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Paris Restaurants On The Rise

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Hello all,

In your opinion, what are some of the up and coming restaurants in Paris? Which ones do you think will receive their first star? Which do you think will go up a level i.e. 1 to 2?

Thanks!

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  1. Great Question RedSox (BTW I was there in Fenway [along with 1 million others] when Ted flipped the bird):
    So the Oscar pundits always say what will and what should be rewarded:
    Will get a star:
    David Toutain
    110 Taillevent
    Clamato
    Should:
    Spring
    Hugo Desnoyer
    Lazare
    Pirouette
    and holding ChefJune's proxy - Maceo

    3 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott

      Thanks John! That is awesome - Sox fan?

      The impetus behind my question is I am looking for Michelin level dining at pre-star prices. Do these fit the bill? Any other options?

      1. re: redsoxfan027

        I don't think Pirouette is a star candidate; it's very good and I like the place, but does it want to have a star ?

        1. re: redsoxfan027

          I'm not sure what "pre-star prices" might be. At Toutain the "menus" are 68 (117 paired with wines) and 98 (158 E with wines) and my last meal at 110 Taillevent was 102.40 E a couple (but if one picks a pricier bottle of wine it can be much much more) if that's any help. I list the amounts I pay per couple on John Talbott's Paris if you care to check out the others. http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

      2. I don't even know what the point of the OP is. It can't be about food. Many excellent restaurants are not even aiming for a star. Stars are what they are, but they are not, and have not been, a universal goal.

        17 Replies
        1. re: Parigi

          And many restaurants deserve at least a star and never get it, while stars are awarded to boring pretentious places for whatever reason. I don't get the point either.

          1. re: Ptipois

            BRAVO! Very well said, both of you.

          2. re: Parigi

            & some restaurants give back or refuse a star.

            1. re: Parigi

              Really? You don't think a restaurant striving to make it to its first star or 1 star to 2 wouldn't be putting out its best dishes every night for fear/anticipation an inspector might dine there that night? I find that a bit hard to believe. Also - don't restaurants with stars typically impose a price increase on their menu? Wouldn't it make sense to seek out and dine at these establishments prior to a price hike? My logic says yes.

              1. re: redsoxfan027

                A chef striving to make it to its first Michelin star would be sacrificing some of his natural talent and personal creativity to fit into the mould, in such a way that it is sometimes not easy to figure out what stuff such chefs, however promising, are really made of.
                Which is why I much prefer a chef following his own inspiration and being true to himself than a chef without stars striving to get one. I don't think Bertrand Grébaut saw the first one coming, and whether he had one or not did not alter his style. The Michelin race can be something of a Faustian contract for gifted, creative chefs who take that sort of classification more seriously than it deserves.

                1. re: redsoxfan027

                  "wouldn't be putting out its best dishes every night for fear/anticipation an inspector might dine there that night?"
                  Except that we all know who they are; they're the mousey guys in grey suits who check out the bathrooms and order full meals.

                  1. re: John Talbott

                    Actuallly Michelin inspectors do interact with the chefs and restaurant owners, they give them feedback, come back and give more feedback, etc. - and most of the time the result has nothing to do with the feedback they gave.
                    Some do that year after year. That caused a chef I know to kick out of his restaurant one of these inspectors who had played the same trick on him for several years in a row.

                    I'm not systematically anti-Michelin. Only of the mind that to be reliable, the system should be more coherent than it is now. Even a few flaws fatally lead one to question the entire system, for even when it seems to function properly it is invalidated by the times when it does not.

                    1. re: Ptipois

                      "Even a few flaws fatally lead one to question the entire system"
                      I do think publishing a review of a restaurant not yet opened, no matter how good the chef was at the last place, is more than just a flaw though.

                      1. re: John Talbott

                        Exactly. But that's my point.

                      2. re: Ptipois

                        < "Even a few flaws fatally lead one to question the entire system, for even when it seems to function properly it is invalidated by the times when it does not." >

                        I was thinking of Chowhound when I read this, because two of the worst restaurant recommendations I ever followed were when I went against my instincts and followed the loud, persistent advice of two alpha 'hounds.

                        But rather than say it's all bad I just try to learn the tastes behind the voices and trust the ones whose tastes seem to match mine.

