CANDELARIA

Most people wouldn’t expect to find great Mexican food in Paris. They would most probably not dedicate a meal slot to Mexican food anyway. This spot comes highly recommended though and is well worth a try if you find yourselves in the French capital. It combines great Mexican food and one of the world’s best cocktail bars (according to official rankings, not just me!) cleverly hidden on a quiet street in the upper Marais, right next to Ob-La-Di. Unpretentious and at times packed with hungry customers, Candelaria is not for everyone but that’s ok; it leaves more room for the rest of us.

Ever since I got back from Mexico, I have been dying to find an authentic taqueria (aside from El Taco Mobil, my go-to spot in Brussels!). Candelaria has been around since 2011 and it’s literally a small piece of Mexico in Paris. The space is tiny with only a few seats on the counter overlooking the kitchen and a communal table for six, so you need to arrive at off-hours or get prepared to wait for a while. The setting is very laid back; nobody comes here for the atmosphere but rather the food which is fantastic!

The menu is short and changes regularly. Portions aren’t massive either which means you can order a second round if you’re hungry. Chips are a must – freshly fried and served with shared bowls of guacamole and salsa, they are ideal to start your meal. There are typically three different kinds of tacos and tostadas available, written on the little blackboard on the wall. The carnitas (braised pork) are excellent and already a staple here, the pollo pibil (slow-cooked chicken with Achiote) is deliciously messy and then there are really surprising dishes, such as the vegetarian option, i.e. nopales (cactus salad) which blew me away. No matter what you choose, satisfaction is guaranteed – you get the real deal!

Once your tummy is full, make sure to have a cocktail (or two!) at the bar in the back. There’s no sign on the door, so you’ll be very surprised to find an atmospheric speakeasy specialising in agave spirits. Dimly-lit and vibrant, it offers some of the best drinks in the city. A romantic place to bring your date on a quiet night or party with your friends when it’s busy.

INFO
Address: Rue de Saintonge 52, 75003 Paris, France
Telephone: +33 1 42744128
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Sandy (@smarksthespots)