Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > France >
Aug 4, 2013 11:35 AM

Top Choices for Restaurants that aren't French...

My husband and I are going on a second honeymoon to Paris in October and while we are big-time foodies, we would love some recommendations for serious gastronome in other kinds of cuisines besides French, particularly Asian.

We're from Toronto so we can get excellent authentic Chinese. We're looking for more of a "dining" experience, not the "hole-in-the-wall" kind of places we go to here at home. Are there any nice Vietnamese or Cambodian places we should look at in addition to Chinese?

Thanks for your help!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. Just behind Palais Concorde is Rue Saint-Anne with many Japanese restaurants with okonomiyaki, ramen, udon noodles, etc. There mostly small, quite authentic and very inexpensive.
      Kunitoraya is an udon noodle place that is always packed just like the ones in Japan. Gracious dining no, but spot on noodles. There is also Kunitoraya II, much more gracious dining with larger menu and also great noodles.
      Compared to Vietnam, l have found the places not close to the original and all the phos and bahn mi's to miss, sorry Parigi.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        I think you mean Palais Royale. I also think the Kunitoraya on rue St Anne has closed. There was a new name on the place in April.

        1. re: jock

          And this is without alcohol, thanks.

        2. re: Delucacheesemonger

          "Compared to Vietnam, l have found the places not close to the original and all the phos and bahn mi's to miss,"
          Agreed, at least compared to Viet Nam circa 1967-8 and even Paris Viet Namese food in the 1950's.

        3. As I said in a prior post, there have been a host of threads on non-French cuisine in Paris; just recently ones on sub-Saharan food, Japanese places that are not hole-in-the-wall but great (Abri, Sola, Concert de Cuisine, Passage 53, etc) and many Chinese, Thai, Lao & Cambodian as well as Korean ones (largely in the 13th Chinatown). I'd start by putting Vietnamese, Cambodian & Chinese in the search box and pay attention especially to the comments by Parigi and Ptipois who know these places/cuisines best.
          Also since many of us have fled Paris for August you may get fewer responses than usual until the rentree.

          1. A few non-French, worthy, dining experiences I heartily recommend:
            - Lac Hong, Vietnames on rue Lauriston
            - Pasta e Basta, Enoteca in the middle of Chinatown (don't miss their tasting menus and exceptional wines)
            - Chen Soleil d'Est is a wonderful, expensive restaurant in a Blade-Runner like, yet very bourgeois, location. Don't miss their Turbot with the fried bones on the side
            - There is (Parisian?) tradition of high end Chinese or Vietnamese with exceptional wine lists: Tang, rue de la Tour and Tanh Dinh, rue de Verneuil among them
            - Vong, rue de la Grande Truanderie, for their Pecking Duck -- or Poularde on order, also for an unexpected setting (70s setup inside a historical building)
            - Sormani, rue du Général Lanrezac is a high end Italian restaurant that is run by a French chef and feels like a high end bordello -- it's awesome, lots of wonderful pasta, lots of truffle in season, wonderfully generous
            - Awesome "Champs Elysées/Cotton Club" experience at Tse Yang, on rue Pierre 1er de Serbie (they also have a place in Midtown NYC)
            - Wally le Saharien is still one of my favourite restaurants in town the dry couscous, the méchoui, etc;
            - Aida (Japanese) on rue Pierre Leroux is one of handful of recommendable Japanese restaurants (160€ Omakase, though), along with Isami and Benkay
            - Passy Mandarins (one on rue Bois le Vent and one on rue d'Antin) does very fine Chinese, Parisian style (superb fried dim sums)
            - Tong Yen, rue Jean Mermoz, is a see and be seen, 70s high end Chinese

            I know some will turn their nose up at all or most of those. I'll just say: they're very good, they have many sophisticated regulars, they're consistent. And maybe, I'll make fun of those who consider that Toronto (or SF, or Vancouver, or NYC...) Chinese cuisine is somehow more authentic than the one in Paris.

            4 Replies
            1. re: souphie

              From my experience to put Paris and Vancouver on the same Chinese grid is very pushing the issue.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                From my experience, the superiority of Chinese or Vietnamese restaurants on the American continent is largely an urban legend.

                1. re: souphie

                  "I'll just say: they're very good, they have many sophisticated regulars, they're consistent. And maybe, I'll make fun of those who consider that Toronto (or SF, or Vancouver, or NYC...) Chinese cuisine is somehow more authentic than the one in Paris."

                  I'll join the fun if you allow me. I think you're absolutely right on these points.
                  I am not such a fan of the big bourgeois-chinois places you're mentioning, but I do agree that they are sound and high-quality. They certainly have updated their fare since the 1980s. There are now many affluent Chinese visitors and even residents in Paris and they now cater to them too. So you may have perfectly good whole steamed turbot and seaweed-seafood soup.

                  Besides, these chinois-bourgeois restaurants (a little-known fact) have played their part in the evolution of Chinese cuisine during the 80s and 90s: some dishes that were developed there later inspired new creations on an international level. For instance foie gras cooked with Sichuan pepper was invented at one of these places; I think it was at Diep, rue Pierre-Charron.

                  For the same reasons, during the last ten years, some more modest but excellent Chinese restaurants have been opened by natives of Shandong, Zhejiang, Yunnan, Hubei, etc., — offering more northernly and easterly fare than the usual Cantonese (which was hitherto offered through the medium of Cambodian-Chinese or Vietnamese-Chinese families, which is not to say that their food was not perfectly good and authentic, far from it. But it was only Cantonese).

                2. According to a Paris friend I have, the Vietnamese food is to die for. No idea about specific restaurants and he's hiking somewhere in SE Asia at the moment. But, worth looking into.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Ray2

                    It is indeed to die for, though it used to be better than it is now (older generations who started the Vietnamese restaurants back in the 80s have now retired and their children do not always choose to take over). Now there is more Cambodian and Laotian presence, which is also to be praised.

                    Great addresses have disappeared in the last few years, but you still have a few good ones that you'll locate in the various threads on this board.

                    1. re: Ptipois

                      Recently I have become particularly fond of Cambodian. Any specific recommendations?

                      1. re: jock

                        Yes. Tricotin (the big glass case in the lower part of avenue de Choisy) is run by a Cambodian family and they do have excellent Cambodian "dry soups" (ask for the "soupe de nouilles maison"). Best dim sum in Paris too.
                        Right next door to it, Hao Hao is smaller but same origins. Walk past Tricotin into the small square mall, all the restaurants are Cambodian there.
                        Basically most restaurants in that lower-Choisy area are run by Chinese-Cambodians.
                        A friend of mine (ex-chef at Le Pré Verre) recommends Melinda, same avenue, as you walk closer to the Périphérique.