Food Review: La Tour d’Argent
Name: La Tour d’Argent
Address: 15 Quai Tournelle, 75005 Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 43 54 23 31
Opening hours: closed Sunday and Monday, and August
The fame of La Tour d’Argent is at once its greatest asset and greatest burden. Reviews and reports on this restaurant by the Seine are laden with superlatives – the restaurant is “legendary”, they say; quite possibly “the most famous in the world”; its wine cellars are “magnificent”, its wine list “biblical” (this one is literally true – but we’ll come to that). It is surrounded by mystique, at least partly consciously cultivated by the late owner, Claude Terrail – it will be 430 years old next year; it was a favourite of Henry IV of France; its guest register lists emperors of Russia and Japan, kings and presidents; Marcel Proust wrote about it; Salvador Dali liked the duck; Pixar’s Ratatouille drew on it for inspiration.
G and I stepped into this mass of history for a Christmas day dinner (Christmas 2010) and found the restaurant still five star despite its age. We were welcomed into the ground floor reception area with a cup of warm consommé, which we savoured while admiring the centuries of culinary history represented in the displays there. When our table was ready, we were taken to the top floor dining room. We were given a window table with magnificent views over the Seine and out to the Notre Dame. We were especially impressed by the way the staff went out of their way to make everyone feel at home. When we moved to taste each other’s dishes our waiter was quick to switch our plates for us with a happy reassurance. The champagne and wine were, as befitting La Tour’s reputation, excellent, and the legendary pressed duck also lived up to its reputation. The very knowledgeable sommelier (and the bible-sized wine list) were impressive. We loved the little surprises like the amuse-bouche, the cake and little chocolate desserts – not your usual petit-fours! We got a discrete and helpful card at the end of the meal reminding us that the waiters can arrange taxis leaving the restaurant, and loved the caramels “for the road”. All in all, the beautiful food, wine and views made especially memorable by the service. Definitely an experience to share with your special someone!
- the Champagne Authentique
- Pike dumplings «André Terrail»
- Duckling “Tour d’Argent”, souffleed potatoes - the famous “blood duck”
Value for money: 7/10