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Best Restaurants in Paris

Urgency Dec 9, 2013 05:06 AM

Please submit your rank lists on what you think are the 10 best restaurants in Paris right now, based solely on food with cost, service, decor and cuisine as non factors.

  1. John Talbott Dec 9, 2013 07:26 AM

    OK, I'll bite - those that opened in or near 2013:
    8.7 Hugo Desnoyer
    8.5 Les Tablettes de JLN
    8.1 Lazare
    8.0 110 Taillevent, Sergent Recruteur
    7.9 Cantine de la Cigale
    7.8 Roca
    7.6 Les Enfants Rouges
    7.5 Petit Champarret, Premices, Terroir Parisien Bourse
    Is there a prize?

    6 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott
      Ptipois Dec 9, 2013 08:20 AM

      The prize of contributing for free and at the very least without credit to a survey, blog post or magazine article for someone who won't even decline their purpose or identity. When I answer a question, I like to know why it's asked.

      1. re: Ptipois
        John Talbott Dec 9, 2013 01:44 PM

        So, of course Pti, you are, as always, correct. As Pierre45 accuses me, I and we, act as an unpaid concierge service. Full disclosure, however, that list was already composed and took a few seconds to block and paste.

        1. re: John Talbott
          Parigi Dec 9, 2013 01:50 PM

          "that list was already composed and took a few seconds to block and paste."
          And the OP can't even find it.

          1. re: Parigi
            Urgency Dec 9, 2013 06:05 PM

            Thank you Mr. Talbott for being a good sport and playing along. I've always enjoyed your reviews and your website and have much respect for you.

            To the others, I love food and I love lists. I don't work for any publication nor am I interested in blogging. I'm surprised there hasn't been a top 10 this year for this board. I just wanted to know what each one's personal favorites are.

            1. re: Urgency
              Parigi Dec 28, 2013 11:05 AM

              So where did you go ? And what is your verdict ?

              1. re: Parigi
                Urgency Jan 21, 2014 02:28 AM

                I will post my list above.

    2. mangeur Dec 9, 2013 02:21 PM





      I provide these lists to point out that your question is not definitively answerable since any list is necessarily a judgment call. Note that the last list places Gagnaire first, while you voiced dissatisfaction with him in a previous post. Beauty is in the eye etc. etc.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mangeur
        Parnassien Dec 9, 2013 02:54 PM

        Unanswerable indeed. I suppose I could come up with a top 10 list one day but depending on mood, direction of the wind, etc it would be a totally different list the next week. I might have less fluid list by quartier but for Paris as a whole, no way.

        Like I've said again and again and again, the huge depth and breadth of the Paris restaurant scene creates an embarras du choix. Compiling a top 100 is difficult enough. A top 10 is impossible.

        But I do have an infallible method for choosing the best and the unmissable: "Am stram gram, pic et pic colégram...". Guarantees a great meal every time.

      2. souphie Dec 12, 2013 10:01 AM

        Hello! It is a weird way to ask indeed -- as with any request, explaining the purpose and the context would probably make for both a better response and a more friendly exchange.

        I also suspect our Pti has post traumatic stress disorder from an old food blogger/forum moderator/entrepreneur who did take to abuse free contributions from fellow bloggers.

        Still, it's a game, and I love games. Here's my top ten for food, unfiltered, uncriticized, radically spontaneous.

        1. Ledoyen
        2. Le Cinq
        3. L'Auberge du 15
        4. Chez l'Ami Jean
        5. Chen Soleil d'Est
        6. Le Duc
        7. Pasta e Basta
        8. Pierre Gagnaire
        9. L'Ami Louis (based solely on food, remember. They're ahs, but(t)... )
        10. Le Pétrelle

        As Parnassien, I'll probably have a different list if you ask next week. But I'd probably have had a similar list if you asked me a couple of years back.

        40 Replies
        1. re: souphie
          John Talbott Dec 12, 2013 10:11 AM

          "Unanswerable indeed."
          Of course but look who jumped out of the pond after the metal lure?
          We cannot resist the temptation to leap up at the question, can we?
          But I want to urge Urgency urgently to ignore all polls, as he/she would those silly "Best Doctors in..., Best Universities, Best World Restaurants...."
          Would you get your tummy tuck from the Best Doc in Omaha? Your financial advice maybe.

          1. re: souphie
            Ptipois Dec 12, 2013 11:20 AM

            OK, I'll play.

