Restaurant Laurent is one of a kind, both classic and timeless. This historic, pastel-pink 19th-century former hunting lodge set in the garden of the Champs-Elysées is the sort of rare restaurant that makes Paris Paris. Its tidy garden terrace set beneath giant chestnut trees sets the stage for romance. And under the guidance of the ultra-professional director, Philippe Bourgignon and talented chef Alain Pégouret, Laurent is a sure win. Pricey, yes, though the 85 euro lunch menu is hard to beat in terms of value and pure pleasure.
If you love wine, then the restaurant should be added to your to-try list, for Bourgignon and trusted sommelier Patrick Laer appear to intimately know, love, and respect every offering in their 30,000 bottle cellar. A recent lunch highlighted the chef’s ability to combine upgraded classic French dishes with items rarely found on luxury menus. Fresh meaty morels in a foam of sauce poulette; the tenderest cod cheeks paired with artichokes and mushrooms; beautifully braised veal flank teamed up with juicy swiss chard ribs; and the restaurant’s classic spider crab bound in lobster jelly and topped with fennel cream are all dishes made in heaven. A few sips of the fragrant white 2008 Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Mouchere from winemaker Henri Boillot, and the pleasure trip is complete. Add the perfectly executed crispy “waffle” filled with almond milk cream and wild strawberries (photo) and you’re on your way!
LAURENT, 41, Avenue Gabriel, Paris 8. Tel: +33 1 42 25 00 39. Menus at 85 euro (lunch) and 185 euro. Métro: Champs-Elysées-Clémenceau. Open Monday through Saturday, closed Saturday lunch and all day Sunday. www.le-laurent.com