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robyn

Good Lunch Deals in High End Paris Restaurants

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I've started to read about Paris restaurants - here and elsewhere - and I can't help but notice (like in the thread about Table de Robuchon) that there are some very very good (at least on paper) deals in 2 and 3 star restaurants for lunch - as opposed to dinner. Prices 1/3-1/2 of dinner prices. I even found a 100 euro "internet lunch special" at Guy Savoy (dinner 245-295 euros). Some of these deals may be better than others. Lunch may offer less in the way of creativity - attention to detail - food choices - etc. I realize that the ingredients may be "lesser" in terms of price - but I am still an old school person who believes one test of a chef is preparing a simple fish - as opposed to foie gras. And many of my favorite ingredients aren't very expensive. Also - there may be less food at lunch than dinner - but that is ok by me.

Anyway - our big meal of the day is usually lunch - and it usually isn't huge. So the idea of attractively priced 2-3 course lunches at excellent restaurants is very appealing to me (we've dined that way in other countries and have usually been very happy). More appealing than equally expensive dinners at lesser restaurants.

Any recommendations of attractively priced lunches you have especially enjoyed at 2 and 3 star restaurants would be appreciated.

BTW - what is the latest time to start eating lunch at most of the these places - and not get rushed out when they are ending lunch service? I am pretty bad with jet lag and will have to kick myself to get out of bed at least the first 3-4 days we will be in Paris. Robyn

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Any recommendations of attractively priced lunches you have especially enjoyed at 2 and 3 star restaurants would be appreciated.

I had a great lunch at le Bristol last fall with all the attributes you listed: great price, not too much food, beautiful room. Lunch started (and we got there) at 12:30 and most everyone was gone by the time we left. I think some of them had to go back to work or something :)

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I was at Taillevent in October. I did not have the 70 euro lunch, but I did ask about it for someone else. They gave me the current menu. It was very nice. The price may have changed a bit.

I think Le Meurice, Les Ambassadeurs are part of the group doing this. I believe it becoming quite common.

I plan on doing the Robuchon Table.

Enjoy....

Joan

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We lunched until 5 or 530 at L'Arpege and Pierre Gagnaire recently, and almost as late at L'Astrance. I wouldn't say we felt at all rushed out at any of the three, though in all cases we were the last table and the staff looked relieved to see us go :smile:

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The Savoy lunch is one of the best deals, because you have access to the whole regular ALC, or almost. Les Ambassadeurs is also a great deal in the same sense that it is the same kind of meal that you would have for dinner for much less -- i.e. not much pretentious and soulless food, but for much less. L'Arpège and Gagnaire also offer food that is not subpar in their lunch menu. (Also, at l'Arpège, they would let you split one tasting menu for two, which makes the places much less expensive, especially if you don't drink their ridiculously priced wines). At Lasserre you have the specialties and the opening roof for 75 eur at lunch. Rostang also uses cheaper ingredients but the same amount of skills, hard work and talent in his lunch menu (does not fit the bill in terms of eating little though). Gérard Besson also has a great value lunch menu at 56 eur and even less since it is sort of ALC (you can skip dessert or starter and you won't be charged)

In my experience, le Cinq, le Meurice, Ledoyen and le Bristol do not give their best in their lunch menu. Neither does Taillevent food wise but as the place is not about food anyway...

And if any of these places rushes you, let us know and we'll never go again (I heard such reports about Pierre Gagnaire and they don't surprise me). 1pm is the standard time for lunch, arriving after 1.45 or 2 is a bit late and some won't serve you. Most only open at 12.30, though the big 365/7 hotels (for Americans :wink: ) usually have larger opening hours.


Edited by julot-les-pinceaux (log)

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Thank you for the above information. You really provided us with a lot of information.

I'm sure we all appreciate it......

Joan

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After reading about dozens and dozens of restaurants in lots of places - we decided on a few (assuming we can get reservations). One is Guy Savoy for the 100 euro lunch. Since it is an "internet" special - I requested the booking on the internet. I will see what happens.

I like a game a lot. Not all of it (I once had wild swan in the UK and that was not to my taste). But most of it. So I was looking at Gerard Besson. I read one review where the writer was really turned off because he was dining on a Friday night with a bus load of tourists. That would be a turn off to me! Is this common at that restaurant (and if it is - I assume it would be more of problem at dinner than lunch).

I was also looking at the lunch menu for Arpege (which is a "bargain" at 130 euros :shock: - but only compared to dinner). My husband is still working hard on his French - and I am working a bit on restaurant French. The website is only in French - and it seems to me that the sample lunch menu is all (spring)vegetables. Could someone who reads French take a look at it - and tell me if I'm reading it correctly? 130 euros seems like an awful lot just for vegetables (no matter how good they are - we can get a really good southern veggie plate here for about $6!).

