We expected the Parisian restaurant to be overflowing with anime goods, but the truth was something quite different.
Our Japanese reporter Ikuna Kanezawa has once more found herself travelling the world, doing what she does best — discovering the very best Japanese restaurants outside of Japan. Previously, she’s sampled sushi from Egypt and ramen from Spain, and now she’s turned her sights on the streets of France, specifically its capital, Paris.
This isn’t Ikuna’s first rodeo with Parisian cuisine, in order she walked down certainly one of Paris’ many so-called ‘otaku streets’, she figured she’d seen all of it.
After which she saw it — at the tip of the rue Voltaire, a restaurant with a strikingly unusual name.
▼ The constructing the restaurant was in was gorgeously Parisian, but on the bottom floor…
While there are actually quite a lot of restaurants that just use a Japanese word without knowing its actual meaning, the word ‘otaku’ has gained a lot worldwide notoriety that even legendary rocker Gene Simmons knows what the word means…kinda.
From the surface, Otaku looks like a traditional enough Japanese restaurant, so Ikuna was struggling to see where the ‘otaku’ part got here into it; was it a spot for Parisian otaku to assemble and speak about their favourite manga? Was it filled to the brim with anime goods? Taking a deep breath, Ikuna grabbed her camera and went inside…
…only to search out a completely normal-looking restaurant.
▼ Not a single figurine in sight!
There have been a couple of Japanese decorations like paintings dotted in regards to the restaurant, however it felt more like a daily French restaurant than a Japanese one in Ikuna’s opinion.
▼ It could be easy to miss the indisputable fact that it was a Japanese restaurant in the event you didn’t look closely.
The patrons within the restaurant looked relatively ‘non-otaku’-like too. If Ikuna imagined really, really hard, she could almost imagine that she’d stumbled into some type of gathering for ‘otaku who don’t seem like otaku’. As an alternative of imagining she was in a room stuffed with French individuals who were secretly otaku, though, she decided to focus her energy on the menu.
The course was an all-you-can-eat meal that included sushi, sashimi and yakitori to call a couple of, and value 12.9 euros (US$13.61) for lunch and 17.9 euros ($18.89) for dinner, which by Parisian standards was a reasonably reasonable price.
▼ Food was ordered via an order sheet, which is useful in the event you’re not fluent in French.
▼ The sushi available gave the impression of what you’d see on a daily Japanese menu though, with options like salmon roe, tuna and shrimp.
▼ The side dishes looked delicious, too, with various sorts of yakitori and tempura on offer.
▼ The maki rolls and California rolls were making Ikuna’s mouth begin to water!
But just as she got able to order all of the yakitori her stomach could handle, she noticed something that threw a spanner in her delicious lunch plans. The high-ticket menu items just like the salmon roe sushi, shrimp sushi and yakitori were only available for dinner. One other strange addition was that the gunkan rolls were a part of the lunch menu, while the nigiri sushi was only available on the evening menu.
Even without the flowery sushi and yakitori, there was still plenty to order, though, so Ikuna decided to begin with a miso soup.
But this miso soup was like no miso soup Ikuna had ever tried before, as floating on the highest were mushrooms and roasted sesame seeds. The soup stock tasted pretty good though.
▼ Otaku’s soup spoons had the Japanese word for ‘delicious’ with an image of an eggplant on them, for some reason
But Ikuna didn’t come all the way in which from Japan simply to eat some miso soup, so she ordered what any fan of Japanese food would in her situation — some sushi. The one actual sushi with raw fish available on the lunch menu were the salmon nigiri, salmon gunkan rolls and the tuna rolls, in order that’s what she ordered.
This was undoubtedly some real sushi, except…
… the quantity of rice was enormous!
After a fast glance at the web reviews for Otaku, it seems many individuals agreed with Ikuna that the balance of fish and rice was off. This got here as a relief to Ikuna, who had almost believed that this was considered a traditional amount of rice in Paris. She had to confess that the rice was delicious though, and the sushi sold here would probably do well in Japan.
Strangely, the thing Ikuna was looking forward to probably the most was something not likely Japanese in any respect, however the broccoli stir-fry. Travelling on a budget means you don’t often get a likelihood to eat as much vegetables as it is best to, and particularly in a city that’s as pricey as Paris, this was a fantastic opportunity for her to snack on something green without breaking the bank.
There have been other side dishes too, like this fried calamari, but Ikuna’s stomach had little or no space left after the hefty amount of rice that got here as a part of her sushi, so she couldn’t eat as much as she’d been planning to.
Ultimately, Ikuna got here to the conclusion that Otaku was more within the form of an Asian buffet than a Japanese restaurant, however it was delicious nonetheless. If you happen to ever end up in that specific Parisian neck of the woods, you’ll want to test it out. If you happen to’re available in the market for something decidedly more Japanese though, Ikuna also recommends the ramen restaurant that’s “more Japanese than Japan” in Rue de Richelieu.
63 Bd de Picpus, 75012 Paris