Restaurant review: Relais Plaza, Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris

Ruth Doherty

Restaurant Relais Plaza at Hotel Plaza Athenee review

AOL Travel reviews Michelin-starred restaurant Relais Plaza at Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris, France

Written by: Ruth Doherty

Relais Plaza restaurant

Date published: 08/22/2011

5 / 5 stars

Restaurant review: Relais Plaza, Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris
Restaurant review: Relais Plaza, Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris

Relais Plaza, Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris

First impressions
As you sweep past bodyguarded jewellers (we dare you to resist a peek at Harry Winston), and the designer shops peppering the fashionable Avenue Montaigne (just off the Champs Elysee), you get a hint of the kind of eaterie you'll find at the Hotel Plaza Athenee: upmarket, chic, sophistiqué. And when you walk through the hotel lobby, down the hall towards the Relais Plaza (past all the glamorous black and white photos showcasing the plethora of stars who've eaten there), a tingle of excitement runs through you.

What's to love?
The world-renowned multi-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse is the Executive Chef overlooking all of Plaza Athenee's dining venues. Chef Phillipe Marc interprets his food to a fine art at this bistro-chic brasserie. A friendly welcome by restaurant manager Werner Kuchler into a room vibrating with buzzy, low-level, chatter immediately signals a recipe for a lovely lunch. Stepping into the Relais has deliberately been designed to feel like you're entering the grand liner, Le Normandie, and is all cream leather seats, sumptuous ruby carpets, grand chandeliers and stained glass windows. The hotel is owned by the Dorchester Collection, and its upmarket stamp resonates here.

First things first
Kick off with a glass of pink bubbles: it's a restaurant rule (ok, not really, but it should be). Like all the food here, starters are elegant yet hearty. Choose from marinated sea bass, olive with lemon and crunchy vegetables, or king crab salad with mayonnaise and avocado. After a lot of umming and ahhing, we opted for duck foie gras from Les Landes, figs from Soliés, and toasted brioche. And we didn't regret it.

Restaurant review: Relais Plaza, Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris
Restaurant review: Relais Plaza, Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris

Relais Plaza, Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris

The main event
From rice/soup/pasta choices (risotto with black truffle, anyone?), to 'sea' specialities (Pan-sautéed Butterfish (white tuna), citrus fruit 'pissalat', sautéed zucchinis), and 'land and farm' delicacies (lamb chops from Lozère, sautéed green vegetables, lemon and rosemary) you'll be spoilt for choice. We enjoyed yellow chicken from 'Les Landes' (half), darphin potatoes, devilled sauce and Angus beef fillet, roasted green asparagus in bone marrow, pepper sauce (what is it with men and steak?). Particularly impressive was how the waiter prepared the chicken, removing it expertly from the bone, on a trolley right in front of us.

Sweet treats
If there's one thing you shouldn't leave here without trying, it's the chef's mouth-watering selection of pastries. Choose this as your dessert, and you'll sample delights like cheese cake verrine with passion fruit, dice of fresh mango, lime zest, almond treusel, and religieuse with caramel salted butter (literally translated as 'heaven in your mouth'). From the main dessert menu, we devoured a selection of homemade ice-creams (chocolate, vanilla and pistachio), which were as pretty as they were tasty.

Price
The Relais Plaza is where Paris' elite come for an elegant yet casual lunch or dinner. But If you aren't part of the super-rich jet set, this a wonderful place to come for a relaxed special occasion. It wouldn't be described as cheap, starters begin at €24, mains €32, and desserts €14, but low-cost cuisine is not why you'd come here. Plus, you can take it from us, it's worth every penny...

Find it
Relais Plaza, Hotel Plaza Athenee, 25 Avenue Montaigne, 75008, Paris, France, +33 1 5367 6665, plaza-athenee-paris.com