Over the last five years the area of Canal Saint-Martin has become one of the trendiest places to live for creative professionals in Paris. The walk along the canal is very scenic and offers a selection of eclectic boutiques, bars, bistros, restaurants, and impromptu acoustic concerts in the summer months. Whether you are after a casual meal, a take-away, or some fine dining, Canal Saint-Martin will have something to cater for your taste buds.
This 600-square-meter barn is a unique bar and restaurant tucked away in Canal Saint-Martin. This is not the sort of venue that you can ‘stumble’ upon, and finding the place can be quite tricky as it is hidden from the main street. To find Le Comptoir Général you first have to pass through a dark little alley that will eventually lead you to a majestic black door hiding a long passageway. Le Comptoir Général is not only known for its wide variety of cocktails, beers, and snacks, but also for it multi-functionality. Aside from being a restaurant and bar with a dance floor, this is an art museum dedicated to ghetto culture, a vintage book and clothing shop on the second floor.
Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, French, European, Contemporary, Soul Food, $$$
A Bar-Tabac 20 years ago, today Chez Prune is not only one of the most charming places to enjoy a lunch on a sunny day on Canal Saint-Martin, but also somewhere you can spend an excellent evening. This cafe -bar is traditionally French in its design, with high ceilings and low lighting. Chez Prune offers something for everyone, whether you are looking for a moderately priced cheese or meat platter, an apéro before heading to a late night venue in the area, or an early morning spot for coffee and croissants. The menu is seasonal, so entrees are different every week. If you are heading out for lunch remember that many lunchtime menus sell out quite quickly, so don’t leave it too late.
Point Éphémère is a music venue, restaurant, and cafe located in an old warehouse building. In 2004 the 1,400-square-meter venue was an artists’ squat, but today it is the center for artistic events in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, organizing art exhibitions, concerts, and evenings of independent music. The venue has a Thai kitchen and on Sundays offers a buffet from 1pm to 4pm (€18 for adults and €13 for children). If that doesn’t tickle your fancy you can grab something at one of the food trucks parked outside, which offer a selection of pizzas, hot dogs, and hamburgers at affordable prices. At Point Éphémère you can eat lunch or dinner on the sunny terrace whilst listening to music drifting from the dance floor or admiring some of the gallery exhibits. This is the perfect venue for those looking to discover new trends and to listen to emerging Parisian music groups.
In France each meal of the day has its well-observed time frame, and outside lunch or dinner times it can be quite tricky to find a place to eat, even in Paris. Haï Kaï is one of the rare restaurants that breaks this unspoken French rule. Doors open at 10 a.m. and stay open until midnight, six days a week. The menu is quite minimalist, and the food is fresh and original, prepared by 24-year-old chef Amélie Darvas and her staff. The dishes are very creative and juxtapose unusual seasonal ingredients. The restaurant offers a daily changing prix-fixe menu: €17 for two courses or €23 for three. There is also the ‘degustation’ option that offers ten courses. In the past this has included trout with clementine juice, blood sausage, beetroot dust, and olive oil ice cream.
Fish and Chip Shop, British, European, French, Street Food, $$$
As the first and only fish and chip shop in Paris, when visiting The Sunken Chip you can either take your fish and chips away or enjoy your meal at the water’s edge of the Canal Saint-Martin. The Sunken Chip opened in 2013 and has been providing the freshest fish, thick cut English chips, and mushy peas ever since, which you can wash down with some British beer or a mug of ‘British tea.’ The Anglo/Frenchie team delivers a variety of fish for you to choose from including hake and yellow or black pollock, all of which are battered and cooked to perfection, with a crunchy texture on the outside balanced with a steaming flaky interior. The menu also features other interesting options, such as fish nuggets, fried sausages, the famous ‘Chip Butty,’ as well as the house tartar sauce and pickled eggs.
This is a snug little Mexican take-away restaurant tucked away behind the Canal Saint-Martin. There is a range of street food dishes being served such as gorditas (cornflour doughnuts) for €3.50, tortillas stuffed with cacti for €7.50, or flatbreads with meat and vegetables for €8.90. Some of the favorites include quesadilla with chorizo or the campechana (seafood cocktail usually made of oysters, baby octopus, mussels, shrimp, squid, and scallops). Make sure to try Alejandro’s delicious salsa, made with fresh chilies.
The interior of Les Enfants Perdus is a light and airy room filled with comfortable benches and white cushions — a perfect place to spend a weekend morning or afternoon. The menu is unique and changes every few months. If you are going for the Sunday brunch ‘formule’ (served from 11-4 p.m.) make sure you come with an appetite. For €26 you will receive three platters: the first consisting of mini-viennoiseries, house orange juice, and hot drinks of your choosing, and the second featuring an oeuf cocotte, smoked salmon, cucumber salad, and an olive muffin. The final platter includes a vegetable soup, grapes, ham, and cheese.
At a first glance Le Verre Volé may seem like a simple wine shop with a couple of tables and plastic chairs squeezed into one room, but venture out for a meal to understand why it’s one of the best bistros in the French capital. The cuisine is mainly made up of creative French dishes with a modern twist and the menu changes on a weekly basis. The meals are homemade, and there is normally a choice of eight to ten dishes. Make sure you try the boudin noir, monkfish beignets with sea urchin mayonnaise, or veal salitombocca, to name just a few. Aside from delicious food, another one of of the biggest bonuses of this place is the wide choice of wines. The friendly staff will help you chose something in your price range, whether you are after a fancy dinner party or a cheaper number to accompany your meat and cheese platters.
If you are looking for a fusion of Cambodian-Asian cuisine in Paris, this is the place you need to visit. Perfect for a casual meal, Le Cambodge offers reasonably priced meals and really friendly service. The restaurant’s favorites include bobuns, which you can choose to have with meat, prawns, both, or just vegetables, spring rolls, and chicken curry with sticky rice, which is accompanied by Cambodian beer. Portions are quite big, so make sure you bring an appetite. To top off the fresh flavors, the tables are fully stocked with sauces that are very frequently used in south-east Asian cuisine: rice vinegar with crushed peanuts floating on the surface, fish sauce flecked with fresh red chilies, and toxic-orange chili paste. This place doesn’t offer reservations so if you are looking to have dinner make sure you get there before 8 p.m.
Located on the Canal Saint-Martin, The Mme Shawn is an authentic Thai restaurant with reasonable prices. Mme Shawn started out as a humble French cafe that was later transformed into the sophisticated Thai restaurant that it is today. Serving one of the best pad thai dishes and spicy beef (also known as tiger’s tears) accompanied with specialty mango sticky rice, Mme Shawn is recommended to anyone looking for a change from French cuisine whilst in Paris.