Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Fascination with the 2 & 3 star restaurants


pierre45
 Share

Recommended Posts

IT has always fascinated me about the phenomena of people that have lunches and then dinners in 2 to 3 star restaurants almost every day for the week or two of their vacation.

I realize that they want to make the most of their limited time,however I don't understand how any human beeing is in a postion to keep on appreciating the nuances and differences of sophisticated cuisines under those cicumstances.

The food and wine intake is quite huge. .So they must be pursuing a different objective from someone who appreciates good cuisine.

The biggest culprit to this situation other than human nature is Michelin and the media.MIchelin's well meant classification gets discussed at lenght and the result is free advertising .The increased demand results in skyrocketing prices for a meal that averages $300/person.That's equal to 8 meals in a decent bistrot.

I wonder what effect the current economic turmoil will have on the cost of dining in a 2 to 3 star resaturant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IT has always fascinated me about the phenomena of people that have lunches and then dinners in 2 to 3 star restaurants almost every day for the week or two of their vacation.

It has always fascinated me about the phenomena of posters, here and in other threads, who like to be judgmental about other people’s dining/vacation habits. And how these posters also purport to be able to read those people’s minds and ascribe motivations and thoughts to them that those people have not expressed; if someone eats in several starred restaurants during their vacation, it can’t possibly be that they appreciate good cuisine. No, they must be brainwashed by Michelin or are crossing restaurants off their lists or just want to have nice stories to put on their blogs.

Different people have different tastes and different ways they want to spend their time on vacation or elsewhere. It doesn't mean that their way is wrong. I don't insult people who have different priorities when they travel than I do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For some the whole purpose and focus of their vacation is visiting restaurants.

Speaking for myself I'm hoping to visit Paris next year and it would be wise to visit as many restaurants as possible. As I may never have the opportunity again.

Robert R

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're heading to Paris this Saturday for a week and have made many of our dinner reservations already. Not a single starred restaurant in the bunch.

We may, however, do one for lunch.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with HOLLY. Remember the Michelin Guide ranks restaurants the same way they rank tourist attractions: Worth a detour, Worth a journey, etc. Since food, wine, and eating are such an important part of French culture, enjoying restaurants and wanting to dine at famous temples of gastronomy is an important way to learn, enjoy and appreciate France.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it depends what nationality you are.... In that, I mean if your from a country that is not visited by the michelin inspectors e.g. Australia, South Africa, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, when you go for a trip to Europe/US/Japan etc you will want to eat at two and three star places at least once. When it is such a huge outlay for flights over meaning you can only go on very rare occasions I can understand eating at some high end establishments. What I don't understand is eating at all high end/starred restaurants.

Just as an example, I'm heading for France/Italy next March for four weeks. I'm hoping to go to three *** places and maybe one or two ** for lunch. And that will do. The rest of my meals will be going to markets, bakeries, delicatessens or really simple restaurants that people recommend on here. Half the fun of travelling is discovering that beautiful trattoria, bistro or bouchon. You know the ones, run by ma & pa and the grandkids, in the middle of nowhere serving the most amazing food that only the locals seem to know about. Heaven!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can only speak for myself and my husband. But - on our part - it has nothing to do with money - or putting "dining notches" on our belts. We just can't eat that much food! At least not if you are talking about cuisines which have a lot of rich food.

I think your impression of Japan is a little off the mark. I have to say that our most favorite trip/food trip in recent years was to Japan in 2006 - when it did not have a Michelin Guide (so we had to find and use many alternative sources of information in terms of finding places to eat - everything from hotel concierges to web sites). We had lots of somewhat expensive meals (the yen was weak then and just about everything was priced very reasonably) - and lots of not so expensive meals (we were there for 3 weeks so we had a lot of meals). But we never felt stuffed - and actually lost 2-3 pounds each during the trip. Because the food is very light - even the fried food like tempura - the portions are small - and you walk a lot in Japanese cities. I was determined to try at least one of each of the 12 or so major types of Japanese restaurants - many of which are difficult or impossible to find outside Japan - and I think we accomplished that.

Although Japan is a bit more discovered now - it is still not a major tourist destination. There is no path - beaten or otherwise - that you have to try to get off of. And - most important - you can eat anything you want anywhere without fear of an unwanted intestinal ailment. We tried lots of strange things at places like the Osaka cherry blossom festival - lots of street food - at about 100 yen ($1) a pop. Didn't care for some of it - but I never worried for a second about eating it. Note also that Japan is very food friendly for people who are vegetarians - people who keep kosher - etc. - etc. It is my idea of food heaven - and I only wish it wasn't such a long trip to get there! Robyn

P.S. When Michelin did come out with a guide for Japan - I wasn't surprised to see so many starred restaurants. After all - Tokyo is the largest city in the world - about 35 million people - and it has over 100,000 restaurants. Osaka - a smaller city - has *only* about 6 million people. And - although there is more tourism in Japan these days - most of the tourists are coming from places in Asia - like China. You are well advised to learn a little Japanese before going on a trip there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have indeed discussed this before and I agree that it's perilous to ascribe motivation.

