Skip to content

Ducasse re-opens Plaza Athénée as vegetarian(ish)

ducasseLe Marché d’Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée

Alain Ducasse, who is is often described as the “most Michelin starred chef in the world,” lost some twinkle when his eponymous restaurant at the Plaza Athénée closed last year for renovations. It will reopen on Monday with a revamped décor by designer Patrick Jouin and a dramatically re-envisioned menu that celebrates fish, cereals and vegetables. No meat, or rather less meat.

The headlines have been rather splashy. The Guardian told us on Friday that “France’s top chef bans meat from the menu” after free transport rag Metronews reported on Thursday that “Avec Alain Ducasse, le Plaza Athénée devient végétarien.”

The same sort out headlines were trotted out back in 2001 when Alain Passard introduced his first vegetable inspired menu at L’Arpège. It wasn’t true then, and of course it isn’t true now that either chef has eliminated meat. Still, Ducasse’s focus on vegetables is certainly interesting. Is it sincere? Why here and not at any of the other 25+ restaurants in his collection? Is it a way to distinguish the Plaza Athénée from Le Meurice, whose three-star kitchens he is also overseeing?

If it is good, then all this cynicism will melt away (like cholesterol from a newly converted vegetarian’s heart).

Read the full article at The Guardian

Practical information and past reviews on our guide page for Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée


Le Meurice

Practical information

Address: 228 rue de Rivoli, 75001
Nearest transport: Tuileries (1), Concorde (1, 8, 12)
Hours: Open Monday-Friday for breakfast, lunch and dinner; Open Saturday and Sunday for breakfast only
Reservations: Book a day or two in advance for breakfast; Book a week or two in advance for lunch & dinner
Telephone: 01 458 00 21 19
Average price for lunch: 60-100€
Average price for dinner: More than 100€
Style of cuisine: Haute cuisine
Website   Facebook   Book Online

Reviews of interest

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.”

Genin & Ducasse to Open Left Bank Chocolate Shops

We used to say that “it’s impossible to be a top chocolatier and not have a shop in Saint-Germain. Except for Jacques Genin in the Marais.” That was later amended to add Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse when it opened near Bastille.

And now both of these outliers are opening shops in Saint-Germain.

The wonderful site Painrisien recently tweeted a picture of the storefront window at 26 rue Saint-Benoit, advertising the imminent arrival of Ducasse. That means you’ll soon be able to buy a box of bonbons and eat it while standing in line for Le Relais de L’Entrecôte.

The left bank outpost for Jacques Genin is more of a distant dream, but they confirmed that they are indeed looking for a space near Saint-Germain or Saint-Sulpice. He’s a bit busy right now painting several hundred chocolate eggs but hopes to return to the search sometime after Easter.

Just to recap, here’s a list of our favorite chocolatiers in and around Saint-Germain. Additional listings can be found in Our Guide to Chocolate Shops.


Henri Leroux
Jean-Charles Rouchoux
Jean-Paul Hévin
La Maison du Chocolat
Patrick Roger
Patrice Chapon
Pierre Hermé
Pierre Marcolini

Pretty Close to Saint-Germain

Franck Kestener (eastern side of Luxembourg Gardens)
Michel Chaudun (near Chez l’Ami Jean)



Alain Ducasse to launch a food website

Alain Ducasse wants to be a blogger. According to Le Monde and L’Express, D and his minions will be launching a food website in May that publishes recipes, video tutorials, restaurant addresses and information about ingredients. A few elements will be free – the rest will require a fee of 4-5 euros per month.

They’ve already acquired the free recipe website cooking 750g. and we at Paris by Mouth are just waiting for our offer 🙂