                        Michelin has a lot of well-documented flaws, but they also do a lot right. The trick is figuring out when to trust them and when not to, and today with the wide range of other info sources it really isn't that hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

                        The ratings system that bugs me most is the Pellegrino ratings, which are seemingly universally quoted and accepted as Gospel --- dunno how many times I've read that Noma or now El Cellar de Can Roca is "the best restaurant in the world" based on Pellegrino, yet even Michelin 3* Spanish chefs say those rankings are a fraud, manipulated by tourist agencies giving free trips and meals and by allegations of vote swapping.

                        1. re: willyum

                          I have been preaching for some 15 years on these assorted food forums the absolute necessity of calibrating your taste in food, wine, service and ambiance with those you choose as gurus.

                          So, one...more...time...know thyself and read between your guru's lines.

                          I love with a passion my fellow hounds while loathing some of their favorite tables. Why isn't that reasonable?

                          1. re: mangeur

                            Hey Mangeur, I figured you for a wise man after reading your Rhone posts.

                            We'll be in your area in two weeks, with dinners at French Laundry, Atelier Crenn and Manresa.

                            You are lucky to live in an area with so many good restaurants. We have only one where I live so I have to travel far and wide to access the really good stuff.

                            1. re: willyum

                              Welcome and enjoy! And bring a scarf. Our heat wave may be over by then. I'd hate for you to buy a "I heart San Francisco" sweatshirt just because you were cold!

                          2. re: willyum

                            I think Michelin does a much better job (than Pellegrino) of helping the restaurant community as a whole. It may be flawed but I still think they are doing a magnificent job. I think the amount of time and effort they put in pre internet was phenomenal.

                            The one big flaw that I find is that the same restaurants keep getting attention; but this happens everywhere including here on chowhound where many restaurants are lauded constantly while others are barely mentioned at all.

                            1. re: willyum

                              "Michelin has a lot of well-documented flaws, but they also do a lot right. The trick is figuring out when to trust them and when not to, and today with the wide range of other info sources it really isn't that hard to separate the wheat from the chaff."

                              In other terms, that simply means that ultimately MIchelin is unreliable. Quod erat demonstrandum.
                              Yes the San Pellegrino 50Best, I know. They're questionable too. But they're exactly the same: political, unreliable for restaurant-goers, but considering the way they're organized they don't make less sense than Michelin. They're actually far better at understanding the moving food scene.

                              Besides, there are the "well-documented flaws" and there are also the undocumented flaws, and put together they do give a poor picture.

                        2. re: redsoxfan027

                          "You don't think a restaurant striving to make it to its first star or 1 star to 2 wouldn't be putting out its best dishes every night for fear/anticipation an inspector might dine there that night?"
                          That phenomenon may exist in other countries the chefs, excellent as they may be, are unsure of their international recognition and are therefore still awed and smitten with Michelin.
                          It is no longer the case in France.
                          And then even for a chef striving for a first star, or just one more star:
                          - he may try to cook better and more inventively, or
                          - he may sculpt the turnip into a swan, and concoct dessert with dry ice spewing out of it, in short, an Adams-Family style fussy gimmicks; or
                          - he may put in a marble restroom.
                          This is all from my experience.

                          One last real-life example: Last October, in a space of 25 hours, I ate 6 stars. They were very good, surrounded by the glum Michelin crowd, backed up by excellent service. However, my two dining companions and I all agreed that the best meal of the week was in a farm-inn (ferme-auberge) where we tracked mud into the dining room, then proceeded to polish off every dish so thoroughly that the plates did not need washing afterwards. Before leaving, we were invited to check out the aristocratic chicken coop. (Don't worry, the coop is not in marble; it's the chickens that are aristocratic, starting with the fabled Barbezieux; Bresse cannot even compare.)
                          The chef certainly does not give a hoot about the Michelin. He says so on his website. And his restaurant is booked up weeks in advance.

