As much as I enjoy dining out in Paris, I can honestly say it is rare that I'm blown away by a meal. Not just pleased with the meal itself but the entire experience, from start to finish.
Pomze is still my Paris favorite given the originality and freshness of the dishes, the price and the attentive service but it's not quite haute cuisine. Le Pearl is not in the same league as Pomze by any means but is consistently good and local, which makes all the difference for me. Septime, my latest love affair, is unlike anything I've ever tried in Paris. Refined, down-to-earth, unpretentious, intensely flavorful, and innovative at each stage of the meal with stellar service from the moment I walked through the door to the moment I dragged myself, somewhat unwillingly, out of the restaurant many hours later. An understated haute-cuisine experience.
I booked a table at the beginning of August for my three year wedding anniversary but had an opportunity to test it out with Erica of Haven in Paris and our friend Christi three days prior. A somewhat expensive trial run, you might say, but completely worth it. Never has my jaw dropped after a first bite as it did at Septime - and again after each course. I was instantly reminded of some of the spectacular meals I've had in Philadelphia where a genuine sense of disappointment settles in after the last bite.
When you consider the value and the quality of the meal you will have at Septime, you won't see it as splurging. But if you are only inclined to invest money in one higher-end restaurant outing during your next trip to Paris, make it Septime. I have written a proper review complete with photos and descriptions of the meal (including the carte blanche tasting menu which I highly recommend) for the HIP Paris blog, so feel free to check out Septime: Friendly, Inventive and Refined Cuisine in Paris. If you try it, I expect a full report!
For more photos, you can check out my Septime album on Flickr.