When in Paris, some would say it’s basic instinct to scour the city for the best baguette or making sure your daily meals are plated with copious amounts of cheese and viennoiserie. Then, there are the quintessential haunts for the ultimate Parisian lifestyle—i.e. Café de Flore for people-watching and Angelina for their signature hot chocolate. But apart from the outstanding local fare, one can’t help but notice the bevy of options when it comes to Japanese restaurants, which has sort of established its own repertoire in the capital of France. So despite what you might have seen or not seen on Emily in Paris, tucking into a Japanese meal while gallivanting in the City of Light is now an unspoken part of any gourmand’s checklist.
The cult-famous Kunitoraya might spring to mind first—for its mouthwatering udon noodles that consistently draw locals and tourists in line for, then there are the grandious omakases to bookmark, each exuding a seductive aura sure to please all senses, from sleek aesthetics to exquisite produce. Just take the highly lauded Ogata for example, which remains to be a rite of passage for anyone seeking out a slice of Japan in the Parisian city.
Below, Vogue Singapore presents the best Japanese restaurants in Paris—whether you’re part of the sartorial flock come Paris Fashion Week or enjoying a well-deserved getaway of your own.
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Just a stone’s throw away from the Royal Palace in Paris, EnYaa is a sake bar, champagne palace and sushi hideout all at once. Chef Daisuke Endo calls the shots here—with a tasting menu commanding a star-studded line-up, from the likes of fatty tuna sashimi to crisp tempura to caramelised duck. For those who hold a smaller appetite, an a la carte menu is also available with a fresh selection of sashimi and cooked seafood. Whatever you do though, make good on the restaurant’s expertise for sake and prized spirits—with only the finest procured at EnYaa.
37 Rue de Montpensier, 75001 Paris.
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The conditions are fairly simple when savouring exquisite sushi—all you need is a maestro at helm of a clean, minimalist space. Chef Shunei Kimura has lived in Paris for 40 years, and in his namesake restaurant, is where you’ll find made-to-order sushi, in line with the season’s freshest catch. From brill to mackerel. a delectable experience awaits as Kimura serves up a masterclass in Japanese gastronomy—with techniques of aging, grilling and of course, knifework for precision in each slab of sushi.
3 Rue Audran, 75018 Paris
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Famed for its specialty grilled eel in Japan that has achieved a Michelin star, Nodaiwa’s outpost in Paris aims to deliver the exact same gourmet experience. With unagi as the undisputed star of the meal, the restaurant abides by an ancestral recipe—one that seeks out to bring the best flavours of the eel. Atop pillowy white rice, lies the tender slab of fillet—first doused in a secret marinate before going on the grill. If umami is what you seek while in Paris, here’s the perfect spot.
272 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris
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To call Ogata a restaurant might seem a little underwhelming. Rather, the temple-like premise within a private mansion, was conceptualised by world-famous designer and restaurateur Shinichiro Ogata. The ultimate love letter to Japan’s affluent culture, that proffers traditional Japanese cuisine in Omakase style. The tasting menu will grant you exquisite seasonal produce that range from horse mackerel to roast asparagus to tamgao yaki. While you’re there, make sure to visit Ogata’s store that’s stocked with stunning homewares to take home or take a walk around its art gallery.
16 Rue Debelleyme, 75003 Paris
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You’ll be surprised to find a bevy of udon bistros in Paris, but Restaurant Kunitoraya calls to mind first when we think of its chewy udon noodles steeped in hot miso broth. A perfect treat when you’re weathering colder climes in the city. Helmed by in-house master Masafumi’s team, the noodles are made by hand with wheat flour imported from Japan. Should you prefer, their cold udon make an enticing alternative—joined with crispy tempura breadcrumbs, strips of fried tofu and seaweed flakes. Make sure to also call for a side of karaage fried chicken.
41 Rue de Richelieu, 75001 Paris
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Come to Ao Izakaya with an open mind; the stylish outfit serves Japanese grub with a French twist, developed and executed by chef Yasuo Nanaum, who made his bones working for reputable French restaurants. In the day, the restaurant offers hearty bentos plied with tempura and sushi while come evening, the menu transforms—with cold and warm tapas to indulge in. If you’re not exactly good at making decisions, leave it up the chef with their ‘Omakase’ menu. Comprising of three starters, two mains and a dessert, you’ll be treated to inventive plates like foie gras with pumpkin sauce and hamachi carpaccio.
12 Rue de Caumartin, 75009 Paris