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Cinq

George V Hotel, 31 Avenue George V, Paris, 75008, France

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Important note. Chef Philippe Legendre quit in April 2008, and many of his team moved to Caprice in Hong Kong.  Hence the review below should be treated with due caution (the restaurant lost its third star on Legendre's departure but had two Michelin stars in 2011 under chef Eric Briffard).

A magnificent, opulent dining room in the recently refurbished George V hotel, all marble pillars and spectacular flower displays.  An amuse-bouche of diced tomatoes in olive oil was most impressive, the fine taste belying its simplicity, while the selection of breads were each superb e.g. a crusty baguette, a light, airy olive bread or a tangy sourdough roll.  I started with langoustine and peas served with truffled vinaigrette, which featured the most perfect langoustines I have ever tasted.  A savoury tart of artichokes and Perigord truffle has meltingly delicate pastry and artichokes of great flavour, perfectly enhanced by the black truffle (20/20). 

Lobster smoked in its shell and then roasted was extremely tender, served with superb creamy morel mushrooms in a buttery yet light sauce.  Turbot with baby vegetables was also very fine. Cheese was in superb condition, a wide selection that went beyond the classics into interesting (though of course only French) regional territory.   A pre-dessert of sugar tart had delicate pastry, while dessert of chocolate fondant featured a perfect liquid centre and rich coating.  Coffee was excellent, accompanied by a chariot bearing various chocolates, nougat and other offerings.  Service was faultless.  The artichoke tart and the langoustine dishes were two of the finest things I have eaten for years.  I would unhesitatingly recommend this. 

On my prior visit: I had another fine meal. Breads were baguette, excellent crusty country bread, and superb slices of bacon bread. An amuse-bouche was remarkable: parfait of artichokes with aged Comte, served with a few salad leaves; this sounds bizarre yet was silky smooth with a fascinating blend of tastes (20/20). Starter of fricassee of langoustines featured perfect langousines in a shellfish broth and surrounding a little puree of root vegetable (20/20). 

Venison was extremely tender, served with superb Madeira jus and wonderful mash with walnuts, another original idea (20/20). A green salad on the side had perfect leaves and dressing (20/20). Cheese was from Bernard Anthony, in perfect condition (20/20). 

Apple tart had delicate pastry but the apple was merely very good (18/20). A menu of coffees included Jamaican Blue Mountain and even Rwandan coffee (20/20). As well as chocolates there were perfect jellies coated with sugar, and assorted temptations. Service was superb. This was, dessert apart, almost flawless.

I was disappointed to see that it lost its 3rd Michelin star in the 2007 France Guide. There have been rumours of management problems causing a slip in standards, which is a great shame if that is the case.  Phillipe Legendre is a gifted chef. 

Further reviews: 14th Apr 2015

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  • Corrie Snell

    I called several top choices for our anniversary dinner in Paris in 2005. After being disappointed by the fact that the first three on my list were closed the entire month of August, my fourth choice, Le Cinq, would be open. How lucky we were! Over four years later, and several three star meals later, and I can still taste each course of that incredible meal. Nothing has ever compared to that meal and their service. After years of dreaming of going to The French Laundry, we were finally able to go last spring. What a disappointment! It was no Le Cinq. We were in Paris again last month (January 2010) and planned on going to a three star restaurant. In the end, we couldn't resist going back to Le Cinq. Our visit would either confirm their place at the top of our list, or break the spell. Not having my finger on the pulse of the Michelin starred restaurant scene, and the comings and goings of the chefs, I didn't realize that it had three stars during our visit in 2005, and now only had two and a different chef. Well, the spell was broken. We went for the long tasting menu again. I noticed that there wasn't a choice on the meat course, the way there had been during our first visit. I don't even remember what our mise en bouche (or amuse bouche) was, that can't be a good sign. The first course: shrimp, chorizo, cuttlefish and veggies "a la plancha" was very boring. I'll admit, the next course, truffle and artichoke risotto was very good. But, looking back on the menu I have very little memory of the next two courses. By the time the meat course came, I was very full. The lovely little fatty lamb chops would have had me treating them like ribs, eating them with my hands and then licking my fingers afterwards, if I had been hungry. I'm certainly not adverse to good fat, but at that point in the meal when I put a bite of the rich meat in my mouth my body was screaming for me to spit it out. The lamb kidneys that were the other part of the dish? Well, that was something I'd never tasted before. But, being at Le Cinq I was willing to try almost anything. Not something I want to taste again. Kidneys are a very particular, very strong flavor. For this reason, there should have been another option for diners to choose for this course. No complaints on the cheese course, being from an area that doesn't get much good cheese (Montana), I'm thrilled by a Sainte Maure and a Camembert from Monoprix when I'm in Paris! I do have my finger on the pulse of the pastry world as much as I can, and so I was a bit surprised to find "sucre petillant," or "pop rocks" in one of our desserts. Wasn't that a new fad a couple of years ago? Shouldn't these top noveau restaurants have moved on to something else by now? The service doesn't seem to have declined in quality. I completely understand what the other diner meant when describing the change in plates. They are so good at their jobs! Everything is done very quietly and discreetly and one's needs are always anticipated. Another restaurant I had lunch at in Paris during the same trip, one that has three stars, left me with an empty water glass that I had to request be re-filled, and we were the only table left in the dining room that afternoon. And, lastly, the ambiance at Le Cinq hasn't declined. The dining room is as lovely as ever, and this time we were able to see the hotel dressed up for Christmas. When I later discovered that the restaurant had a new chef since our first visit, our experience made sense. The food was so very different, everything else was delightfully the same. Again, as I said, the spell was broken. Oh well, that frees us up to conquer the rest of the three-star world!

