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.

Les Delices de Shandong

Practical information

Address: 88 boulevard de l’Hôpital, 75013
Nearest transport: Campo Formio (5)
Hours: Closed Wednesday; Open Thursday-Tuesday for lunch & dinner
Reservations: Walk-ins Welcome
Telephone: 01 45 87 23 37
Average price for lunch: 10-19€
Average price for dinner: 20-39€
Style of cuisine: Chinese
Website

Reviews of interest

Alexander Lobrano (2012) “I’d say that if you were only going to go to a single Chinese restaurant in Paris, it should be Les Delices de Shandong…”

L’Express (2011) “… anguille ou crabe sautéau piment, soupe de raie mijotée et tofu, vermicelles au porc mijoté, raviolis vapeur aux légumes, au porc, au boeuf ou aux crevettes… Les mets jouent l’équilibre parfait entre exotisme et authenticité, dépaysement et excellence…”

Le Figaro (2008) “Il en faut plus pour effrayer la clientèle à 95% asiatique qui attaquera ensuite avec plaisir des intestins de porc frits ou des langues de canard… Optez de votre côté plus prudemment pour les remarquables pousses d’ail sautées au porc…”

Deux Fois Plus de Piment

This is one Chinese spot that doesn’t cater to the French palate. There are signs above the cash register that attest to this fact and warn about the potential gastronomic woes that could ensue after eating the pepper-laden Szechuan fare. Whether it’s soft Mapo tofu with crumbly pork bits or cold, sesame soaked cucumber salad, everything is slicked in fire oil, with an emphasis on the oil. I like this inexpensive, informal joint all the same (or perhaps because of it). Pork raviolis & spicy cabbage are two perennial favorites, and the broccoli with garlic provides a nice respite from the burn. You can choose your own heat level on a scale of 1-5 on most dishes. Level 3 is usually tongue-searingly warm enough for a spice lover. The restaurant is quite small so a larger group should plan to either eat early, book ahead, or take it to-go.  

Lily Wang

This is no longer included among the favorite 350 addresses that make up Our Guide to Paris Restaurants. We’ve maintained this page so that you can refer to the practical information and other reviews of interest. Feel free to share your own opinion in the comments.

Practical information

Address: 40 avenue Duquesne, 75007
Nearest transport: Saint-François-Xavier (13)
Hours: Open every day
Reservations: Book a few days in advance
Telephone: 01 53 86 09 09
Average price for lunch: 35-49€
Average price for dinner: 50-99€
Style of cuisine: Chinese
Special attributes: outdoor dining, open Sunday, open Monday

Reviews of interest

Patricia Wells (2011) “Alas, 168 euros poorer and barely sated, we left wondering what this place was all about. Food no better than any Parisian Vietnamese carryout. Rubbery pork dumplings, dipping sauces that tasted like ketchup, tasteless shrimp…”

Alexander Lobrano (2011) “Thick velvet curtains…Hoi An style silk lanterns, floral murals and low softly lit tables was attractive….Main courses were excellent…I loved my Iberian pluma (pork tenderloin) marinated in fish sauce, lacquered in spice…Pity it’s so expensive, or I’d likely go back often.”

Emmanuel Rubin – Figaroscope (2011) “…les fantasmes d’une Chine glamour. Décor tamisé tendance Lotus bleu (sans Tintin, Chang et l’opium) et nourritures « exochic » bravement cosmétiques.”

François-Régis Gaudry – L’Express (2011) “A chaque clin d’oeil de Lily, ça fait bling-bling. C’est In the mood for Love version Saint-Trop’…La meilleure entrée ? Ces Shangaï jian jiao, des raviolis de porc frits…dont le secret fait toute la différence : ils sont garnis de saucisse de morteau…”