OK, you're in Paris and you've budgeted for the ultimate gastronomic experience with a beautiful setting, exquisite wine list, a menu to end all menus and one of the best views on earth. There's only one restaurant that fits the bill: La Tour d'Argent.
Now, turn back the clock before you even arrive in Paris: call and reserve a table at least a couple of weeks beforehand! They are booked quickly and often.
If your budget isn't infinite, reserve a table for lunch with a view of Notre-Dame. The prices are lower than dinner, and reservations are easier to get.
Favorite Dish: Although everything on the menu is amazing, their duck is world famous.
If you want to taste the best, most exquisite and famous of French cuisine, all parisians will tell you: La Tour d'Argent! Well, that doesn't mean they went there, they might just, like me, have heard of it, and dreamed of going there! It is indeed very very expensive and very fancy (tuxedos please!!). But if you have the money, it is certainly worth it.
One VT member has tried it, I suggest you definitely go see Davequ's tip on it.
Favorite Dish: My picture of the building is not great, but anyway, the restaurant is located on the top floor, with a great view of Notre-Dame.
So much has been written and testimonials provided that it is difficult to offer anything noteworthy to the discourse. This was our "special event" dining experience during our 10-day stay, and it met our reasonable expectations for an over-the-top restaurant event. The room is stunning and stunningly well-appointed. The service extraordinary. The peoplewatching "world class." The food superb. The value proposition hillarious (who gives a damn? - you made your reservation knowing this!). If you can let your guard down enough to really comfortably enjoy the theatre that is La Tour d'Argent, then it is time and money well spent. We loved it. Would we return? Unlikely. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and deservedly so.
Favorite Dish: If you go to La Tour d'Argent and order something other than duck, then I'd have to question your sanity. I mean, I suppose you can go to a steakhouse and order seafood, but why would you do that? Everything on the menu is very good, but you will order the duck because that's what you do to get the most from the experience.
check out my main page. it's that wonderful! czars, emperors and kings ate there so why not you.
Favorite Dish: the duck is their most famous and understandably so once you taste. the service is the best i have received and i've been to many high end restaurants.
Her Michelin stars come & go,
but a La Tour d' Argent event is
not necessarily all about food -
it is about the whole experience.
Even though Claude Terrail is no longer with us,
and lately it has become pseudo-fashionable
to "pan" this place -
(especially by snarky "experts" who, when you corner them, usually end up having to confess they've never even eaten here) -
Tour d' Argent will still always be one of my fave splurges in Paris.
The view of Notre Dame from Pont Tournelle across the Seine is unforgettable, the presentation of the duck dishes unlike anywhere else in the world,
and the history & tradition as heavy, close and palpable as a damp Paris late-night stroll along the Seine.Years ago, I was most impressed with the gracious host of Tour d'Argent: Claude Terrail (Repose en paix) - a warm and convivial gentleman who had more class in his toes than I will ever hope to have in my whole body.
Mr. Terrail, who for decades has hosted Europe's most wealthy and famous, went out of his way to come to my "unfamous / nobody" table, greet me and personally see to my satisfaction & comfort. Merci beaucoup, Monsieur. We will miss you.Tour d'Argent (referred to by some critics as "the most fascinating table in the world") is unique:
it is not Taillevent; Le Grand Vefour; a Robuchon-type like Jamin; or Guy Savoy: and rightfully so with all respect to them:
With the killer view across the Seine of Ille de la Cite and the venerable traditional 'belle epoque' Canard a L'Orange-heavy menu, it is unique in experience.
Dinner is very expensive - dejeuner is just as good and more affordable.
Update - in a quest to raise money for charity, to replenish the coffers for a run at getting a star back, and to offset the tourist 'recession' -
La Tour has opened the cellars to auction off some of it's incredible wine inventory. Some great pieces on this here ... and here.
and some video about it here.
Tour d'Argent has now installed 6 beehives on the roof of the tower for not only the dishes
but also soon available through their e-boutique approx this coming Sept 2010.
My recommendation & summary:
I treat places like Tour d'Argent with a reverent finality:
...Chances are this may be the only time I ever have the pleasure (or the Euros) to eat here.
You only go around once in life: I can honestly recommend at least one trip in your Paris lifetime to Tour d'Argent. You can most certainly do worse in Paris with a splurge dinner.
Bon APPETIT !
