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Chef’s Day Off: Aaron Isip’s favorite Paris eats

posted by in Indulgences

From ethnic eats to fancy dining Paris has so much to offer and its no wonder it is the gastronomic capital of the world. Because of this there is usually no end to resto recommendations in Paris, the guidebooks and lists are countless and the plethora of choices can be quite dizzying. This is why I prefer to ask people what their FAVORITE places are and not necessarily what they feel is the BEST. Aaron Isip has been roaming the parisian food scene for eleven years and knows everything in and out of the kitchen. We’ve cooked together and dined together so many times, we’ve even travelled together just to eat some more. His palate is definitely one that I trust. When I asked him to do this list, I told him to make sure not to give what he thought was at the top, but the places he loves going to over and over again, places where he likes to go on his day off. Here is an excellent selection showcasing the diversity of great food Paris has to offer.

Love and Light and Bon Appétit, Stephanie

1Restaurant Song-Heng
3, rue Volta
Paris (75003)
MÉTRO :Arts et Métiers, Rambuteau, Réaumur – Sébastopol& Temple
TÉL :+33 1 42 78 31 70

“This tiny, hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese place only serves 2 dishes in their small spot in the Haut-Marais (It can only fit About 20 customers, and the line is always long): Bo-bun (Vietnamese salad bowl of vermicelli noodles, beef, fried pork spring rolls, fresh herbs and crudités, peanuts, beansprouts, and NuocMam sauce) and Pho. They are only open from 11AM until 4PM or earlier when they run out of soup for their Pho or their home-made pork nems for their Bo-bun. I used to live a block away from this place and would go around 3-5 times a week just to eat their Bo-bun, and trust me when I say this, it’s the BEST in Paris. I’ve tried almost all the places in Paris that are known to serve the best, but this one for me is a cut above the rest. The place is actually run by Cambodians, and their attention to detail is what keeps me coming back for more. Nems are double-wrapped with rice wrapper so when fried and mixed with the rest, it stays nice and crispy, unlike the rest. They add more fresh herbs like mint and Thai basil instead of the usual Cilantro that most restaurants use. Their peanuts are pan-roasted so it gives you that smoky layer of flavor. The beef is flavored with lemongrass and caramelized onions. Their secret recipe for their fish sauce/Nuoc Mam sauce has the perfect balance of salty-spicy-sweetness flavors that will make you slurp it like soup at the end of your meal.”


Restaurant Astrance
4, rue Beethoven
Paris (75016)
MÉTRO :Passy, Trocadéro & BirHakeim
TÉL :+33 1 40 50 84 40

“Without a doubt my favorite gastronomic restaurant in Paris. Known as the smallest 3-star Michelin restaurant in town, the kitchen is headed by culinary genius Pascal Barbot who worked with Alain Passard at legendary 3-star Arpège. The restaurant can accommodate about 25 lucky diners in a small but inviting space, with high-ceilings that divide the salle into 2 spaces allowing diners in the mezzanine to see the ballet-like service from downstairs. The interiors are modern and young, using bright colors including their China, not like the usual ‘Palace’ 3-star michelin restaurants in Paris. Unlike Passard, Pascal Barbot is more adventurous with his flavor combinations, dressage, and use of products. He uses a lot of different influences from his discoveries and travels and infuses it to his Cuisine. I tasted the most delicate Mackerel cooked in perfection, studded with roasted buckwheat, garnished with aubergines cooked in miso, topped with oyster leaves; Roast Duck from Challans with cherry compote and fresh cherries; and an amazing but simply organic sabayon of poultry egg flavored with jasmin. If you want to experience new and exciting flavors, yet refined and subtle, this is the place to go.”


Guilo – Guilo
8, rue Garreau
Paris (75018)
MÉTRO :Lamarck-Caulaincourt, Blanche & Abbesses
TÉL :+33 1 42 54 23 92

“There are no tables in this restaurant (except for their private salle that you have to book in advance as they are almost always fully booked) located in the hilly Parisian boho neighborhood of the 18eme not far from the Sacre Coeur. Instead, you sit in stools, dining at their Comptoir– Japanese style – where the kitchen is right in front of you; right in the middle of the quadratic-shaped dining bar. All of the Japanese chefs working with precision, being orchestrated by the talented and funny guy Eiichi Edakuni whose twists on traditional Japanese dishes will make your mouth water, bite after bite. He offers a reasonable tasting menu – Kaiseki style – of about 6-8 dishes of modern Japanese cuisine with some french touch, like his Foie Gras Sushi with sauce gastrique, or grilled Wagyu beef with Salsify jus.”


