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Feb 19, 2014 03:04 PM

Le Cinq: Lunch or Dinner?

Hello all,

For an upcoming trip to Paris to visit my gf while she's working abroad, I had wanted to surprise her with a dinner at a notable restaurant. After spending a great deal of time reading reviews and perusing the Chowhound board, I've (finally) decided on Le Cinq, given its apparently stellar courses and its romantic, perhaps slightly gilded, setting.

However, a lot of reviews I've seen seem to only discuss the prix fixe lunch at Le Cinq (which makes sense, since it seems like a great "deal"). Clearly the prices between dinner and lunch are markedly different (lunch is 110 or 180, depending on the menu, whereas dinner is 280), and the courses vary too.

So, my question is, should I be re-thinking dinner at Le Cinq to a lunch at Le Cinq? For those who have had both, was dinner "worth it" to you? I would greatly appreciate any insight you all could give me. Sorry for the somewhat overplayed question - I know how often Le Cinq is brought up here - but I really want this to be a memorable experience for her.

Thanks again, all.

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  1. The thing with Le Cinq is that the room is magnificent and more so during the day (IMO) with all the natural light coming in.

    The lunch deal is very good (QPR) and you can still order the same (I think) tasting menu and regular menu items that you get at night.

    I went at lunch time a couple of years ago and it was very good (the winter tasting menu); and service was very good also.


    1. I prefer lunch too, regardless of price -- you still have the same menu available anyway, and ALC is the same price.

      1. I had lunch a few months ago.It was excellent.
        At dinner ,The room is the same .The wine list is the same and the food is cooked by the same team .Most of the difference is the price.
        I have both dinners and lunch IN Paris.Probably more dinners by far because i don't like to drink in mid day .

        2 Replies
        1. re: pierre

          "i don't like to drink in mid day "
          Oh Goodie for tmrw.

          1. re: John Talbott

            ""i don't like to drink in mid day "
            Unh huh?

        2. Thanks very much.

          So the consensus is clearly for lunch; my wallet thanks you.

          I guess I'm a bit confused though, because the Le Cinq website shows different menus for lunch and dinner (i.e. "An Epicurean Escape Menu for Lunch" & "An Epicurean Escape Menu for Dinner"). The latter seems to have more dishes, including the cheese cart. But you're all saying the menu is the same; do they offer both regardless of time?

          Regardless, thanks again guys.

          26 Replies
          1. re: Ronin56109

            ALC's are the same, set in the evening is longer and more expensive - I believe the evening set is relatively recent.

            1. re: Ronin56109

              l do not drink at lunch either, yet at Le Cinq where there are so many wonderful bottles at almost bargain prices l drink, l drink, and l drink.
              The cheese cart at bargain lunch is an extra 10-15 euros. At G Savoy the cheese cart is 40 euros extra.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Deluca, I must say that whenever "Le Cinq" comes up on this board, as it does frequently, I always associate your name with it. And whenever you post about it, your comments are always so appealing. Surely you must have a table with your nameplate on it, as you are such a loyal patron.

                Sometimes I think I may be the only CHer who has not eaten there! If I am doing my homework right, these are the reasons for loving Le Cinq:

                1. Great value for lunch (relative to a 2 star)
                2. The consistent cooking. (Order the lamb shoulder.)
                3. Magnificent room.
                4. The cheese. (Bien sur)
                5. Wonderful wines at almost bargain prices. (This is new information to me, and has me once again look at Le Cinq.)

                Have I missed anything? Any more reasons to make the reservation? I am going to ask for Deluca's table when I do. :)

                1. re: francaise

                  You're not alone. I'm in the same boat, francaise! I am planning to rectify that this fall.

                  I don't want DCM's table, I want to go with DCM...:)

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Yes, this would be the best, I agree Chef June. I'll be there this fall as well....;-)

                    1. re: francaise

                      Both of you, please sign on, will be in Paris in a month for a few months and always go to Le Cinq.

                  2. re: francaise

                    Le Cinq is good but it's not quite the bargain it was. It's lunch price is now at a similar level to a three star not really great value relative to other two stars. That said for all the elements it's not a bad deal.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      Yes, the price is up a little bit, but I do not compare Le Cinq to other 2 stars; I view it a 3-star that Michelin got wrong. I have always found it to be in the same class as other 3-stars, and has consistently offered great dining experiences, particularly the lunch value.

