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Apr 20, 2008 07:57 AM

Best couscous and Vietnamese in Paris

We'll be in Paris in May and we're dying for some decent couscous. The ones we've had here in Milan just aren't the same.
We've also heard that the Vietnamese restaurants in Paris are great. Any suggestions? We're not afraid of chilli pepper. The spicier the better!

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  1. Couscous: try the wonderful Wally and his saharian couscous (no sauce or stock), exceptional (rue Rodier, 9th). There's also more traditional couscous at le 404. More upscale than le 404 is la Table de Fes (6th). Vietnamese: the best of them all is Lac Hong, rue Lauriston, in the 16th. Not cheap. More modest ones include Co Ba rue Croix-Nivert, Thao Ly rue Berthollet. They are very modest places, we're talking less than 20 eur meals. There's also Lao Thai rue Tolbiac (13th), which people I trust hold in high esteem. Also in the 13th you have the famous Sukothai. (I'm saying cause Thai is usually spicier than vietnamese)

    7 Replies
    1. re: souphie

      Thanks! We're actually staying in the 13th so the last two restos sound very interesting. I'm probably going to gain 50 kg just thinking about all the eating and drinking I'm going to do ; )

      1. re: souphie

        Souphie, what do you think of Vietnamese Tan Dinh which we thought of trying, though expensive, because it is near the Orsay?

        1. re: Fuffy

          I thought that I forgot those two -- Tan Dinh, rue de Verneuil is mostly remarkable for one of the best wine lists in town, and very sophisticated franco-vietnamese food (using top French ingredients such as teh smoked goose they make dim sum of). But, strangely, this is one of the few places in town to drink great Burgundy wines. And the other one is Kim Anh, in the 15th, slightly more affordable, quite worth it as well.

            1. re: souphie

              We had lunch at Tan Dinh yesterday and found it not worth the price. Ravioli with smoked goose were good, the spring rolls with duck were pleasant, but spicy shrimp and veg with noodles was not spicy and the dish was merely OK. We did like the glass of white wine cotes- de-blaye (8 euros). Considering that the food is quite pricey we think that anyone who likes Vietnamese food would be happier with one of the cheaper more authentic places. Two starters, one main and one glass of wine cost 61 euros. The place was empty the whole time we were there except for one English couple.

              1. re: Fuffy

                IMO I actually find asian food in Paris (Vietnamese and Thai) to be a disappointment. I always found the spice balance was wrong, with the dishes de-tuned for the French palete (I lived in Asia so that may have altered my perspective). Thus I would be hesitant to recommend any Asian restaurants in Paris. Stick with what is done well - classic French cooking.

                I have also eaten in Tan Dinh and fully concur with your report - not ceratain the cheaper places are really more authentic.

                1. re: PhilD

                  That's one of our few disagreements.

                  I just don't understand the usual assimilation of authenticity and good. One of the best "Italian" restaurants in France is Sormani, and it is clearly run bya French chef and is nothing like what you can get in Italy. Paris has a lot of "great" Chinese restaurants, and I am pretty sure that they don't taste like they do over there. Now Tan Dinh or Kim Anh are restaurants vietnamese-inspired and mostly focused on being chic. As I said about Tan Dinh, it is a place to drink great Burgundy wines. But Lac Hong is one of the great restaurants of Paris. So is Chen, so is Vong (which I am told if more authentic). In addition, Chinese restaurant is the most affordable way to have a special, fancy meal in Paris.

                  Again, just test Ba Co, Pho 14, Asia Palace, Lao Thai, Lac Hong, Chen, Vong, Diep ponthieu.

                  In general, I think this is a good example of how expectations are 50% of the experience in a restaurant.