With its bright, bare-bones kitchen, crowded counter, communal table, and addictive salsas — all mercifully un-Frenchified — Candelaria has officially changed the game, and people are lining up for tacos and agua fresca. Go through the unmarked door next to the stove and you’ll find a serious bar, staffed by Experimental Cocktail Club grads.
- Open Saturday, open Sunday, open Monday, vegetarian friendly, cheap eats, in the Marais, no reservations, open late
52 rue de Saintonge, 75003
Open Friday-Sunday for lunch, dinner & drinks; open Monday-Thursday for dinner & drinks only
OUR PHOTOS OF CANDELARIA
IN OTHER WORDS
Le Fooding (2015) “Le placide barbu à la main sûre enroule dans ses tortillas («les mêmes qu’au Mexique») bœuf grillé, poulet, tomate et sauce chipotle sur une base de haricot noir, ou champignons, patate douce et préparation au piment vert…”
David Lebovitz (2011) “… house made tortillas… deep-fried as a base for tostadas or for chips to dip in guacamole and salsa. Or else served soft, to wrap up sautéed spicy meats or melting cheese with strips of green chiles layered inside for warm taco fillings… Thankfully they’re started doing take-out and they’ve extended their hours.”
L’Express (2011) “Côté rue, un confetti de taqueria mexicaine qui délivre ses bons tacos carnitas et autres tostadas queso fresco dans une pièce toute blanche pensée au centimètre près pour caser une cuisine ouverte, une table, un comptoir bricolé main, et quelques cactus nains. Côté porte dérobée, au bout du couloir, un bar quasi clandestin dessiné par quelques designers en vogue.”
Croque Camille (2011) “… these are the best tacos this side of Juarez. The menu changes periodically, but the carnitas are a standout… They also serve an excellent tostada – none of that overly salad-filled taco shell business here. Instead, it’s a freshly fried corn tortilla topped with something wonderful.”
Went here for a quick lunch time pop in.
The food was unexpectedly OUTSTANDING. I don’t know how they managed to concoct such great food in such a barebones kitchen. We ordered a bis, because we couldn’t get enough.
And the girl in the counter who took our order was simply a radiantly positive person. Not only i felt taken good care of, but also i left with a smile and kept thinking about the positive experience.
Also loved the laid back, impromptu vibe of the place.
I love the tacos at Candelaria, but could they please put a little less raw red cabbage on top of them? Too much is too much.
Unfortunately, my boyfriend and I had a very negative experience here. We arrived around 9:30pm on a Saturday and were told by the host that the wait was 30 minutes, but that we were free to get a drink in the bar if we then came immediately back out to wait. When we did just that (which took ~20 minutes), the host then told us we had to speak to the woman behind the counter. My boyfriend kept trying to speak to her and she proceeded to ignore us while we waited, uncomfortably, for ~30 minutes. Other people who’d arrived after us kept being seated, with no regard for anyone else who was waiting. It was very busy, and I sympathize with her as I’m sure she deals with demanding people all day long, but the lack of a system clearly made things extremely stressful for everyone involved. Plus we were left wondering what role the host is meant to be playing if he’s not tracking who gets seated when?
I would’ve kept on waiting (West Coaster who misses Mexican food desperately), but my boyfriend is French and he was appalled by the lack of service, hospitality, and fairness. So we eventually left, ending up around the way at Les Enfants Rouges, where we sat at the bar and enjoyed both the plats and our conversation with the owner. (I had to concede to my boyfriend that, this time, French “customer service” proved the better.) My only suggestion is to go during off-hours (though we haven’t yet gone back), when hopefully they have the time to be more considerate and aware of the overall guest experience.
My daughter and I spent two weeks in Paris. We were lucky to visit some nice bistros and enjoy classic French food, which was our reason for visiting. However, on the holiday we didn’t know about, everywhere we wanted to go was closed. We had heard about a Mexican restaurant close to our hotel so we decided on a whim to visit. It was absolutely fantastic.
When we arrived, the restaurant was full, and they suggested we could wait in the bar through the door and order a drink. I was a little apprehensive – to put it gently, I’m a little beyond the age of the average bar client. But it turned out to be a lovely cocktail lounge after all. Our waitress in the bar was pretty, sweet and just lovely, explaining the different cocktails to us and the ingredients we didn’t know. She let us know when a few seats opened up in the restaurant, and even checked on us there to see how the food was. And it was delicious – even better than we could get back home in the US. Really authentic, I think because most of the staff in the taco restaurant seemed to be Mexican. I loved visiting Paris and eating the traditional food, but this was so unexpected and such an enjoyable evening for us. Next time we are in Paris we will definitely return!
It is difficult not to fall in love with Candelaria: great tacos and a cockatil bar that competes with the best in Paris. The whole place is so small, you have the feeling of being one of the few in the know. A must do.