This would certainly be the place we would head for an “outside the box” dining experience.

An update to this review is available, see here.

Overall Impression Though master chef Alain Passard appeared understated and perhaps even shy, his creations are anything but. Our meal shattered our preconceived ideas of French food and gourmet cuisine in general. Some of his flavors were unconventional (maple and egg), while other dishes presented us with amazing contrasts of delicate flavors in counterpoint with spicy or bitter ones. Like a great symphony, the chef composed a menu that moved our spirits.

Diners looking to satiate their everyday hunger may be disappointed. Open minded gourmets willing to stretch the boundaries of their culinary and sensory imagination may be pleasantly surprised. Small service flaws were compensated for by the staff’s attentive attitude. Most importantly, we found the meal to be an enjoyable and harmonious experience. This would certainly be the place we would head for an “outside the box” dining experience.

Chef Alain Passard

Class Of Restaurant: Gastronomic

Cost Though Arpège would not be described as inexpensive by many people, we found the prices were fair given the quality of the experience. Our visit was more than just sitting down and enjoying a good or even excellent meal. It was a journey of discovery. Given the artisan type cooking with a chef closely involved in the cooking process and the small size of the restaurant we found the prices, if high, were fair.

Days-Hours Of OperationMonday to Friday 12.30 to 2.30 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.

Disabled Access: Limited to main floor

General Manager Frédéric Le Clair

Location 7th arrondisement near the Rodin Museum

Maitre D&Rsquo;Hotel:Laurent Lapaire

Management Company: N/A

MetroVarenne station Line 13

OwnedAlain Passard

Size 60 people maximum (one main room and one small room downstairs – 17 century Parisian cellar)

Sommelier: Stéphane Thivat

Sous Chef None

Type Of Food French inventive based on vegetables (not vegetarian)

Year Opened-Renovated 1986

Chef’s Background Chef Passard was precocious expressing a desire to learn about food preparation at the age of 10. By the age of 26 he had already worked in kitchens of great repute and headed his own well respected and recognized restaurant. Later on he went to train with famous chef Alain Senderens; purchased his former restaurant and renamed it L’Arpège in honor of his other passion in life, music. There is a portrait of his grandmother (reported to be an inspiration for his cooking style) on one wall of the dining room, where the chef takes a small repast with his guests at the end of each meal.

Style Of Decor: A mix of modern and Art Deco styles with French Lalique design accents, wood and fabric throughout offered diners a simple yet warm ambiance. When we visited the glasses and decorative plates on the table matched the restaurant’s design motif. A beautiful Arman sculpture graced a corner of the restaurant.

Special Menus-Pricing One set menu at 320 € and a la carte

Specialties Vegetable collection; Lobster from Chausey Islands braised in yellow wine with hazelnut oil and stuffed tomato with twelve flavors (dessert)

Wine And Spirits DetailsSelection of Burgundy and Bordeaux wines

Conference Facilities-Private Meeting Rooms:Small private room with a 14 person maximum

Other: When we visited, fresh vegetables for the kitchen were brought daily by high speed train from an Arpège restaurant owned vegetable garden south of Paris.

Preferred Reservation Method Phone

Date Last Visited December 2003 / December 2007

Ease Of Reservingfor general reservations 3 days ahead of time; a week in advance for dinner; three weeks in advance for Thursday and Friday meals

Number Of Visits One

Quality Of Food: We enjoyed a tasting menu, which provided us an opportunity to sample a diverse number of dishes selected by the chef that day along with several wines chosen by the wine steward. Though we liked some more than others, each dish stood out for its uniqueness and contrasting flavors and textures. The sour contrasted with the sweet; the rough with the smooth; the sweet with the spicy and so on. From the mushroom soup with bits of peanuts to the avocado and pistachio mouse on a small bed of fish eggs we found ourselves marveling at the ingenuity and playfulness of the dishes. The piece de resistance was the extraordinary duck liver and duck. We completed our experience with the signature 12 flavor tomato for dessert:

Service:Some of the service staff were young and appeared inexperienced. During our meal, there was an occasional misstep such as allowing glasses to stay empty or answering a question inappropriately. The senior staff was excellent and professional. The overall service was a bit uneven. The minor service faux pas were easy to forgive in light of the decor, ambiance and extraordinary food.

Would You Visit This Restaurant Again Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • 84 Rue de Varenne
    • 75007 Paris, France
  • Metro :
    • Varenne station Line 13
  • Telephone :
    • +33 (0)1 45 51 47 33
  • Fax :
    • +33 (0)1 44 18 98 39
  • Email:
    • N/A
  • Website :