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Restaurants in Canal Saint-Martin, Ourcq & Villette

El Nopal

Critics' choice

In Mexico, a nopal is a cactus whose shape bears a passing resemblance to a ping-pong bat. In Paris, it's a snug little restaurant tucked away in the 10th, a hop and a skip from the Canal Saint-Martin, where a modest range of dishes from the cactus's homeland is served. We're firmly in street food territory here: gorditas (cornflour doughnuts) for €3.50, tortillas stuffed with said cacti for €7.50, or – at the upper end of the price scale – flatbreads topped meat and veg for €8.90. It's fresh, filling and irresistibly flavoursome, and will only fuel the Parisian mania for gourmet fast food.Unless the shop's one and only chair is free, you'll be taking away, though the nearby Square Eugène Varlin makes for a picturesque spot for a munch and a sunbathe.

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10th arrondissement

A La Providence (Quincaillerie Leclercq)

Step into the past at this museum-piece quincaillerie whose 170-year-old wooden cabinets are filled with knobs, locks and other brass accoutrements for dolling up or restoring old furniture and doors. Newly crafted by artisans, the pieces look authentically antique, and there is also an expensive range of glass and crystal doorknobs. The charming couple who run it are former flight attendants.

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Eastern Paris

Le Cambodge

The system at Le Cambodge is simple: you write your order on a piece of paper, including preferences such as 'no coriander', 'no peanuts' or 'extra rice', and after a short wait the dishes appear. Two favourites are the bobun spécial, a hot and cold mix of sautéed beef, noodles, salad, bean sprouts and imperial rolls, and banhoy, a selection of the same ingredients to be wrapped in lettuce and mint leaves and dipped in a sauce. They also serve soups, salads and curries, including stewed pork in a fragrant coconut sauce.

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North-east Paris

Les Enfants Perdus

Critics' choice

Les Enfants Perdus is a discreet and really rather chic fine-dining restaurant frequented by the bobos of the Canal Saint-Martin, and overspill from the bars L’Atmosphère and Café Bonnie. The interior is sombre but at the back, a light and airy room has been kitted out with comfortable benches strewn with white cushions – ideal for plonking yourself down on a Saturday or Sunday morning at brunch hour. And the dishes are exceptional. The best approach here is to fast for a day beforehand, in order to take full advantage of the gigantic, delicious brunch prepared by a Michelin-starred chef who is passionate about both style and substance – even when it comes to brunch. The menu is unique, and changes every six months. For €25 no fewer than three platters are brought to you. The first comprises delicious mini-viennoiseries, house orange juice and hot drinks of your choosing; the second features shirred eggs, cake, a beautiful slice of organic salmon on a bed of salad and a cup of cucumbers in white cheese with mint. After loosening your belt you will receive a final, enormous platter with vegetable soup, faisselle au miel, grapes, ham and cheese. This restaurant serves one of Time Out's 50 best dishes in Paris. Click here to see the full list.

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Canal Saint Martin

Paris-New York

Critics' choice

In order to set itself apart from the rest of the ever-increasing wave of gourmet burger joints in Paris, the team behind Paris-New York needed to pay attention to detail. They’ve succeeded pretty well – an attractive décor, meats from artisanal producers Le Ponclet and five burgers on the menu to showcase their talents. On the beef side, there’s the Vintage Doublecheese (with excellent cheddar), the Morning California (cheddar, lettuce, avocado) and the Smoky Blue (bacon, blue cheese and caramelised onions), plus a chicken and a vegetarian option. It might seem like a minimalist selection, but the burgers are enormous and full of flavour, the brioche buns toasted just enough, and the slender fries just right. Desserts, however, are a bit of a let-down, and far too expensive. Instead, finish up with excellent coffee, which comes from the top-notch Coutume.Expect to pay €15 for a burger, fries and a drink – much the same price band as Paris-New York’s competitors. So why come here rather than one of the others? Whereas many of the best new venues are hole-in-the-wall affairs, this restaurant is vast, spread out over two floors, with classic films screened onto the wall of the dining room upstairs. At the very least, you’re almost guaranteed a seat.

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Château d'Eau

Le Blah Blah

Critics' choice

Le Blah Blah is a quietly classy tapas bar and restaurant, located in the hip Strasbourg Saint-Denis area but hidden away from the crowds on a little side street. There’s no greasy chorizo or patatas bravas here, but top quality ingredients cooked in small, perfectly formed dishes. The atmosphere is buzzy, boozy and friendly, with patrons seated around big communal tables on jolly orange banquettes, and there’s also a pretty, quiet terrace outside.The tapas menu changes with the seasons – it’s not cheap, but it is inventive, generous and well judged. We tried a perfectly seasoned cod ceviche and a gravlax of Wagyu beef, smoked mozzarella with mushrooms and lemon and a plate of Pluma de Bellota, superb Spanish ham. With each tapas priced between €9 and €15, the bill can escalate alarmingly, and the wine list keeps pace. But if you feel like splashing out, Le Blah Blah is a wonderful place for a long evening with friends (it’s not really a casual after-work drink place) – just reserve ahead on weekends, as the secret has been out for some time.

