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Willy Wilson | Dec 28, 200210:52 AM     17

Two of us are visiting Paris next July. I've been all over the world and have eaten some great meals, but have not been in a 3-star restaurant in Paris. I currently have a reservation at Taillevent, but I'd like some opinions from others.

I'm not a culinary "adventurer" in the sense of doing highly unusual things with food, but when a restaurant has 3 stars and is regarded (and priced) to be elite, then I have high expectations. The fact that something is a "standard" is no excuse for it being boring or tired. Same for the service and ambiance. I'm not expecting bowing and scraping, but I want to be treated well. I'm hoping for, and frankly expecting, a memorable experience and I have the background to make that judgment.

Is Taillevent the best choice, or could there be a different 3-star that would be better? I'd hate to pick something on the basis of its name, only to find out that "everyone (but me) knows" that it's long since past its prime. The person I'm taking is less experienced with restaurants than me, but not a hick from the provinces either. I want this meal to be high point of our visit to Paris.

One other question: I've made the reservation for 7:30 p.m., and am thinking that maybe this is ridiculously early by Paris standards. I'd hate to eat in a place that's 20% full. On the other hand, it occurs to me that if we come slightly early we've got a better chance at a better table. I read a review here from someone who got a horrible table and bad food.

Any and all thoughts would be most appreciated.

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