Lunch at Le Bristol and other suggestions
My partner and I are going to be in Paris for 3 days (Saturday-Tuesday AM) before heading on a trip to the South West. We have tried a number of higher end restaurants in Paris (Le Meurice, Pierre Gagnaire, Plaza Athena, Arpege, Le Cinq) and a few more chic/casual places (Septime, Agape Substance, Akreme). We have gained alot of info from purusing this forum yet again, so thanks to all the regulars!
We are planning on a more casual focus this time, but would like to do one nice lunch. We could do Ledoyen or Arpege on Monday at lunch (I think) or Bristol at anytime. I can't seem to find anyone reporting on their lunch experience at Le Bristol? It is #1 on tripadvisor whatever that is worth. We won't be back in Paris for a few years probably (moving to the west coast shortly after) so a palace experience would be a nice memory. I've also heard good things about the food at Ledoyen, but not so good things about the service. I've already been to Arpege, and loved it, my partner wasn't with me. She really enjoys the whole vegi centric idea. However, I've read so many things about the inconsistencies there, part of me just wants to leave it with a good memory and not risk an off experience...
so to sum it up; lunch at Bristol, Ledoyen or return to Arpege?
I keep reading good things about Le Bristol but it's not on the favoured rotation of this board. My wife has been to the hotel (for afternoon tea) and loved it. I read the on-line menu and the seasonal menu appealed. I say go and give us an update.
Frechon does have a very strong reputation, I enjoyed his food at Mini Palais and Lazare has a good reputation (for the food if not the service).
I love Frechon too and the breakfast at Le Bristol always was an absolute marvel, as is his food when he pulls all the stops. But one of the reasons I haven't been in years is that ingredients are not always at the highest level (in fact they rarely are) and the lunch deal was generally subpar.
I don't think you can do a Monday lunch at Ledoyen -- they're only open for dinner on Mondays.
And how about Pierre Gagnaire? That's an extraterrestrial experience that has no risk whatsoever of making you feel like you could have eaten the same anywhere else.
Well I made the reservation for Le Bristol... hopeuflly their ingredients have improved!
Sunday suits our schedule better anyway, and I always like trying new places. Really enjoyed Gagnaire though, hopefully we can return some day. I'd say of the places we've been I'd rank them in order Arpege, Gagnaire, Cinq, Plaza Athena, Meurice (whatever 1 visit is worth)
We are also going to try Saturne, Frenchie, and Chateaubriand this time. PIcked the latter over L'ami jean as its much closer to our hotel and wanted more contemporary dinning as we will have rich, classic cooking in the south west. So we will cover a lot of the heavy hitters on this forum that I've read so much about. I'll be sure to report back
I'm not really a fan of starry restaurants and so am reluctant to get into the recommendations game but do have a nice expense account for business entertaining, plus a very epicurean boss who occasionally takes me to lunch at Le Bristol (his second home) so I am at least familiar with your choices. The setting of the L'Epicure, the main restaurant, makes me swoon ... but so do the prices. I have noticed that the 135 € lunch special sometimes misses the mark of 3-star quality but this is a risk of the "bargain" lunches at all temples of gastronomy. L'Epicure gets my vote for the total experience and Ledoyen for the cuisine alone (but not always consistent). I'm not veggie-centric enough to appreciate Arpège and perhaps not sophisticated enough to enjoy its somewhat un-palace-ey decor... for a mega-bucks meal, I want more of a show.
Not to confuse you further but I've had a couple of really wonderful meals at le Meurice recently. There's a new management team and the style of cuisine has lightened up, incorporating some Japanese and new Nordic ideas, including more veg-based courses, but at a very very refined level.
I'm not usually a fan of palace restaurants and seldom eat in one except for work, but will happily return to this one when next in town w family. There are a couple of reviews in English (Lobrano, Lebovitz) - at least take a look at the pics to see if this might suit you.
More will follow re our trip. But just to say we had a great time at epicure at lunch few weeks ago. Menu offers choices at each course, we tried most of the items, 2/4 were very good but any standards, and the other 2 were exceptional. The desert course was also exceptional. Decor and service were flawless as one would expect., lots of little extras that probably explains the higher ranking on TripAdvisor Cheese course is also included, so I felt it was a good value lunch as well and should be on short list for those looking for a taste of the good life in paris