The lunch menu at Astrance also seems like a relative bargain at 70 euros. But both the lunch and dinner menus seem to be "surprise menus" of the day. Am I right about that? There are certain things I can't eat - and I hate to get into discussions about substitutions - so I simply avoid restaurants with fixed menus. Thanks. Robyn

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L'Astrance has a surprise menu that is improvised -- that's how the restaurant works. So you just tell you like/dislikes/restrictions and you let them play. Your choice is 3, 5 or 8 course. And wine pairing or not. The idea is that they know best what was best on the market that day and what they feel like cooking.

The lunch menu at l'Arpège (no offense, but there's no way any southern veggie plate has anything to do with any Arpège experience -- one is food and the other is art. It does not make it less expensive for sure, but I still rather skip 20 of those for a l'Arpège lunch):

Coquetier « Maison de Cuisine»

liqueur d'érable acidulée «4 épices»

Egg

Les gnocchis d'Alice à la sauge

beurre noisette

Gnocchis

Botte d'asperges poêlées à la verticale

à la citronnelle

asparagus

Petits pois «merveille de Kelvédon» au gingembre

oignon «cheveux d'ange»

peas and onions

Pousses, carottes, navets, choux, aulx, radis aux herbes

image du potager ce matin

the day's vegetables

Ecailles ou plumes...

reflet de la gourmandise

fowl or fish of the day

Salers de la ferme Caldayroux

été 2007

cheese (1)

Corbeille de parfums

fragrance

desserts

Don't know about Gérard Besson but you can ask them -- though it is probably too early. I am 100% sure that they don't have tourist buses each night, but I don't know how often that can happen. Only went for lunch which, as you point out, is a good way to avoid the problem.


Edited by julot-les-pinceaux (log)

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Julot , please explain why 'Taillevent is not about the food anyway'...


Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

blog

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I like a game a lot.  Not all of it (I once had wild swan in the UK and that was not to my taste).  But most of it.  So I was looking at Gerard Besson.  I read one review where the writer was really turned off because he was dining on a Friday night with a bus load of tourists.  That would be a turn off to me!  Is this common at that restaurant (and if it is - I assume it would be more of problem at dinner than lunch).
I think that's a rare situation; it's more likely in a brasserie than a place like Besson.
I was also looking at the lunch menu for Arpege (which is a "bargain" at 130 euros  :shock:  - but only compared to dinner).  My husband is still working hard on his French - and I am working a bit on restaurant French.  The website is only in French - and it seems to me that the sample lunch menu is all (spring)vegetables.  Could someone who reads French take a look at it - and tell me if I'm reading it correctly?  130 euros seems like an awful lot just for vegetables (no matter how good they are - we can get a really good southern veggie plate here for about $6!).

Ah but you cannot get Alain Passard's vegetables for $6. You're translating the carte correctly.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Julot , please explain why 'Taillevent is not about the food anyway'...

Because food at Taillevent has nothing special. The charm of the place lies in... well, the place, and also the wine list and the very professional very civilised service. It's basically everything an American imagines French fine dining is, without the great food -- It's Gusteau's! That's why it's been rated best in Paris by Zagat for so long and is still so popular with Chowhounders. I love and respect the place, but any foodie knows that it has no interest food wise, even if it can produce a good chicken and a decent puff pastry. It's totally a place I would pick for a sophisticated business meeting or a negotiation, which I never do for Savoy, l'Arpège, l'Ambroisie, Rostang, etc.


Edited by julot-les-pinceaux (log)

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Julot , please explain why 'Taillevent is not about the food anyway'...

Because food at Taillevent has nothing special. The charm of the place lies in... well, the place, and also the wine list and the very professional very civilised service. It's basically everything an American imagines French fine dining is, without the great food -- It's Gusteau's! That's why it's been rated best in Paris by Zagat for so long and is still so popular with Chowhounders. I love and respect the place, but any foodie knows that it has no interest food wise, even if it can produce a good chicken and a decent puff pastry. It's totally a place I would pick for a sophisticated business meeting or a negotiation, which I never do for Savoy, l'Arpège, l'Ambroisie, Rostang, etc.

Julot; that's brilliant, but I'm not sure everyone knows the Gusteau reference: cf Ratatouille.

I think a lot of younger folk; those who have clocked fewer than 100 years, for instance, may not know that once Taillevent was more than a monstrous wine list and Jean-Claude Vrinat's welcome - it was truly a destination and a fine, affordable resto.


John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I have to say that I think it is still a fine, and affordable resto. Although I haven't been there since M. Vrinat left us, I suspect they are carrying on quite well.

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I called Spring early this morning (from US) and talked woith Daniel!!

I knew he was serving lunch on Thursdays this time of the year, but needed October 9th to introduce a friend to Spring. We have a tentative reservation for that day. Get enough of followers out there and there will be liunch on Oct. 9th!!

