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100 best restaurants: Japanese

Where to find the best Japanese food in Paris

Kunitoraya ©ZT

Once upon a time, Japanese chefs came to France to learn the art of cooking with the masters, now they're the ones laying down the rules and creating innovative, beautiful dishes all over the city. Sushi, ramen, and soba in canteens, fine dining rooms and cafés - here are the Parisian temples to Japanese cuisine. If you know of anywhere we've missed on our list, let us know in the comments box below or tweet us. 

Abri

Recommended

The venue isn't massive or particularly smart, but the cheery, busy atmosphere and Japanese street food vibe make Peco Peco a hit. At lunchtime, try a donburi: rice balls filled with meat and vegetables – salmon, shiitake mushrooms, egg and peas, for example. Or really go for it with a Katsusandwich – a delicious snack of breaded pork, red cabbage and home made BBQ sauce piled into a fresh, crunchy baguette.

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Poissonnière

Abri Soba

In a wonderful wood-panelled room, complete with an open kitchen, Abri Soba’s skilled chefs orchestrate simple, heady soups of buckwheat noodles in a hot or cold broth - the tsukimi soba, for example: a hot fragrant fish-based soup topped with a soft-boiled egg. Desserts are equally simple and effective - the green tea and black sesame ice cream for example - and, at night, sharper dishes of sake-steamed clams and miso rolled pork salad take to the stage. 

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Faubourg Montmartre

Cartel

Recommended

Cartel’s spunky head chef Sou creates original versions of classic Japanese fish dishes, sure to banish any supermarket sushi memories – from seafood rillettes or the chef’s version of miso soup, to delectable mains of sake-flambéed squid or tender Japanese butterfish. The main menu changes daily and the set menus are wonderfully affordable. Plus, unusually for an Asian restaurant, the desserts are as interesting as the rest of the menu. The Japanese-inspired chocolate and wasabi fondant, for example, is a surprising delight. 

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Canal Saint-Martin
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Hakata Choten

Hakata Choten’s small red-and-black dining room is warm, inviting, and filled with the sumptuous aroma of tonkotsu ramen, a zesty pork-based broth, left to stew for 24 hours. Here you can sample roughly a dozen tonkotsu varieties, all served with ramen. We especially like the ‘simple’ version, finished off with a soft-boiled egg, and the ‘supreme’, which packs various different bold flavours like barbecued pork, grilled garlic and soft-boiled egg into one bowl.

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1er arrondissement

Ito

Recommended

This Japanese eatery brings you all the charms of an authentic Nipponese izakaya (bar-cum-restaurant), minus the drunken Japanese salarymen at the counter. The food comes in tapas-sized portions, of which you order either three (€19), four (€25) or ten (€65). Expect inventive variations on typical Japanese cuisine: cod flavoured with Teriyaki sauce and Amaretto, saké-soaked risotto, cauliflower sliced as fine as rice grains – all delectable. Tip: don’t come hungry, unless you’re happy to splurge.

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Saint-Georges

Jin

Recommended

One of the great Japanese tables in Paris, Jin is an experience. Sit around the chef's workstation as you eat, and watch the mesmeric work of Takuya Watanabe and his team. Raw lobster with a single spinach leaf, lightly acidic monkfish liver, sea urchin sushi - everything is done with extreme finesse, featuring strong, distinct flavours and light-handed seasoning measured out by the millimetre. Save up and it’ll be worth it from the very first sip of sparkling sake.

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1er arrondissement
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Kunitoraya

Patience is needed to get into Kunitoraya - tourists and Parisians alike queue fervently for this refined Japanese canteen. Grab a seat and pick your udon (their speciality): either in a hot soup or soaked or sprinkled with a cold sauce, Highlights include the Udon Kunitoraya, a hot miso soup with minced pork, radish and salsify and the Karasumo Daïkon, a delicate starter of roe slices and Japanese radish. Both are more than worth the wait. 

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1er arrondissement

Peco Peco

Recommended

The venue isn't massive or particularly smart, but the cheery, busy atmosphere and Japanese street food vibe make Peco Peco a hit. At lunchtime, try a donburi: rice balls filled with meat and vegetables – salmon, shiitake mushrooms, egg and peas, for example. Or really go for it with a Katsusandwich – a delicious snack of breaded pork, red cabbage and home made BBQ sauce piled into a fresh, crunchy baguette.

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Saint-Georges

Soma

Recommended

Soma succeeds brilliantly in bridging the gap between Japan’s traditional and haute cuisine. Watch as head chef Sourasack Phongphet prepares the mouth-watering dishes in the centre of the restaurant - from the seafood delights of horse mackerel tartar, delicious green tea-infused octopus salad and melt-in-the-mouth butterfish sashimi, to meat options like the classic ginger-sautéed pork or the beautiful semi-rare beef in a rich ponzu sauce. At €40-50 per head, it’s possibly the best value Paris-Tokyo return ticket around.

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Le Marais
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Tsubame

Recommended

Tsubame has all the thoughtfulness and delicacy of its sister seafood joint Atao (link?) This charming Japanese eatery has lunchtime bento boxes to go (8-12) or a range of petite dinner dishes to satisfy your Japanese craving. The salmon teriyaki bento is on point: perfectly cooked fish, sticky but not overly glutinous rice, beautifully marinated aubergines, and the freshest salad ingredients. This is a worthy rival to the nearby Ito.

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Saint-Georges

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