Tu as faim! And you’ve got tickets to the opera! What to do…
As tourists, we are always juggling our time to work in as many activities as our 7-day, 6-night trip can hold. For foodies, trying to wedge in a quality meal while meeting some other “must-do” goal can create frustrating moments. Opera fans (or lovers of historic architecture) visiting Paris can ease their stress levels by dining at the Opera Restaurant in Pairs’ famed Palais Garnier Opera house.
Paris’ opulent Palais Garnier has recently unveiled their new Opera Restaurant. As early as the opera house’s opening in 1875, designer Charles Garnier expressed a desire to open a restaurant within the building. An idea that was considered again in 1973 and 1992, the restaurant did not become a reality until restauranter Pierre Francois Blanc and architect Odile Decq recently came along to invest in this $6 million venture.
On the culinary front, two-star Michelin chef Christophe Aribert along with Executive chef Yann Tanneau have created a unique menu for the restaurant to reflect the opera house’s mythical image, while combining traditional and contemporary cuisine. Aribert worked at gourmet restaurant Les Terrasses in Grenoble for thirteen years, where he prepared creative dishes utilizing local products. Along with Aribert, Tanneau joins the team, who has worked in the kitchen of the chic Parisian Philippe Starck design hotel Mama Shelter, along with pastry chef Hervé Moreau. Keeping to the locavore trend, the restaurant will boast local products, even serving honey made from the bees kept on the opera house’s rooftop.
The menu lists classic dishes with a focus on fruits de mer; you may feast on lobster, whiting and sole, as well as trout. Guinea fowl is also a speciality.
Spanning three separate spaces, the restaurant also includes a cocktail bar and mezzanine area. The bar features a special drink called “Phantom by Martini” in honor of the classic novel and musical Phantom of the Opera, which was originally set in the Opera Garnier. The entire space evokes an elegant yet modern atmosphere, with grand glass structures surrounding already-existing pillars, grandiose statues, dramatic lighting, and vibrant red tables and chairs.
As one who thrives dining out in Paris (low- and high-end), the atmosphere of Opera Restaurant seems a bit cold. I have this thing about “French Modern” decor – the French don’t do it well. Cute and flashy is not comfortable and welcoming – no conducive to a relaxing dining experience.
There are not many reviews available online, but I did find this one that is “so-so”.