Don’t get me wrong, I can eat Croque monsieur, chèvre salad, and duck rillettes most days while on a French holiday. But, not everyone shares my Franco-food addiction. Listed below are options so good, they often pull me off my French food train. Because naturally, Paris draws the best chefs of all nationalities to her storied streets. Here’s my breakdown of some favorite spots to enjoy “alternate cuisine” while in Paris.
Sushi – There is NO shortage of great sushi in Paris. There is also a fair amount of not so good sushi in Paris. On a recent trip I enlisted the help of a local chef and saki expert as my guide. I was led to the unassuming and intimate Sushi B, near the Garnier Opera house. This is a one man show featuring Michelin Starred Chef Masayoshi Hanada. He holds court in the center of the “sushi bar” and presents his tasting menu to 8 lucky guests. Your only choice to make is how many courses you want to enjoy, then sit back and be amazed. Chef Hanada presents each jewel-like piece of fish with consummate skill bringing out the unique and delicate flavors. After the 8-12 course discovery menu, this is one sushi restaurant you certainly won’t be hungry 20 minutes after paying the check.
Pizza – I’ve been bringing my daughter to Paris every year since she was 12 weeks old. We’ve eaten a lot of pizza over the years. Fortunately there are many places to get authentic wood-fired Neapolitan style pizza around the city. La Cerise sur la Pizza (The Cherry (Tomato) on the Pizza) is one such place. While not a hallowed hall of gastronomy this hip pizza joint never disappoints. Fun combinations of imported Italian ingredients satisfy the adventurous palate, think duck breast, creme fraiche, balsamic and mushrooms. There are two locations, one in the Marais (4th arr.) and one in Belleville (11th arr.).
Mexican – Ok, so Mexican food is relatively new in Paris. For years the only option was a chain called Indiana. This is an option if you are desperate to feed a young child or really picky teenage but other than that I can’t imagine entering the establishment. Candelária on the other hand is completely different and is one of the first spots in the city to offer authentic Mexican cuisine with a French twist. It’s a very small shotgun space with just one table and some counter seating. Reservations are a must and even then it’s basically standing room only. If you make your way past the kitchen and counter you will find yourself in a Mexi-themed speakeasy with a tasty cocktail menu featuring various riffs of the margarita as the headliner.
Chinese – Yam’Tcha. Full transparency, I have not been here. But it’s on my list. Reservations are difficult to get but there is also an outpost, Lai’Tcha, a more casual dining dim sum bistro. At both establishments, Michelin Starred Chef Adeline Grattard and her husband, tea master, Chi Wah Chan create a delightful fusion of Chinese and French flavors. Chef Grattard is featured in Chef’s Table France, episode 3 on Netflix. Make sure to check it out.
Hamburgers – For the past few years, burger places have been popping up all over Paris. I remember back in the early 90’s fast food burgers were all the rage with the teens hanging out at McDonald’s and the French equivalent Quick burger. Now it’s all about the gourmet burger. Burgers are even found in the sumptuous Laduree Tea Room. These are ladylike sliders topped with caramelized onions and Comte cheese. Potato planks and an endive salad complete the plat du jour. While these guys may not top the best-burger-in-Paris list, they are certainly served in the most elegant surroundings.
Poutine – If you are a fan of the famous hangover cure from Canada you won’t have to forego your habit while in Paris. At the Maison de la Poutine, you can indulge in all varieties of the cheese curd, fries, and gravy snack. From maple pork to cranberries and mushrooms, there is a cornucopia of toppings to satisfy your poutine craving. With three locations that deliver around Paris, you won’t have to go far to dig in.
At Gourmet Adventures Travel Co., I craft culinary getaways for travelers who love to eat well and yearn to truly savor the authentic side of their destination. From a river cruise through Provencal wine country to a journey through the heady spice markets and medinas of Morocco, you'll taste your way through the world's most enchanting landscapes.