Restaurants in Canal Saint-Martin, Ourcq & Villette

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El Nopal

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • 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.

  1. 3 rue Eugène Varlin, 10e
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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.

  1. 151 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, 11e
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Le Cambodge

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 1/4

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.

  1. 10 avenue Richerand, 10e
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Les Enfants Perdus

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • 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.

  1. 9 rue des Récollets, 10e
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Paris-New York

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • 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.

  1. 50 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 10e
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Le Blah Blah

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • 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.

  1. 4 cour des Petites Ecuries, 10e
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Restaurant Edgar

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • 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

  1. 31 rue d’Alexandrie, 2e
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Daily Syrien

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • 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.

  1. 55 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 10e
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Le Réveil du 10e

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4

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

  1. 35 rue du Château d'Eau, 10e
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Au Comptoir de Brice

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • 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.

  1. 31 rue du Château d'Eau - Marché couvert Saint-Martin, 10e
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La Taverne de Zhao

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 1/4

You risk burnt fingers and tongues trying to get into your hotpot too soon at La Taverne de Zhao, with its wonderful casseroles full of bouillon, large translucent soft noodles, beef, coriander, mushrooms, seaweed and tofu. Cool down with a pull of milky bubble tea with tapioca balls, and take a break to snack on pork buns.No roast duck here: the cooking is native to X’ian, the capital of the Shaanxi province, where traditional recipes prefer cooking in a pot, adorning with edible flowers and adding mysterious herbs. Chef Zhao offers many dishes you won’t have had a chance to taste before – not everything works, in particular a rather unappetising stewed chicken, but the soups, bubble teas, raviolis and meat buns are all very worth the visit.

  1. 49 rue des Vinaigriers, 10e
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Le Carillon

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

A run-down, rustic aesthetic rules in this canal-side café-bar. Simple wooden tables sit alongside dilapidated sofas, on which a cool crowd sit tapping away on their MacBooks in the day and sipping cocktails in the evening. The relaxed vibe, carried by smooth jazz on the stereo – and sometimes live jazz in the evenings – all stays on the right side of insufferably hipster, preserving much of the character of a charming old watering hole. Note: it can get a bit rammed during the 6-8pm happy hour, when the local restaurant-going clientele stop by for a quick aperitif. At €3 for a pint of Amstel or €4 for a mojito, you can see why.

  1. 18 rue Alibert, 10e
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Sol Semilla

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Critics choice

If ‘veganism’ sounds like a bland and tasteless proposition to you, beware: Sol Semilla, the Bar des Artisans, may just change your mind. This jolly spot is home to a happy and good humoured veganism, which makes good use of super foods – those natural ingredients (copaiba, urucum, acai, acerola, purple corn, etc.) which are crammed with vitamins and minerals. These are also sold in the grocery store under the brand ‘Alimento Voy’. On the restaurant side, they toss salads, create colourful dishes, spice juices, spoon out delicious soups and produce amazing healthy desserts.

  1. 23 rue des Vinaigriers, 10e
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H*** Hot Dog House

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 1/4

Over the last 12-months Parisians have gone USA crazy: After the burger trend that saw the opening of new joints like Big Fernand and Blend (see our Best Burger feature), and arrival of food trucks like the 104’s pizza van, it’s ‘chien chaud’ (hotdog) time at the new H*** Hot Dog House. Choose between three types of topping – pickled cabbage, chilli or caramelized onions – all served in squidgy white baps with mustard, ketchup and fried onions. The beef sausages are thin, but meaty and ample for ‘normal’ appetites – but hungry hounds should order two, or opt for a full menu, which includes crisps and desserts (think muffins, cookies, brownies, donuts, and ice cream). Wash it all down with a bottle of Bud, iced coffee, or fresh fruit juice (banana, orange, carot, ginger, melon, celery, pineapple or apple). Get there early and you might be lucky enough to grab an outside table (there are only two).

  1. 63 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis, 10e
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L'Epicerie Musicale

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Ideally situated on the Canal Saint-Martin, L’Epicerie Musicale is a delightful hybrid of café-bar-restaurant-delicatessen-music store. The retro furniture gives the interior all the charm of an old Sicilian café, offset by graffiti art on the walls, a deli section with fish, wine, oils, hams fresh cheeses and more imported from Italy, and a jazz, soul, funk, tropical and retro-latino soundtrack from hundreds of vinyl records. Highly recommended.

  1. 55 bis quai de Valmy, 10e
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Urfa Dürüm

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Fashionable Paris has swooned for burger vans, hot dogs and tacos, but perhaps the best of the street food was always here; in a Kurdish sandwich shop.Hidden away in the heart of Strasbourg Saint-Denis, Urfa Dürüm is a tiny wood-panelled venue where you are greeted at the entrance by the owner, flour and rolling pin in hand, busily preparing the flatbread dough. Further inside, meat grills in the stone oven. On the chalkboard menu, there are two choices of house speciality: Lahmacun or Dürüm.Lahmacun is a small wrap prepared like a pizza with minced meat, tomatoes and onions, and rolled up with salad, red onions and a squeeze of lemon. Crunchy and delicious, it’s hard to beat at just €2. You can have the famous Kurdish sandwich Dürüm with steak, chicken, lamb’s liver (€6) or straight up lamb (€7.50). Just a few minutes’ wait and it arrives perfectly cooked, wrapped in its flatbread, piping hot and accompanied by tomatoes, red onions, rocket, parsley and lettuce. No chips, mayo or harissa – this is to be eaten as it is. Since it’s all superb, there’s no need of any further extras. This restaurant serves one of Time Out's 50 best dishes in Paris. Click here to see the full list.

  1. 58 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis, 10e
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Tuck Shop

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

There’s an old bicycle parked casually out the front, plants climbing up the walls and a menu board brimming with pleasures. Inside, it's full of charming bric-a-brac; reclaimed, reupholstered and mismatched furniture books and posters – the overall result is a beautiful and studied chaos. The three Australians behind the place (and their beautiful coffee machine) brew up short blacks, delicious lattes and frothy cappuccinos from 9am, accompanied by pâtisserie (scones, nut brownies, cookies, banana bread, carrot cake). Lunchtime comes next, announced by the smell of soup (honey and thyme-roasted tomatoes on the day we went). A bowl of soup, a sandwich (comté cheese, sesame puree, nuts and rocket, for example) and a coffee will set you back €10. Also on the menu are a range of salads and toasties, all totally vegetarian, but so delicious that you won’t even notice you're eating healthily. As the afternoon stretches out, a few in-the-know locals arrive to use the Wi-Fi whilst sipping on chai lattes.

  1. 10e
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