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A while ago the community was friendly enough to recommend and advice some restaurants to my companion and myself for a first 5 day city trip to Paris ( see https://www.chowhound.com/post/feedba...)
In the end we did L'Arpege, Okuda, Yam'Tcha, Le Chateaubriand and Clown Bar (lunch) and here is a small report, which I hope helps people out!
Response is welcome since we had a blast of a time and really appreciated all the received advice.
L'Arpege: Tasting Menu Terre et Merre.
Excellent, highest class innovative cooking and dishes.
Coming from an experienced eater, this is amongst the most technical cooking I've ever experienced, but everything remains recognizable and pure. Vegetables are gold here.
Standout dishes are the lobster dish and dessert (a confit tomato variant).
But... the cooking was excellent but the service and decor messy and not 3-star level.
The recommended wine pairing was not a solid hit and they forgot to offer dessert wine (only after dessert they offered it!).
Alain Passard himself was also not very friendly and gave the impression he wanted to leave as quickly as possible.
These are minor nitpicks but in this price range, at this level, we do expect 100%.
I would do it again but not for this price and not considering the more 'fun' options in Paris.
A Japanese restaurant to break the flow.
Very fine Japanese dining. Would recommend to people who like an intermezzo with a very strong, clean, traditional Japanese kaiseki menu.
Messy service: english is insufficient to explain you'd like to do a sake/food pairing which gave a confusing situation. Very very friendly though and nice to see them at work.
Standout dish was a caviar sushi.
Overall, excellent but would only recommend as intermezzo. If you like a more innovative Japanese, there are likely better options. If you want clean eating, superb quality products and a classic taste of Japan out-of-Japan, this is a clear winner.
Excellent no-nonsense kitchen.
This was a very fine experience! Innovative and flawless every way. Very good and informative service.
Very good dishes. The cooking is superb, though it did not have standout dishes of the previous 2 restaurants, the average level of cooking/service/experience when compared with the price/quality was higher!
Interesting wines and a tea/wine pairing that excites. This was a fun restaurant and highly unique.
I would recommend this as a must-visit. Accessible for non-foodies as well while still being special and impeccable.
A surprise! The father of bistronomy cooked way more Basque-ish than expected but this was excellent.
Service, food, wine, everything was, considering price/quality, of the highest and best level.
Standout dish was the egg dessert. Wine was very well combined and interesting.
Not accessible for people who go for more regular food since every dish was unique and special in some way, but for foodies, a must-visit especially considering the price.
No frills, no bullshit spot, I would recommend this as a must-visit as well though be prepared for very special dishes and it won't be very French.
From our trip, the most 'French' cuisine in terms of products but this spot was superb.
Good service, good food. Veal brains are very good, wines are very interesting, the crew is available for discussion and in general the experience here was phenomenal.
More accessible since you order a la carte but very interesting if you want to make it so.
I would recommend this as well as a jolly good experience and the chance to experience an excellent bistro with an interesting map.
In conclusion: each meal was a hit. Considering price/quality/experience L'Arpege was the worse and Clown Bar/Le Chateaubriand share top spot.
The best overall to take people to if you want very fine dining, I might say Yam'Tcha since it is unique, interesting but still accessible and very good service. You do not go classic there but approachable and recognizable.
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