New York Times critic Pete Wells, in lieu of a formal review this week, wrote about his recent meal at the vegetable-heavy L'Arpege in Paris. Briefly: He liked it!!! And he's not the only one who does. Alain Passard's famed restaurant holds three-Michelin stars and ranks high on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list (#25). It also charges a lot of money. This is Paris, after all.
"My employer paid $375 for my dinner," Wells writes of his 12-course meal. "While I can't call it a bargain, I can say without pausing to think that I would skip espresso for two months until I had enough money to try Alain Passard's vegetable tasting menu at L'Arpège again."
But what are the original prices in euros? What other menus does L'Arpege offer? How spendy is it compared with the world's other spendiest restaurants? Let's find out!
L'Arpege's entry-level dinner offering, which Wells sampled, is the vegetable tasting. It costs €270, or $376 at today's exchange rates. There's also a Spring tasting of about the same length for €340, which translates to $474. Yep, that's a lot of money. Bring a date and you're at $946 before wine. That's the bad news.
The good news is that the eleven-course lunch menu is the steal of the century (sort of) at €140 ($194). And the better news is that prices in France are reflective of tax and tip, so what you see on the menu is what you pay.
So as scary as L'Arpege's €340 menu looks, it's still less than you'd spend, after tax at tip, for the omakase service at Masa in Manhattan or Urasawa in Beverly Hills, or for the longest tastings at Saison in San Francisco or Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas.
L'Arpege is even cheaper than Per Se in New York if you order the $100 Wagyu and $40 foie gras supplements; the L'Arpege website doesn't currently list any pricey add-ons to the set menus.
Check out our interactive charts to see what kind of damage you'd do at these fine venues! Do take note of the €380 tasting menu at Alain Ducasse's Parisian hangout, which practically makes L'Arpege seem like a bargain! (Mobile Users: Click here for the exciting graph action).
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