                          1. re: Parigi

                            P.S. Willyum, one thing you need to "calibrate" re the France board: Mangeur is a lady, and Vieilleanglaise is a dude. :)

                      3. Gotta agree with Parigi and Ptipois. Michelin stars can be quite misleading. There's a large universe of excellent earthbound restaurants that don't aim for the stars. They might not have the wine list, facilities, and staffing levels that would qualify them for Michelin star status (and prices) but, foodwise, are nevertheless memorable. For instance, the resto squat Clandestino on the rue Crozatier in the 12th, Pierre Sang on the rue Oberkampf in the 11th, Les Enfants Rouges on the rue de Beauce in the 3rd, Hugo Desnoyer in the 16th, Clamato in the 11th... all amazing food, amazing prices, and as appealling to Michelin inspectors as my mother's kitchen.

                        If the OP includes style and elegance in his criteria, Le Lulli in the 1st.

                        And agree with JT that David Toutain is very star-able.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Parnassien

                          I like this list. I'm getting hungry just reading it.

                          1. re: Parnassien

                            RedSox:
                            The point of all our comments is (I think) that we don't pay much attention to Michelin stars; I use the Red Guide outside of town more as a telephone book than a guide.

                          2. Thank you all for the responses. I guess the point of my question was to determine what the best up and coming restaurants were in Paris. I guess stars aren't everything...

                            15 Replies
                            1. re: redsoxfan027

                              Now that everyone has taken his best shot at you, I will add on your behalf that "smart money" used to advise seeking out just this category of restaurant, the thinking being that when a kitchen was striving for the next level, food and service would be at its best possible while prices would not yet reflect the Michelin elevation.

                              1. re: mangeur

                                ""smart money" used to advise seeking out just this category of restaurant"
                                Reference: William Echikson: Burgundy Stars: A Year in the Life of a Great French Restaurant.

                                1. re: mangeur

                                  Mangeur: That was exactly my thinking behind this question; the chef and his team would be really striving for perfection each and every night. It seems that a number of people on this board have a severe issue with "star hunting", which on the surface I suppose I can understand, many great restaurants neither have, nor desire a star. I am honestly baffled by the reception of this question - and still think that it is quite a valid one.

                                  1. re: redsoxfan027

                                    The price issue is also misleading. While it is true that the awarding of an increasing number of michelin stars causes the prices to rise accordingly, many restaurants do not need stars to be overpriced. And few are the starry places that do not have bargain, or near-bargain, lunch menus.

                                    Striving for perfection has nothing to do with stars. A chef strives for perfection when he loves his job and devotes himself to it, and I know quite a few of them, with or without stars. I also know a few who once literally kicked the Michelin guys out of their restaurants and never had any problem to get a full dining-room. With stars in the picture, rather than striving for perfection, you strive for pleasing the red guide, and the guide may add or remove a star for reasons not always related to food or to "striving for perfection". I think the distinction should be established.

                                    1. re: Ptipois

                                      I would think that all the of the above are valid perspectives. There are good chefs who want stars, there are good chefs who don't care for them and try not to get them, and there chefs who are ambivalent and if they come they come.

                                      That said it's not a bad proxy to use to think about where to target visits on limited trip. You could ask which restaurants are creating a buzz, which are the hot tables but those measures are as flawed as the question which is destined for a star. Those creating a buzz could be more media savvy with a big PR budget, the hot table may simply be fashionable serving the on trend dishes for the year.

                                      At least the apparent conservative nature of Michelin may screen out the fashion and hype. And if assessed critically then it's as valuable an assessment as any. I also find a high percentage of those that get their first stars do deserve them and are worth checking out - but not all as Michelin is as fallible as any other source.

                                      1. re: Ptipois

                                        " I also know a few who once literally kicked the Michelin guys out of their restaurants and never had any problem to get a full dining-room."

                                        Care to name a few.

                                        1. re: jock

                                          I can give one now that he's (unfortunately) retired: Philippe Delacourcelle from Le Pré Verre, first teased while he was at Le Clos Morillons, re-teased at Le Pré Verre. Others are still active so no names.

                                          1. re: Ptipois

                                            Has any restaurant refuse stars before they get printed (vs returning it afterwards), or formally refuse Michelin critics prior to their visit?

                                            Still, the fact that it remains extremely rare to refuse or give up these "unreliable" "flawed" and "misleading" stars represent the role it plays to the ones who have them.

                                            1. re: Kurtis

                                              >>. Can/has any restaurant refuse stars before they get printed (vs returning it afterwards), or formally refuse Michelin critics prior to their visit?

