Sorry for the late reply, I completly missed your question.
Unfotunately, we had very little chance to eat in restaurants in Morocco. We particiapted in a surf camp that took care of all the food. That said, the food was wonderful. My word between couscous and tajhins it really was spectacular.
We had someone cook for us a number of times who was local and it was truely worth the trip. The rest of the time we ate a lot of fresh fish, did the "buy the fish and salad in the market and let them cook it for you" in Essouria. Wow. I mean wow. Fresh really puts a different spin on things.
When we were in a fishing villiage (Imssouan) that had the second longest break in Africa (has to be seen to be believed) we had fish cooked over coals that came straight from the boat. What can I say, it was astonishing.
So for me, eating in Morroco was all about locals, villages, souks and Argan oil. What was funny that that at L'Arpege we had a vegetable dish made with Argan oil, they were all very excited about it. We were able to smile and share their excitement as we had been to ground zero for Argan oil north of Taghazout.
The beauty of the surfing is we had unfettered access to locals who could make sure we had a great time.
Best of luck and enjoy your time there!!
First and foremost I want to thank everyone for the thoughts and suggestions. We managed to have three wonderful meals in Paris.
So, we ended up going to Le Chiberta (tough finding a place for Saturday night), Le Cinq and L'Arpege. It was a wonderful cross section of french cuisine, with some truely inspired dishes, fabulous and I mean fabulous, professional service (I'm not sure why this is surprising) and I think a good sample of what excellent Paris restaurants have to offer.
For the Saturday night, we ended up at Le Chiberta. My initial feel was one of professionalism mixed with charm. I love the practice of champagne as you walk through the door, while we might often do this anyway, it's a tremendous way to start of the meal. We had the degustastion menu which included 3 courses; an amazing tuna belly, scallops and beef with foie gras poached in broth. Uniformly excellent. The beef dish reminded me of one I had in Lyons, rich, perfect balance with the fois gras. Overall they did an excellent job combining a short tasting menu, with good wine parings (Loire white and possibly Southwest of Rhone red). We certainly left the place happy.
On our return from a week of surfing our next stop was Le Cinq. Thank you so much soupie for the suggestion. There is something magical about Georges V, Christmas, evening, the lights the lobby and the restaurant. While our original plan was to put food first, wow, it was amazing to be able to have a spectacular setting at the same time. From the beginning to end, the staff did everything they could to make our time there enjoyable. It was fun to go with the tasting menu which put us in their hands. Special note goes out to the Sommelier. We ended up with an Alsatian Riesling (some single vineyard thing that was astonishing) and an Hermitage. He seemed geneuinely thrilled to be able to share some great wine with us.
The food. Fun calamari to start. Charred scallops. Some interesting use of modern techniques (crackling sugar in the tomato/basil), amazing vension wrapped in polenta/proscuitto. A chocolate souffle thing. Standard, exceptional cheese choices. My general impression was one of a classic French meal with some excllent modern and charming offerings. Not science food by any means, just smart and a little fun. I can't say enough about how well they treated us, not in a goofy over the top way, but in a "we are proud of our kitchen and really honestly enjoy doing this".
L'Arpege was next up. If we had more time I would have liked a day in between to, well, digest. Ah well. So L'Arpege seems to aim the highest of the three. Great little space, tons and tons of folks to help out. They seemed a little more serious than the others yet never over bearing. Having basic Canadian (non-Quebecois) French helped somewhat, still I think professionalism was again paramount. So what was fabulous? The poached egg in the shell with maple syrup was one of the better things I've had. The approach to vegetables was superb. There was an onion dish that was excellent, the lobster was very good (though growing up with easy access to East Coast Canadian lobster spoils me somewhat) and an incredible, simple chicken dish to finish. For dessert there was a series of vegetable mixed with sweet options. Were they incredible.. I don't know, felt like they were reaching more than doing something beyond the pale. We had an excellent Nuits St Georges though the sommelier did not have the sheer passion of the one at Le Cinq. The chef was there at the end (yeah, we pretty much closed the place) and it was nice to have him so open, welcoming and passionate.
In conclusion, I'd say we had three incredible meals. We weren't expecting to have a life changing experience, what I can say is that I left Paris with enormous smiles on both of our faces. The only thing we missed was the weeks we would need to see the rest of Paris.
Thanks again everyone!!
I have managed to book le Cinq and l'Arpège for the Sunday and Monday on my return to Paris.
I'm still working on tomorrow night (more difficult task) again, this input is wonderful.
Thank you so very much!!
This is exactly what I was hoping for. L'Ambroisie and Ledoyen both look wonderful, well, they all do.
Sadly Gagnaire is only available for lunch when we are there (just heard back) so will work through your list in an attempt to see whats available (really should have done this weeks ago....).
I managed to book Le Cinq!
Still working on the others.
I know there is already another thread about splurge suggestions in Paris, however that thread seemed to have focused on cost being a concern.
I will be in Paris this Saturday the 29th (then off surfing for a week in Morocco) followed by two more days in Paris the following week.
Pierre Gagnaire, Joel Robuchon, Tallievent have all come to mind. I have emails out to them.
I'm far more concerned about food/wine than setting. Tasting menu rather than a la carte. As mentioned in the title, cost isn't a limiting factor.
late notice, but any suggestions would be very welcome.
Thanks so much!!