            This is my 10-best list AT THE MOMENT. It is perfectly likely to change tomorrow and be totally different next week. I mean, not that quickly, but since I never think in "best" anything, my mind shifts quite frequently on that matter.

            Please note that the list is not sorted by order of preference but some places do come to mind first.

            1. Spring
            2. Septime & Clamato (same house really)
            3. Caïus
            4. Chez l'Ami Jean
            5. Chez Hamadi
            6. Youpi et Voilà !!!
            7. Carnet de Voyage
            8. Dans les Landes
            9. Pierre-Sang in Oberkampf
            10. Terroir Parisien Rive Droite

            1. re: Ptipois
              John Talbott Dec 12, 2013 12:20 PM

              "Carnet de Voyage"

              1. re: John Talbott
                Parnassien Dec 12, 2013 12:29 PM

                And after superior Chinese nosh for lunch at Carnet de Voyage near Saint-Lazare, you can install yourself in Les Cartes Postales on the rue Gomboust in the 1st for a franco-nippon dinner.

                1. re: Parnassien
                  John Talbott Dec 12, 2013 12:39 PM

                  "Les Cartes Postales"
                  You're too young to remember but it was the first venture here of an Asian chef breaking into the solidly French-French world.
                  Since then, of course, we've seen the dike broken, and a good thing too, but Les Cartes Postales was the pioneer. (I don't count the Viet Namese places around the Sorbonne in the '50's and '60's.) That was genuine Viet Namese food, real stuff, not what shows up in the vitrines now.

                  1. re: John Talbott
                    RandyB Dec 15, 2013 12:10 PM

                    And it was cheap, too, even in the 70s. I could occasionally splurge on a 5F Vietnamese meal, rather than a student meal at a Resto U for 1F60.

                    1. re: John Talbott
                      John Talbott Dec 16, 2013 04:50 AM

                      "Les Cartes Postales"
                      I Figaroscope last Weds, there was an article on places that serve "small plates" in town and it was one of them so i wonder if they're changed their approach. I'll drift by and see.

              2. re: souphie
                Ptipois Dec 12, 2013 11:35 AM

                And I have a list n°2 for places where I haven't been in a while but do like a lot.

                Le Pétrelle
                Frédéric Simonin
                Claude Colliot
                L'Auberge du 15
                Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos
                La Grande Cascade
                Yam t'cha
                Bofinger (the choucroute is perfect)
                Le Sergent Recruteur
                Joséphine-Chez Dumonet

                To be continued...

                Oh and I went to Ze Kitchen Galerie two days ago for lunch and it was admirable, which I have to mention since I had never been a big fan of the place. William Ledeuil is, at last, through with fiddling with Eastern ingredients and stuff, and has begun to master them and use them as colors in a palette instead of gimmicks to asianize his cooking. Now the fusion is perfect because there are no visible seams. Incredible delicateness and balance of tastes.

                1. re: Ptipois
                  John Talbott Dec 12, 2013 12:15 PM

                  "Ze Kitchen Galerie....since I had never been a big fan of the place"
                  Silly girl, all those missed meals/years. Sigh.
                  But thanks for playing.

                  1. re: John Talbott
                    Ptipois Dec 12, 2013 02:21 PM

                    No, silly you. I went quite a few times and never liked it very much until that day before yesterday. Before that, I always felt there was something immature and incomplete about that food.

                    Now I don't know how long ago he reached maturity. The last time I had been there must have been a year or two ago.

                    1. re: Ptipois
                      PhilD Dec 12, 2013 02:35 PM

                      Pti - totally agree on ZKG always was an outlier for me for the very same reasons. Interesting to hear it's evolved. My other bugbear was the dinner price point (I understood lunch was a veritable bargain) versus the spartan nature of the room.

                    2. re: John Talbott
                      Parigi Dec 14, 2013 01:49 AM

                      "Ze Kitchen Galerie."
                      I was never a big fan. the different dishes had the same dialed-in Asian notes. Ginger-soy sauce. Ginger-soy sauce. More ginger-soy sauce.
                      Repeatedly the waiters scampered away after putting the dish on the table, without saying what the dish was, and this was a dégustation menu. I succeeded in physically catching them, and twice they said they would find someone who knew what it was. This is cantine-service. The dinner price was surely not cantine price.