NOTE: Closed all day Monday and Tuesday for lunch (see website)
Favorite Dish: Caneton Roti a L'Orange, Croquettes Au Pain D'Epices (roast duckling with orange sauce & gingerbread croquettes).
Appertif kir royale, foie gras, a demi of '95 Chateauneuf du Pape, fromage plate.
...and the chocolates selection made special for Tour d'Argent served with cafe are untouchable, world class, and to die for.
The "signature dish" of Tour d'Argent has always been Canard au sang, or "bloodied duck," a numbered, pressed duck served in its blood.
Here is how they make it: Click below for a step-by-step recipe with instructions:Tour d'Argent le canard à la presseDress is "business-formal." Put on your best togs for this place.
Unless you are independently wealthy,
bring a credit card and your sense of humor.
I can not imagine two people escaping with a bill under E400 euros - ( ~ $550 USD) if you treat yourself in the style to which you would like to become accustomed, and even at that price you're "skimping" on the wine list ... I have faith that if you go you will still find the experience worth it.
For evening dinner, reserve at least a month in advance.
It is often easier to reserve for dejeuner or early (~ 17:30) dinner.
Note: The wine cellars - the vintages are some of the best in Europe: some of the prices are for oil sheiks.
Mr. Terrail was kind enough to give me a parchement copy of my menu from the summer '03 menu as a keepsake, so I scanned & posted it for grins.
From the moment you walk in from the the sidewalk on the Seine River, you are greeted and brought to your table upstairs. It is a luxurious, romantic and upscale restaurant, which has no match in the world. Seated at a table near a grand window overlooking the Notre Dame and the Seine River, the sommolier brought a book of wine (probably 8 inches thick) and provided his suggestions based on my taste and budget. He did a wonderful job, and none of the staff made our dining experiance uncomfortable (as I am American). Just brush up on French table manners prior to your dinner, since they are a bit different from that of British or American standards.
Favorite Dish: We had the lobster bisque, and the plum duck, which was unparalleled by anything I have ever been served at a restaurant. The wine was fabulous, as was the service. They track each and every duck served, and give you a certificate for which you had for dinner... Simply amazing, since they've been in business since the 1600's.
The Tour is the oldest restaurant in Paris and occupies an enviable position opposite Notre Dame. At night the view from the window tables is romantic and unmatched, apart from perhaps the view from Jules Verne. My husband proposed over pre dinner drinks.
Do not go expecting culinary fireworks and an inventive menu. There are many other restaurants in Paris offering far superior food, but one does not go to the Tour for exciting food. The restaurant is absolute old-school, with many of the specialities served at the table as opposed to being plated in the kitchen. It is, sadly, unusual nowadays for waiting staff to be skilled in table service, and it was a pleasure to experience this in such a luxurious setting.
Come hungry. My husband and I are very greedy, but even we had difficulty sinking 3 courses as the food is extremely rich. The speciality of hte house is their duck, served in two ways - the breast served in front of you with a blood enriched sauce, followed by it's legs confit style.
It seems almost churlish to come to this restaurant and have anything else.
Warning - the foie gras starter is exceedingly large !
The museum and photos all around the ground floor are very interesting, and you will see some very famous names on the book of visitors - it's always good to know you have chosen the same restaurant as Elizabeth R !
La Tour D'Argent is the most famous restaurant in France, possibly the most famous in the world. The restaurant has just reopened after three months out of action while new kitchens were installed. The restaurant is located on the top floor of an old building with sensational views of cathedral Notre Dame of Paris. Each tables with their own candelabra, are very well spaced and sumptuously dressed.
Favorite Dish: The wine list is considered one of the best on the world. The Duck, called “the canard au sang”, is the specialty of La Tour D’Argent. La Tour has its farm on which it raises its own ducks. When you orders duck, you receives a card with the serial number of the duck
I proposed to my fiancee here. The service was unsurpassed. The care and attention was remarkable. The cellar was to be astonished by. The food was divine. The experience was to die for.
Favorite Dish: The duck (of course!)
I know several. The one who can afford, go to 'Le Tour d'Argent' (360-390 FF the complete - 3 courses- lunch, without wine and cafe; it worths every penny!). Reservations (ca one week before if friday or saturday; other days may be easier) compulsory.
But any restaurant is good, For cheeper but good: Chez Clement
Favorite Dish: Anything containing fish, meat or sea-food is perfect. At 'Le Tour d'Argent' take Canard
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