Cold weather makes me reach for my comfort food: soupy noodles. During my first few visits to Paris several years ago, the Asian food scene was not promising. There were a lot of pan-Asian places serving a mix of every basic Asian dish—fried rice, pad thai, and sushi all on one menu, what??
Since then, I’ve been able to more thoroughly explore Paris and found some authentic noodle spots. Everything from refreshing soba noodles served with a yuzu dipping sauce to a spicy beef noodle soup with fresh, hand-pulled noodles can now be found in Paris!
Image by Siobhan Curran via ABC Radio National
The eagerly awaited Paris outpost of Ippudo has finally opened in St Germain. Ippudo has brought three of its stalwart ramen offerings: the classic shiromaru ramen—a silky smooth tonkatsu broth; the akamaru modern—upping the flavor ante with a garlic paste; and the karakamen for spice lovers. They’ve even got a veggie ramen with truffle oil! Still hungry at the end of your first bowl? For an extra €1.50 you can order kaedama, an additional serving of ramen noodles, so save your broth! Ramen connoisseurs can also specify how “al dente” they want their ramen cooked. Just like in London and New York, devotion is strong (meaning the wait is long), but a second location slated to open near Les Halles should hopefully feed the demand.
14 rue Grégoire de Tours, 75006
Before Ippudo, there was Dosanko. Located in Little Tokyo, this spot serves hearty, traditional ramen. Big eaters will appreciate the supersize option, which means more ramen and extra toppings. It’s a no-frills space but the ramen makes up for the lack of ambiance.
40 rue Sainte-Anne, 75002
Little sister to popular SoPi Izakaya Ito, the tiny Ito Chan serves two main dishes: a lovely bento box and an authentic pork-based ramen that gets even more filling with added toppings like soft-boiled egg, corn, kimchi or even more pork. The broth can sometimes be a tad salty; other times, it’s just right.
2 rue Pierre Fontaine, 75009
Image via Leigh Klotz
Opened by the owner of the upscale Kai (now closed), Sara is a sleek cafe serving soba noodles and Japanese tapas. Try the soba served cold with a creamy sesame sauce called goma. During the summer, yuzu sauce adds a sparkling citrus flavor. Bonus: Despite the quality of the cuisine, it’s less heavily trafficked than some of the other restaurants in the neighborhood.
8 rue Ventadour, 75001
Minimal and sophisticated, Yen is a Left Bank mainstay, serving handmade soba noodles as well as sashimi and tempura. The portions aren’t huge and it can be a bit pricey but what isn’t in St. Germain?
22 Rue Saint-Benoît, 75006
Un Jour à Hanoi
Rue Daguerre is jam-packed with restaurants, but if you have to pick one, make it Un Jour à Hanoi. Vegetarians will rejoice at the flavorful vegetarian pho with tofu. Classic beef and chicken pho are also available. To stick with the veggie theme, try the crispy taro nems or the vegetarian omelette.
46 Rue Daguerre, 75014 Paris
A friend told me this is Alain Ducasse’s go-to pho place. I’ve never seen the star chef there, but the food doesn’t disappoint. Besides the heaping bowl of excellent pho, the plated dishes are terrific. The matriarch/hostess is friendly and will help you choose something delicious. Don’t confuse it with Pho Thai Thai, which is across the street and owned by another member of the family.
13 Rue Philibert Lucot, 75013 Paris
Pho Banh Cuon 14
The area near metro stop Place d’Italie is home to many Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants. Two staple pho spots are Pho 13 and Pho 14. Both attract crowds and loyal customers.
Pho 13, 66 Avenue d’Ivry, 75013
Pho Banh Cuon 14, 129 Avenue de Choisy, 75013
Taing Song Heng
A cramped, family-run joint, Song Heng only serves pho and bo bun for very reasonable prices. Parisians are passionate about Song Heng so be prepared to line up and wait. It’s worth it.
3 Rue Volta, 75003
Photo by Eric Wolfinger