Saturday, January 26, 2013

The best ramen in Paris

Or at least the ramen that inspires the longest lines. It's Kotteri Ramen Naritake, at 31 Rue des Petits Champs, near the opera.

They're open for lunch 11:30-3:30, and for dinner 6:30-10:30. I arrived at 6:16 and was the first on line. By 6:20 there were a dozen people behind me. Some people wait for hours.

It couldn't compare to Tsujita in LA, but that's unfair, because LA cares more about ramen than Paris does. It was definitely the best ramen I've had in Paris, and I've been eating a lot of ramen.

There are peeled garlic cloves and a garlic-press provided along with the soy sauce, which is always a good sign. You can get the broth fatty (gita gita), normal or lite (sappari), and you can also get "ramen au buerre," if you need even more fat. There are no vegetarian options ("Nous utilisons de la graisse de dos de porc pour nos Ramens") but you can get your broth diluted if it's too intense for you.

I got the soy sauce based ramen (the waiter recommended it over the miso) with egg. Oh my god, seasoned eggs--they are the motivating factor behind my interest in ramen. But why is it ten euros ($13.46)?

The ramen has a powerful, up-front salty flavor, without the subtleties of Totto in NYC. I find the miso one a bit overwhelming. But it hits the ramen spot, or really, socks it.

By the end, with the salt I gulped down like I was drowning, and intense heat at the counter, the waiting people crammed in behind me, and my coat and bag stuffed between my lap and the counter, I was very uncomfortable. Beyond ramen, I've been eating mainly poulet sandwiches and yogurts these days, when I'm not too nervous to eat, so it's hard to manage a whole bowl of ramen. On the other hand, it is my purest comfort food, in that it evokes a home I never had. I eat ramen everywhere I can, but there isn't any in Durham (besides the 89-cent version) where I grew up, so it gives the illusion of home, but really it just connects me to other times I've been away.


  1. We just gave this place a second chance after we read your review. This place makes me wish I never had ramen in Japan or NY. The amount of pork fat/grease used even for the lightest soup is just ridiculous. But I guess this is the best of the worst. When it comes to ethnic food Paris still has a lot of catching up to do.

    1. I'm sorry if you had a bad experience--for sure, the flavors are really strong! Well, now I live in NY so I don't have to pine for ramen anymore...