                                              In theory the reviewers are anonymous, so they wouldn't be turned away.

                                              I recall a British chef who had 2 stars and was very disappointed not to get 3 so he basically said "I don't want any part of Michelin, take these stars, I don't want them." I think Michelin just left him in the book though.

                                              Supposedly getting the first star means a 20-30% increase in business the first year, so yeah, it's a rare chef who actually has a shot at a star who would turn it down.

                                              1. re: willyum

                                                "I recall a British chef who had 2 stars and was very disappointed not to get 3 so he basically said "I don't want any part of Michelin, take these stars, I don't want them." I think Michelin just left him in the book though."

                                                The stars meant a lot to him then.

                                                1. re: Kurtis

                                                  To him, and not to many other excellent chefs. It is not a case of sour grapes as you intimate.
                                                  And many of us on the thread have had the experience of eating in starred places and also in superior non-star places that make no effort to install a marbel restroom. We are saying we prefer some of the non-starred places. We eat better there.

                                                  1. re: Parigi

                                                    "To him, and not to many other excellent chefs"

                                                    ...and majority of these excellent chefs, when they have attained stars regardless of their intentions, have not returned them in the past, and I would think they are well aware of what stars have come to represent presently; many of savvy and experienced diners on this board have expressed eating better in non-starred places and my experience is similar here and elsewhere.

                                                    So what does this mean? Does not returning the stars mean that the honest and food passionate starred chefs of France are indifferent to Michelin rating and don't care one way or the other? Or are they silent for the presumed financial benefit of the stars?

                                                    My hats off to chefs like Roellinger and Senderens. This article rings even more true almost a decade later.
                                                    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/15/din...

                                                    1. re: Kurtis

                                                      "So what does this mean? Does not returning the stars mean that the honest and food passionate starred chefs of France are indifferent to Michelin rating and don't care one way or the other? Or are they silent for the presumed financial benefit of the stars?"

                                                      It simply means that some chefs are willing to play the game and some are not.

                                                      The financial advantages should rather be primarily seen as financial obligations. The more stars you get, the more you have to spend. And if for some reason you lose one star then you have to stand up on your head to keep balancing the budget. Some have never recovered from that.

                                                      Michelin star rating (which is different from the mere mention of the restaurant in the guide, let that be clear) is a double-edged sword, once you're in the system some things are expected from you that most of the time are not related to the quality of the food itself. Some chefs prefer not to submit to that.
                                                      Michelin, also, implies some sort of sanction related to style. Not every style of food pleases the Michelin. Michelin food is respectable food. It should not break any rules. There is a certain standardized style in France and worldwide for which Michelin is at least partly responsible. Of course you can always name exceptions like a gastropub or a table d'hôtes but it is a general trend: Michelin does not reward personality, it seeks common denominators.

                                              2. re: Kurtis

                                                "Has any restaurant refuse stars before they get printed"
                                                I think Senderens did before the book went out to the printer but that was on principal and honesty (whoops, he broke the code of silence).
                                                Correct me Pti if I'm wrong on the timing.
                                                John

                                                1. re: John Talbott

                                                  I don't remember in which exact conditions he "gave back" his three stars, but he was very clear about that and of course it was before the book was printed otherwise he would still have had the stars for one more year.

                                  2. I think what everyone is debating over is a technicality of the wording of the question.

                                    The OP is asking which restaurants offer the same level ingredients, preparations, uniqueness, experience of a great restaurant at affordable prices. Restaurants that are a good value to quality ratio.

                                    To the OP, I would recommend giving a price range and what kind of food you would like or examples of restaurants you are thinking about visiting.

                                    I would look into lunch at one starred restaurants. Some have 3 courses for about 30

                                    Here is a link to a similar question on quora.

                                    http://www.quora.com/Paris/What-are-t...

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: quddous

                                      OP is asking about stars, and stars means Michelin Stars.

                                      1. re: Maximilien

                                        "OP is asking about stars, and stars means Michelin Stars."
                                        But Qud has a point; what are (in financial terms) the under-valued places. - faggedaboud the Michelin and its silly stars.
                                        There are a hundred+ places that will never get Michelin stars that are worthy, and are reasonably-priced.
                                        Go to Parnassien's posts - they are sane, not one-restaurant focused and tell you what'sgoin'on.

