Paris Holds the Key to My Heart Part 4: Food Tour Time Round 1
Hey there! It’s time for another mouthwatering trip through Paris! This time we’ll be checking out some of the different casual food eateries that I visited on my Paris trip. So let’s dig in!
Clamato is a delicious seafood restaurant that is the sister restaurant and neighbor to a Michelin-star restaurant Septime. This is a very small and cozy restaurant that has some bustle to it and isn’t too cramped for relatively small groups, but could pose an issue for parties that are larger than probably five or more people. This location doesn’t take reservations so if you’re interested in visiting, it would be best to go around opening or even later in the night.
Clamato’s menu is seafood heaven that consists of mostly raw seafood small plates. As a group of seafood lovers, we were so excited to try all of the different dishes and enjoyed each and every one of them!
To start, we ordered a half dozen of oysters and half dozen of clams. They offer different types of clams to choose from; the waiter was super nice and let us know the differences between them in terms of flavor and texture which was very helpful! The platter came with a small squeeze bottle of their own vinegar dressing and a very yummy and flavorful spiced butter that they make in-house as well. Both complemented the flavor of the oysters and clams really well, and I thoroughly enjoyed the butter on both the seafood and the bread.
The next dish we had was the eggplant, cashew, and trout roe. This dish was very well flavored. I’m actually not a big fan (or a fan at all if I’m being honest) of eggplant, but this dish had me second-guessing my opinion. The taste was great and the texture was not too mushy or stringy, which is what I typically dislike about eggplant. The cashews added a nice change in texture and added a nuttiness to it and I really enjoyed the taste that the shiso/perilla leaves brought to the dish also.
And last but not least, we ordered the mussels with cream. Every dish we had here was superb, but this mussels dish was so delicious. The mussels had a yummy bouncy texture and the cream sauce had such a delightful flavor (though it was a bit on the saltier side). At the bottom of the dish is a slice of bread that soaks up the cream sauce, which was such a great idea that left the bread so flavorful and yummy. We even took the remaining bread from our bread basket to clean up the leftover cream from the bottom of the pot after we were finished!
In case it wasn’t made clear, the dishes from Clamato are absolutely delicious. And on top of the great culinary experience, the wait staff was also extremely nice and attentive. They were polite to us while taking our order, kept our water cups and bread basket full throughout our entire dining experience without being overbearing, and were so kind to us even on our way out. The one thing to be mindful of is that this restaurant, though casual in ambience, is not casual in price. The small plates are quite pricey, which isn’t too surprising since it’s all seafood, so if you’re on a budget, this may be a splurge meal. But the taste does not disappoint and the service is fantastic!
If you’re looking for casual and delicious Asian-French fusion buns and dumplings, look no further than Yam’Tcha. This location was created by Adeline Grattard, who is famous for her French and Chinese fusion cuisine, and her husband Chi Wah Chan, who specializes in Chinese teas. (If you want to learn more about them watch Adeline’s episode of Chef’s Table: France!) Adeline Grattard has her own Michelin-star restaurant down the street by the name of Yam’Tcha. Boutique Yam’Tcha, however, serves as a tea salon, a to-go buns and dumplings window, and a fast-casual sit-in restaurant. The restaurant section of the shop is rather small so it can fill up pretty quickly, but when I visited in the afternoon for a bit of a late lunch, my party of four didn’t have to wait too long before getting seated.
We were attended to by Chi Wah Chan himself, who was extremely courteous and was able to speak both English and Cantonese as he went over the menu and his recommendations with us (my mom speaks Cantonese, so that was great for her!) He recommended to us the signature stilton blue cheese and amarena cherries bao and the curry bao. So we took him up on his recommendations and added two orders of pork dumplings and one order of vegetable dumplings to round out our order.
I’m not a big fan of blue cheese (pretty much not a fan), but because this was the number one recommended bao on the menu we had to give it a try. And I have to say, as a person who doesn’t like blue cheese, this was a super interesting flavor. And I didn’t dislike it! The strong aroma and flavor from the blue cheese was very very much present, but the amarena cherries added a nice tartness that balanced out the flavor. So I would say this bao was pretty good, but not enough to change my opinion on blue cheese. However, I will say that if you like blue cheese or are okay with it, you might love this one.
The curry bao: YUM. I really liked this bao; it was actually probably my favorite of all the dishes we tried. The curry flavor was present but not overwhelming that was more akin to Japanese curry (which I love), the comte fondue brought in a creamy texture, and the caramelized onions added a light overall sweetness that made this bao really delicious.
At $4-$5 a piece, these baos are pretty pricey for their size, but they're very delicious and worth a try! Since my party wasn't too keen on filling ourselves up and were more interested in trying the flavors, we split each bao four ways so we could each have a taste.
