Le Samouraï restaurant in Paris closes on the days the wholesale market Rungis is closed because they only want to serve fish that is fresh from the day. Located near the marché d’Aligre, Le Samouraï is the Japanese restaurant to eat at in the 12th arrondissement: the fish is super fresh and the sushis are made to order. The restaurant may be busy for lunch and rather quiet at night but in the kitchen they are always busy working: a lot of orders are placed to go and can be placed by phone up to an hour before the restaurant opens for dinner; most of the customers are neighborhood regulars and Japanese businesses. I particularly recommend the Suzakana salad and the scallop nigiri. Le Samouraï opened 18 years ago and it is still ran by the same owner and the same chef.
12 rue Emilio Castelar
Metro: Ledru-Rollin, Gare de Lyon
Tu-Sat: 12pm-2.30pm / 7pm-10.30pm
Closed on Sunday and Monday
Kunitoraya is a small Japanese restaurant in Paris that specializes in udon noodles—they are made in the traditional way by the owner himself. The udon dishes come in many different variations, hot when in a soup (i.e: Tempura-Udon, 13€) or cold with a sauce on the side (i.e: Kitsune-Udon, 11€). They come in regular or small sizes (count 5€ for the small Udon Wakame.) Aside from the delicious udon dishes I highly recommend the Tonkatsu (fried breaded pork, 9€), the Tentoji (omelette and shrimp tempura, 10€) and the Tempura (veggies and shrimps, 12€). Since the restaurant fills up quickly and doesn’t take reservations, the best time for lunch or dinner is after the regular eating hours.
Kunitoraya restaurant does not take credit cards.
39 Rue Saint-Anne
It doesn’t really matter if Paris lacks good Japanese restaurants as long as there are a few that you can always count on to deliver the kind of food that you are looking for: extra fresh fish, great sake, perfectly fried tempura, delicious meat and fancy appetizers. Takara in Paris is one of Europe’s oldest Japanese restaurant and has been among France’s best one thousand tables for many years. Aside from their consistent, excellent food, what I love about Takara is that they make me feel like I’m not in Paris. The restaurant is very peaceful; the absence of music makes it easy to speak softly and hear one another. You can walk out of Takara feeling satiated as well as rested! Last but not least, the service is great. Here are a few dishes to make your mouth water: whelk wasabi (7€), spicy sauteed cuttlefish (12€), breaded oysters (24€), tempura assortment (18€-24€), sauteed foie gras nigiri (10€/2 pieces), sashimi assortment (20€-28€), shabu shabu (beef “hot pot”, 49€ for 2). They also offer lunch (obento) and dinner menus.
14 Rue Molière
Metro: Palais-Royal, Pyramides
Tu-F: 12pm-2pm (closed for dinner)
M, Sat, Sun: 7pm-10pm (closed for lunch)
Closed 10 days in August
When a Japanese restaurant serves Pierre Herme pastries for dessert you know that the place has high-quality standards. Kai serves authentic and creative Japanese cuisine in Paris. The decor is sleek and contemporary. This restaurant is a little jewel located a few blocks away from a big jewel—the Louvre museum. Lunch menu goes from 25€ to 40€ and dinner menu is 60€ and up.
18 Rue du Louvre
tel: 01 40 15 01 99
Tu-Sun: 12pm-2pm / 7pm-10.30pm (Closed for lunch on Sunday)
Closed on Monday, July 14 and August.