35 Blvd Auguste Blanqui, 13th
Tel 01 45 80 76 59
I know you’re looking at the arrondissement and thinking, “Chinatown”, but this authentic Thai restaurant is actually at the foot of the Butte aux Cailles. I pass it almost every day when walking the dogs or going to the open-air market on the boulevard (every Tues, Fri and Sun – excellent market!!) but hadn’t considered going in (there are so many baaaaaad Thai restaurants in Paris) until I read a review that noted, in particular, the cozy and intimate atmosphere. Well well….
I went with Canadian and Irish friends one night when we were starving and too lazy to go all the way to Chinatown. Without a reservation (we were there early) we somehow managed to get the last table, next to the bathroom and kitchen door (a bit cramped, but we actually had a good view of the dining room from this vantage point). The décor is very cozy indeed, lovingly cluttered with the personal artworks and artifacts of the owners, Khameung and his wife Vanaly (Tonton and Tata for those who know them). Almost everything is hand-labeled, too, so you know what it is (assuming you read French, of course). There are somepics on the website.
If you’re looking for a romantic corner, be sure to reserve one well in advance. Only complaint is that they have very bright, bare compact fluorescent bulbs in the lamps of these little nooks. Maybe try a tinted compact fluorescent?
Khameung and Vanaly opened one of the very first Thai restaurants in Paris in the 70s, and they use a real Thai chef to make the food, which is probably why it’s actually hot (it’s just so darned hard to get truly spicy Asian food in Paris). The bilingual menu (where the dishes aren’t numbered, for once) is divided into “traditional Thai specialties” and then by meats: seafood, beef, chicken, frog, etc. I had the rare-cooked slices of beef with spicy ginger sauce.
Three main dishes, three sides of rice, two beers and a glass of wine = €51, or €17 each. Tonton gave us some candies on our way out. They claim that 80% of their business comes from loyal clients, so best to reserve a table if you’re venturing all the way out here!
Open for lunch and dinner, closed Sunday and Monday.