Urfa Dürüm
56, rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis
75010 Paris
Métro L.4 Château d’Eau

“A little gem in the gentrifying neighborhood of the 10eme arrondissement, coined as the ‘Brooklyn’ of Paris. This place serves really awesome Kurde Sandwiches in town. It’s a small place with a glass vitrine outside so you can see them rolling & kneading their dough then cooking them in their wood-fire oven, as well as their charcoal pit for their grilled meat rolls. I go almost everyday when I work since it is close by, to get their Kurde-style pizettas/galettes called ‘lahmacun’-homemade flat dough garnished with ground lamb meat, tomatoes, onions, salad and herbs, for only 2 € a piece! Then on to more serious matters: get one of their grilled meat rolls that all include some crunchy salad and nutty arugula, succulent tomatoes, red onions, and an optional grilled chilli pepper–which I always ask for, your choice of charcoal-grilled meat, all rolled in a home-made flat bread. No sauces needed here as you will find out that everything is perfectly seasoned, you get to taste all the ingredients on its own, not smothered in different sauces like the greque sandwich places that abound the city. Here you have a choice of Lamb brochettes, seasoned ground meat (my personal favorite), chicken, and lamb liver (another one that hits the spot).”


Restaurant Le Comptoir du Relais
5-7, carrefour de l’Odéon
Paris (75006)
MÉTRO :Luxembourg, Odéon& Saint-Michel
TÉL :+33 1 44 27 07 50

“Whenever I have friends visiting Paris, I try and make it a point to bring them to this traditional bistrot in the Odeon-Saint-Germain area for hearty French food at it’s simplest. Run by ex-michelin starred chef Yves Camdeborde, he serves simple yet tasty, top-quality French food at his small spot, in the ground floor of his hotel. Monday-Friday evenings are tasting menus, but lunch and the rest of the week is a la carte. The interiors kept that old Parisian bistrot vibe that we don’t see very often anymore and the food ofcourse, is just stunning. Affordable pricing with a great selection of wine as well, like their typical Morgon that would go well with their Pork Confit dish with lentils. The lines are always long, but fear not, as you can wait for your turn right beside it at their tapas place aptly called ‘L’AvantComptoir’.”


9 Rue d’Argenteuil
75001 Paris

“Run by the old chef of Kunitoraya (known to be the best place for Udon in Paris), This is now my favorite place for authentic Udon noodles with perfectly fried Tempura, drizzled with dashi. Starters are worth ordering too. This place does not take any reservations so make sure you come early and expect a queue.”


Terroirs d’Avenir
6-7-8 Rue du Nil
75002 Paris

“My favorite purveyor of ingredients now catering not just to professionals but also to everyone else–Grocery/Epicerie/Butcher shop/Fish Monger/Cheese–-all locally sourced from small producers all over France. This is the best place for food shopping in town. Forget La Grande Epicerie de Paris!”


Breizh Café
109 Rue Vieille du Temple
75003 Paris

“The best Crèpes in town! Either savory or sweet, the crépes here are made with organic farine de sarassin. Wash them down with organic Breton Cider. After your tasty treat, swing by their Epicerie next door and get some Beurre de Bordier- amazing and possibly the best butter in the world. My personal favorites are the yuzu and pimentd’espelette flavors. Perfect with a nice tranche of Pain du Seigle.”

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Le Severo
8 Rue des Plantes,
75014 Paris

“A bit of a trek from the center of town, but this place is always packed. Make sure to make early reservations because this place is known to serve THE steak-frites in Paris. Order the Entrecote, always Saignante, served with homemade frites. Their Steak Tartare is chopped as you order.”


8, rue Hippolyte-Lebas
75009 Paris

“This Néo-bistrotspot in the 9th is a perfect place to sample ‘La Bistronomie’ Cuisine that is all over the Paris dining scene right now. Locally sourced, top-quality ingredients, executed with ‘Michelin’ quality precision, at affordable prices.”

Comments - 2 Responses to “ Chef’s Day Off: Aaron Isip’s favorite Paris eats ”

  1. Avatar Stacey says:

    This list is GOLD!!!

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