                      1. re: PhilD

                        It is a bargain relative to room service at the hotel though. We recently ordered plats, some fruit and a couple of glasses of wine for a working lunch, and the bill for these items was perhaps 15 euro less on a per-head basis than the cost of consuming a high-service multi-course meal in the resto downstairs.

                        1. re: PhilD

                          But it's a two star at the same price as a three star for lunch - so why the comment it offers value?

                          I agree it can be good, and the game pithivier if on is outstanding, but I can also see why it isn't three my - last meal there was patchy. Maybe it was because I didn't have the lamb. So if you are lucky and it is on top form it's good value, if it isn't maybe a true three star lunch is the better value?

                          1. re: PhilD

                            I see your point PhilD, thanks for your input.

                      2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        On my last visit a few years ago the extra cheese was charged at €27 a person - had the price changed, it seems odd to have gone down?

                        1. re: PhilD

                          27e pp for the cheese? ouch
                          I see I have more homework to do.

                            1. re: John Talbott

                              I'm raising that ugly subject again, that of differential service. In a perfect world, I'd visit L'Ami Jean with Parigi, Maceo with Chef June, Youpi with Pti, just about anyplace hip with JT, and, point of post, Le Cinq with DCM.

                              1. re: mangeur

                                All of these associations make sense to me, but I just have to ask you Mangeur, which would be your place?

                                1. re: francaise

                                  Ah... I started to answer but realize that the places we visit really treat all guests more or less the same. They thrive on sharing their joy and enthusiasm.

                                2. re: mangeur

                                  "about anyplace hip with JT"
                                  Awh now I gotta go out and buy a hispter hat.

                            2. re: PhilD

                              When there last twice in October, 2013 once exchanged the cheese for dessert other time added and was 10 euros, year before cheese was comped.
                              But true price has gone from 85 to 110 in a very brief timespan, and those prices only on weekdays.

                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                Maybe I am misremembering but the format does seem to have changed. The set lunch menu seems to have less choice than it used to have as it's now a choice from two starters, two mains and two desserts at €110 (I remember at least three choices if not more per course).

                                They also have another set menu "a epicurean adventure" at €180 for lunch (5 courses) or €280 for dinner (8 courses) - both these menus are quite extensive.

                                The cheese (priced on the ALC) is €33 a person - obviously they could comp or discount it but not guaranteed.

                                The lamb (leg from the Pyrenese) is now €110 (each) and must be ordered for two diners on the ALC - I suspect at that price it will be a lottery as to whether you can substitute it into the set lunch menu.

                                1. re: PhilD

                                  When I do the math, maybe not such "value" as it has been often cited to be, nevertheless, it would be a special occasion (if as you say, the cooking was in top form.) And if you didn't take the champagne or the cheese....sigh, which would be regrettable.

                                  1. re: PhilD

                                    Always was listed that way, but they have always substituted for me, and in fact they always have the shoulder going as well and l replace my plat with that, not an issue so far.
                                    Cheese at lunch has been 10-15, do not remember which, the last three times.

                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                      Maybe cheese is 10-15 if you order it instead of dessert? I have seen in some London starred restaurants offering cheese instead of dessert for a 10 pounds supp.

                                      In Ledoyen I asked to replace the ris de veau with the spaghetti with blanc truffles.( was 140euros a la carte and couldnt be done in degustation portion which is smaller than if you order a la carte for all courses). The waiter told me they cant do it, unless they charge me more for the 250 euro degustation. So I told him to ask in the kitchen for the final price.

                                      When he came back he told me ''ok sir we can do it for you'' no extra cost.

                                      1. re: Giannis

                                        Nope free if exchange for dessert, and 10-15 if added to lunch prix fixe.

                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                          I suspect diners may find the charges and substitution options vary between the extremes and should measure their expectations accordingly.

                                          We were definitely charged "full freight" for the cheese on our last visit (and had pretty average service compared to previous ones). My advice is to plan for the worst and hope for the best in terms of the charging.

                                          As too substitution of the lamb or other dishes, many two and three stars are more than accommodating, but I bet there are as many that are not successful as those that are. Obviously charming the waiters helps but isn't foolproof if they are having a bad day.

                                          1. re: PhilD

                                            I was charged full freight until I queried it (it was on the menu for lunch as an extra when I went) and then it was adjusted