Foreign food restaurants reflect the diversity of a city and provide insight into the lives and culture that make a place special. The Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold spent much of his career exploring the “traditional” cuisine of Los Angeles (he was quoted as saying “I hate the word ‘ethnic,’” as a descriptor for restaurants) and revealing hidden sides to his beloved city. While Paris has its fair share of French regional cuisine, there are also some can’t-miss favorites in other traditional cuisines. the city has a selection of excellent restaurants that celebrate food culture from abroad. Here are a few of our favorites:
Cooking comes naturally to Italian chef Giovanni Napolitano, who treats his customers to simple and delicious dishes at his bistro and wine bar Naturellement. True fans of Italian cuisine will be happy to see that this 15th arrondissement restaurant focuses on Italian specialties beyond pizza and pasta using quality ingredients such as burrata, charcuterie, olive oil, and fresh seasonal vegetables. It doesn’t hurt that Naturellement also serves what is arguably the best tiramisu outside of Italy. The natural wine list, which is largely made up of Italian wine, is packed with bottles to pair with your market-to-table meal. The authenticity of Napolitano’s cuisine (and accent) will transport you to Italy via metro line 8.
2. Urfa Dürüm
A favorite Paris insider address, this hole-in-the-wall Kurdish sandwich and kebab shop sees locals lining up on their lunch break to pull up a seat on the tiny sidewalk terrace or grab a hot meal to go. Upon entering Urfa Dürüm you’re greeted by the smell of freshly baked flatbreads that are used in made-to-order Kurdish specialties. A particular favorite is the Kurdish pizza, made on freshly baked bread and topped with minced meat, tomatoes, and onions then grilled and finished off with salad and red onion. If you have one kebab in Paris, make it from Urfa Dürüm.
Now with two locations in Paris – one in the Marais and another in the Canal St Martin neighborhood- this popular Israeli sandwich joint serves up some of the best street food in the city. Devoted fans of Miznon flock to the restaurants for the fresh-out-of-the-oven pita bread stuffed with fresh vegetables, grilled meat, and special sauces. The chicken salad pita sandwich is a classic, with a generous hidden level of mayonnaise sandwiched between tender chicken and fresh herbs. The Boeuf Bourguignon sandwich puts a Mediterranean spin on a French classic and the roasted heads of broccoli and cauliflower round out your take out experience. Looking for more than one take out experience, we suggest to look to our Paris on the go blog for that!
4. Lao Siam
Located among the extensive collection of Asian food restaurants in Belleville, Lao Siam sticks out for its authenticity and fearlessness when it comes to seasonings. Thai specialties from noodles to curry are prepared to meet each diner’s threshold of spiciness, an unfortunately rare experience in France. Be sure to arrive early if you want to treat yourself to Thai specialties like papaya salad, spring rolls, pad thai, and coconut soup- the restaurant fills up fast!
5. La Rose de Tunis
This North African pastry shop sells freshly baked, Mediterranean inspired cookies, cakes, and other delicious desserts. Following in the culinary traditions of countries such as Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Turkey, La Rose de Tunis make rose water and honey imbibed sweets to delight the Parisian palate. With three locations in Paris (in the 11th, 15th, and 18th arrondissement) the bakery serves as a storefront for customers who want to pop in for a quick treat, as well as a caterer for parties and events. From pistachio covered cookies to rose petal pink confections the colorful options at each shop pop when put together in a gift box to take home and share with friends. La Rose de Tunis provides some fantastic ideas for packing lunch to go or for a picnic and so do we!
6. Abri Soba
After the success of Abri, a lauded restaurant that served as a part-time sandwich shop and part-time haute cuisine, chef Katsuaki Okiyama opened a second address, Abri Soba. Here the Japanese noodle is at its best, made in house using buckwheat flour and served in a variety of presentations. Hot or cold, in a broth or on their own, topped with a soft boiled egg or tempura -each incarnation as visually compelling as it is delicious. Sushi, sweet Japanese style omelets, and other national favorites sneak on to the menu as sides, but the draw here is the perfect fresh and elastic noodles that, along with Les Pates Vivantes, make up the best in the city.
Instead of International cuisine, maybe you are looking for French Regional Cuisine? Check out our French Regional Cuisine in Paris blog for more suggestions or join us in our French Market class for a true Parisian experience full of French culture and cooking!
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