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Paris Haute Cuisine feedback wanted on Taillevent or Guy Savoy

Paris Haute Cuisine feedback wanted on Taillevent or Guy Savoy

Jan 22nd, 2008, 07:11 AM
  #1  
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Paris Haute Cuisine feedback wanted on Taillevent or Guy Savoy

My husband and I are heading to Paris in late May and planning one "big splash" dinner out to celebrate our anniversary. Although we are seasoned travelers, this will be our first time in Paris as we have been traveling through Asia and Southeast Asia in recent years. It'll be great to get back to Europe, and we are so looking forward to our 8 nights in Paris followed by a few more days in southern France to visit family. We will be staying at Relais Saint Germain so will be sure to dine at Le Comptoir.

After much research, we are deciding between Taillevent or Guy Savoy. Food, decor, and service are all important...in other words, "the whole dining experience" is what we're looking for. Please help us choose and tell us your own reasons why. We note that there is much more written about Taillevent than Guy Savoy on this forum, but would like to hear more about the latter too to help us with our decision.

A secondary inquiry is understanding the "menu degustation" at these high dining places. Can you please describe such an experience? With the falling dollar, it is unlikely that we will partake in such an experience, but it would be useful to understand this kind of evening "event" before turning it down.

Thank you for all of your continued help and suggestions! We really look forward to people's comments and perspectives. Fodorites are the best teachers to us travelers.
terryr is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 05:34 PM
  #2  
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ttt
terryr is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 09:32 PM
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I haven't been to Guy Savoy, so I can't compare the two places to you, but half an answer is better than none, right?

I enjoyed our dinner at Taillevent very much, the food and service were impeccable, and am glad I went, but I don't think I would choose to go again. IMHO, once you get to a certain level of a fine dining experience, the quality of the food and ambiance doesn't get (much) better, it's just that the ingredients used are more rare and more expensive. And, to be honest, the high prices effect my enjoyment - I kept thinking how many other things I could buy with the price of my first course alone!

In Paris, we've eaten at several 2- and 1-star restaurants that were smaller and more intimate. On the whole, I prefer those kinds of restaurants. (Michel Rostang and Jacques Cagna are two; it's been a while since I've eaten at either, so I don't know what they're like to eat at these days.)

As you can tell from the many rave reviews on Fodors and elsewhere, my opinion is in the minority. But there you have it.

A menu degustation is also called a tasting menu. Almost always, the entire table must order it. There will be a larger number of courses (7, 9 or even 13), but each course is much smaller than a regular serving. So, theoretically at least, you don't get any fuller than during a regular dinner. Because there are more courses, the meal tends to take longer, as well. Usually, with a tasting menu, there will be 1-2 first courses (in France, these are called entrees; in the U.S., appetizers); maybe a soup course; a fish course; 1-2 meat courses; a cheese course; 1-2 desserts. And of course, separate from the tasting menu, you'll probably also be served amuse bouche at the beginning of the meal and friandise at the end.

I like doing tasting menus, but DH does not like the gambling nature of it - usually, you don't know what you're getting in advance, and what if you get something you hate? That's his viewpoint, anyway. Some places will do substitutions, and some will ask in advance if there are any dietary restrictions (allergies).
Lexma90 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 10:58 PM
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mjs
 
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Have not eaten at Gut Savoy and have not been to Taillivent in years but have eaten at several other 1 star, 2 star and 3 stars in Paris. Tasting menu when I looked at it last month before going to Europe was E140 and E190 for 7 courses. Add in a decent bottle of wine for E50 to E100 and the price for 2 will be around $500 to $700. Lunch 3 course would be E70. If you have never eaten at such restaurant and are into food you should try one once even if it is for lunch. Unfortunately Mr. Vrinat, the long time manager recently passed away and he was the one person at Taillivent who seemed to always go out of his way to make sure all his guests were happy.
The dinner will take several hours. I think lexma90 otherwise describes well the experience. Do agree that I can enjoy lesser restaurants just as much in a different way. Always seem to have a good time at Au Trou Gascon even though it is a bit out of the way in the 12th.
mjs is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 09:00 AM
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Many thanks for your responses, lexma90 and mjs. Yes, I was going to ask for recommendations of mid-range restaurants when the time got closer...so thank you for your additional notes...and for explaining the tasting menu, lexma90.

I'm sorry to hear about Mr. Vrinat...people have talked so fondly of him. It seemed like his personal touch made the experience at Taillevent that much more special.

