84, rue de Varenne
75007 PARIS, France, CA
+33 (0)1 47 05 09 06
+ 33 (0)1 44 18 98 39 (Fax)
L’Arpege is a famous three Michelin star restaurant in Paris run by star Chef Alain Passard. This famous spot opened in 1986. They serve classic French Haute cuisine focusing on seafood, poultry, and vegetables. Their three organic farms outside Paris grow their produce. Vegetables are bullet trained to the restaurant several TIMES a day, to maximize freshness. Alain became bored with meat and removed it from the menu several years ago, but later adjusted to include seafood and poultry. We came for lunch Menu L’Ete des Jardins (The Summer Garden) (120€) available July-September 2009, to lessen the damage to the pocket book. It looked like everyone else ordered it too. They had actually lowered its price by 15€!
They also had a 320€ Cuisine Choisie Prix Fixe menu. We’d be in a food coma the rest of the day if we had that for lunch! A la Carte food prices can really add up here. We did separately order a very expensive Aiguillettes de homard (Lobster).
Decor, Vibe – Simplistic but formal decor as he believes the luxury is on the plate. Simple pictures, light oak paneled walls envelope the dining room. Large squash on the tables. Private room downstairs. Diners included mostly older locals and some tourists from around the world. The dining room was 100% full by 1pm.
Menu Pictures (Click to zoom into any picture)
Prix Fix Menu
A la Carte Menu
Amuse Bouche of Tartelette of beetroot puree on a crispy with radish
Amuse Bouche of fresh baby radishes
Awesome salted butter from Brittany and fresh bread. The ‘peanut butter’ infused bread was the best.
Aiguillettes de homard (140€) – Whole steamed Lobster (Split entree) had some massive claws, bigger than typical Maine lobsters. It was unshelled and served with the freshest of turnips, radishes, baby squash, and mini potatoes. Very sweet and succulent lobster meat and a light, yet unnecessary buttery sauce. One of the most expensive single dishes we have ever ordered but well worth the splurge.
Ravioles potagères, consommé végétal – More like a precisely engineered three Chinese Won Tons. Freshly diced cucumber, bell peppers, tomates in a very thin dough wrapper, bathed in a warm vegetable broth.
Black Prince, Panderosa, Marmande de Brecenne.. tomate naturelle – Natural Tomatoes – Black Prince, panderos, Marmande tomatoes from Brecenne with a light balsamic vinagrette and mint oil. Ice plant and cucumber accents. Very nice texture to each bite.
Couleur, saveur, parfum et dessin du jardin, cueillette ephemere – Color, flavor, fragrance and design of the garden, picking ephemere. Not sure we translated it right, as this was a trio of very delicate gnocchi. Potato – garlic, tomato – lemongrass, with a couple little tomatoes on the side.
Mustard Ice Cream on a tomato gazpacho – A savory ice cream that sounds gross but tastes pretty good. This place is renoun for its oddball creamy creations. Only had a minute mustard flavor. The soup was a bit tart. The odd combination worked in harmony together.
Risotto au parmigiano reggiano, herbes fines – Risotto << vegetable collection>> Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, fine herbs, leaks, artichokes was excellent. Smooth, not too creamy. The onions were almost too strong to eat.
Pousses, chou rave, aubergine, oignon, fenouil, courgette… image du potager ce matin – Sprouts, cabbage, kohlrabi, eggplant, onion, fennel, zucchini … image of the garden this morning. Cous cous on top of radishes, carrots, cucmber flowers, beetroot. This dish did not work that well. It seems like a mish mash of ingredients.
Ecailles ou plumes… reflet de la gourmandise – Scales and feathers … reflection of good food. Aka Chicken or the Fish.
Whole chicken roasted in a ‘pot of hay’. Excellent. Served pre-sliced, it had a wonderful crispy skin, but was very low in quantity. Did they cook one for 3 tables? Nice deep fried leaves and onions. We could have used more..
Filet of Turbot cooked in green tea with tiny potatoes, very nice spinach puree. This is a cod like fish, popular in France. Very good quality and cooking, and the fish actually tastes vegetable like. Surely intentional.
Sampling all Five Cheeses
Fromages de Bernard Anthony, affineur – Five kinds of cheese from Bernard Anthony. Some aged for four years, all top notch. Cheese nirvana.
Corbeille de parfums, fragrance – Sculptured basket of perfume, fragrance – Prune and Herb Ice Cream was another weird combination that actually works. Very sweet cooked prunes. Again the herbs are pretty low key.
Petit Fours – macarons du jardin- Macaroons – Three different kinds of thin, cake+cookie like treats. Basil, parsley, and cauliflower. These are truly acquired tastes. Very weird stuff.
Service was very good and made for well paced lunch. The service quality did not approach the high quality we encountered at Le Cinq or Guy Savoy though. The chef did come out to warmly visit all diners and even showed us to the door. Food quality, freshness of ingredients, and inventiveness was very high, coupled with the great values at lunch, makes this an easy place to recommend. The vegetarianism runs deep here, so some folks seeking a more ‘mainstream’ three star dining experience might be better off at a place like Guy Savoy or by ordering a la Carte. The seafood and poultry were top notch.
L’Arpège has more affordable Prix Fix lunch as do many other high end restaurants. Dinner costs almost twice as much. Our waitress did speak English and helped explain the French only menu. Book at least a month in advance. Walk off your meal at Musee Rodin as it is just down the street.