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Resto A-Z

A project in which I eat my way around Paris by cuisine of particular countries according to the alphabets… (not sure what I’m going to with certain alphabets that would be impossible to get, e.g. there’s no country starting with X)

A: Afghani – L’Afghanistan, 48 rue Saint-Maur 75011
This is a small restaurant tucked in the 11ème (although it may be bigger than I am aware of since there were people heading downstairs for more seating), serving food which I found to be an interesting mix, sort of between Russian and North Indian cuisine (based on my rather non-authoritative knowledge, which is to say nothing really). I’d like to give it a second go to try more dishes.

B: Brazilian – Gabriela, 3 rue Milton 75009
If you’re thinking a massive heap of grilled meat, then you couldn’t be further from the truth. Dishes varied but served with a good portion of rice, bean and/or vegetables. They make potent cocktails, passable desserts, and the decor rather funky with tv screening carnevals in Rio.

C: China – Les Pâtes Vivantes, 22 blvd Saint-Germain 75005
I know, China is huge and there are many varieties to Chinese food. For this list, I’d like to introduce an authentic noodle shop where the noodles are made fresh in-house daily. There are non-noodles dishes too so plenty to choose from. The service is efficient, and the price very reasonable. Book ahead if you have a large group going.

C: Cuban – Cuba Compagnie, 48 blvd Beaumarchais 75011
They play awesome latin music that makes me want to dance! Happy hour (4-8pm) means it was busier earlier in the evening rather than later when I was there, with decent food but nothing that wow-ed me though. I should have skipped the dessert – the “Cuban cake” was piping hot inside but rubbery to chew, all the signs pointing to reheating for too long in the microwave.


E: Ethiopian – Ase Theodros, 7 rue de la Collegiale 75005
I love injera, a type of spongy, pancake-like sourdough flatbread. It is a staple on Ethiopian table, used as “plate” where it would hold the dishes, and then torn to wrap around the meat/vegetable and eaten up. The injera found here is not quite the same (according to a friend, teff flour is hard to get outside of Ethiopia) but still tasty. For the undecided, Ase Theodros also serves a combination meal, where you get a little of every dish that they cook in the restaurant.

F: French (of course!)
I don’t think I can just rattle off the name of one French restaurant when I’ve tried numerous. Afterall, I live in Paris. The possibilities are endless. From modern French (Café Constant and Le Pré Verre) to good old fashion bistrot (Au Pied de Fouet), from tarts both savoury and sweet (Mouff’tarte) to galette Breton (Breizh Café), be it dining in an elegant tearoom (Café Jacquemart-André) or even hidden terrace underneath Aerogare Air France Invalides (Chez Françoise). And I have more I want to try. So much food, so little time. Well, time to, you know, jog a bit so I don’t balloon out like crazy ;)

G: Georgian – La Maison Géorgienne, 3 rue du Sabot 75006
Situated within a multi-storey building, this restaurant is one of the most opulently decorated that I’ve been to (my usual haunts are mostly small restaurants and eateries). It was relatively quiet on the mid-week evening when we ate here, with flavoursome food with liberal helping of herbs and spices – khinkali (dumplings), tchakapouli (lamb in white wine and terragon), chakhokhbili au lapin (rabbit with herbs), pkhali (vegetable salad/dip) – to name some of the dishes ordered. The restaurant is on the pricey side, therefore a place I would not normally choose to dine in, but for a 40% discount deal that we found, it was finally within my budget range.


I: Indian – Saravana Bhavan, 170 rue Faubourg St Denis 75010
Just steps away from Gare du Nord, this place is part of a chain of South Indian restaurants but the food is no less authentic. The flagship restaurant is in my friend’s hometown, so this is his place to get a taste of home and for me, a reminder of Malaysian-Indian cuisine. Great place to get lots of food to share, all dishes are vegetarian, and it does get pretty packed here during meals but quick turn-around means you won’t have to wait for too long.

I: Italian – L’Osteria dell’Anima, 37 rue Oberkampf 75011
Could not resist a second “I” entry. Really small restaurant (20+ covers) but popular with its returning costumers who, perhaps like me, love the freshly made pasta right before our very eyes. Small menu but deliciously cooked dishes. Very efficient and friendly waiting staff, and to finish the meal with a shot of limoncello is just genius. Reservation advisable, especially at weekends.

J: Japanese – Kunitoraya, 39 rue Ste Anne 75001
Udon, udon, udon. Hot or cold. That’s the specialty of this tiny restaurant tucked away among many Japanese eateries on rue Ste Anne. There’s always a queue but the turnover is quick. The seatings on the entrance level are counter-tops along the window and the kitchen but downstairs there are two small “caves” with tables for more conventional seatings. Cash and cheques only, no bank cards accepted.

K: Korean – Han Lim, 6 rue Blainville 75005
When you step in to find Koreans eating in, that’s a great sign. And then the owner lookd at me expectantly, as if I should start speaking Korean too, oops. Swift and courteous service, and oh how the scent of their specialty – fried chicken with garlic – permeated the dining room. I still drool at the thought of it. Methinks I must go on a follow up visit.

