Ethnic restaurants are abundant in Paris with Vietnamese, Lebanese, Thai, Moroccan, Indian, and Ethiopian food well represented but for some reason real Mexican food has been a bust, with a handful of restaurants not worth mentioning. In fact whenever I return to New York the first meal I always have is Mexican.
Candelaria, an authentic taqueria in the northern Marais, has now broken the spell of lousy Mexican restaurants in Paris. I read about Candeleria a few times in the press and my friend Vanessa mentioned it to me, so we made a lunch date. I read that it was small and quite popular so we arrived right at 12 when they opened. They were still preparing the food and setting up, so we had to wait a few minutes but I observed the small, quaint space with just one community table and wooden stools and a long counter with bar stools. The window has a pink neon taco sign surrounded by crates filled with fresh vegetables.
We sat at the counter and decided to share guacamole and then each had the 9.50 euro formule which included a choice of 3 tacos or tostadas plus a choice of soft drink. The guacamole was piquant but not overly hot, with large chunks of avocado and tomato and lots of lime. The chips were home made and crispy without being dry or oily. So far, so very good. Vanessa's tostadas and my tacos looked so pretty laid out on the pale blue tin enamel plates, we just stared at them for a moment before ripping into them. I later found out the tacos and tostadas are made from scratch. I had two meat and one cheese taco which were delicious and surprisingly satisfying, since the portion seemed a little small to me. I took a bite of Vanessa's queso fresco tostada topped with salty feta cheese and bits of beets, and it confirmed we had hit the food jackpot that day. I ordered one for myself immediately. Vanessa ordered a black bean brownie to go for her husband and the kind waitress offered me a tiny taste which left me wanting to have the entire tray it was so good.
All total, our bill for the formule, guacamole, my extra tostada, and the brownie was 31.50 euros. Stuffed and satisfied, it was a terrific meal with fun company and a bargain to boot. What could be better? Since there is seating for only about 10, I suggest getting there early or getting it to go. There is also a speakeasy type restaurant space with a secret door in the back of the kitchen that serves the same food along with cocktails.
52 rue Saintonge, 75003
Metro: Filles Calvaire
Open 7 days, 12PM-11PM Sunday to Wed., 12PM-12AM Thursday to Saturday
I am happy to announce the sale of prints of my Eye Prefer Paris Photos. I am offering 17 of my most popular and iconic images for sale including my courtyards, doors, architectural details, statues, and monuments. They will make great gifts for all your Francophile friends, relatives, and colleagues but don't forget to buy some for yourself.
Click here to see photos and for full details including sizes, prices, and shipping. Here is a sample of some of the photos.
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotteís professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.