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Le Grand Véfour

17, rue de Beaujolais, 1st. Metro Palais-Royal.
Open : Mon-Thur 12h30-1h30pm. Average : 200 Euros. Credit : Amex, DC, MC, V.

There is a luxury theme-park side to the Grand Vefour, and we were duly impressed as we were led to Victor Hugo table. Follow up questions revealed, however, that tables are randomly named after famous people who once ate in the former cafe. Its  days as a hotbed of political intrigue are long past, and the lunch crowd contained and elegant mix of wealthy locals and tourists. The view of the Palais-Royal is spectacular  and the decor -featuring exquisite painted panels and mirrors - is a glamorous historical gem, even if the size of the room  means that tables are slightly too close for absolute comfort. We chose the lunch menu, which allows chef Guy Martin to show off his skills, without the obligatory use of luxury ingredients. We began our meal with boned stuffed chicken, strewn with trompette de la mort mushrooms - attractively asiatic but not gastronomically startling. A dish of Jerusalem artichokes was, however, stunning : creamy pallets of the vegetable were topped with  fresh crab, an unctuous purée was studded with crispy wafers,  and seafood and jerusalem artichoke bisque completed this culinary tour de force. The main course was tete de veau, not perhaps the sort of dish you expect in these surroundings, but here it was prepared with a sauce verte and tarragon salad,  and attained a level of sophistication which left other head meat standing - if such az thing is physically possible. enjoying our meal as we did, we couldn't help spying the truffles with everything  feast going on next door : the chicken was simply smothered in the black diamonds. the cheese trolley was outstanding, including  a nutty, long-aged comte and some luscious end of season vacherin. The layered chocolate dessert was outstanding, with dark leaves floating over a pale creamy mousse, accompanied by a sublime praline ice cream. As  right to enjoy a glass of Champagne as this stage of the meal, having previously been lovingly guided towards quality half bottles of Pouilly Fuisse and a vintage Margaux.  More chocolates and petits fours accompanied our coffe, and the genuinely welcoming staff made us feel we had experienced that Victor Hugo really had sat at our table.
1st Arrondissement : Le Grand Vefour
1st Arrondissement : Le Carré des Feuillants
1er Arrondissement : L'Espadon
2nd Arrondissement : Le Vaudeville
4th Arrondissement : Hiramatsu
4th Arrondissement : L'Ambroisie
5th Arrondissement : La Tour d'Argent
7th Arrondissement : Le Jules Verne

8th Arrondissement : La Brasserie Lorraine
8th Arrondissement : Maxim's

8th Arrondissement : Alain Ducasse Plaza Athénée
8th Arrondissement : Lucas Carton
8th Arrondissement : Laurent
8th Arrondissement : Ledoyen
8th Arrondissement : Fouquet's
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8th Arrondissement : Les Ambassadeurs
12th Arrondissement : Le Train Bleu
17th Arrondissement : Guy Savoy

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