Foodies - Michelin Star restaurants or local Bistros?
This was our experience from our 8 night stay in Paris.
We went to: Le Cinq at Four Seasons George V for dinner (3 stars),
Pierre Gagnaire for dinner (3 stars),
La Table de L''Espadon at Ritz Paris for dinner (2 stars at dinner),
Le Gabriel at La Reserve for dinner (2 stars)
David Toutain for lunch (1 star
Les Jardins de L' Espadon for lunch and dinner (1 star)
Itinéraires for lunch ( 1 star)
Penati al Barretto for dinner (1 star)
Champeaux Les Halles for lunch.
Frankly, the Michelin 3 stars and even the 2 stars (with the exception of Le Table de L'Espadon which was our favorite dinner) were all about the EXPERIENCE, the gorgeous table settings, elegant atmosphere and superb service. (Except for Le Cinq which was horrid - wrote a review about it - Jay Rayner restaurant critic from The Guardian newspaper was in my personal opinion, totally correct.)
The best of our meals were at David Toutain, Le Jardins de L'Espadon and Champeax Les Halles and Le Jardin . Sometime simply is better and here is why. These last three were places you could see yourself happily eating at once or twice a month. They were Good food,, unpretentious good meals and satisfying in a way the 2 and 3 star were not.
The 2 and 3 stars you walk away stuffed, but frankly not quite sure exactly what you've had to eat because there have been so many amuse bouche, so many dabs of this and dabs of that and fanciful creation on the plate, and then dessert and so many mignardises.
You're about to pop and really the thought of another bite is an 'oh no" thought.
I do remember a fabulous plate of the tenderest of asparagus at Le Gabriel, but honestly out of ALL the things we had at the fancy schmancy places, that is the one thing that sticks out in my mind the most as my favorite.
Except for the Chef in his pristine white uniform bringing the bread hot and fresh direct fresh from the oven (out on a big peel or paddle at L'Espadon), which was fabulously delicious with two kinds of butter.
David Toutain was a great informal 4 course meal.
Chapeaux had excellent charcuterie and a very light cheese souffle.
Le Jardins de L'Espadon had marvelous perfectly cooked steak, silky smooth mashed potatoes, fresh from the garden vegetables, an excellent gazpacho soup, yummy cucumber sandwiches, and a totally delicious raspberry framboise for dessert
So if someone were to ask - where should we dine in Paris? Should go to the famous Michelin Starred places?
I'd say maybe ONE of them, just to say you'd done it. And for the (to my mind) best and most romantic of all, it would be L'Espadon at Paris Riz. Other than that, I'd try the Michelin 1 stars (just to see which one
became a favorite) and the local bistros that had at least 75% excellent reviews on TripAdvsor (after you looked at the restaurant website's online menu and decided that was the kind of food you liked in the arrondissement you were going to be in that day.)
Paris has truly excellent food, and even better the Parisians seem to expect excellence, and the tiny family or owner run restaurants WANT to please their customers and show off their skill because they know otherwise their business will close because the place 200 meters away DOES have excellent food!
It was an interesting lesson to learn.
Sometimes the BEST is how it tastes in a spotlessly clean and pleasantly homey atmospheres -- and not how how elegant the interior decor is or many stars the very famous Chef has been able to achieve with his brilliant innovations in cuisine...
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