I have been eating in Paris and in France for forty years. During that time French food has changed. Paris restaurants have changed. Currency values and prices have changed. And how I like to eat has changed.
In 2008 my wife and I began renovation of a Paris apartment. The project took more than 18 months. During construction we visited Paris nearly every month. These trips were not vacations, but we had to eat – dinner at least. I began keeping notes. And I have continued.
I am not a professional restaurant critic. But I know what works for me. My conclusions, and my observations on ambiance, décor, service, menu, food and prices reflect what most resonates with me.
The handful of Favorites I have designated carry no Michelin-like significance. They highlight restaurants where the experience for me was special in relation to what they were trying to do.
My thoughts on restaurant criticism are also based on many years of experience. Much of it is worthless. Individual tastes matter. What makes a good experience for me may not be the same as for you. Published reviews are often dated. More so than in the past, restaurants change.
The economics of high end French restaurants have become deadly. Prices can be stratospheric and the clientele commensurately rarified, one reason you will not find many of the Michelin-starred names on my list. At the more popular end chefs change, owners change and formats change.
The abundance of new blogger sites does as much to confuse as to inform. There could be some sort of reverse self-selection among people who contribute comments (“Reviews”) on Trip Advisor, etc. Many reflect inexperience, even ignorance. I have found that the best way to learn is to draw from multiple sources. Create a mosaic. If my list becomes one piece of that mosaic, it will have done its job.