Apicius: Location, location, location

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Reviewed on 11/2/2011 | No Reviews

On a hot summer (or nice autumn) night, when you wait for your table at Apicius while sitting al fresco and sipping a fancy apéritif, watching the Maseratis, Porsches and Mercedes of your fellow eaters rolling into hôtel Schneider’s magnificent walled garden, you can’t help thinking that you belong to the very happy few on earth.

Don’t argue, just look at yourself: Here you are, in the centre of Paris, in the most splendid part of the centre of Paris, in one of the most beautiful palaces the city has to offer, a two-Michelin-star-dinner is coming up…life can be worse, don’t you think?

Magic goes on and on

A bling-bling dessert sprinkeld with gold - © MAP

Once you’re ready to step in, a lot of art déco stuff will greet you, and the full-blown splendour of the 19th century, cathedral ceilings, stucco, you name it, and Jean-Pierre Vigato, the chef himself, will shake your hand, in person, cordially. For a while, this kind of magic goes on and on. The halls are gorgeous (maybe a bit too much so -), same is true for the women and their wardrobe (raising a few doubts though: don’t they fit a bit too well into all these Maseratis, Porsches and Mercedes outside? And the guys back there: don’t they look like red-light-district bodyguards having a day off?).

Anyway: you’ll definitely enjoy the mouth-watering prose of the menu which is very promising indeed. This restaurant really seems to have it all: highest French refinement without forgetting the rustic basics. There’s „tête de veau“ and „pieds de porc“ and „ris de veau“, provincial classics, and there’s lobster, turbot, caviar and foie gras, too, the basic ingredients of Michelin-star-spangled cuisine. What could go wrong?

An optical illusion

Real food-lovers know the correct answer: quite a lot or even everything. Soon, Apicius turns out to be an optical illusion. The enchanting outside is as good as hollow on the culinary inside. It’s a place where promises aren’t kept. Where high prices draw high-rolling guests who don’t look for food but for a nice parking for their Maseratis.

We went there only a few weeks ago and the starters were, well, just ok – which is not enough for an entrée (in the European sense) of „poissons bleus“ – mackerel, lobster, shrimps – for 55 Euros (78 US$). The main course though marked an almost shocking disappointment.

Fish as big as a table

It was announced as a festive „milieu de très gros turbot rôti“, let’s translate this with „very thick and juicy slice of the best possible Atlantic turbot“. I’ve seen one of those „très gros“ turbots in a restaurant kitchen once, and, believe me, it was a fish as big as a table, as heavy as a crate of beer, with fillets thicker than a tall man’s fist. The one served at Apicius were not of that kind.

They were just turbot fillets which were, again, just ok (for 160 Euros for two people – 225 US$). The sides weren’t ok at all though, we’re talking about sort of a fried potato-mash reminding of industrial microwave-fare topped with a ridiculous strip of bacon. All bedded in an indefinable jus. That was it. Cheese was mediocre (and the cheese guy didn’t know the names). Desserts came, of course, sprinkled with gold leaf  (sort of reminding the guests that their Maseratis were waiting outside).

A shiny parking lot

Apicius. It’s about location. And you can hardly find a more impressive one. It’s not about food though. And that – for a restaurant – just doesn’t work. It’s not a restaurant. It’s a shiny parking lot. A glamorous catwalk. And a bit of a waste of time and money.

Apicius – Jean-Pierre Vigato
20, rue d’Artois
75008 Paris
Métro: Saint Philippe du Roule  
Open from  12h – 14h and from 20h – 22h
Closed on Saturdays and Sundays and during August.
+33(0)  1 43 80 19 66
GD Star Rating
Apicius: Location, location, location , 3.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

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