The first impression you get upon walking into the small dining room is that it really is a cosy little restaurant. Compared to the larger and spacious dining rooms one so often sees in Parisian grand restaurants, this is a much more intimate affair. The design is as extravagant and crazy as elsewhere in the hotel, which adds a bit of peps to the affair.
Food-wise, chef Rispoli, a former employee of Alain Ducasse, has put together a simple, and clearly structured menu. The dishes are composed of a handful of ingredients, and try to bring strong flavours together. His style is clean and gutsy at the same time, using the plethora of ingredients Italy has to offer.
A superb dish is for instance a bit of raw tuna with orange zest and asparagus. This is a relatively simple dish, but the balance of flavours and combination of them really elevate it. The carefully dosed orange zest adds a bit of a zingy punch to the tuna, and helps combine the fish with the green asparagus salad. This is the sort of dish you might find in Sicily, showcasing produce, the island is famous for.
Equally good is an artichoke salad. Featuring several preparations of artichokes and garden beans, this is a dish that is remarkable for its variety of textures and preparations that come together so coherently. Paying homage to the humble artichoke, Rispoli created a dish that is full of flavour and will let even carnivores appreciate the qualities of fine vegetable-based cuisine.
That Rispoli is a fan of artichokes comes to the fore in the case of veal shank ravioli with roasted artichokes. This is a rich and intensely satisfying dish that is so simple and delicious that it is hard to fault. The pasta is cooked perfectly, filled with meltingly tender veal shank and served with parmesan shavings, artichoke puree and grilled artichokes. It follows this spirit of simplicity and big flavours and fully convinced us that this is most likely Paris’ very best Italian restaurant.
In a city that lacks serious Italian cuisine at this level, Il Carpaccio has little competition. Nonetheless, it manages to produce fine Italian cuisine that would look good anywhere in the world.