But as I believe I've stated before, I do think age and frequency of visits changes one's habits; that is, when I came to France once a year as a much younger person I could tuck away and wanted to tuck away as much goodness as I could in say 10 days. Now, older but not wiser and a semiresident, I find I'm less prone to eat that way.

As for the issue about the economy, my theory (expounded elsewhere) that the top and bottom restos were doing fine and only the midranges suffering appears totally wrong; everybody's hurting, some of the big guys are empty twice a week at dinner (unheard of a year ago), the bar/cafe's are, according to the IHT, closing like venus flytraps and yes, for the last month the tables I've been at for lunch in mid-range places has been among the few occupied (places are averaging only 4-7 other customers), again unthinkable a year ago.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was in Paris for a month mid Sept. - mid Oct. I had reservations at some places..like lunch and dinner at Spring. I enjoy a variety in my choosing..Usually do all the Constant places, Le Florimond Les Anges, La Cuisine etc. etc.

I have a spur of the moment trip arriving in Paris Dec. 4th and departing Dec. 15th. I do have a reservation for lunch with Daniel at Spring. Need to catch up on how things are going at the new place. Catherine Constant will be one of the other 3 with me. Will be fun. I do have reservations at some other places., including two Constant's, Fables and Violon. The other two will be enjoyed, but no reservations!

I enjoy a variety in my restaurant planning..from starred to charming, funky bistros. I enjoy them all and give no thought as to why, for this one or that one.

I enjoy Paris. I enjoy the lovely apartments where I stay. I enjoy the places where I dine. What more could you want?

Joan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IT has always fascinated me about the phenomena of people that have lunches and then dinners in 2 to 3 star restaurants almost every day for the week or two of their vacation.

I agree with Pierre, I have done this very thing on several occasions and I am never able to appreciate the subtle flavors after a few days of binge eating. I always have to eat salads for a day or two to just to regain my composure.

It took me a several trips to France before I was truly able to appreciate a baguette, Camembert and a bottle of Beaujolais in a park, with my wife, watching the people go by.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

Another data point:

As academics, my partner's parents would visit France at least once a year. Her father was a big gourmand and her mother was a patient soul. She let him pick and choose where they ate, but she had one request of him -- he could eat only three stars a day.

Either lunch and dinner or dinner, as long as the sum total stars remained at three or lower.

We still abide by this policy.

Honestly, I don't have the luxury of long trips to France, so we're lucky if we can get two really amazing meals in a three day trip. We'll be in Paris for four days starting on the 27th and so far only have violin d'ingres booked. I think we may do one more one star, who knows.

lala

I have a relatively uninteresting life unless you like travel and food. Read more about it here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a lot of high level clients who do this. Obviously they pick up the Michelin guide then just ask their concierge to book and entire week of two and three star lunches and dinners. They are always warned against it (as VERY few people can handle this highly caloric marathon) and it always turns out the same way: one or two meals, then they cancel the rest of the hard to get reservations at the last minute. Quite sad actually.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The time is important. If you only have a couple of days - perhaps you can do a couple of big deal meals - and get over your indigestion when you get home. But if you're talking about a week or so (we spent 8 days in Paris in the fall) - no way. Unless you are really used to eating very large amounts of very rich food on a regular basis (we're basically pretty healthy non-obese people - and we don't do this). I guess one's age is important too. Younger people can perhaps binge for a longer period of time without feeling totally indisposed.

As I have mentioned before - if you're staying in a nice hotel with good food - one option on a longer trip is room service a couple of nights. You don't have to worry about ordering a meal for one - and splitting it for 2 people. Or another option is throwing in a place or two with "tapas" kinds of menus - where you can order a few dishes - keep it light.

fresh_a - I am not sure it is as much a question of calories (a good burger has a lot of calories) as the richness of the food. The fat content from the ingredients standing alone - to all the reduced sauces. I sometimes make these kinds of things - including sauces - at home. You know - starting with a bottle of port and winding up with 1/4 cup of sauce. This kind of stuff is wonderful on an occasional basis - but it will make a person with normal eating habits sick to his or her stomach if not done in extreme moderation.

There are - however - antidotes where you can have a lot of fun. Like I had a wonderful salad of all kinds of exotic radishes from the market (plus a modest main) at Tokyo Eat for lunch one day. Talk about interesting taste - with no bloat (I walked about 3 miles after lunch with no problems). Robyn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...