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Empire Celeste

The best way to understand the underground appeal of Latin Quarter Cantonese restaurant Empire Celeste is by comparing it to another well-known Parisian Chinese restaurant, Davé on rue Richelieu. Davé, which offers run-of-the-mill Chinese cuisine in a cramped, kitchy red interior, is notoriously popular with the fashion set. Its walls are festooned with images of the eponymous proprietor arm-in-arm with Yves Saint-Laurent, Mick Jagger, Kim Kardashian, etc. Empire Celeste, run by three generations of the Wang family since the restaurant’s founding in 1953, is the Davé of another peculiar subculture: the natural wine crowd.

The Bombardier

A hub for English culture, this pub proudly pours “real ales” from Wells & Young’s, beers in classic English styles you won’t find elsewhere in Paris. Traditional English pub fare is served at lunch and a full English breakfast is offered on weekends. With rugby and soccer/football matches on TV and a pub quiz every Sunday, it would be easy to think you were in England. 

Le Porte-Pot

Practical information

Address: 14 rue Boutebrie, 75005
Nearest transport: Cluny – La Sorbonne (10), Saint-Michel (RER B&C)
Hours: Closed Sunday & Monday; Open Tuesday-Saturday 6.30pm-2am
Reservations: Walk-Ins Welcome
Telephone: 01 43 25 24 24
Average price for dinner: 20-34€
Style of cuisine: Wine bar, small plates
Website   Facebook

Reviews of interest

The Guardian (2010) “There’s an old-fashioned zinc bar, and an ancient vaulted cellar transformed into a dining room…The cuisine is a mix between exotic fusion – imagine whelks with wasabi mayonnaise – and traditional rural food…”

Le Figaro (2008) “…cinquantaine de vins plutôt nature mais sans excès…de simples assiettes bistrotières et des tartines généreuses à partir de bons produits…”

L’Express (2008) “…la maison cueille ses fromages, sa cochonnaille, son andouille fumée au lard ou ses sardines millésimées chez quelques pointures d’artisans. Aucun danger non plus côté cave, bio-naturo-dynamique.”

Photo courtesy of Le Porte Pot’s website

Laurent Dubois

Laurent Dubois is a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF), the highest designation for a cheesemonger and affineur in France. Especially strong in their selection of aged Comté, brebis from the Pyrenées, and small production chèvres. In the caves below the shop, Dubois ages a few cheeses well past the point where other affineurs (and the AOC system) are willing to go – a Sainte-Maure de Tourraine at 100 days, for example, and an extra old Fourme d’Ambert. In-house creations like Roquefort layered with quince paste and Camembert stuffed with marscapone and apples macerated in Calvados make for the perfect dessert.

Maison Claudel Vin et Whisky

This wonderful place is both a shop and tasting space for the Claudel’s dual obsessions, wine and whisky. The shop sells 300 references for each, and those who want to sip on the spot can choose between 24 wines and 80 whiskeys by the glass. Leather club chairs and a selection of small bites make this a great stop before dinner nearby. 

La Tour d’Argent

Address: 17, quai de la Tournelle, 75005
Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch & dinner. Closed Sunday & Monday.
Telephone: +33 1 43 54 23 31
Book Online / Website / Facebook / Instagram

COVID-19 UPDATE:
La Tour d’Argent will reopen its dining room September 1 (reservations are already available online). In the meantime, La Tour d’Argent has launched La Tour Chez Vous with a mobile kitchen brigade bringing the entire Tour d’Argent experience to your home (from 290 euro per person + 500 euro fee). It is also delivering grocery baskets including one complete with all of the ingredients for the restaurant’s famous duck à l’orange. The restaurant’s bakery is also open and selling products via its online shop.