L: Lebanese
(I can’t for the life of me remember the name right now. I need to dig up the business card somewhere…)

M: Moroccan – La Mosquée de Paris, 39 rue Saint-Hilaire 75005
Situated just adjacent to the mosque of Paris and not that far from Jardin des Plantes, it felt like a gazillion people were coming in and out of the restaurant. The table was a slightly unsteady silver dish over some sort of stand, the food was ok, the waiting staff a tad impatient, the sweet mint tea really good though. Overall, not worth the hype that this place is getting but for a nice day in a little garden (if you can get a seat there that is) with a cuppa mint tea and Moroccan dessert selection, it’s perfect.

N: Nepalese – Kathmandu, 22 Rue des Boulangers 75005
At the time of my visit, I had a deal voucher for my friends and I. The food was rather curious, not as spicy as I would expected from the region, but still flavoursome and well spiced. The rice beer we had to start was quite particular too. But the damper of the evening was the discordance between the description of the deal bought and what we were served. The service was friendly, but a little shifty as the demeanour displayed was as if certain items have been included in the deal when they were not and therefore supplementary payment was required. Even without that issue of miscommunication, one couldn’t help but felt for the actual (original) value, it would have been overpriced and much better food could be sought elsewhere for the same price. My curiosity (for Nepalese cuisine) sated, I doubt I will be back.


P: Peruvian – Picaflor, 9 Rue Lacépède 75005
Teeny wee little eatery that is easy to walk past and not notice it. The food, however, begged to be memorable. When the dishes are marked to be spicy, it does mean you will taste the heat. No molly-coddling the customers’ tastebuds and you know what, I love it! The desserts are also good, although I was disappointed that they didn’t have their special profiteroles de pomme de terre when I was there. I must go back so I can try that.


R: Russian – La Table Russe, 1 rue Ecole Polytechnique 75005
Yet another small restaurant, La Table Rusee is situated just around at the back of the Pantheon. It’s a pity the borsch I was served wasn’t quite as flavoursome as I’d expected but the main of cherry-filled dumpling was good. We asked the waitress to surprise us with Russian desserts and we got some soft meringue (a bit like marshmallow but not quite it either) and a jam-filled pancake cake (sorry, don’t know its name). Cosy restaurant for a chilly evening.


T: Thai – Krung Thep, 93 rue Julien Lacroix 75020
A little out of the way but well worth the effort to get to. Absolutely authentic food but with a Frenchified-Thai service? There have been a lot of grumbles online on the lack of warm Thai hospitality but for me, not much changed since I first ate here 10 years ago. Still the same stern waiting staff, but it’s the food here that brings me back again and again. Don’t forget to bring cash – they don’t take any bank cards.

T: Tunisian – Chez Hamadi, 12 rue Boutebrie 75005
I wasn’t too sold on the food at Chez Hamadi, just off blvd Saint-Germain. I ordered my favourite dish on menu (couscous and merguez) which arrived in a generous portion but it was a tad bland to my taste. Even the harisa failed to rescue it. A cuppa sweet mint tea did help to perk me up at the end of the meal but I doubt I will return anytime soon. And oh, this is another strictly cash place.


V: Vietnamese – Foyer Vietnam, 80 rue Monge 75005
Canteen style dining in this bustling Vietnamese eatery is certainly the way to go. At petit prix that’s most affordable (students get further discount!) for pretty good food, it gets no complain for me. It even reminds me of Asian hawker stall dining, with basic decor, tables and benches for sharing, with efficient and quick service. Great for budget travellers, not so good for vegetarians I’m afraid. [Update Jan 2012: the restaurant is closed until further notice due to a complex situation involving embassy and police and immigration law…]


X: Tibetan – Kokonor, 206 rue Saint Jacques 75005
Since there isn’t a country which name starts with X, I picked a restaurant which I believe deserve a recognition for its cuisine. In fact, I also believe that Tibet should be an autonomous country of its own. The food in this small restaurant is hearty and filling. From its set menu, I ordered a tsampa (roasted barley flour) soup and some steamed momos (dumplings). Kokonor also has a nice (and sweet) house tea that’s great for dessert (can’t remember what I ordered though). The adventurous side of me also had me drinking some butter tea but I’m afraid that didn’t agree too well with me…



Note: In general, I’ve paid anything between €8 to €30 for the meals in the restaurants listed above. On occassions that I ate with a group of friends and we decided to split equally, the average price I paid still fall within the range above-mentioned. Therefore, unless otherwise stated, all the restaurants tested for this challenge (in my opinion) are affordable.

2 scribbles & notes

  1. Irene says:


    Love your blog, I’ve just moved to Paris as well and I can’t wait to explore the city myself but your blog has given me a guide on where to go. Best of all the predicament of getting carte de vitale… My journey with the french bureaucracy is just about to start. Thank you for sharing your experiences!


    • Lil says:

      Thanks Irene, and I hope you enjoy Paris as much as many of us do. Good luck with the paperwork and if you want to grab a coffee sometimes, drop me a note :)

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