answer is as usual lunch at Savoy, Gagnaire, Le Cinq or Ledoyen. Much less expensive than dinner at Senderens if you're reasonable (haven't been to Senderens in a while because it got so bad after Robert left, except for desserts).

                        Still, if your questions is among the ** (but why?), you have very different experiences from one to the other. The most spectacular for decent value (and excluding Le Cinq) is probably Lasserre, followed by Grand Vefour and Taillevent. They're the most Gusteau's (the fancy restaurant in Ratatouille) like.

                        The others (Senderens, Piège, Passages 53, JR etc.) are more specific, concept experiences :
                        - wine pairing and desserts at Senderens,
                        - pretentious über-technical chef in the wild at Piège,
                        - young talents in a discreet settings and vert subtle cooking at Passages 53,
                        - high end snack at Robuchon (come to think of it, it's almost room service without a room),
                        - ancient cooking at Rostang (le gratin dauphinois, les quenelles!),
                        - ancient house and super classicism at Relais Louis XIII
                        - mansion and brasserie food at Apicius
                        - bold chef at Thierry Marx. I'm talking about the hair, really.
                        - I don't know l'Abeille. This apparently needs fixing.

                        1. I really enjoyed Jean François Piege, even though it was very technique-centric.
                          Passage 53 was an enjoyable experience, though lacked the 'boom' factor.
                          I would suggest trying Cobea, the new 1 star in 14eme - it was one of the most memorable meals I have had so far.