                      1. re: Parigi
                        Ptipois Dec 14, 2013 02:23 AM

                        Well, maybe an update is in order, my latest meal there was delicious. Maybe some special effort was made for the Korean officials and ubiquitous ex-mayor of Issy-les-Moulineaux that were included in the party?

                        But I can reassure you, the service is as terrible as ever, and God knows that the poor guys mean well. It's not their fault, they're organized like a mess. Several times we had to pull them back by the sleeve as they were running away after putting the plate on the table, to ask them what they were serving us. They are stiff and uncommunicative, always look a little anxious, and I think it's part of the staff training.

                        1. re: Ptipois
                          Parigi Dec 14, 2013 02:59 AM

                          "Several times we had to pull them back by the sleeve as they were running away after putting the plate on the table, to ask them what they were serving us."
                          Exactly what we had to do !

                          1. re: Parigi
                            Rio Yeti Dec 14, 2013 06:46 AM

                            I actually liked the food at ZKG the only time I went. I felt like the fusion aspect of it was well balanced and subtle (except maybe for the desserts... wasabi ice-cream, ok we get it...).

                            I have to say I really don't remember the service, but I remember the striking colors, the contemporary crap... er... I mean art on the walls, and the loud noise (not in a good lively atmosphere kind of way, more like "say what ?!" "WHAT ?!"...).

                            As is often said on this board, the whole experience is important, and although I could hardly find a fault in the food, everything else was not really to my liking...

                            I'm curious about KGB though.

                          2. re: Ptipois
                            John Talbott Dec 16, 2013 04:52 AM

                            "the service is as terrible as ever"
                            Not my experience but I'm (too well perhaps) known to the house.

                      2. re: Ptipois
                        John Talbott Dec 12, 2013 12:20 PM

                        Another Hummm

                        1. re: John Talbott
                          Ptipois Dec 12, 2013 02:22 PM

                          What's all that humming about?

                          1. re: Ptipois
                            John Talbott Dec 12, 2013 02:40 PM

                            The Hummm
                            Ah Pti, it's Crosby, Stills, Nash and sometimes Neil Young laying on the third or fourth harmony, which to go back OT is like your newly found friend Ledeui's, putting lemon grass on fresh fish in a plain bouillon.
                            Simple but contextual; as Humphrey Bogart said in Casablanca, to your uncle Captain Renault, "Welcome to the cause."

                            1. re: John Talbott
                              Ptipois Dec 12, 2013 06:02 PM

                              Ledeuil is not a newfound friend, he's been a friend for years. But now his cooking is also a buddy to me ;)

                        2. re: Ptipois
                          RandyB Dec 15, 2013 12:20 PM

                          I am at home, having just finished an early dinner of that wonderful Bofinger choucroute. It is 16% cheaper to take out than the restaurant price, and no complaints or dirty looks when you have one (generous) choucroute for 2 people.

                        3. re: souphie
                          Busk Dec 12, 2013 12:37 PM


                          1. Septime
                          2. Ledoyen
                          3. Pierre Gagnaire
                          4. Chez L'Ami Jean
                          5. Pierre Sang
                          6. Le Cinq
                          7. Taillevent
                          8. Spring
                          9. Rino
                          10. Le Villaret

                          ...same as everyone else...

                          1. re: Busk
                            John Talbott Dec 12, 2013 12:40 PM

                            Not bad Busk, but missing 2013.

                            1. re: John Talbott
                              Busk Dec 12, 2013 12:44 PM

                              You've seen my list. Give me your best rec for my next dinner out, and I'll hit it, but I can't do Hugo as my dining companion won't go for a 100% red meat place.

                              1. re: Busk
                                John Talbott Dec 12, 2013 02:48 PM

                                You're kidding right?
                                Your list is fabulous for 2011-2012;
                                but I'm an old fart waiting on death's door, why not venture out to Hugo's, Les Tablettes, Lazare, 100 Taillevent or Sergent Recruteur?
                                Come on man, yesterday was great; today is even better,

                                1. re: John Talbott
                                  Busk Dec 12, 2013 10:05 PM

                                  It takes longer and longer for yesterday to become today.


                                  1. re: John Talbott
                                    souphie Dec 15, 2013 10:26 AM

                                    Non. Yesterday is dead, but yesterday was way better. Today was when human cooking meant something, and those days are going away fast. Today was when there wa Jamin and Lucas-Carton and when l'Ambroisie was good and Au Bon Accueil was wonderful and Tante Jeanne... Those new places fun, but better they are not, except for mental health purpose.