I also asked him to pick an evening for me, as I would be there for a month. So, I have September 19th for dinner!

Joan

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After reading about dozens and dozens of restaurants in lots of places - we decided on a few (assuming we can get reservations).  One is Guy Savoy for the 100 euro lunch.  Since it is an "internet" special - I requested the booking on the internet.  I will see what happens.

I like a game a lot.  Not all of it (I once had wild swan in the UK and that was not to my taste).  But most of it.  So I was looking at Gerard Besson.  I read one review where the writer was really turned off because he was dining on a Friday night with a bus load of tourists.  That would be a turn off to me!  Is this common at that restaurant (and if it is - I assume it would be more of problem at dinner than lunch).

I was also looking at the lunch menu for Arpege (which is a "bargain" at 130 euros  :shock:  - but only compared to dinner).  My husband is still working hard on his French - and I am working a bit on restaurant French.  The website is only in French - and it seems to me that the sample lunch menu is all (spring)vegetables.  Could someone who reads French take a look at it - and tell me if I'm reading it correctly?  130 euros seems like an awful lot just for vegetables (no matter how good they are - we can get a really good southern veggie plate here for about $6!).

The lunch menu at Astrance also seems like a relative bargain at 70 euros.  But both the lunch and dinner menus seem to be "surprise menus" of the day.  Am I right about that?  There are certain things I can't eat - and I hate to get into discussions about substitutions - so I simply avoid restaurants with fixed menus.  Thanks.  Robyn

Robyn, some unnamed will pour scorn upon me but I remain a vey big fan of Les Ambassadeurs. They offer two options per course, which vary quite greatly - for example, they offered us venison and fish as main courses. It is currently 88 euros for three courses plus the cheese trolley.

John, Julot, I am looking forward to Chef Skin...I mean Chef Soliveres' frozen corn puppies. One never knows, they might be an improvement on his spelt risotto.


Julian's Eating - Tales of Food and Drink

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I didn't mean to imply that our humble southern veggies (even those I cook myself) compare to those sold at Arpege. But I do believe there is such a thing as relative value - and $200 for a vegetarian lunch is a bit much for me. Perhaps I am just not overwhelmed by the prospect of "all vegetables" at that price level. Note that John was apparently looking at the same menu I was looking at - I didn't see a fowl/fish course.

(As an aside - what makes most southern veggies wonderful is pork - they're cooked in/with all kinds of pork. Does Arpege use any pork when cooking vegetables - I doubt it - but am curious?).

I did hear back from Guy Savoy about lunch. They said to email in September for an October reservation. That is kind of inconvenient. I will see how our other plans look by September - and decide what to do. FWIW - I don't understand why restaurants can't take at least some reservations far in advance - especially during high season. And we will be in Paris during high season (Fashion Week - Paris Auto Show - etc.). If we waited until September to make our air/hotel/etc. plans - we would find everything sold out. Anyway - we will be in Paris - not Peoria - and I am sure we will eat well no matter what.

Julian - Just my opinion. Paris - like other large cities - has restaurants that are "in" and those that are "out" - at least among people who talk a lot about food. They are not always the "best" restaurants - or the restaurants people enjoy the most - simply the trendiest restaurants. But there is not necessarily a correlation between getting the most press coverage and one's favorite meals. Although I have not dined at Les Ambassadeurs - I respect your opinon of it. Julot may disagree with your opinion based on his last write-up - but I get the impression he doesn't care as much for Astrance as most people do. So I say to each his own. If we all tried at eat at the same 3 restaurants - we would never be able to get reservations - and many worthy restaurants would go out of business.

By the way - I reached my "overload" point on Paris restaurant information this week. So I am on to other projects. In some respects - dining in a place like Japan is more fun than dining in Paris. So little information is available in English about dining in Japan that almost everything is a surprise (you just have to cross your fingers and hope that the concierge makes good choices for you if you want to reserve a meal in advance). And I like surprises. Robyn

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I didn't mean to imply that our humble southern veggies (even those I cook myself) compare to those sold at Arpege.  But I do believe there is such a thing as relative value - and $200 for a vegetarian lunch is a bit much for me.  Perhaps I am just not overwhelmed by the prospect of "all vegetables" at that price level.  Note that John was apparently looking at the same menu I was looking at - I didn't see a fowl/fish course.

(As an aside - what makes most southern veggies wonderful is pork - they're cooked in/with all kinds of pork.  Does Arpege use any pork when cooking vegetables - I doubt it - but am curious?).

The only pork we had at Arpege was a dollop of speck chantilly served on top of a celery root velouté. And it was even better than it sounds.

I certainly understand the prices are astronomical (my pre-meal excitement was laced with a healthy bit of fear, I'll admit). But I would imagine if you look at the menu on the day of your visit and think the image du potager ce matin won't be enough to satisfy you, you could ask them to sub a meat/fish course for little or no supplement. They're pretty damn nice.

