The Worst Restaurant in the World . . . is in Paris

Tour De Gall | Vanity Fair

L’Ami Louis.

[rofl.gif] [rofl.gif] [rofl.gif]

Have you been there? Is this one of the places Parker likes?


And here all along I thought the worst place was here on Maui - Gerards another Flabby French hole that served literally the worst bread in the world. And then argued with my wife and I that it was freshly baked. I of course said then obviously they should fire their baker because he sucks!


A. A. Gill at his best.

Don’t know this writer, but the piece is excellent…and sort of right on. “Dinosaur boogers” is a priceless description of the escargots.

In 1984 or 1985 Mimi Sheraton, then NY Times restaurant critic, deemed L’Amis Louis as her favorite restaurant in the world. We were going to France that January, and the dollar was incredibly strong. We went , and loved the place and its food. The wine list wasn’t really a list, but a page with names on it…and I bumped into the “sommelier” in the basement as I was going to the men’s room; he was going into a closet to grab a bottle. (Things seem to have changed.) We were on my wife’s company’s tab, so…that part was great. The people with us were ill, so the leftovers were gargantuan…and kept outside our hotel room window (the month was , and still might be, the coldest ever on record in France; many vineyards in Gevrey-Chambertin and others that were low, on the plain died and had to be replanted). The most memorable thing for me, however (meat has never been that high on my likes) was the potato loaf, “pommes bearnaise”, as the owner/founder “Monsieur. Anotoine” was from that area of France. My wife wrote for the recipe (the internet didn’t exist), and we received a long, handwritten instruction sheet/letter addressed to “Mr. Potato”. We scrambled around Philadelphphia’s Chinatown looking for goose fat, and tried to make the dish, which was never satisfying in our hands. (Yukon Gold was still unheard of and Idaho’s or Maine whites were obviously very different.)

We made it back 2 more times in the '80s on our own tab. (The guy who now owns it was dining next to us later in 1985, and when he saw me taking pictures of the master tending to his wood-burning stove, he started to chat about how he ate there weekly, and wanted to buy it. He said his family owned Cointreau. The week after my return to my office, someone delivered several bottles of Cointreau, so I guess he was telling the truth). In the ‘80s, David Liederman, who founded “David’s Cookies” opened a place in New York called "Louis’ Place" or something like that. The potatoes weren’t “right” there either…and the effort was more in name than anything else.

Because we had two kids in the intervening years, and this place has always been the most ridiculously overpriced restaurant in the world, we had a long hiatus. But, on the last lunch of the millenium, on 12/31/99, we took our sons (then 12 and 6) for lunch. I doubt we’ll ever go back, but it was memorable-- for all of us. The potatoes were as good as ever (both the allumettes/shoestring ones and the Bearnaise). The service as the author described it: irreverant. And, one meat dish memorable for us: the “wild duck”. I still remember two things: it was very gamy, consistent with “wild,” and it had almost no meat on it. (And, we confirmed that on the plane home the next day, as we saved some of it to debunk our incredulity: that we just missed the meat.) The rest of the food was very good; the bill astronomical, as expected. But, the experience for all of our family was a memorable way to usher out the millenium (especially as we were stranded on the Metro that night trying to get to the Eiffel Tour’s fireworks ,and greeted by machine-gun-armed gendarmes tellining us to get on another subway and head home…that trying to get there was pointless…in a not so dainty way!)

This article brings back all the memories…so…sorry if I babble here. blahblah blahblah And, after all these years, my best memories of the food are those potatoes (both dishes) and the wonderful fraises du bois (wild strawberries) drowned in creme fraiche. So, I guess that says to me that the food isn’t really what Louis’ friend’s place is really about. We have great memories of the 4 times we ate there…and some good baby lamb and chicken and scallops in their shells…but…I’m sure we will never attempt to go back, especially after this article.

Thanks for the memories, Claude.
What do you think of the place?


This place is the shits! Great imagery: “It’s painted a shiny, distressed dung brown. The cramped tables are set with labially pink cloths, which give it a colonic appeal and the awkward sense that you might be a suppository. In the middle of the room is a stubby stove that also looks vaguely proctologica.l”


A veal chop, utterly plain, unaccompanied or sullied by decoration or inspiration. Just an awkwardly butchered skinny rib that has been grilled for too long on one side and too little on the other so that it is simultaneously stingingly dry and overdone and flabbily, slimily raw. She can’t decide which side to complain about.

Well, we know which side was cooked by Bowden, Rico, or Landreth…

I have lunched at L’Amis Louis three times, first in 1995, most recently in 2006.

I recognize the place in the photo accompanying the article. But with just a few exceptions, I do not recognize the place so cleverly - and snidely - described. Yes, it is expensive, sometimes breathtakingly so. But I have found the experience to be worth the tariff - and the portions so large that sharing among a group greatly mitigates the expense. Yes, the wine list is a “massive eulogy to claret … with sycophantic prices.” Avoid Bordeaux, however, and you can drink well at prices that compare favorably to other restaurants in Paris.

This review, though not so clever or well-written, more nearly captures my experience:'Ami_Louis.htm

Among the several reasons I hope to return: The poulet rôti is like manna placed directly on your tongue by the hand of God.

I don’t know who A.A.Gill is and I’ve never been to L’Ami Louis. That being said what a jerk off. You’d think this is the worst restaurant in the world. This is a great example of why I hate inexperienced commentators and more specifically reviewers. Just because you have the wit and/or vocabulary to rip someone or something apart doesn’t mean you should.

He’s a Brit, and he’s been a critic long enough to offend nearly everyone.

Sometimes I am sorry I let my subscription to Vanity Fair lapse…

That is the funniest review I have read since stan sesser was the food critic for the SF Chronicle. I fell out of bed laughing it was so good.


Ahh. The inexperienced A.A. Gill

In the Wiki link, there is a footnote to an interview with the guy. He is quite a character. This exchange made me [rofl.gif] :

Tell us about your new book.

I haven’t read it, and I always said that I didn’t want to do a book of reviews because what possible use is a 12-year-old restaurant review?

have to credit him for honesty…at least

None of my French friends ever wanted to go with me when I suggested we go to l’Ami Louis.

“I think people would make quite good ham. Dry-salted, like Parma-person. The other thing that always interests me about cannibalism is what is the ideal age? We mature very slowly, so if you’re farming people, it’s never going to be a profitable business, because to get something like a lamb, they’d have to be fed for five or six years, and to get mutton or beef you’ve got to keep them for 16 years. That’s ridiculous.”

as Wilfred said

So have you actually gone there? If so, how was it? Gill’s review is beyond hilarious, but I have no idea how accurate it is.

Yes, I have gone there. His review is reasonably accurate. Prices in the stratosphere for very bistro type food. One dish was memorable–cepes and garlic, but for something like $125 for an appetizer, it should have been memorable. The roast chicken was, well, roast chicken. Astronomical prices for bistro food.

That said, I have (American) friends who swear by it. “Why would you want to go there?” ask my French friends. They comment its priced like a fine Michelin *** restaurant for a place that serves ordinary bistro food. Never could get anyone to go with me there.

I haven’t been back since that one time. I have made reservations a couple of other times, but each time as the reservation day draws closer, either I or one of my guests cancels, and I think its because the idea of paying a fortune for bistro food just doesn’t cut it.