Le Cinq (Paris)

// Visited: Jan. 2, 2010 //

What if you could afford just one blowout Michelin-starred experience in Paris?  An opulent extravaganza, complete with gilded plates, lavish flower displays, and indulgent waiters?  You could do worse than Le Cinq, Eric Briffard’s two-starred restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel George V.

Far from being stodgy and coated in traditional heavy cream sauces, the food at Le Cinq was light and fresh.  Chef Briffard brought an Asian influence to the menu when he took over the Le Cinq kitchen – a cooking philosophy that I could taste in many of the dishes, most prominently in Briffard’s take on the classic pot-au-feu beef stew, which featured a light broth and delicately-seasoned vegetables.

If you’re trying to maximize your euro-to-Michelin-star ratio, Le Cinq at lunch is a (relative) terrific bargain.    (78 euros for a prix-fixe menu when I visited in 2010, and now increased to the neighborhood of 100 euros, I believe.  Dinner is another story, and far too rich for my blood.)


Impeccable service. The first of many glasses of champagne.


You can see the garden just behind the table – so lovely.


The seaweed butter was probably the most memorable part of the meal. The unusual pairing of rich dairy with clean brininess really worked.


The bread was perfectly crusty on the outside, with a moist and chewy mie (crumb).    So, I gorged myself on bread and seaweed butter to such an embarrassing degree that our delightful waiter, Marco, gifted me with extra bread and seaweed butter for the road. I kept the butter in my refrigerator for years—I couldn’t bear to eat such a precious commodity—and finally forced myself to toss it out this year. By the way, in case it wasn’t obvious – yes, I am a packrat when it comes to gourmet foodstuffs.


Bread! Joyous bread.


Amazing crumb.


Our amuse-bouches!


Couteaux de Galice (Razor Clams from the Galice Region, with seaweed butter and lemon vinegar preserved grenaille potatoes)

Comme un Pot-au-Feu de Boeuf (“Like a Beef Pot-au-Feu,” with vegetables from the Ile de France region, foie gras ravioli, and horseradish crouton)


Comme un Pot-au-Feu de Boeuf  (“Like a Beef Pot-au-Feu”), close-up


Foie gras raviolo in the pot-au-feu - surprisingly light

Horseradish toast, which provided some relief from the meaty intensity of the pot-au-feu


A kindred spirit, dining alone and documenting his meal.

Sweet relief. Â A delicate little pre-dessert.

Le Cinq’s interpretation of the classic Bûche de Noël.

Feuillantine à  la pomme et reglisse (Puff Pastry with Apple and Licorice, quince sorbet, and Cider and Calvados granita)

A much-needed caffeine break

A dream cart of candies and little adorable cakes

Post-lunch bite-sized desserts (“mignardises”)


As if that wasn’t enough food…some mignardises to go

Le Cinq
Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
31, avenue George V
75008 Paris
Tel. 33 (0) 1 49 52 70 00


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