Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.






Seared foie gras at L'Abeille restaurant at Shangri-La Hotel Paris

Seared foie gras at L’Abeille restaurant at Shangri-La Hotel Paris

by Sophie Gayot

As you know, we go around the globe to bring the freshest news about the restaurant scene. If you missed me on the radio a few weeks ago, here is your chance to catch up on the conversation I had with chef Jamie Gwen. Her weekly radio show airs on Sundays in Los Angeles on KFWB News Talk 980.

Click on the restaurant names below to listen to what we had to say:

 L’Abeille, Shangri-La Hotel Paris, Paris
(More about the restaurant at with an exclusive video of executive chef Philippe Labbé);

Le Bernardin, New York
(More about chef Eric Ripert at’s blog);

Mercato di Vetro, West Hollywood;

Stella Rossa Pizza Bar, Santa Monica
(More about the restaurant at with an exclusive video with executive chef Jeff Mahin. The restaurant has just been named one of’s Top 10 Pizza Restaurants in the US);

Continue reading “Restaurant News on the Airwaves” »

The Eiffel Tower on Your Plate

by Sophie Gayot

There is a French expression: “avec des si, on mettrait Paris en bouteille,” which means, “with ifs, you could fit Paris in a bottle.” But how can you fit the Eiffel Tower on a plate? Watch the exclusive video interview with executive chef Philippe Labbé of L’Abeille restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel Paris, to see how he does it. You will find out why Labbé is paying a tribute to La Grande Dame, as about half of the hotel’s 27 suites and 54 rooms have unobstructed views of the monument built by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 for the World’s Fair.

Continue reading “L’Abeille Restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel, Paris” »



Superb éclair caramel beurre salé

Superb éclair caramel beurre salé

by Sophie Gayot

A recent lunch in Paris brought me to Cyril Lignac’s bistrot Le Chardenoux located in a quiet street of the eleventh arrondissement. Lignac was not there, but Marie-Laure, “la maîtresse de maison”, was. As I ordered the baba au rhum for dessert, a Chardenoux classic, and my guests ordered the pain perdu à la cerise and the profiteroles à la vanille, she insisted that we try the éclair caramel beurre salé (salted butter caramel éclair). She knew exactly was she was doing, and that we would all love it. She was right. I don’t think an éclair can get any better than that, between its wrapping and its content: a perfectly baked puff pastry filled and covered with a delicious caramel cream.

Continue reading “When the Eclair Sparks” »



by Sophie Gayot

In 1990, Joël Robuchon was named Cuisinier du Siècle, Chef of the Century. The title, which did not come easily, was based on his impressive, extraordinary talent, so-well-controlled creativity, religious respect of produce and the purity of his flavors. Luckily for us, his gifts are still going strong in this century.

Since moving from Poitou (a Western region of France) to Paris in 1978, Robuchon has distilled his undisputable cooking skills throughout the world with ultra-fine dining establishments like Restaurant Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas (a Top 40 Restaurant since its 2005 opening), and the L’Atelier concept. I have to admit that when I saw the first Atelier under construction in Paris in the winter of 2002, I was skeptical about having Robuchon’s delicacies sitting behind a bar on a bar stool, without having the possibility of sharing these culinary pleasures with more than one or two persons (it’s not easy to have a larger party along a bar). Oh, boy, was I wrong! There are now nine Ateliers around the world, with the latest addition in Singapore.

Continue reading “Joël Robuchon, A Stellar Chef” »

Paris, Produce & Purple

on February 23rd, 2011
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by Sophie Gayot

Fresh off the plane from Los Angeles, I headed to Le 114 Faubourg in Paris with an American friend of mine to show her how a chef can bring brasserie cuisine to a luxurious level. The restaurant is located in the Hôtel Le Bristol and is overseen by chef Eric Frechon, so I was pretty sure that the demonstration would be good. My assumption was confirmed.

At Le 114, produce is king. The cuisine, prepared by chef de cuisine Eric Desbordes, is simple, one you can have (almost) every day. Watch my exclusive video interview above with chef Frechon to learn more and see the luxury brasserie.


Continue reading “Paris, Produce & Purple” »

Consul General of France David Martinon, Sophie Gayot, pastry chef Yvan Valentin, Christine Ourmières, Air France Vice President & General Manager USA
Consul General of France David Martinon, Sophie Gayot, pastry chef Yvan Valentin, Christine Ourmières, Air France Vice President & General Manager USA

by Sophie Gayot

It’s been fifty years since Air France became the first French airline to link to the West Coast of America. On April 4, 1960, the airline inaugurated twice-weekly flights of a Boeing 707, which took thirteen-and-a-half hours from Paris to Los Angeles, including a stopover in Montréal. Previously, the flight stopped in New York and lasted an extra 10 hours! Of course, things are even better today with three non-stop daily flights, done in eleven hours. From two classes of service (Luxe and Economy), there are now four: La Première, Business, the new Premium Economy (read a description of it in our Travel section) and Economy.

Continue reading “Air France: Paris / Los Angeles, Celebrating 50 years” »

The romantic courtyard patio of Ralph's in Paris

The romantic courtyard patio of Ralph's in Paris

French restaurants tend to have such romantic-sounding names, but can you believe that the new chi-chi place that’s captivating Paris’s swank set is called Ralph’s? To be fair, this American restaurant that recently opened on the boulevard Saint-Germain is part of the Ralph Lauren empire, as is his new store nearby. Sure, Parisians might be headed there for the steak (sourced directly from the designer’s own ranch, no less), but more likely it’s for a seat on the courtyard patio with its large parasols, teak benches and fountain. Want to enjoy your own al fresco feast? Browse our lists to find the best outdoor dining restaurants in your area.


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