Now for the dumplings. With an order of dumplings you have your choice of one of three dipping sauces: spring onion and pepper, soy-vinegar and chilli oil, and a citrus sesame soy sauce. Since we ordered three dumpling dishes we also got one of each dipping sauce so that we could try them all. The dumplings were all yummy, but I think the real heroes are actually the sauces! My favorite was the soy-vinegar and chilli oil because it had that added kick from the chilli oil that really made a difference. I also enjoyed the spring onion with pepper sauce and the citrus sesame soy sauce, but I felt that the citrus sesame soy sauce had almost an overpoweringly tart flavor to it. Though I did still enjoy it, it was the least favorite of all the wonderful sauces.
For four people, this was a pretty good amount of food that wasn’t so much that we were stuffed, but was just enough so that we were satisfied and could be ready to eat some more later in the day! The owner had also recommended we order some laitcha, another one of their specialties, but we decided to pass. I will definitely try the tea next time around, though, since it is mostly what this location specializes in.
Le Relais de L’Entrecote
Le Relais de L’Entrecote is a perfect place for meat lovers. If you’re looking for a hearty meal, this is definitely the perfect place. In the midst of our shopping on Champs Elysees, we took a much needed break and had one of the most filling meals I had during this whole trip. If you’re planning on visiting, I would suggest showing up for a relatively early lunch time, because the line gets long. When we arrived near its opening time we were seated right away and the restaurant was still pretty empty but by the time we left, the restaurant was packed and there was a line down the street.
This restaurant specializes in exactly one thing: steak and fries. That’s literally all you’ll find on the menu for main dishes, and pretty much your only decisions are if you want the regular portion or the larger portion and how well you want your steak cooked.
The meal starts off with a small salad that is simple, light, and refreshing (and a good preparation for what’s to come). The wait staff then carts over your steaks and an endless supply of crispy and golden french fries. In two rounds you’ll receive half of your steak doused in their yummy steak sauce and a heaping amount of french fries on your plate. Once you’ve finished your plate, you’ll receive your next helping (even if you’re way past too full to finish it). I can eat fries like the best of them (my friends can most definitely attest to this), but Le Relais de L’Entrecote definitely put my ability to inhale fries to the test.
The steak itself was very flavorful and was cooked just right. And the famous steak sauce just made it all the more delicious! The fries were nice and crispy and tasted even better when dipped in the steak sauce. If meat and potatoes are your jam you will love this place.
They also offer a pretty expansive menu of signature desserts which all look so yummy, but by the end of the meal there was just no way we could fit anything else, so we unfortunately passed on the desserts.
Overall the meal cost about $35 per person. For the amount of food you get from the meal, I’d say this is a pretty fair price, but admittedly is a bit costly for a single meal, especially if you’re on a budget. In terms of bang for your buck though, I’d say this spot is a winner.
On our last night before our big runDisney half-marathon at Disneyland Paris, my group and I decided to find a restaurant where we could do some carbo-loading, so pasta it was! We were also visiting the Eiffel Tower and wanted to stick around the nighttime light show, so we ran into Firmine, a French Italian restaurant close to the Eiffel Tower. Since we were pretty early for dinner, the restaurant wasn’t too packed yet, but by the time we left the action had definitely picked up.
The menu here had a range of pastas and pizzas that all sounded tasty. For the table, we ordered escargot because we had yet to eat this on our trip and my mom was eager to try some in France. We each ordered our own pasta dish; my sister and I ordered the tagliatelle a la carbonara, my other sister ordered the linguine al pesto, and my mom ordered the penne a l’arrabiata.
This was our first time trying escargot, and it was a pretty interesting experience. It had a gummy texture with a savory aftertaste that to me was a bit strange. The flavor wasn’t bad, but I just didn’t love the texture. The pastas were all delicious and very filling, a perfect way to carbo-load before our big half-marathon the next day!
So the food here was tasty, but this is not a restaurant I would return to. The service here was as poor as service comes and likely the worst experience I had on the trip. The meal started out fine enough when we were being seated; however when we were receiving our menus, the waiter literally tossed the stack of them down on the table in front of us pretty brusquely. Then when we were receiving our plates of food, they essentially did the same thing! They pretty much just plopped our plates in front of us and left, and initially I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, guessing that they were probably just busy, but I witnessed them providing other guests with much better service than they did us. Then at the closing of our meal, when the waiter had brought the card reader to take our payment for the meal, he very not-so-subtly said to us “Tips are in cash” without so much as a glance at us. Now, maybe he was just trying to inform us how the restaurant accepts tips or he was just being plain rude to us because we were tourists. We had already planned to give a tip, but feeling told in that manner just felt a bit icky.
After we left the restaurant, I took a closer look at some of the reviews from other tourists, and it seems like racism towards Asian-appearing tourists may have actually been quite common at this place. Far be it from me to label any establishment as such, but my experience speaks for itself and it looks like it wasn’t an isolated case. And what a shame it was since the dishes were pretty delicious.
Paris is filled with so many delicious food spots to enjoy! And there’s simply no way I could fit all of my delightful (and less-so) dining experiences in Paris in just one post, so be sure to look out for Food Tour Round 2!