Some travel to Paris solely to savor the finest French fare in the world. Michelin rated chefs such as Alain Ducasse and Joel Robuchon began their illustrious cooking careers in Paris. Although French cuisine defines gastronomy at its finest, it is hard to entertain the thought of a three course meal plus cheese plate more than once a day, if not once a week. Our stomachs and wallets need a break.
Paris doesn't get enough credit for its outstanding international cuisine. Exploring the various international flavors is one of the best ways to venture around the city into less touristy neighborhoods since most of the famous French restaurants are located in the most obvious destinations, either in the Champs Elysees or Concorde areas.
The following restaurants offer dishes straight from their respective native country.
It doesn't get more Spanish than Fogon - the Spanish restaurant that serves a medley of delicious tapas, a variety of Paella, and tangy yet sweet glasses of Sangria. The tapas change each month to incorporate the season's freshest produce, but you can always find the famed Spanish iberico ham, sliced straight from the source and on to your plate. The Paella flavors vary from the original seafood jumble to squid ink and to even a Valencia version seasoned with chicken, rabbit, vegetables, and snails. And last but not least, for a rich dessert, Fogon offers churros with hot melted chocolate - a Spanish favorite!
Le Fogon, 45 Quai Grands Augustins, 75006
More and more Korean restaurants have been cropping up around Paris but none of them have yet to beat Woo Jung. Run by Koreans are one sign of its authenticity. Then a glance at the menu and the Korean clientele reaffirms this assumption. Although this restaurant is a bit pricier than its contenders, it is undoubtedly worth it. The appetizers are so tasty it is hard to decide what to order because the portions are not small. A speciality of the restaurant is the bulgogi, a Korean marinated sirloin beef, and you should also order one of the broths to eat with your bowl of steamy sticky rice.
Woo Jung, 8 Boulevard Delessert 75016
Japanese food has become extremely popular in the past few years that there are many new tasty spots. I've narrowed the picks down to two. Naniwa-ya makes authentic everyday Japanese food: rice bowls with a variety of toppings (donburi), round fritters with octopus, udon noodles, tempura, and small sashimi, vegetable, and tofu appetizers. The line usually spills out on to rue Saint Anne (the street filled with Asian restaurants) so go early!
Naniwa-ya, 11 Rue Sainte-Anne 75001
For Japanese yakiniku (barbecue), Matchan is the best. You should make a reservation because the pocket-sized place is always booked in advance. You cook the meat right in front of you on the hibachi grill that is built into the table. Enjoy the various kinds of beef with steamy Japanese rice, draft beer, and Japanese pickles. A must for meat lovers.
Matchan, 55 Rue du Théâtre 75015
Indochine cuisine (Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian)
Carine Roitfeld, the former editor-in-chief of French Vogue, has been spotted enjoying Vietnamese food at Au Coin des Gourmets, a tiny family-run restaurant. As one of the hottest women in town, it must be exceptionally good. The menu is decently priced and you can find authentic dishes like the Cambodian Amok - a national dish of steamed curried fish wrapped in banana leaves or the cha gio - rice-paper wrapped spring rolls filled with vermicelli noodles, shrimp and ground pork. The crispy spring rolls are flawless when wrapped in the accompanying lettuce and mint leaves and dipped in the sweet nuoc nam (fish sauce).
Au Coin des Gourmets, 38, Rue du Mont Thabor, 75001
Frankly, Diep is not for those looking to be frugal. It is probably the most expensive Chinese you will find in Paris but it is always bustling for a reason. Diep serves food fit for Chinese royals: the food comes sizzling and seasoned to perfection. Even the simple salt and pepper shrimp with vegetable fried rice will satisfy any palate. Each dish is perfectly prepared and the menu is vast. To finish up the meal, order a banana beignet flambé. They flame the banana in front of your table and it tastes as good as it looks- soft, warm, and sweet but not too sugary.
Diep, 55 Rue Pierre Charron 75008
If you like to eat American breakfast all day long or if you are feeling a tad bit homesick, Breakfast in America is for you. Quintessential diner food in American portions. Think blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup, NY style cheesecake, ginormous bacon cheese burgers, locally baked bagels, grilled cheese, Chili con carne, milkshakes, and a bottomless cup o' Joe. A good and greasy departure from foie gras and tartare!
Breakfast in America, 17, rue des Ecoles 75005