Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée restaurant

Paris

The great master Alain Ducasse’s landmark restaurant was a bastion of French tradition. However in 2014, the three Michelin-starred chef reinvented it to focus on natural fine dining, prioritising vegetables, fish and cereals, as well as sustainability. His innovation has paid off; it was named number 13 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list this year.

The interiors are world-class. Walls are as white as pearl onions, oyster-like shells enclose bench seats and Swarovski crystal chandeliers sparkle like fish scales. Ducasse’s raison d’être is to distil and preserve the very essence of each ingredient and for the most part he succeeds. Langoustines laden with caviar are served with a seafood reduction that tastes like the very soul of the ocean. Vegetables grown in the Palace of Versailles gardens are so perfectly cooked it seems an aberration to pour the accompanying raspberry condiment over them. The flavour intensity is phenomenal, but is best surmised by a searingly sharp lemon sorbet matched with tarragon jus

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