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Presidents, movie stars, CEOs, playboys and Woody Allen all eat there. L’Ami Louis, a little bistro on a Paris sidestreet near the old Les Halles market is a favourite dining spot for British and American visitors, all of whom regard it as their own special secret. 

L’Ami Louis

It is certainly not cheap—a foie gras appetiser costs the equivalent of $79, a glass of house red wine is $19 and lunch for two costs around $400.
But according to the respected restaurant critic AA Gill, L’Ami Louis has earned an epic accolade ——it is, he says, without a doubt, the worst restaurant in  the world. 

In a fine piece of writing in Vanity Fair Gill says the restaurant’s interior, painted a shiny, distressed dung brown, gives you the feeling of being in a second-class railway carriage in the Balkans. 

The waiters, he says, are “paunchy, combative, surly men, bulging out of their white jackets with the meaty malevolence of gouty buffalo” and lurk like extras for a Gallic version of The Sopranos. Customers’ coats are flung into a luggage rack with no regard for anything in the pockets, while the menu, he says, is “brief and bloody.”  The wine cellar is behind the lavatory “in a crypt that smells overpoweringly of fetid bladder damp.”

And the food? The foie gras is “an intimidatingly gross flab of chilly pate with a slight coating of pustular yellow fat, dense and stringy with a web of veins.” The escargots are “like dinosaur boogers” while the veal kidneys en brochette were welded together  into “a gray, suppurating renal brick” and, Gill adds: “They don’t taste as nice as they sound.”

Dessert is “four balls of gray ice cream and something that had once been chocolate.”

So next time you’re in Paris and someone recommends L’Ami Louis —-be warned!



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