Le Fouquet’s is one of Paris’ most historic restaurants, having opened on the Champs-Élysées in 1899, and the wood-paneled dining room has long been tied closely to the French film industry. Photos of French film stars adorn the walls, and the overall atmosphere is one of upscale luxury. When we dined recently at the restaurant, which is on the ground level of the high-end Hotel Barrière Le Fouquet’s, it was quiet and subdued on a weeknight, and the €98 ($104) three-course menu was a smart way to sample the creations of legendary consulting chef Pierre Gagnaire.
For the first course, lobster ravioli with peach were swimming in a flavorful broth, and fresh basil and tomato soup was nicely complemented with burrata and sliced tomato. For the entrée, grilled filet of sea bass was nicely cooked and brightened by diced tomatoes and scallions, but the accompanying cups of artichoke hearts filled with olive tapenade were dry and unnecessary. Sliced duck breast with black currant sauce and pommes dauphine was tasty and cooked to medium. For dessert, a layered parfait with chocolate, raspberry, and flaky red tuile was addictive, and strawberry Melba was a delight. Service was professional if not exactly warm or welcoming, and the meal progressed at an ideal pace.
The Champs-Élysées is lined with overpriced and uninteresting restaurants, and it can be easy to get swept into one and have a dull meal that’s far more expensive than expected. Le Fouquet’s may not be one of the finest restaurants in Paris, but if you’re looking for an elegant and refined fine-dining experience while you stroll down the avenue and don’t mind shelling out, it’s certainly worthy of consideration.