I recently had the chance to sample this newly-opened restaurant thanks to the generosity of our German partners.

It is certainly one of the places to be seen in Paris, judging by the line of official cars waiting outside and some of the guests on this weekday lunch: a former minister for culture, a famous radio and television presenter…

One of the first impressions is space, in a capital where you are used to eating right next to other diners. The level of noise is also fairly acceptable even though the very high ceilings create some form of echo.

For this is no ordinary place: after 136 years, this previously little-used space of the magnificent building designed by Charles Garnier has finally been converted into a restaurant, following its architect’s dream and a couple of failed attempts.

We are greeted very courteously for Paris, our coats are taken and we are swiftly led to a set of tables in the mezzanine. During the meal, service is efficient, if a little distant. I also can’t help noticing one of Ferret’s pet interests: staff outfits. Here there does not seem to be any uniform policy. Some outfits are even a bit racy.

Wholemeal bread is on the tables, a welcome change from other Parisian restaurants, where bread quality is often disappointing. My first course from the 36-euro lunch menu soon arrives, a nicely presented filet of duck served with endives and a potato cake. The meat is tender and tasty and will be the highlight of the meal, for the dessert disappoints a little. It is a chestnut tiramisu that is a little bit too creamy. Other European guests have opted for the Opéra cake, made with coffee, chocolate, almonds and, I am told, local honey from the industrious bees which live on top of the Opéra itself. For once, there seems to be a general European consensus that desserts were the weakest point of the meal.

Coffee is also good by European standards and served with original petits-fours: shortbread and roses des sables.

On the whole, I would say this was a fairly good meal for a slightly high price, but still reasonable. However, I would be more cautious about dining there (at least €150 for a meal for two with wine).

L’Opéra restaurant

Place Jacques Rouché

75009 Paris

01 42 68 86 80

http://www.opera-restaurant.fr

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