Pierre Gagnaire

6 Rue Balzac, Paris 7e, Paris, 75008, France

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Pierre Gagnaire has a modern dining room with light wood panelling and some rather odd grey in the décor e.g. grey chairs, which doesn’t do anything for me. The menu is unusual, in that you select the thing you want e.g. beef, and are then presented with four or five variations on that. In this was Gagniare is trying to show off the range of flavours that the core ingredient can generate, which is an interesting concept. It is a much better idea than the aimless shock flavour combinations done by some modern chefs. There were three types of bread, a sourdough, a dark rye that somehow tasted slightly sweet, and a brioche, together with a crisp-bread. Apparently the exact ingredients on the menu can vary daily according to what takes Gagnaire’s mood, and so this would be an interesting place to return to.

Amuse-bouche also took the form of several little dishes: best was a fine smoked haddock topped with a delicate pasta square flavoured with dill (20/20). A veal gelee had strong flavour and a single white haricot bean (17/20) while maize was cooked in a consommé and served with egg yolk and a slice of melon (16/20). There was a strawberry (why?) with a sugar glaze with stewed mango and a caramelised hazelnut, topped with a chorizo crisp (17/20 for execution). Finally there was a marshmallow with red pepper puree and raw red onion (16/20). Prior to this were further nibbles: a frozen pink grapefruit ice cream topped with a radish, tuiles with sesame seeds, chives inside filo pastry, puff pastry served with goat’s cheese and seaweed and a wholemeal bread stick.

Langoustine was served raw in apple jelly (19/20), grilled to perfection (20/20), roasted with slightly spicy courgette strips (20/20), in a gelatinous form with a veal stock (18/20) and cooked in a creamy herb sauce (19/20). The langoustines were superbly fresh and beautifully cooked. My wife had a warm pea mousse topped with pea puree with mint (18/20), a bowl of gelee of crab with assorted seafood and herbs (16/20), a plate of shreds of bak choy served with a ring of carrot and a few tiny broad beans and morels (17/20). Other variations were three little tarts including utterly stunning morels (20/20) from Turkey (Turkish morels are well regarded), shrimps and very fine asparagus tips (17/20) and caramelised hazelnuts with green leaves (14/20). There was also abalone topped with both a cream and a curry sauce topped with a crisp of green mango (16/20).

For main course my wife tried sole, an ultra fresh piece cooked to perfection (20/20) with apple and pink grapefruit. This was served with braised lettuce, turnip, spring onion, peas and cream sauce. In addition there was a bland shellfish consommé and five very tender crayfish with a cream sauce. I had duck cooked in small pieces in a gravy of the cooking juices, along with a wonderful dish of potato with a crisp outside and laced with foie gras and girolles (18/20 for the duck, more for the potato).

Cheese is supplied by Bernard Antony, so was excellent. Camembert, Beaufort, aged Comte, Munster and a fresh goat’s cheese were served in utterly perfect condition (20/20). For dessert my wife had a caramel soufflé with all-spice, served with liquorice ice cream and a glass of caramel syrup topped with a swirl of spun caramel (18/20). I had chocolate soufflé with a chocolate sauce served on a dessert bowl rather than a soufflé dish (19/20). There was a little ice cream of pistachio and chocolate, a few almonds and hazelnuts, a raspberry puree, vanilla cream and chocolate cream and a fine parfait of pistachio, vanilla and chocolate.

Coffee was strangely ordinary (14/20) and was served with petit-fours: an almond Florentine, a white chocolate with a cream centre, a dark chocolate with an orange centre, a pastry with five chocolate-coated peanuts, orange peel steeped in rose syrup and a kiwi fruit jelly with a caramel and sesame square, plus some more chocolates e.g. a whisky and orange one.


Further reviews: 28th Feb 2014

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    I was here in April 2011 and was both impressed and disappointed. If you only look at how well executed the food was, then Pierre Gagnaire is probably the most perfectly cooked meal I've ever had. But I was still disappointed because most of the food seemed like something you could find in any other top restaurant for half the price (I paid €265 + drinks). Afterwards, I found out that you shouldn't choose the tasting menu, which is what I did, as that menu is more classic food – a la carte is his creative dishes (I assumed that "three courses" meant three courses, and then the menu was better value, as three courses was around the same price). See full review and pictures at

  • Name unavailable

    I had the pleasure of dining at this wonderful restaurant in Dec 2003 for lunch. The superlatives I can think of to describe this place are only matched by a lack of adequate English words. I have eaten at approx 20 Michelin 3 star and 2 star restaurants around the world. This is my favorite. I had a 4-5 course pre fixe lunch without wine (my partner was very anti alcohol at the time). I remember perfect 10/10 Amuse Bouche, a phenomenal (to use a Long Island-ism) 3 ways Pigeon dish and superb sweets. I am writing this from recall as I never take notes when I eat. But at the time I rated it to a near perfect experience (99/100). I took off 1 point because a regular patron brought in her 2 huge Afghan dogs who perched themselves next to me on the floor. Of the other restaurants on your list and others I have been to I include Daniel (95/100, 2011), 11 Madison (85/100, 2011), Boyer les Crayes (65/100 very disappointing in Dec 2003), Joel Robuchon (95/100, 2003,04,'11). Jean Georges is very over-rated and the several London based Michelin rated places i have been to have all been superb.

  • Name unavailable

    ''Four or five variations''. Thus I strongly believe its impossible to understand this expression before you taste Gagnaire's creations. And its not in all restaurants which have a Pierre Gagnaire signature, its only this one. Neither Gaya in Paris nor Sketch Lecture Room in London in which I've dined have this characteristic. I really enjoyed the 3 star Pierre Gagnaire restaurant and I won't forget when Mr Gagnaire welcomed me inside his kitchen which was so clean and organized, the like of which I never saw before. Its true that this chef has a difference.

  • Lewis Nolan

    I visited in December 'tout seul' whilst on business. I had a great evening, was very well looked after and had a truly memorable dining experience. Go for the a la carte 'clusters' (each dish is 4/5 plates) rather than tasting. Delicious.

  • Andy T

    Would have to diasagree with Mr Hayler. This is 11/10 territory. Langoustines cooked 4 different ways - citrus powder, vietnamese spiced, olive oil and vanilla. Assiette de Veal which had the consistency of butter (Soud Vide ?) Desserts of grapfruit sorbet, a layered gel lollipop my goodness its better than Mr Wonka!! Please just go and experience.

  • Jason Freedman

    I was lucky enough to Visit Pierre Gagnaire in October 2008 for Lunch with my Wife... It was amazing, we had the Tasting Menu and all I can say is that the Food was subline and the service was the best I have ever had...A must for any serious foodie

  • Nathalie

    Pierre Gagnaire was absolutely perfect. We had a four hour lunch there eating our way through his autumn tasting menu. Out of our 13 course meal was really stood out for me was the chantilly of pont l'eveque with apple sorbet. Absolutely so enchanting and unexpected. Hightly recommended and decent prices considering the quality of the meal we were served.

  • Dino Joannides

    I have been fortunate to taste Pierre Gagnaire's cooking both in his origianl reatuarant in St Etienne as well as Rue Balzac in Paris. Both are 10's for me this man is genius on a par with the likes of Roubechon ,Guerard ,Ducasse , Troigros brothers and Verge !