  • Francois

    We went to Le Cinq last December to get to know Eric Briffard's cuisine. We knew Philippe Legendres quite well so we wanted to compare both styles. We were not disappointed and the place definately deserves the 10/10 rating. The whole story of our lunch is on our blog (sorry, it's in french) : http://touteslesbonneschosesontunefaim.blogspot.com/2008/12/retour-au-gv.html PS : so far, no news of Philippe Legendre.

  • donny

    Does anybody know where Phillipe Legendre has gone ? Is he the Chef at some other restaurant, I have done my best online to find out but no success so far, any help would be great ,he is truly one of those 3 star Chefs who has an intellect of genius but can produce that on the plate which sometimes other Chefs lack ,they just cant make that connection.

  • Clemence

    Alas, the place has gone down (but not the prices.) I had lunch there two months ago and found the cuisine pretentious, often drowned un butter, and overall completely unremarkable. Good service though.

  • Fabien

    To Chris: the water is Wattwiller http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wattwiller_%28eau%29 Ate there last week and I had a very good experience (with the new chef).

  • jeremy behmoaras

    I just ate their last week and the water was from the Vosges region/town of France and it was a nitrate free water which we were told was supposed to age in digestion. I hope that helps in your quest for the water.

  • arda

    they serve http://www.wattwiller.com water.

  • Chris

    I was here in 2005; having been recommended by a friend who was here in 2004. I am saddened to hear that this place has dropped from it's 3 star status.<br><br>My girlfriend and I love sampling each others meals and even a fine restaurant like this does not stop us from swapping a few bites discreetly. In this particular case, she much preferred my duck, and I much preferred her rabbit so we decided to just switch plates entirely. The wait staff jumped to assist us (even though it was a very simple switching of two plates.) But what I found most impressive about this exchange was approximately 1 minute later the captain came out to make sure we were happy with our meals and immediately paused a little confused. He recognized that we did not have the correct plates. Though many may read this as being utterly trivial, I believe it shows just how important attention to detail is. Moreover, it shows the difference between a great restaurant and a fantastic restaurant.<br><br>Finally, the bottled water they served towards the end of the meal was the first water I have ever <strike>tasted</strike> not tasted. It had no flavor. There were no trace elements; and it was perfectly pH balanced. Truly amazing. My only regret from the entire meal was not getting the name of the bottle of water.

  • Alex

    My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Paris last July (2006). I booked us a room at the George Cinq where we spent two magical nights, including two lovely dinners (4 completely different meals between the two of us) at Le Cinq. We both agreed our meals were the best we'd had during our honeymoon, which is quite an accomplishment considering we also dined at L'Ambroisie and L"Arpege in Paris, as well as la Maison Troigros in Roanne. Unless le Cinq's quality has magically, mysteriously and inexplicably declined in the last 6 months, Michelin's demotion of this fine restaurant is a total sham, which is strange considering I generally agree with Michelin's ratings.

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