                                    1. re: souphie
                                      Parigi Dec 15, 2013 11:15 AM

                                      O Lucas-Carton ! Daudin Bouffant ! Chez Les Anges ! (Raymond Oliver's) Grand Véfour !

                                      1. re: Parigi
                                        PBSF Dec 15, 2013 02:49 PM

                                        You mean Jacques Maniere's Dodin Bouffant? and his Le Pactole. And before Lucas-Carton was L'Archestrate. That would be a fun list.

                                        1. re: Parigi
                                          jock Dec 15, 2013 04:47 PM

                                          Oh, how I miss Lucas-Carton!

                                        2. re: souphie
                                          olivierb Dec 28, 2013 10:56 AM

                                          Hey l'Ambroisie is still good. On the basis of three lunches there, I can say it is solid. Better than Ledoyen, I'm not completely sure, but I like l'Ambroisie better overall. Bernard Pacaud is apparently still in the kitchen, if that matters.

                                          Maybe it's not as divine as it used to be. I don't know, I've only been recently, so it does not matter (too much) to me. And anyway, what are the other options? (yes, maybe Ledoyen)

                                          1. re: olivierb
                                            souphie Dec 31, 2013 11:20 AM

                                            Solid I'm sure it is, but 500€ good?

                                            There are few options in that department indeed (really top ingredients and perfect cooking and aiming for mind blowing by natural means) -- in Paris, I can only think of Ledoyen indeed; outside of Paris, Hedone in London, Pont de Brent in Montreux, Louis XV are the ones I know.

                                            1. re: souphie
                                              olivierb Jan 3, 2014 11:31 AM

                                              As for 500EUR good, well you know you can eat there for half that, but I understand.
                                              So the real question is: is it as good as it should given the price? Yes and no. It is excellent but not flawless as it should be. I'd say they cater more to people who want to eat, rather than to people who want to have a transcendental, life-changing, meal. But once again, where do you find those with any kind of consistency, and is there any other place where you can have such a meal?

                                              Pont de Brent is not in the same league. Rabaey is not cooking there anymore... never went during his time unfortunately.
                                              Never went to Louis XV, and narrow-minded as I am, never had any desire to go.
                                              Hedone: yes please!
                                              But all of those are not in Paris anyway (cf. OP).
                                              Ledoyen: it's more precise, maybe less of a rip-off, uhm less expensive I mean, so yes... but I enjoy it less than l'Ambroisie for some reason.

                                              Then there are Gagnaire, l'Arpège, etc. but this is more like gambling than dining. And of course all the ones I haven't tried.

                                              In the end you may be right about the past being better. Too bad I never experienced it!

                                          2. re: souphie
                                            DaTulip Jan 17, 2014 07:42 PM

                                            RE: John Talbott
                                            souphie 12/15/13 4:26AM

                                            "Non. Yesterday is dead, but yesterday was way better. "
                                            Okay, not directed at Souphie, but I like his line as a set up to my question. Sargent Recruiter? Is everything old really new again? I confess I haven't been since '89, but though fun, it was a tourist trap even then. Have things really changed?!? Can't believe it would make a top 10. Then again, what the heck do I know with a week or less each year. Fill me in please!

                                            1. re: DaTulip
                                              John Talbott Jan 18, 2014 08:02 AM

                                              A new chef (Antonin Bonnet) and team arrived at the Sergent Recruteur around October 2012 and I was there in March 2013 and since I'd never been before judged it as it was not as it had been. No tourists spotted the day I was there. For more

                                              1. re: DaTulip
                                                souphie Jan 18, 2014 11:18 AM

                                                Yeah, le Sergent Recruiteur is nothing like it used to be, one Michelin star, creative cuisine and setting. Check out their website.

                                                1. re: souphie
                                                  DaTulip Jan 20, 2014 01:07 AM

                                                  Thanks guys! Interesting indeed.

                                    2. re: souphie
                                      Beach Chick Jan 3, 2014 02:25 PM

                                      Nice list Julien..

                                      1. re: Beach Chick
                                        mangeur Jan 3, 2014 02:35 PM

                                        Just reviewed Julien's list. Would like to hear more description from him re Le Pétrelle.

                                        Aha... also more comment from DCM.