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Château d'Eau

Restaurant Edgar

Critics' choice

Paris’s ‘Little Egypt’, a tiny area outlined by the Rue d’Alexandrie, the Passage du Caire and the Rue du Nil, has a new centre of gravity: the restaurant at the Hôtel Edgar, with its big terrace looking out over a shady square. Here, you can catch some sun over briskly-served drinks, including cocktails. Inside, by some sleight of hand, designer Guillaume Rouget has turned the former textiles workshop into a swanky, hedonistic refuge. On one side a series of rooms are done out in safari, rock or kids themes (around €200 a night). On the other, an atmospheric restaurant is filled with vintage furniture and pretty lamps, everything in copper, turquoise and black and white. Next to the bar, in front of the kitchens, the seafood platter that sets the tone of the menu: things like Roumégous oysters with bread and Bordier butter, breaded calamari, mussels with chorizo, langoustines, cod with blood oranges and grilled octopus. There’s more meaty fare as well, with excellent boudin, pork steaks and spare ribs, for example. All the dishes are served with home made chips and fresh spinach, and you need to allow around €20 for a main dish. The prices are slightly inflated for cooking that is good without being exceptional, but the other parts of the equation – the charming service, the quality of the ingredients and the undeniable charm of the place – manage to balance everything out. You’ll want to come back – perhaps on a Sunday for a fish and chip brunch (€27), or to take your tim

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Bonne nouvelle

Daily Syrien

Critics' choice

Don't be put off by the newspapers in the window – this unassuming restaurant-cum-newagent, in the middle of the hip rue Faubourg Saint-Denis, has a class all of its own. The Middle Eastern menu is cooked by Ahmad, who grew up in Nawa in southern Syria and emigrated to Stockholm before coming to Paris with the idea of sharing the cooking of his homeland: hummus, salad, pickles, kibbeh ras (ground beef with pine nuts), falafel, labneh (strained yoghurt) with olive oil, mtabbal (aubergine dip), tabbouleh and more. A falafel sandwich ‘extra’ is put together as you watch: €5 for falafel, hummus, grilled aubergine, cauliflower and chips, or a vegetarian platter (€11), with vine leaves, mtabbal and great tabbouleh. For meat-eaters, shawarma: marinated beef or chicken with garlic and lemon for €5. The Daily Syrien: cheap, choice and very cheerful.

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Château d'Eau

Le Réveil du 10e

There are restaurants where you go to be enthralled, to try cooking that is inventive, precise or simply bonkers, and there are others where you go just because you know you’ll feel comfortable. Réveil du 10e is one of the latter – a few metres from the frenzy of the Grands Boulevards, it's on a little square under a tree, squeezed between a barracks, an old port and a school; a neighbourhood bistro serving local cooking washed down with excellent wines.There’s a bit of Auvergne and the South-west to the menu, with things like duck necks with foie gras, truffles, aligot mashed potatoes with garlic and cheese, fried cauliflower and tripe often served next to classic Parisian dishes (snails, entrecôte, duck confit, tartare etc.). The ingredients are always top quality, everything is home made and the prices are reasonable (between €10 and €15 at midday, in the evening around €20 for à la carte, with cheese or charcuterie boards between €5 and €9).So it’s a pleasure to linger here. Good wine and friendly service are here expressions of a thoroughgoing quality; this place is a part of Paris, an impeccable address for gourmets and foodies who prefer to avoid the overly refined. You’ll definitely want to stay for a final coffee and digestif. If you pass by on the off-chance and can’t get a table, consider the café opposite, La Pendule Occitane. The two bistros have a good relationship, and the menu, the prices and the suppliers are almost the same. This restaurant serves one of Tim

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Château d'Eau

Au Comptoir de Brice

Critics' choice

There are chefs that don’t have to invest in a classy décor to attract customers – the cooking alone is enough to put bums on seats. Au Comptoir de Brice is found in the middle of the Saint-Martin covered market amid the fruit stalls and greasy spoon cafés – and it might not look like much, but the ever-changing menu is full of surprises. Don’t let yourself be tempted by the dining room and stay at the bar – it’s a bit chilly in winter, but the ballet of the cooks beneath the benevolent eye of the chef (Brice Morvent, from the French TV programme ‘Top Chef’) is worth a look. There are usually three starters and three mains on the chalk board menu. The starters are a shade pricy but totally worth it: risotto with truffles (€13) or poached eggs with black truffle cream (€12). At mains, we tried the famous house burger: a few leaves of well-dressed salad with a handful of pulses, a little metal bucket full of crunchy chips and two mini-burgers, easily snapped up in a couple of bites without getting half the filling on your lap, the caramelised onions, perfectly cooked meat and Bearnaise sauce making the whole full of flavour. The seasonal produce is fresh and put together with a light and expert hand, and the excellent dessert – we’re still dreaming about the lemon meringue tart crumble – very good value at €6.

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République
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