Chef Philippe Damas is showcasing the season's best ingredients (porcinis, partridges) at this this bistro near the Canal Saint-Martin.
Pancakes, poached eggs and hearty seasonal fare served alongside excellent coffee sourced from Belleville Brûlerie in a sunny space along the Canal St. Martin. An international array of coffee preparations (flat whites, espressos, long blacks, cappuccinos, and very good “real deal” filtered coffee) are accompanied by hot chocolate made from homemade chocolate syrup and a selection of teas from Le Parti du Thé. The exceptionally friendly service is notable. Also notable, the lines for weekend brunch. Get there early.
Burgers are ubiquitous in Paris, but the unique ones at Siseng are worth seeking out. The house specialty is bao burgers: five spiced beef patties with tamarind and tempura onion or a crispy chicken filet with coconut milk & basil on steamed Chinese buns. It’s pan-asian fusion that (mostly) works. Cocktails & sides were uneven. Crunchy risotto balls infused with a lingering lemongrass flavor were a surprising success while the sweet potato fries could have stood another round in the fryer. An evening visit on a weekend found the tiny, Canal-side space slammed with a young, international crowd, but service stayed funny & warm under pressure albeit somewhat forgetful. There are no reservations so it’s better to go in small groups and be prepared to wait.
There is no real “Michel” behind La Cave à Michel – the name of this lively, standing-room-only Belleville wine bar uses the name in its French sense of “everyman.” And indeed, the bar is as welcoming and informal as its product standards are rigorous and precise. The product of a friendly collaboration between caviste Fabrice Mansouri and Romain and Maxime Tischenko, the brothers behind next door tasting-menu restaurant Le Galopin, La Cave à Michel rivals the Left Bank’s L’Avant Comptoir for the best Parisian cuisine you’ll eat standing up. Romain Tischenko reins in his more maximalist impulses in the bar’s tiny kitchen, and turns out small plates of jewel-like delicacy: beef tartare beneath ricotta salata, bass céviche, or mozzarella with salmon roe. Mansouri’s selection of natural wines is well-considered and well-priced. If service can become a little sluggish at times, it’s because the bar is reliably packed with restaurant industry regulars and Mansouri has a gift for banter. Serious cuisine is rarely this fun.
— Aaron Ayscough, January 2016
There has been a need for less casual sit-down dining near the Canal Saint Martin and Hai Kai delivers on the food front with a delicate, minimalist menu from chef Amélie Darvas. The room, the clients and the staff are all very pretty, but service is spotty and undermines what is otherwise an elegant but unpretentious restaurant. Still, it’s a good Canal-side option for the fashion crowd.
— Catherine Down, March 2014
Address: 15 rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010
Nearest transport: Jacques Bonsergent (5)
Hours: Closed Sunday; Open Monday-Saturday for breakfast & lunch
Reservations: Reservations not accepted
Telephone: 09 50 06 36 18
Average price for lunch: 10-19€
Style of cuisine: Soups/salads/sandwiches, vegetarian, healthy eating
Reviews of interest
Le Fooding (2015) “Dans la cabane boisée-carrelée du pape brooklynite de la healthy food, Marc Grossman… on se signe au jus pressé à froid Bob Cold Press, centrifugé (pomme-carotte-betterave-gingembre) ou mixé (banane-mangue-fraise, de 4 à 6,50€), avant de partager un top rouleau de futomaki fourré de riz complet, avocat, mangue, concombre et ciboulette, relevé d’une pointe de wasabi.”
Where bobos go for bo bun. Go early or be ready to queue.