During our time in France, my girlfriend Sehar and I knew we wanted to make one of our Parisian meals an experience we'd never forget. I think it's safe to say we picked the perfect place to splurge (and we really splurged).
I picked out Le Chateaubriand in the city's 11th arrondissement after reading hundreds of online reviews from Zagat, Bon Appetit, Michelin and more. Some of them were mixed, but the good ones were convincing enough.
Our reservation was scheduled for a Saturday evening in early September. As soon as we arrived, our waiter led us to the bar to start off with a drink before seating us.
The vibe in this fine dining restaurant is pretty casual, but the guests dressed quite fashionably. Then again, it's Paris. Their casual is not American casual. But I appreciated the lack of pretentiousness.
Funny enough, we were seated next to two American girls about 5-6 years older than us. They were best friends who went to college together and made it an annual tradition to come to Paris and dine at Le Chateaubriand every Labor Day Weekend (#Goals!) Like most restaurants in Paris, tables were set pretty close together, so Sehar and I were happy to have such fun girls to share the experience with.
Now it's important to note Chef Inaki Aizpitarte’s cooking is quite adventurous, and it's not ideal for picky eaters as the menu changes daily and is curated with bite-sized amuse-bouches, appetizers, entrees, and a wild dessert courtesy of Aizpitarte's delicious and totally wild imagination.
Our meal started off with sparkling cider and wine (and more wine) all paired with the perfect hors-d'oeuvres. The ceviche shooters...were amazing. And the cheese puffs with poppy seeds were incredible.
Then came the chardonnay and more wines to accompany some bigger plates, including some finely prepared squid, duck, salted crunchy shrimp and more delicious seafood. Though I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of squid.
And y'all...the desserts...oh my GOD. There was this bite-sized caramel meringue with candied yolk on top and my mouth is just watering thinking about it.But I think our favorite dessert was definitely the tomato basil ice cream. Sound bizarre? IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE.
Also want to note how impeccable the wine pairing was.
I'm no expert in fine dining, so definitely do your research, but for someone in Paris for the first time looking for an unforgettable meal and experience, I give it five stars.
Though Michelin has yet to award it a star, in 2010 Le Chateaubriand landed at No. 11 on S. Pellegrino’s list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (voted on by a panel of chefs, restaurateurs, journalists and gourmets), ranking above any other French restaurant—signaling shifting tides in French gastronomy and infuriating some traditionalists along the way. “Michelin will never give Le Chateaubriand a star,” says François-Régis Gaudry, French food expert and critic for L’Express,“because it’s too unpredictable; its essence and its chef are too wild.”