                                        1. re: mangeur
                                          souphie Jan 5, 2014 07:40 AM

                                          Le Pétrelle cooks the food I love: really top ingredients, made in a very simple, but perfect way. Like l'Ambroisie, you'd say, only there's a cat, it's dark, it's messy, it's bohème. I suppose you could say it's very expensive at 100€ pp (though there is a menu that is 40-ish or something but who cares?), but I'd much rater spend these on one meal there than two at decent bistros like there are so many in these columns.

                                          There are some pics there: https://picasaweb.google.com/11007814...

                                          The creme de citron is just wonderful. Fish or offal are perfectly cooked, vegetables as fresh and as perfectly cooked as they should be (and it's not that common, even among those who claim to be veg champs).

                                          Also, their wine list is from auctions, a mess with some true treasures -- 40 year old wines for less than 100€ -- again, let's think of it as l'Ambroisie du pauvre.

                                          One final word: it's Kerstin's favorite. Need I say more?

                                    3. j
                                      jim.luyten Dec 22, 2013 08:19 AM

                                      I see Pétrelle on some of the lists - haven't been in a couple of years, but loved it. Still good?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: jim.luyten
                                        Delucacheesemonger Dec 22, 2013 03:03 PM

                                        Was there about 13 months ago and enjoyed it greatly.

                                      2. John Talbott Jan 3, 2014 12:15 PM

                                        Totally self-servingly, putting my neck out on the chopping block, here are my "bests of 2013" at year's close of 7/10 and up:
                                        8.7 Hugo Desnoyer
                                        8.5 Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos
                                        8.4 David Toutain
                                        8.1 Lazare
                                        8.0 110 Taillevent
                                        Sergent Recruiter
                                        7.9 Cantine de la Cigale
                                        7.8 Roca
                                        7.6 Les Enfants Rouges
                                        7.5 Petit Champarret
                                        Terroir Parisien Bourse
                                        7.4 Belhara
                                        7.2 Felicity Lemon
                                        7.1 Dans Les Landes (new menu)
                                        7.0 6 Paul Bert

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: John Talbott
                                          mangeur Jan 3, 2014 02:21 PM

                                          Huh. Haven't been to any of them and hesitate to say that none are on the dockets for upcoming visits.

                                          (Out of the loop! Out of the loop!)

                                          But then we tend to add to our list slowly as we return to favorite chefs again and again.

                                          1. re: John Talbott
                                            quddous Jan 17, 2014 12:23 AM

                                            John, is Hugo Desnoyer a charcuterie? I looked it up and will be visiting their butcher shop but couldn't tell if they were any more than that.

                                            Mangeur, I agree. John's list is the most progressive and rebellious of any I've seen in my browsing recently. I've only read reviews on a handful of that list (just shows I need to read more).

                                            1. re: quddous
                                              Parigi Jan 17, 2014 12:27 AM

                                              It is, and is also a new resto. John was referring to the resto.

                                              1. re: Parigi
                                                John Talbott Jan 17, 2014 04:50 AM

                                                Hugo Desnoyer in the 16th is both a butcher shop (left side down) and a restaurant (right side up). It's much more than a charcuterie and is clearly a hot shop for the 1%'ers in the area. It's at 28, rue du Docteur-Blanche in the 16th, (Bus = PC1) is open weekdays non-stop between 9 AM and 6 PM and starts taking orders for lunch at 10 AM. Photos of the layout and menu are at http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

                                                1. re: John Talbott
                                                  Delucacheesemonger Jan 17, 2014 08:28 PM

                                                  When l went on JT's recommendation, Desnoyer could have not been more gracious.
                                                  Having spoken to him outside the restaurant about his cotes de boeuf l had been purchasing at L'Ami Louis for years, he came to the table and told me to order a special cotes de boeuf not on the menu that was the one he sends to Louis. It was awesome, if pricey.

                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                    souphie Jan 18, 2014 11:20 AM

                                                    Had it at Louis yesterday, and awesome and pricey it was.

                                          2. u
                                            Urgency Jan 21, 2014 02:54 AM

                                            1. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon Saint-Germain
                                            2. Le Chateaubriand
                                            3. Le Cinq
                                            4. Guy Savoy
                                            5. Septime
                                            6. Le Comptoir du Relais
                                            7. Spring
                                            8. Chez L'Ami Jean
                                            9. L'Auberge du 15
                                            10. Frenchie

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