ETA: "Ecailles ou plumes..." == Scales or feathers


Edited by tupac17616 (log)

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It really isn't so much a matter of money as deciding what my husband and I would like best (which basically consists of reading a whole lot and then throwing darts :wink: ). I've already decided on the following - Le Cinq because we very much want to try Chef Briffard's cuisine (doesn't hurt that we are staying at the hotel and the reservation is easy). L'Ambroisie because - of all the 3 stars - it sounds like the one we would like the best. Who knows if we can get that reservation? If we can't - then I will have to come up with a plan B. Senderens because I have eaten at Archestrate and Lucas Carton. I want to see the final act of what I think is a 3 act play produced by one of the best chefs of my generation. Other than that - I am kind of filling in the gaps with perhaps another meal (probably lunch) at a higher end place. As between Arpege and other places - I would probably prefer a place like Gerard Besson - because I yearn for game more than I yearn for vegetables. The mileage of other people may vary. Otherwise - we will be eating light during the rest of our 8 day stay. And a couple of nights in our hotel room with great cheese - bread - fruit and wine and some French TV isn't out of the question. I haven't been able to eat raw epoisses in the US for a few years now - and I could dine on that alone (although October is kind of early for epoisses).

I would note in general that if I were traveling in France in the spring - Arpege might hold a greater attraction for me - because there is nothing quite like the best vegetables of early spring (I don't know how much spargel I had in Germany last year - but it was an awful lot - prepared every which way at all kinds of restaurants). But fall is game season in Europe - and - since I love game - that is probably the way for me to go. Robyn

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I called Spring early this morning (from US) and talked woith Daniel!! 

I knew he was serving lunch on Thursdays this time of the year, but needed October 9th to introduce a friend to Spring. We have a tentative reservation for that day. Get enough of followers out there and there will be liunch on Oct. 9th!!

I also asked him to pick an evening for me, as I would be there for a month. So, I have September 19th for dinner!

Joan

I have now called Gerard Besson, La Regalade and l'Epigramme for some lunch/dinner reservations for October!

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I called Spring early this morning (from US) and talked woith Daniel!! 

I knew he was serving lunch on Thursdays this time of the year, but needed October 9th to introduce a friend to Spring. We have a tentative reservation for that day. Get enough of followers out there and there will be liunch on Oct. 9th!!

I also asked him to pick an evening for me, as I would be there for a month. So, I have September 19th for dinner!

Joan

I have now called Gerard Besson, La Regalade and l'Epigramme for some lunch/dinner reservations for October!

I am not sure what "Get enough of followers out there and there will be lunch on October 9" means. But if it means getting a group together for lunch - I note that October 9 is kind of inconvenient for some of us (it's Yom Kippur and I will not be eating - it will also be an interesting exercise to find a synagogue in Paris). It seems that the only days the restaurant is open for lunch are Thursdays and Fridays. Any possibility of 10/2 or 10/3? Robyn

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We have a tentative reservation for that day. Get enough of followers out there and there will be liunch on Oct. 9th!!

I would remind everyone that we have had an events policy since 2007 - if someone wants to plan an event somewhere it should be followed. Fine examples were Braden's tastings. Communicating by PM to folks is another matter but any event addressed to all has to include date, price, place, etc.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I called Spring early this morning (from US) and talked woith Daniel!! 

I knew he was serving lunch on Thursdays this time of the year, but needed October 9th to introduce a friend to Spring. We have a tentative reservation for that day. Get enough of followers out there and there will be liunch on Oct. 9th!!

I also asked him to pick an evening for me, as I would be there for a month. So, I have September 19th for dinner!

Joan

I am not sure what "Get enough of followers out there and there will be lunch on October 9" means.  But if it means getting a group together for lunch - I note that October 9 is kind of inconvenient for some of us (it's Yom Kippur and I will not be eating - it will also be an interesting exercise to find a synagogue in Paris).  It seems that the only days the restaurant is open for lunch are Thursdays and Fridays.  Any possibility of 10/2 or 10/3?  Robyn

Sorry for my hard to understand wording above...my thinking was to hopefully have enough others interested in dining at Spring on Thursday, Oct. 9th that Daniel would definitely be serving on that Thursday. I have to make it the 9th as my companion will only be there at that time..and I do want to take her to Spring!

Joan

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We have a tentative reservation for that day. Get enough of followers out there and there will be liunch on Oct. 9th!!

I am sorry for whatever I have done!!

The intent was only to have Spring open for lunch on Thursday, October 9th! He does not include Thursdays for the whole year. It was only Fiday for lunch when I was there in April. I was really only passing on the word that Spring could be serving lunch on Thursday, October 9th.

Joan

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