An American living her life in two languages, first in Paris, then in Cincinnati and currently in Bordeaux, and talking about all the trials, tribulations and successes along the way.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Good Mexican food in France...it is possible!
I have finally done it! After three years of hunting, getting my hopes up, and then being miserably shot down (do we remember the salmon burritos of El Rancho???), I have finally found a decent (dare I say even, good) Mexican restaurant in Paris. And I couldn't be happier!!!
O'Mexico is located in the 13th (20 rue du Père Guérin), right near the Place d'Italie. It's a small restaurant and there aren't many tables, but the food is good, the service is actually pleasant and it is definitely worth a bit of a wait if you are craving good Mexican in Paris.
When Lionel's friend, Jean-marc, suggested a Mexican place he had just discovered near his apartment, I was sceptical, to say the least. I've never really had a good Mexican experience in France. The best I've ever had was a place in Tours, and even that couldn't completely satisfy me. But he insisted, so since it was only a few minutes away, and there are plenty of other restaurants we enjoy right in the area (it is near China town after all, and we love Asian), I said we could at least go look at the menu. But I didn't really get my hopes up, figuring I would just turn away, dejected, but at least having dodged the bullet of having spent a lot of money on horrible food, yet again in my quest for even edible Mexican in Paris.
After a quick perusal of the menu, I tentatively said we could eat there, but I still wasn't sure I would enjoy it. I figured at least they didn't have salmon burritos, chicken wings or hamburgers on the menu. It was only Mexican-y items. So in we went, and I plan to go back often!
the menu (click on the photo if you want to enlarge it)...sorry,
it was taken with my cell phone so the image might not be amazing
The restaurant is very cute, though a bit small for my taste. It is decorated with Mexican-y things like sombreros. But the reason to go back is definitely the food.
Lionel and Jean-marc in the restaurant
While the prices are a bit high (cheapest 3-course dinner menu is 17.50 euros, a bit less for lunch), it is definitely worth it in my opinion. We sat down and debated on what to order and I was still feeling less-than-convinced, when the server came out with a basket of homemade tortilla chips with guacamole and chili to dip them in. I'd never seen that one before in France: free chips and dips AND homemade chips!
Lionel and Jean-marc enjoying the homemade chips
We ordered and settled on a pitcher of (very expensive) Margaritas for an apéro and we all three got the 17.50 euro menu and a bottle of wine for dinner. Off the menu I had the guacamole for my entrée, enchiladas mexicanas for my plat and we ended up exchanging the dessert for a Mexican coffee liqueur. The guacamole was served on lettuce in a tortilla bowl and was some of the best I've ever had (unfortunately I was too busy eating it to think to take a picture of it). Lionel had the ceviche for an appetizer and Jean-marc had the chicken quesadilla, and I tried them both and they were very good too. Even the margarita was better than any other I've had in France (and cheaper than Indiana Cafe or El Rancho). Then came the enchiladas. We all three ordered the same plat, so I can't say anything about the other choices, but the enchiladas were amazing. They were filled with ground beef and cheddar cheese (and you could taste the amazing cheddar in every bite). They were served with Mexican rice and refried beans (something I've never seen in France!), just like in a Mexican restaurant in America. But these refried beans were exceptionally good! I also like that the portions were reasonable and I left feeling filled, but not stuffed (which is often the case when I eat Mexican in America). At the end of the meal I was shocked, then thrilled, then ecstatic and then I told Lionel that we were going back every week!!!
the amazing enchiladas with rice and refried beans!!!
So, obviously, I highly recommend this place for anyone craving some Mexican-y food. While it is not exactly like what we eat in America (and probably not at all like what they eat in Mexico), it certainly satisfied my craving for the kind of Mexican I grew up with in Ohio!