Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Paris: Haute-cuisine 2

Eating in a good restaurant in Paris is so easy that makes picking a few quite a chore! Sometimes I’m in the mood for a cheerful brasserie, some for homey bistro food and many others for top haute cuisine: today’s case!

I’ve already written a post on Paris’ haute-cuisine but I’m aware I’ll still leave some amazing spots out of this second one.

Av des Champs-Elyseés is Paris’ most famous avenue, so, no wonder, many of the top restaurants are housed around it, on 8iéme arrondissement; an exclusive neighborhood surrounded by 16iéme and 1ière arrondissement, also very posh areas.
On the upper side of 8iéme one will find two amazing places: Pierre Gagnaire (http://www.pierre-gagnaire.com/ ) and Taillevent (http://www.taillevent.com/ ).
Pierre Gagnaire’s venue is very chic, low key and trendy. His food is modern but his standards couldn’t be higher and stricter.

Only about a block away, in an ancient and beautiful townhouse, is established Tallevent. The restaurant offers a sophisticated deco, and, in my opinion, one of the best services and food in town. They also have an amazing wine list. I just love the place!

Still on the same arrondissement, right by Grand Palais and Petit Palais, are located Lasserre (http://www.restaurant-lasserre.com/fr ) and Ledoyen (http://www.ledoyen.com/ ), respectively. Ledoyen is housed at a beautiful neo-classical construction on the gardens of carré Champs-Elyseés. It offers impeccable service, amazing food and a Napoleon-style deco, but the restaurant’s big and wide windows, with garden views, are really the ones that make the experience unique and romantic. When speaking of uniqueness and romance, Lasserre is the top-of-mind place! Luv and I, Mom and Dad and 2 other couples spent our last New Year’s Eve at this magical spot. I had been there before but it always amazes me! Besides the perfection of its food (try the macaroni aux truffes as appetizer) and service, the ambience is absolutely mind-blowing. As you enter the lovely house you’re conducted into a charming elevator that leads you to the sumptuous dining room covered with the prettiest white orchids. As if that weren’t enough, the room features a magnificent retractable roof that allows one to dine with the stars!!! So nice!

Crossing Place de la Concorde and continuing a bit further one ends up on Palais Royal, one of my favorite places in Paris. After being Cardinal Richelieu’s Theather, being burned down and rebuilt, this monument is, nowadays, house to several cafés, stores, such as: Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, the vintage Didier Loudot and the newly-opened Corto Moltedo (amazing clutches and bags!!), and restaurants, as the famous Le Grand Véfour (http://www.grand-vefour.com/ ) - very sophisticated, beautiful and charming. Try the ravioli de foie gras and the ox tail. And, please, leave some room for cheese, desert and all the little treats offered after it. Totally worth it!

Crossing the Seine from Rive Droite to Rive Gauche, on 6iéme arrondissement, is located one of Paris Left Bank’s finest restaurant: Restaurant Hélène Darroze. This warm and modern house is divided in three distinct, but equally nice areas: La Sale à Mange (the most sophisticated), Le Salon (the best tapas, and a bit more casual; try the truffles menu!!) and Le Boudoir (great bar with an impressive collection of Armagnacs).

Hope you have great dining experiences. Boa Viagem!

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