Simone Zanoni, a Brescian chef in the grandeur of hotel George V

For the past year or so, there’s been a valiant Italian chef at the legendary Four Seasons in Paris

Since August 2016 Simone Zanoni, born in Brescia i

Since August 2016 Simone Zanoni, born in Brescia in 1976, is at the helm of the Italian-Mediterranean restaurant Le George, inside the Four Seasons George V in Paris

Many believe the Four Seasons George V in Paris means quintessential hotellerie, brilliant and elegant, and not only in Paris. Indeed it’s hard to find examples that can measure up with this mythical hotel-school. Even these days, it commands reverence and respect from many five star hotels in the Ville Lumière, even those that work and host at the highest levels. After all, this had to be the case. Even when putting aside the endless important people who visited these rooms. Even when omitting the yet significant details a guest can notice already in the hall at the entrance, from the rich floral compositions to the discreet and elegant staff at work to satisfy guests’ needs from the moment they arrive at the reception.

It seems almost superfluous to remember that the restaurants here have always been a strong point. Just think that as soon as you go beyond the entrance, and look at the lovely small inner garden, you can immediately notice as many as five Michelin stars. David Bizet’s Orangerie is to the right (his name recalls that of Davide Bisetto of Cipriani in Venice). He’s from Normandy and trained with Philippe Legendre, another three-star chef from George V, a few years back.

Eight months after opening, in February 2017, Orangerie received its first star in the French Red Guide. Then, beyond the garden, you can notice the windows of Le Cinq, the 3-star restaurant firmly led by Christian Le Squer since October 2014. The Breton chef for a dozen seasons was the protagonist at Pavillon Ledoyen. He now makes use of his creativity, a natural taste for aesthetics and a passion for high quality ingredients in his dishes at the hotel in Avenue George V.

Zanoni’s restaurant (photo by Goire Gardette)

Zanoni’s restaurant (photo by Goire Gardette)

Finally, on the left side of the garden, you have the great windows showing the dining room of Le George, the hotel’s “Italian” restaurant. Simone Zanoni arrived here in August 2016. The young chef from Brescia, previously at Gordon Ramsay’s Trianon in Versailles, today leads the large brigade (12 in the kitchen and 18 in the dining room) that takes care of showing a more Mediterranean side of the food offer. This also shows some sharing, as well anticipated in the motto on the first page of the menu: “Cooking is an art. A gift to share”.

There are many recipes that play this card, starting from the raw fish, like Seabass and powdered balsamic vinegar, red tuna and truffle petals, or the Saffron arancini with tuna tartare; plus the salads and the rich selection of pastas and risottos, where Agnolotti with red wine and sage, Risotto with squid ink and champagne, or Ravioli del Plin with truffle and cream of Parmigiano stand out.

Of course this is a nice showcase for Italian products, with some deserved French incursions. There’s a spirit of collaboration with our cousins and a well-accomplished project to create a more laid-back fine dining offer while enhancing excellent products. The lunch menu (the restaurant is always crowded during the lunch break and finding a small spot where to sit is hard) is offered at a very approachable price of 65 euros (for 3 courses, let’s not forget this is an iconic 5-star luxury hotel), while the Flavours menu, inspired by great classic cuisine (from Sole to Tarte Tatin) and citric Mediterranean tones, offers seven courses for 110 euros per person. Choosing from the à la carte menu is much more expensive, of course.

Beef tagliata by Zanoni (photo by Jean-Claude Amiel)

Beef tagliata by Zanoni (photo by Jean-Claude Amiel)

Tagliolini with black truffle from Norcia and cream of Parmigiano (photo by Jean-Claude Amiel)

Tagliolini with black truffle from Norcia and cream of Parmigiano (photo by Jean-Claude Amiel)

Simone Zanoni juggles French like a native. Ever since he pointed his flag in the centre of Paris, he’s acquired more soundness and his dishes well represent his origins as well as his career over the years. There’s more: here he doubled his efforts and joined a long list of successful Italians on the banks of the Seine. A few months ago he opened a pizzeria, in Place des Manèges in nearby Versailles, with the imposing name of César. The offer includes charcuterie, burrate, tiramisu and risotto on top of a selection of excellent pizzas with Petra flour.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso

Le George
Avenue George V, 31
Paris, France

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