Le Meurice is a Michelin two-star restaurant headed by Alain Ducasse and run by executive chef Amaury Bouhours. Currently, the main attraction is pastry chef Cédric Grolet and his stunning desserts. The other star is the opulent room itself, designed by Philippe Stark and inspired by Versailles.
At the time of my visit in 2014, Le Meurice held three Michelin stars and offered a relatively inexpensive lunch service (2 courses for 85€ or the whole lunch menu for 130€). While the food was more simple, compared to all the other three-star restaurants I tested that year, it was delicious and the atmosphere was stunning. I recommended it often for people who wanted to sit in that sort of room and be dazzled by the gleaming carts of cheese and fruit.
Since then, Le Meurice has lost a star and dropped the lunch service. The menu is currently (in 2022) priced at 280€ or 340€ at dinner, which makes Le Meurice a more serious financial commitment. Based on my one visit, I’m not convinced Le Meurice would be worth it.
228 rue de Rivoli, 75001
Open Monday-Friday for dinner only
Reservations online or at +33 1 458 00 21 19
OUR PHOTOS OF LE MEURICE
IN OTHER WORDS
Reviews from meals with Christophe Saintonge / Alain Ducasse as chef
L’Express (2014) “Une belle grosse asperge verte de Jérôme Galis à Piolenc en Provence, épluchée au scalpel, confite à basse température dans l’huile de pépin de raisin, puis grillée. Une pousse d’ail grillée. Une crème d’amandes de Sicile. Un jus d’asperge à l’estragon réveillé par une larme de vinaigre d’ail des ours. Et ces miettes de charbon : une cendre de Comté. Ou comment réécrire l’accord classique asperge/comté dans un nouveau dialogue entre le croquant doux-amer de l’asperge, le fondant délicat de l’aillet, le poudré étonnamment « umami » du comté, le duveteux gourmand de l’amande et le jus d’asperge tonique… Je me régale en silence.”
David Lebovitz (2013) “I’m gonna call it and say that the first course was the best thing I ate in 2013. Out came an iron pot with a lid, which was set down between us along with two long forks and little bowls of sorrel mayonnaise. When they lifted the lid, we were presented with a simple tumble of vegetables cooked over a concave demi-circle of coarse, gray salt. Each vegetable was au nature, but each one was the most marvelously flavored vegetable I ever tasted in the last ten years.”
Figaroscope (2013) “Voilà une table de hauteur jamais hautaine, où l’on s’accorde l’art de se ruiner heureux. Surtout le meilleur Ducasse depuis longtemps!”
Alexander Lobrano (2013) “Ultimately, this was a superb and very daring meal… simple and wholesome.”
Le Monde (2013) “Alors oui, les prix sont astronomiques, et je préfèrerais toujours une assiette bonne franquette dans un bistro où l’on peut parler fort et rigoler de bon cœur. Mais Ducasse et ses équipes savent créer des moments gastronomiques de haute volée, qui étonnent et détonnent, prouvant que l’on peut cuisiner grand sans rien dénaturer, et que le luxe réside souvent dans les goûts simples et une belle botte de navets.”
Reviews from meals with Yannick Alleno as chef
Gilles Pudlowski (2011) “Bref, voilà une maison au mieux de son style, à redécouvrir le midi pour ce menu fortiche qui exalte les saveurs du terroir parisien avec une confondante habileté.”
Simon Says (2010) “L’assiette de Yannick Alleno était dans ce genre de magie poétique…”
Alexander Lobrano (2009) “… five days after left the table at Le Meurice, I am still savoring that exquisite spring lunch.”
Food Snob (2009) “…Everything was cooked flawlessly, ingredients were excellent, presentation appealed, but I was just not overwhelmed by deliciousness.”
I’ve eaten the same exact meal – the menu dejeuner this season – at Le Meurice and it’s an absolute joke. It’s astonishing that a three-star chef would let this go out with his name attached. While I’d like to believe that I went on a bad day, it’s incredibly unlikely that a three-star restaurant could get everything so wrong on one specific day.
The amuse bouche was, actually, objectionable – a barely crunchy, chewy croquette on a mousse that was supposed to involve cepes but actually just tasted like uncooked garlic (seriously!). I couldn’t believe that the restaurant just had a pile of acrid mousse sitting in back, and that the restaurant would use something as flavorless as a thumb-sized portion of dry snail and spinach to attempt to balance this sensation. The entire concept was just baffling. I don’t understand on what level the chef could have been thinking in conceiving on this dish, and the lack of care involved in giving this to every customer.
The “tart au jambon parisienne” is a completely gutless flan on feuille de brick with average jambon cuit and cheese (which tastes like swiss cheese but whose actual origin I’m unaware of) and thinly sliced dehydrated champignon de Paris on top. Unsurprisingly, the mushrooms carried no flavor. There’s no good reason to eat this dish, ever. No savor, no flavor, no satisfaction.
The smoked eel souffle plate, with the watercress coulis, was completely devoid of flavor. You couldn’t taste the eels – you could taste a little scallop in the souffle, and that’s it. The single insipid slice of red beet in the center of the place added nothing, meant nothing, and I can’t possibly imagine that a chef of Alleno’s caliber could be proud of this dish. The coulis had no flavor. The beet was the only thing that had any taste at all.
Finally, the pommes Anna/lamb confit dish was decent. The presentation, especially, was really lovely. It’s the sort of hearty, unpretentious, unchallenging dish that would be more appropriate after having eaten something with flavor. When you welcome a green salad with a vinaigrette as one of the best parts of the meal at a three-star restaurant, however, you start to ask some questions. It felt hollow having followed three absolute duds, leaving one to ask – is that seriously it?
The dessert course, however, was fantastic.
I imagine that Pudlowski is engaging in that annoying behavior of reflexively defending respected institutions. I cannot imagine that he enjoyed or respected this meal at all.
The lunch menu at Le Meurice, as it stands, is a joke. While 95 euros to eat in that sort of setting is a bargain in one sense, you’re not getting a single ingredient that costs more than ten euros a kilo. The total cost of ingredients for my meal was probably no more than seven euros, and there was no brilliance in execution to make up for this.
I have no doubt that the dinner menu is different – I have enough faith in humanity that a meal this poor wouldn’t be rewarded with any stars, let alone three. But don’t go here for lunch – not this season, at least.