                                        1. re: John Talbott

                                          I agree about the comment about Parnassien. The same could be said about you too, John. Thank you both for all the helpful information.

                                        2. re: Maximilien

                                          "The impetus behind my question is I am looking for Michelin level dining at pre-star prices."

                                          Redsox: Try looking up Abri and Frenchie.

                                          1. re: quddous

                                            Frenchie is definitely on my list.

                                      2. Here's a list of the eight new Michelin one stars in Paris as of 2013, which isn't quite what you're looking for, but as new holders of their first star you'd think they'll be trying to maintain standards (or overwhelmed by a surge of new business and having problems keeping standards high. Who knows?).

                                        Do some research on these and perhaps you'll find one that fits your criteria. Maybe one or two even pass the sniff test from our Chowhound boulevardiers?

                                        114, Faubourg 8th
                                        Monceau 8th
                                        La Dame de Pic 1st
                                        Il Carpaccio 8th
                                        L'Instant d'Or 8th
                                        Itinéraires 5th
                                        Le Sergent Recruteur 4th

                                        Ma Sa - Boulogne-Billancourt (suburbs)

                                        There are another 20 new ones listed under Bib Gourmand (good food under 35 euros), too many to cull out but if you have a particular arrondissement in mind I can check that specific area for you.

                                        I think Michelin announced they were going to do this "Rising Star" thingy a few years back but they don't seem to actually anoint many. Couldn't find anybody for France.

                                        Hope this helps.

                                        16 Replies
                                        1. re: willyum

                                          Just looking through their web pages none of these seem to fit the 'inexpensive' category and on one I saw entree prices for one item that was higher than what we paid for an entire 6 course meal at a Michelin one star in Spain a short while back ... so I'm starting to see why so many 'Hounds are skeptical of the little red book. My copy is a library check-out I'm using mainly to practice my French (honest, I don't own one :)

                                          From this list I'd personally be interested enough in L'Instant d'Or and Itinéraires (based on their web pages) to do further research. Maybe Le Sergent Recruteur (can't find specific items on the menu and that always bothers me) ... maybe Ma Sa (can't quite figure out what they're about just from the menu either).

                                          But anyway, I'd look for more info on those four from a variety of different sources if doing it myself, which I guess I am in a way since we'll be in Paris in June for a short while on our way to Provence.

                                          1. re: willyum

                                            Its Paris and its expensive. - simple fact. There are quite a few non-starred places that charge very similar prices. I used to think the stars drove prices but at the one star level I often don't see much of a difference (especially if you allow for style of meal etc).

                                            1. re: willyum

                                              "Ma Sa (can't quite figure out what they're about just from the menu either)"
                                              MaSa=Manipulateur de Saveurs and you can get a better idea of what they serve here http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...
                                              It may not be inexpensive but 109 E per couple with wine is not expensive, is it?
                                              As for "Le Sergent Recruteur (can't find specific items on the menu" you can get an idea here
                                              http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

                                              1. re: John Talbott

                                                Thanks John, these are excellent write-ups. Sounds like you really enjoyed both places.

                                                Do you have anything similar for Itinéraires or L'Instant d'Or? I'm thinking about dropping the planned meal at one of the 3*s and instead dining at one of these four before we go to Provence and a second one on our return to Paris before the flight home.

                                                1. re: willyum

                                                  Yes I reviewed both Itinéraires & L'Instant d'Or on my blog.

                                            2. re: willyum

                                              Willyum,
                                              Sniff sniff... L'Instant d'Or smells very good to me.

                                              1. re: Parnassien

                                                Given your reputation in certain circles as boulevardier # 1 this carries a lot of weight :) Thanks.

                                                1. re: willyum

                                                  Boulevardier, what a lovely old-fashioned label you've pinned on me ! .... makes me, so pinned and wriggling, feel positively Proustian. But I'm afraid I'm just a run-of-the-mill flâneur and back-street explorer who can't cook so has to eat out a lot... except for no-fever Saturday night dinner parties at home.

                                                  1. re: Parnassien

                                                    Hahaha, boulevardier ! How … Gigi. It's great.

                                                    1. re: Parigi

                                                      I'm downloading Charles Trenet and Maurice Chevalier from iTunes as we speak.