Can anyone give me a recent review of Guy Savoy and/or Taillevent? Thank you.
terryr is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 09:31 AM
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I've never been to Taillevent or Guy Savoy. Have you tried other reviews on the web or a website like eGullet or chowhound?

Out of curiosity, which restaurants are also rans in your decision making process?
111op is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 09:37 AM
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A good source of reviews for this level of restaurant is the French board at eGullet.com.

http://forums.egullet.com/index.php?showforum=10

There are threads on many of the 3 star restaurants, comparing and contrasting, as my professor used to say.
shellio is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 01:42 PM
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I've done a great deal of research on this topic! I can tell you what I've found and tell you our plan but I suggest you do a bit of research of your own on some "foodie" boards like E-gullet and Chowhound. If you enter the names of one of these restaurants in the search field you'll find a wealth of information from people who have dined repeatedly at starred places in Paris as well as links to some great blogs with reviews of all the places.

From what I understand, many of the starred places that offer lunch specials don't offer any of the really special dishes on those menus so that the lunch special really doesn't reflect the skill of the chef or the finest quality of the ingredients that earned a place those stars to begin with. There are a couple of exceptions to that rule.

After all of my research, I've decided we'll do lunch at the 2 starred Les Elysees. Seems to be the best bang for the buck in terms of highest quality food and service in a lovely atmosphere (ceiling designed by the same guy who did the Eiffel tower, elegant room but not ridiculous.)

Their special lunch menu(75E)is reported to be one of the few that is not sub-par in quality to what you find on the regular carte. Le Ambassaduer is the other starred place that I've read has a worthwhile lunch special (95E)as well as Guy Savoy for the fun more than the food (although the food is supposed to be really great but not typical or seriously AMAZING.)

From everything I've read, the food at Taillvent isn't all that spectacular. It's very fine, old fashioned, classic French cuisine but nothing particularly bells and whistles. The service is usually fabulous and very welcoming to Americans in particular but that very special touch seems to have been provided by M. Vrinat who has sadly passed on. But I still imagine it's a place to feel very comfortable if you speak no French and are not terribly experienced with serious cuisine. It's very difficult to get a dinner reservation without booking way ahead but lunch is easier they have a lunch special 70E (But I've read from many that the choices don't include any of the signature dishes.)

The food at Guy Savoy's is playful and apparently the experience is quite a show with a million little extras presented with great flourish throughout the meal. A tasting dinner will be extremely expensive but an amazing experience. They take one special lunch booking(100E pp) off their website each day (try as soon as possible for your date if you want to do this)and I hear it's a great way to get the Savoy experience at a reasonable($!)price. The choices come off the whole regular carte.

Please do report back on what you decide and how it goes!
plafield is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 01:50 PM
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I go to Taillevent most every trip to Paris. Most, recent was in Oct. M. Vrinat will be sadly missed on my next trip, in April. The "tasting" menu is individually ordered, not the whole table.

It has been several years since dining at Guy Savoy. I can tell you that it was a most memorable experience.

You might alswo consider l'Astrance.

You should make reservations, wherever, as soon as possible.

Enjoy.............
gracejoan3 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2008, 06:01 PM
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Thank you for your continued responses. I will do further research on eGullet.com and chowhound.com...great resources. When I put together a list of mid-price restaurants, I will check in to this forum again.
terryr is offline  
Jan 25th, 2008, 08:01 AM
  #11  
ira
 
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Hi T,

Taillevent recently lost its 3rd star, and is working hard to get it back.

You can see the tasting menu at its website, www.taillevent.com

It is 140E pp plus wine.

We have reservations there in early June.

We made our reservations through www.bestrestaurantsparis.com

Enjoy your dinner.

ira is offline  
Jan 25th, 2008, 08:20 PM
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Hi ira,

Thanks for your reply and recommendation of Taillevent. I see that their tasting menus range from 140-190E pp. In contrast, we looked at Guy Savoy's tasting menus on their website, which range from 285-320E pp! Those prices are especially staggering given the current exchange rate! I guess I'll be making our reservations at Taillevent.

I too agree that at a certain point one can reach a level of diminishing returns: no matter how good the food is, is it really worth it given the price?! We all set our bars at different points!

Bon appetit to you too, Ira!
terryr is offline  
Jan 26th, 2008, 09:01 AM
  #13  
ira
 
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Enjoy your visit, T
ira is offline  

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