                                                      1. re: Parnassien

                                                        My ringtone is 'Under Paris Skies' on accordion.

                                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                          Mine is the Hoochie Coochie Man riff. Very embarrassing when it went off in a caroling party.

                                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                            My ear-worm is Les Copains d'Abord per Brassens.

                                                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                              What's a ringtone?

                                                              1. re: John Talbott

                                                                Will you marry me?

                                                                1. re: Parigi

                                                                  Jeez, let's first settle on lunch, to get back on topic.

                                                2. Suffering from a case of not seeing what's under my nose, I often fail to recommend the restaurant at the Hotel Raphael on the ave Kléber... (it's just around the corner from my office)...sometimes a little too fussy in the presentations but the cooking of new-ish head chef Amandine Chaignot is pretty fab. She may have trivialized herself-- and earned a frown from earnest foodie types-- by joining the jury of the French version of MasterChef and so far no recognition from Michelin. Just had lunch there and it was far from trivial... quite stellar.

                                                  1. Go Sox! My dad trusted me with $20 and let me to walk alone several times from the Commonwealth brownstone weekend rental he was partial to over to Fenway for a double header and a safe return back when I was eleven. My siblings are are graduates of the local universities and we visited often. Yah, that was over nearly 60 years ago! The more modern family still vacations in BeanTown when reasonably possible. (Actually, the hoard was there between Christmas & New Years a few weeks ago.)

                                                    Next mid May to mid June I'm entertaining friends in Paris and staying away from starred restaurants and planning to find those one stars that aren't yet.

                                                    Reason? I'm cheap and suspect those restaurants which have been formally "recognized"of maximizing their potential with ridiculous food prices, over priced wine and pretentious service. Been there. Been stroked. Paid mucho. Left sick. Was embarrassed while complaining about the prices to my workers. Won't go there again. Resolved that I have better things to do than to sit still for three hours of gluttony.

                                                    Give me value!

                                                    Give me take aways!

                                                    Give me open markets and dependable ones of maybe lesser quality goods from which to feast on the balcony at home with the love of my life!

                                                    If this is too strong for you and the "price determines quality" shills monitoring this page, to each his own.

                                                    In past trips here and there in Europe several sources have helped me find real value: Friend's tales of recent experiences; serious monitoring of Chowhound readers' reports on recent trips; and, specifically for your visit, Paris By Mouth's site, and, John Talbot't's on going tale of his life.

                                                    Good luck, sir!

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: hychka

                                                      Value should always be the goal. It has nothing to do with cost but everything to do with total enjoyment, fulfillment, not least joy. It's about time and opportunity well spent.

                                                      Several recent threads were the basis of a long searching conversation with DH during which we recalled decades of dining experiences and put them to harsh judgment. With the exception of Roellinger, SaQuaNa and Youpala, no Michelin rooms made the cut. Some were so disappointing that they were actually amusing. But in the balance, we recounted years of wonderful memories that had nothing to do with starched linen or fawning waiters. The reasons we return over and over to France. These memories of honest places represent true value.

                                                      1. re: mangeur

                                                        We'll said! That's why my wife & I return, also.

                                                    2. This concept of chefs 'turning in' their hard-earned Michelin stars piqued my interest. Not to be one of those guys who argues about everything, but I thought I'd summarize what I found since it was kind of interesting.

                                                      Basically there were a few chefs who retired (Robuchon, Roellinger, maybe others) and gave up stars. Big deal. I don't count them (and Robuchon un-retired and has more than 20 stars now). Here's a link to Roellinger's decision. http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/1...

                                                      I found three guys who legitimately 'gave back' stars. I'm guessing there are more, but I didn't see them on the first few search pages. Here they are ...

                                                      Alain Senderens -- he has been mentioned here twice so I guess he's the poster boy. From the Wiki page: "He famously claimed to hand back his three Michelin stars after the restaurant was relaunched, saying he could not charge an affordable price for meals while keeping up the standards Michelin required. As a result Senderens stated that the customers pay a third of the former prices, return more often, and the profits are nearly four times of what they were".

                                                      So this was basically a business decision, no? Lower standards, charge less, have more customers. I don't really see him as rejecting Michelin since he made sure to highlight his earlier Michelin stars in his bio on his web page: http://www.senderens.fr/senderens/por...

                                                      Part of the 2nd sentence reads "Alain Senderens affiche 28 années ininterrompues de trois macarons au Michelin" ...

                                                      Chef Olivier Douet 'gave back' his one star ranking in 2008 for similar reasons after running into financial problems during the recession. As he puts it, he could switch to a less formal restaurant (brasserie) and have one waiter per 20-30 customers instead of a waiter per 5-6 customers to match Michelin expectations.

                                                      Again, he's apparently not rejecting Michelin ... "to have a Michelin star is a distinction, a very important recognition of merit" ... he's just saying he thinks he can make more money with a different type of restaurant. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddri...

                                                      Finally, Marco Pierre White :) ... I recall reading his biography where he describes being obsessed with gaining Michelin 3* status, and finally getting it. But he didn't like "being judged by people who had less culinary knowledge than himself" and years later began refusing the stars (after he had already made his name of course). http://www.finedininglovers.com/blog/...

                                                      So Marco is a legit rejecter ... but I found it funny that if you go to his corporate home page and call up his bio you find he's still proud of those stars even after rejecting them: "By the age of 33, Marco Pierre White had become the youngest chef to be awarded three Michelin stars."

                                                      Anyway, researching this seems to indicate to me that a couple of guys gave up stars upon retirement, a couple decided to scale back their restaurants to garner more business, and one iconoclastic British wild man gave up the stars but not the prestige they brought him.

                                                      Not exactly a trend, IMO. Even the guys who gave 'em up are still proud enough to have had them that they can't help mentioning it in their biography.

                                                      EDIT: after finishing this I came across this from poster Kurtis that describes two more chefs giving up stars ... http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/15/din... ... one (Philippe Gaertner) seems to be making a business decision, the other (René Bergès) because he 'wanted more freedom'. The article also offers more details on Senderens' reasoning.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: willyum

                                                        Your research would be more complete if it could include all the chefs who, right from the start, carefully kept away from the Michelin race, inventing bistronomie instead, partly as a means to express their rejection of the system. Camdeborde is one of the most famous. Do not believe for one second that they did that because they were not fit for the job.

                                                        Besides, I feel a little weariness at length from "preaching to the converted". Some experienced posters here have explained gently and extensively why the Michelin element is not the most reliable of markers when it comes to deciding which restaurants are "on the rise" or even if they're really interesting. There are so many reasons for that that we haven't even started to list them all. But that is not enough for you, you keep on and on as if we hadn't ever replied to your question. But we did. If you don't agree, you still got the replies you asked for. They're not going to change.

                                                        1. re: willyum

                                                          Good comments. I agree the "chefs giving up stars" is often good publicity for repositioning their business. There is a lot of mythology and anecdotal information around about Michelin. It's not an evil force in the food industry it's simply a guide that signals a certain type of food - and even that is changing especially at the one star level.

                                                          Certainly some diners and chefs don't care for it, certainly many non-starred restaurants are as good as one stars, but equally certainly a lot of one stars across the world are better than the local non starred ones.

                                                          Is it useful to speculate which new places are "good" enough to make it? Of course it is, it's a good yardstick to discuss the quality of food. If a place gets a star is it better than a well received one that doesn't probably not - but there can be good reasons (and marble bathrooms must be one that needs to be called out as an urban myth).

                                                          There are Paris chefs who have good businesses that don't want stars and that's cool - their style and or delivery isn't Michelin, that's fine....but there are lots who do want them and that is fine as well. It's just like the Oscars and Golden Globes they are indicators of certain qualities - but that doesn't mean you have to like each winner or are forced to see every film - the nominees often point to interesting things you may miss. Much like the potential starred restaurants.

                                                        2. Septime in the trendy 11eme is the most up and coming restaurand in Paris and by far !!!

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Ollllllie

                                                            "up and coming" ?

                                                            1. re: Parigi

                                                              It has been open for 2 years but i cant see it being mentioned above.
                                                              Try le Servran on the corner of rue St Maur and CheminVert. it opened a couple of weeks ago and is connected to Septime

                                                              1. re: Ollllllie

                                                                I agree with Parigi, Septime is hardly new or ignored.
                                                                Le Servan is connected with Septime by companionship and is the best price-quality place of the year http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...